Alex Affat's Top Buys for Japanese Classics

By: Alex Affat

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We asked our resident car nuts to nominate their top three choices of Japanese classics out there. Here's Alex Affat's top picks...

 

1. Datsun 1200 ute

Datsun -1200-ute

Well who wouldn’t want a pint-sized oddball Japanese ute? The jury may be out in terms of actual load-lugging usability, but with room for two and a dog in the back, these things are just plain fun for those sunny-day cruises.

Utilising the same drivetrain and wheelbase as the 1200 sedan, coupe and wagon models, parts are plentiful, though many examples have been fiddled with due to the expansive interchangeable parts common to Datsuns of the same vintage.

There’s usually a handful for sale at any given moment, in various stages of restoration or modification. In any case, they’re an extremely affordable project, and thanks to their niche fan-base, should hold their value pretty well!

| Read more: Greg Murphy's Datsun 1200 SSS

 

2. Series 4/5 Mazda RX-7

Mazda -rx7

Historically, the Series 4/5 FC RX7 has long been the middle child of the lineage whereby most collectors would be drawn to the early Series 1s, 2s or 3s or – at the other end of the spectrum – the most modern Series 6, 7 or 8 FD RX7 (you can probably thank a certain Hollywood franchise for that).

In our eyes however, the FC and its gorgeous 80s wedged charm are no less desirable than its siblings. They were also a technological leap from their predecessor and were able to hold their own against the popular comparison of the time, the Porsche 944.

Mechanical horror stories are plenty in regards to old rotaries, much of which can be avoided with proper maintenance. Look for decent service records.

| Read more: Mazda RX-7 series 4-5 buyer's guide

 

3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI

Mitsubishi -evo

The Evo VI was one of the high watermarks in the Evo’s … errr, Evolution. Before the later models took on board massive bouts of technological wizardry and became video-game-like cheat cars; the Evo VI was still one of the more visceral analogue driving experiences.

Visually, it’s a striking thing that embodies the height of late 90s WRC warfare, whose battle fronts spilled from the rally stages into the showrooms.

Receiving a larger intercooler, larger oil cooler and pistons from the preceding Evo V, the VI was a more reliable bit of kit with less strain on its formidable turbo 2.0lt. Cars vary wildly in price and condition, so take a focused look at the car’s maintenance history.

| Read more: Mitsubishi Lancer EVO buyer's guide

 

See more staff picks:

- David Morley's top three

- Cliff Chambers' top three

- Guy Allen's top three

- Glenn Torrens's top three

- Mark Higgins' top three

 

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