Japanese Car Staff Picks - Angelo Loupetis

By: Alex Affat

Presented by

nissan 180sx nissan 180sx

Angelo Loupetis nominates his top three choices of Japanese cars

Nissan 180SX

When Japanese grey imports where everywhere in Oz, the one car that stood out to me was the 180SX. I instantly loved the coupe shape but as the years went by I struggled to see one on the road that was not "enhanced" with a terrible body kit that was guaranteed to fall apart. Years later they went through the ‘Sileighty’ phase where crashed cars were fitted with Silvia front ends to complete the drift look.

I would happily park a manual 180SX in my garage and slowly restore it back to its former glory. A great looking performance Japanese sports car that won’t break the bank!

Value Range: $5000-$20,000

 

Mazda 323 Familia B6 4WD

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I have a soft spot for KE Laser TX3 turbos and, over the years, have grown quite fond of its Mazda 323 4WD Familia twin. I kept tabs on a parked Familia for years but it has since vanished, much to my disappointment. These turbo terrors are a rare find as most units suffered a harsh life in rally circuits or were modified during the ’90s and they have simply vanished.

The GTAE model is my choice and has a distinct front mesh bumper, some sources claim that 30 1988 Mazda Familia GTXs were sold by Mazda Australia. These cars were equipped with the GTAE mesh bumper, white paint with a complementing grey pinstripe indicating its 4WD turbo power plant. Regardless whether your chasing the local ‘unicorn’ car or a grey import, look for a complete Familia with an original patterned interior, as replacing some of the unique parts on these ageing Mazdas would surely be difficult.

Value Range: $3000-$10,000

 

Subaru Liberty GT wagon

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The Liberty from 2003-2008 was, in my opinion, one of the best looking Subarus. I have personally clocked up a few kms in a manual 2.5 MY06 and the car was and still is a great drive. These are well-built cars and, even though most have clocked up over 200,000kms, low-kilometre cars can still be found in the market. I would love a wagon for the practicality and would hunt down a low- kilometre 2007-2008 2.5 turbocharged GT, with the revised grille and 18-inch wheels. But I would happily live with a 3.0 spec B which can be spotted by its unique front bumper bar. Just remember to always monitor the oil as they know how to make it vanish. They even offered an STi version of the GT but they can be $5-10K more.

Value Range: $8000-$18,000

 

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