A look at the best JDM cars to start your modifying journey.
The term “Built not bought” means a lot more to some than it does to others. As enthusiasts ourselves, we believe in the art of modifying and tuning cars. Giving them a personality and their own unique characteristics.
Many think in order to enjoy the automotive tuning scene deep pockets are required. We are here to prove you wrong! We’ve put together a list of some of our top picks, whether you are looking to start modifying or looking to enjoy a weekend/track toy.
Toyota GT86 / Subaru BRZ
The Toyota GT86 is a traditional two door, rear wheel drive sports car with a front mounted boxer engine offering a fantastic 53:47 weight distribution. Developed in partnership with Subaru, a BRZ was also available along with the Scion FRS in some markets.
The the car currently sits in its second generation after its release of the 2021 GR86 and BRZ earlier this year. Equipped with a naturally aspirated 2.0L engine mated with a 6 speed manual gearbox the latest generation produces 232bhp. Just under 30bhp more than the first gen.
In the UK, you can pick up an early GT86 for between £9,000 and £15,000, although cheapest is not always best, be sure to check mileage and service history.
Whilst not massively powerful, the GT86 and BRZ offer bag fulls of enjoyment on the road or on the track. While skinny rear tyres offer some slippage if you want to get the back end out.
If you are looking for some first mods we would recommend some 30-40mm lowering springs and Wheel Spacers. Which you can pick up here: https://www.japspeed.co.uk/forged-al-6061-t6-aluminium-hubcentric-wheel-spacers-5×100-20mm-m12x1-25-56-1mm
Also consider switching the exhaust for a high flow Catback. Not only will this improve the look and sound of your car but also improve power, torque and responsiveness through the rev range.
The Mazda MX-5 is one of the most well known and commonly recognised vehicles in automotive history. Spanning four generations over 30 years, there is plenty of aftermarket support this little sportscar.
First released in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 is a two seat, rear wheel drive roadster perfect for those b road blasts. even today the MK4 MX-5 retains the same dynamic formula as its predecessors.
You can now pick up an MX-5 for less than £1,000, although this varies on spec, age and mileage, leaving plenty left for vasts amount of modifications! Although be WARNED, older models suffer from rust so be sure to check this before any purchase.
If you are looking to work on the car yourself and/or working on a tight budget, the MX-5 could be the perfect car to start your tuning journey!
Honda Civic Type R
The Honda Civic Type R is a series of compact, high performance front wheel drive hatchbacks. Known for their stiffened chassis, tuned engines and upgraded braking system when compared with the standard car.
In total, there have been 5 generations of Type R. One model that stands out from the crowd when it comes to tuning is the legendary EP3. Underneath the bonnet sits Honda’s 2.0L VTEC petrol engine, revving to 8,000rpm and producing 200bhp.
The latest generation is unique for its futuristic appearance and is considered one of the rawest modern hot hatch on the market, with it’s 300bhp 6 speed manual drive train powering the front wheels.
Second hand Civic Type R’s can be acquired from £1,000 with the EP3 increasing in value for nice examples. If you’re looking for something more modern, the FN2 can be purchased for around £5,000. Big power can be attained from these cars with the aid of forced induction without breaking the bank.
The Subaru Impreza is likely one of the first cars you remember as a budding car enthusiast. Known for its rallying heritage the Impreza made incredible performance affordable for the everyman.
There is a vast range of Impreza models available on the second hand market. A great option is the WRX STI which was introduced with a 2.5L engine, manual transmission and up to 260bhp.
A good example will set you back about £12,000, although if you cannot justify the 2.5 you can bag the WRX with a 220bhp 2.0.
If you have particularly deep pockets, there is a limited run of only 500 WR1’s to commemorate Petter Solberg’s Rally Championship winning season in 2003.
The Nissan 350z is available in both coupe and roadster body styles, with a high capacity naturally aspirated 3.5L V6. Like many of the cars on this list, the 350z is a rear wheel drive, front engined sportscar.
Produced between 2002 and 2009 the Nissan 350z was eventually succeeded by the 370z which featured a larger engine and more aggressive styling.
In the UK Nissan 350z prices start from £6,000 and we offer a large range of handling, exhaust and intake modifications to help you start your modifying journey.
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