Japanese Car Staff Picks - Guy Allen

By: Guy Allen

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subaru svx subaru svx

Guy Allen nominates his top three choices of Japanese cars


Subaru SVX

Yeah, I know, this suggests muggins needs to change his medication. But there’s something about the whole weirdness of an SVX that’s irresistible. I know they’re an orphan.

The whole aircraft-style turret gets my attention and there is something appealing about the optimistic uber-tech approach from the nineties. Plus that boxer six engine has a beat all its own.

They were never a seller – way too expensive when new, if I recall right, and just too out-there for most tastes.

These days you occasionally see them abandoned off the side of someone’s driveway or, rarely, actually for sale. As I write this, there’s a one on the market in Queensland at $3k, which would be a ‘courageous’ purchase, given the amount of havoc it could wreak on the wallet. A good one will be more like six-plus. Tempting…

Value Range: $5000-$7500


Nissan 300ZX Z32


Okay, I’m a sucker for a good coupe and I reckon the Nissan 300ZX will one day be regarded as an iconic piece of design.

The hoardes of grey imports that got shipped over here has confused the market somewhat, but at least it’s helped to keep supply and prices to reasonable levels.

While the idea of a turbo appeals, I reckon I’d be just as happy with a normally-aspirated version so long as it was a manual.

Nissan knew it was on to something years ago when it advertised this car on billboards with a side profile and the caption "sell the kids". I’m not sure that you’d get away with that these days, but you have to admire the sentiment.

Prices seem to be all over the place at the moment, but high teens should put a really good one in the shed.

Value Range: $15,000-$20,000


Toyota Soarer Z30


I’m cheating a little here, as I already have one – bought cheap as a result of working on this very buyer guide last year.

The obsessive in me would like to have the manual turbo six in addition to the V8 auto that’s already in the shed, though you might now have to pay proper money for one of them as they’re very much in demand.

For a while in the late 1990s, there was a huge business in importing these things, sometimes (in the case of the V8s) badged as a Lexus SC400. They are fun to drive and I reckon they look okay, and we’re even starting to see them pop up at car shows.

Anything from about five grand up to around 10 will get you something workable and the V8s in particular are capable of coping with huge mileages.

Value Range: $5000-$10,000



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