Another Honda worth a look is the Acura NSX. These could be bought for mid $20k just a few years ago but have been on the rise the last 4-5 years and now the buy-in for a high mileage early NA1 is more like $35k-40k.
Surprisingly, Mazda’s iconic FD RX-7 seems to be dropping in value these days. My speculation is that the reliability and cost to properly maintain these rotary powered vehicles scares the casual car enthusiast and investor away.
It’s also really hard to find a mint condition FD these days, since these have tended to be owned by hardcore enthusiasts who drove them hard, modified them, and generally enjoyed them to the max. So that may be contributing to their weak pricing, and perhaps the rotary community, though extremely diehard, isn’t large enough to push demand and pricing upward the way we’re seeing with ITRs and NSXs. On the flip side, now is a great time to score a deal on a FD, one of the most iconic Japanese sports cars of the ’90s.
One of my personal favorites, the MKIV Toyota Supra Turbo has always commanded a premium in the market and prices are slowly starting to creep up. There’s still time to get into one of these between $40K and $50K, but don’t expect that to last long. Clean examples of the twin turbo model are only to get more and more valuable over time, of that you can be sure.
There are a lot of modified Supras out there, meaning the 100% stock ones are becoming rarer and rarer and I foresee them becoming six-figure vehicles in the next 10-15 years. Non-turbo to turbo converted Supras also exist but will never have the value of a factory turbo car. If you don’t care about authenticity then these can be picked up for significantly less and would make a great driver.
Right hand drive versions of Supras, RX-7s, and 240s (Silvias) are starting to penetrate the US market and have been around in Canada for almost 10 years. Despite their rarity, very few people are willing to pay top dollar for these cars and the result is the majority of imported cars are well-worn and abused. Add to the fact that driving a RHD car is a nuisance on left-hand drive roads and insurance is a huge problem, meaning the value of JDM vehicles will never match that of its LHD counterparts in this part of the world.
I do believe there is one JDM car (aside from the classics) that is worth buying, as it will begin to appreciate in the next decade and that’s the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R. To this day it is still one of the most popular searched vehicles online because amongst the import car community it stands at the top of the food chain. Thanks to movies such as the Fast and Furious, it’s unobtainability in North America, and being just a plain bad-ass car, the R34 GT-R will no doubt be on the want list of many enthusiasts for a long time to come.
I’ve read that the Nissan 300ZX will soon become a collector item but I’m not too sold on the notion. In stock form the twin-turbo model didn’t exactly deliver the performance of many of its rivals and its design isn’t anything to write home about either. Therefore, I don’t see demand for the 300ZX ever spiking to a point where these vehicles are worth big bucks.
Since almost any young car enthusiast has owned or modified a Honda Civic, you can bet that ’90s era low mileage and pristine examples will be valuable in the future. But don’t think your daily driven example that’s got 200K on the odometer will ever be worth much. The sheer number of Civics built dictates that even though these vehicles were coveted by many there will always be enough of them available to satisfy demand.
Just look at the classic Mustang market. A Barrett-Jackson caliber car can fetch six-figures, but there’s still plenty Craigslist driver version selling for $5k to $15k because there’s still a ton of them in circulation.