Meet the hot Japanese cars made famous by Fast and Furious
Phoenix, Arizona – The Fast and The Furious movie franchise introduced Japanese tuner car culture to the rest of the world when the first film made its debut on June 18, 2001. The film’s popularity helped create a new sector in the collector car market that has seen steady growth in both values and consumer demand, according to ClassicCars.com, an online marketplace for collector cars.
In the films, Nissans, Mazdas and Toyotas – colloquially known as ‘rice rockets’- were shown in the same light as traditional collectible cars like a Ferrari 355 or 1970 Dodge Charger, exposing young viewers to an edgier and more accessible aspect of car culture and causing a shift in pop culture that still effects both the film and auto industries today.
The market is just starting to come to terms with that shift as the American teenagers of the 2000s begin to start collections of their own. Below are some of the cars made popular by the film which have been steadily growing in demand and value ever since their time on the big screen.
When new, the 1993 Mazda RX-7 had a price of around $33 000 (R454 000). In 2005 the 1993 Mazda RX-7 used in the film sold for the respectable sum of $40 250 (R554 000) at a Bonhams auction. Prices have continued to climb since then as this 1993 Mazda RX-7 listed on ClassicCars.com comes with an asking price of $59 000 (R812 000), even without movie provenance. “A 1993 Mazda RX-7 is a serious up-and-coming collectible,” said ClassicCars.com’s East Coast Editor and Analyst Andy Reid.
Few cars from the original movie have seen the explosive growth in value that the Mark IV Toyota Supra has. In 1995 the Supra would have cost just shy of $50 000 (R688 000), a princely sum for a Toyota. Today, an average example will land around the $70 000 mark.
The 1993 Toyota Supra driven by the late Paul Walker in the movie sold for $185 000 (R2.54-million) in 2015 – a full $115 000 (R1.58-million) more than non-movie cars and $135 000 (R1.85-million) more than when it was new.
“The Supras commanding the highest asking amount are completely stock and low mileage, meaning they probably haven’t taken part in many street races,” said Reid. “Owners mistakenly believe that because they’ve added $50 000 in modifications to a Supra, it is ultimately worth $100 000. Higher yields only happen when modifications are done properly.” Meanwhile, an original, low-mileage 1994 Toyota Supra can be yours for just shy of $90 000 (R1.2-million) on ClassicCars.com right now.
1994 Acura Integra GS-R
The Acura (Honda) Integra GS-R is one of the more affordable Japanese tuner cars featured in the movie. When new, the car cost about $20 000 (R275 000) and prices have held steady as most are fetching around $15 000 (R206 000) today. “A stock ’94 Integra or an Integra GS-R can still be had at an affordable price,” explains Reid.
1997 Nissan 240SX
“A 1997 Nissan 240SX can also be a good entry car,” Reid says. “These can still be bought cheap, with stock versions being extremely rare as most of the original S13 and S14 models have been either modified for drifting or tuned to look more like performance cars from the film or according to trends seen in the Japanese and California import scene.”
An average 240SX will cost only a few thousand today despite its price of almost $22 000 (R303 000) in 1997, making it a good value in this class of future classics.
For the best combination of performance and affordability, Japanese tuning car fans will have to look outside of the main cars of The Fast and the Furious films to get a high-performance car at a price untouched by movies’ effect. The Mitsubishi GT3000 VR-4 Turbo is a fast all-wheel-drive performance car that be had for less than $25 000 (R344 000) , while the Nissan 300ZX Turbo offered near-supercar levels of performance and exclusivity when new and can be had near the $20 000 (R275 000) mark.
Many of these popular Japanese tuner cars have been modified almost beyond recognition, making original and low-mileage examples more and more scarce. This recipe for rarity will further drive prices up making these cars a true future classic.
The Fast and the Furious and its sequels will likely continue to impact both collector car culture and values for years to come. Before you know it, the cars might just be “more than you can afford, pal.”