10 of the best used Japanese sports cars we found this week for under £10,000 | Top Gear
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Wednesday 29th November
Used cars

10 of the best used Japanese sports cars we found this week for under £10,000

Are you chasing a cure for your Japanese sports car bug? These brilliant options may prove to be the fix

Toyota MR2
  1. Toyota Celica GT-Four (ST205)

    Toyota Celica GT-Four

    This Celica GT-Four might be our pick of the bunch from this week’s finds. It has everything: a hugely successful career in rallying, evergreen styling quirks that even those with the least automotive comprehension will appreciate, and bulletproof reliability that goes hand-in-hand with the undeniable pace.

    It’s the complete package, so finding one for under £10,000 is nigh-impossible these days. The imported example provided has certainly lived a full life, with 90,000 miles clocked up on the odometer and a number of upgrades applied... which may be why it falls within budget. Still, we think it’s fantastic.

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  2. Mazda MX-5 Miata (NA)

    Mazda MX-5 Miata

    How could we not include everybody’s favourite diminutive roadster? A success from day one, the MX-5 has gone on to become the best-selling convertible of all time, and for good reason. It’s cheap, it’s fun, and it’s unlikely you’ll ever spend more than a fiver to get it back on the road if you put it in a ditch.

    We also believe that owning an MX-5 is a rite of passage for any would-be enthusiast, and if that’s you, the must-haves should include a five-speed manual box, a 1.8-litre engine, and an unapologetically loud colour. In other words, something like this 1993 MX-5.

  3. Toyota Supra (A70)

    Toyota Supra MK3

    The A70 Supra - which could just as easily have passed off as the Knight Rider’s chariot of choice - arrived right before the golden era of motoring in Great Nihon. As such, it will never receive the same appraisals that its now stupidly overpriced successor does. But should that put you off? Absolutely not.

    Even in its mildest, non-turbocharged form, the 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine has enough grunt to put a smile on your face. For a smudge under £8,000, could this A70 Supra prove an attractive proposition for you?

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  4. Honda Prelude (BB1-BB4)

    Honda Prelude

    Retaining all the characterful design of the ‘90s without the hefty price tag, the fourth-generation Honda Prelude is a wonderful solution for anybody chasing a bit of punch with a lot of charm.

    Built over a five-year span in the early-mid ‘90s, buyers have a choice of either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission; the latter of which will be the overwhelming favourite for many to channel its VTEC power. This one-owner example is a perfect case in point.

  5. Nissan 300ZX (Z32)

    Nissan 300ZX

    Despite being around since the late ‘60s, the Nissan Z-series continues to go strong with the introduction of the latest seventh generation model; but the sweet spot in terms of speed and desirability at present has got to be the uncommon 300ZX.

    Targa examples are rarer still, and though there is a slight compromise on performance, an open-top Nissan 300ZX is one of the most fantastically wild choices you can opt for in this price range. You could save yourself a few grand and settle for a newer, faster 350Z, but consider that the 300ZX is also seen as an appreciating asset by many - unlike its successor.

  6. Mitsubishi FTO

    Mitsubishi FTO

    A curious JDM car, and one that hasn’t always been appreciated for what it is in this neck of the woods. It actually won the Japanese Car of the Year award when it debuted in 1994, and has competed in the Japanese Touring Car Championship in the past. There’s plenty of history associated with it, then, and that might be a good starting point as to why an FTO makes sense right now.

    The FTO is a slightly trickier example to work with here, because the difficulty lies not in finding one for under budget, but finding one full stop. Very few clean examples remain in the wild these days, so when we do find one, we want one. This one-of-207 FTO GPX edition is testament to that.

  7. Toyota MR2 (W20)

    Toyota MR2 (W20)

    In becoming one of the most popular donor cars for kit car conversions, the magic of the second-generation Ferrari F355 - sorry, Toyota MR2 - has been lost on many. But with the stratospheric increase in the market values of the more famous Japanese vehicles of this period, unsung heroes like the MR2 are starting to resurface.

    Some factors that buyers consider when searching for a worthwhile example are whether it has the highly sought-after t-bar roof option and which power band it belongs to. Unmolested examples, such as this 1995 2.0-litre MR2 GT, can still be found lingering for under £10,000 - but don’t expect that to be the case for much longer.

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  8. Mitsubishi 3000GT

    Mitsubishi 3000GT

    Much like its FTO sibling, the 3000GT (or GTO) has never truly been mentioned as a front-runner from its generation. Often cited as being too heavy, and criticised for being overly complicated, Mitsubishi’s answer to the Japanese motoring Cold War of the ‘90s is the 3000GT. It has the power, and it certainly has the bold design, but Mitsubishi’s desire to turn it into a grand tourer means it is nowhere near as agile or rewarding to drive as competitors like the Nissan Skyline R33.

    So why, then, are we recommending it to you, dear readers? Japanese car culture is built upon self-expression and a desire to truly stand out, and if you want to explore the world of aftermarket tuning with an affordable car that has the right foundations, a twin-turbo 3000GT ticks all the boxes.

  9. Subaru Impreza WRX (GM)

    Subaru Impreza WRX

    The market for ‘Scoobies’ remains far and wide, given that they continue to be traded like hot cakes. The recipe for success is simple: pair an irresistible boxer unit with one of the most versatile four-wheel drive systems ever made, and give it a lick of blue and gold paint. You end up with an instant hit.

    Really, the question isn’t whether you should get yourself a WRX, but rather, which one to get. For under £10,000, you won’t be getting all the bells and whistles associated with the World Rally Championship-winning cars, but you can still get one of the many limited edition iterations, like this one.

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  10. Mazda RX-7 (FC)

    Mazda RX-7

    While the first and third-generation RX7s are more biased towards being hunkered down sports cars, the middle child is softer and more adept at mile-munching. It still has the rotary engine and distinct silhouette that sets this family of cars apart from rivals, and in the not-so distant past, second-generation RX7s were floating around for next to nothing.

    Sadly, a quick browse across the classifieds shows the scale of the issue with the used car market at present. The cheapest we could find was a 1989 convertible for £10,500 - perhaps a trip to Wagamamas could help sweeten the deal?

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