Here Are Some of the Most Expensive Japanese Cars Built and Sold to Date

For some reason, Japanese cars generally lag behind when it comes to pulling insanely high prices at auction or end up along the line in a car collectors garage. But here are a few examples sure to flip that script.
Toyota 2000GT 11 photos
Photo: Sothebys
Nissan FairladyNissan FairladyNissan Skyline GT-RMazda 767 bAAR/Toyota Eagle MkIII GTP2017 Acura NSX2022 Supra Sport2021 Lexus LC500 ConvertibleBlack Lexus LFA Nürburgring EditionToyota 2000GT
JDM cars have made their mark in the movies and on American roads, and they tended to be reliable, quick, inexpensive, easy to work on, and, in some cases, stylish and enduring in design.

While they’re yet to fetch the kind of prices demanded for Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Alfa Romeos and Bugattis, the Japanese Domestic Market vehicles are finally finding their feet on the auction block. The Nissan GT-R, for instance, is a relative bargain in terms of raw-performance-to-price factors, as it can smoke nearly anything constructed by Ferrari or Lamborghini.

But the Japanese manufacturers were intent on building ‘people's cars’ during the 1960s and 1980s, and as such, they didn’t qualify for the collector’s Holy Grail: rarity. But all that is changing.

Toyota 2000GT
Photo: Sothebys
The 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000GT will always be noted as one of Japan’s greatest automotive achievements, but as they didn’t bring it to the United States, it’s now considerably more valuable and desired by collectors the world over. It’s thought that Nissan sold just 197 units of this classic and that the company built the cars simply to move along leftover engines from the car’s predecessor, the 2-liter straight-six S20.

The 1970 Nissan Fairlady Z432 was made in just 420 examples and they were all sold in Japan, There, the Fairlady is revered and comes up on the auction block in rare cases. The Fairlady Z432R was the rare racing version of the car, and only 30 to 50 of these are thought to exist, making them the most desired Nissan Z car for collectors.

A homologation special of the car was auctioned at Tokyo's Best Heritage Auctions and sold for more than $800,000.

The 1968 Toyota 2000GT SCCA by Shelby American was positive proof that the 2000GT could compete on the track with the world's most dangerous race cars, and it essentially opened a path for future Japanese automobiles in international markets. A 1968 version featuring right-hand drive sold for huge money, and it came a limited production run of only 351 units.

Black Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition
Photo: Barrett-Jackson
The 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package marked the final chapter in the history of a unique car, and it was Lexus' first and only supercar. Just 50 of these fabulous machines were made, and one sold for more than $918,000 at the 2019 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. It came with the 4.8-liter V10 which produced 562 hp, was capable of reaching 202 mph and covering the 0-62 mph sprint in less than 3.7 seconds.

The 1992 AAR/Toyota Eagle MkIII GTP was one of the most dominant prototypes in U.S. motorsport history, and it was ultimately auctioned straight out of icon Juan Manuel Fangio II's garage. The MKIIIs won 21 of the 27 races in which it completed, and Fangio won the IMSA GTP Championship in 1992 and 1993 behind the wheel. The car was built by Dan Gurney's All American Racers and presented to Fangio by Toyota after it’s track days were done.

A 1967 Toyota 2000GT gained widespread fame as a competitor in the world sports car market and earned its fame in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Many call it Japan's first supercar, and as such it demands enormous prices at auction. Toyota produced just 351 2000GTs in 1967 and 1968, and the price for one will continue to climb as it meets all the necessary criteria: rarity, elegance and historical significance to the Toyota brand. While it was possible to find a Toyota 2000GTas low as $500,000 in 2019, those days are gone, never to return.

The 2017 Acura NSX was the result of Acura pouring every bit of its mastery into a contemporary reclamation of the first NSX. The automakers created this carbon-trimmed masterpiece with an electric-enhancement and it featured and it ran on a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 573 horsepower. The top speed of 191 mph (307 kph) made it Acura's fastest car to date. At a Barrett-Jackson auction in 2016, the 2017 Acura NSX - the very first model made with VIN 001 - sold for $1.2 million, with the funds going to charity.

Mazda 767 b
Photo: Gooding
The 1989 Mazda 767B rolled across the block at a Gooding & Company on Amelia Island in 2017 and sold for $1.75 million. That number made it the most expensive Japanese car ever sold which was not auctioned for charity, and also the most expensive rotary-engined race car. The model sold at Amelia, Chassis 003, was one of just three constructed for the 1989 racing season, and it made Mazda the only Japanese manufacturer to win at Le Mans in 1990.

A 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible, with VIN #100001, sold for $2 million. It was the first Lexus LC 500 convertible made for 2021, and it caught the eye of a demented - and excessively weathly collector - who bought the vehicle in less than three minutes after it hit the block. On the plus side, the proceeds of the sale went to the Boys & Girls Club of America and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

Yet another surprise is this 2020 Toyota Supra, granted a first production version of the 2020 Toyota Supra GR which was autographed by Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, which sold at the Barrett Jackson Scottsdale, Arizona auction in 2019 for a maddening $2.1 million. Again, the car was sold for a charitable cause and all the proceeds went to the American Heart Association and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. Barrett-Jackson was the first to auction VIN #001 cars for charitable purposes beginning 15 years ago, and since that time the charitable proceeds have totaled more than $100 million in that time.
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