The world of Japanese performance cars and tuning has had some incredible cars turned into household names. We've all heard of the names Skyline and Supra and RX7 since they've all been tuned to within an inch of their lives by someone or the other, but there exist some true Japanese gems that never got that kind of attention. Either they were too expensive, too complicated, or not really all that ripe for tuning - these are the black sheep that you have to be brave to take a shot at customising. This week, we list our favourite JDM black sheep.
Mitsubishi 3000 GT/GTO
3.0 litre 6G72 twin-turbo V6 engine. 296 HP, 306 lb-ft torque
The 3000 GT, known as just the Mitsubishi GTO in Japan, was a sports car aimed squarely at Nissan's Skyline, Toyota's Supra and the Chevrolet Corvette, and featured a high-tech All Wheel Drive system, mosntrous twin turbos, track ready suspension and aero. Other than a few obscure tuners like Pit Road M, the GTO was not a popular car in tuning circles in any way, even though the 6G72 could be safely pushed to quadruple horsepower figures.
Toyota Caldina GT-Four
2.0 litre 3SGTE turbo inline-4 engine. 256 HP, 239 lb-ft torque.
Based on the Avensis platform, the Caldina was the last Toyota to have the 3SGTE and to carry the “GT-Four” moniker, referring to its All Wheel Drive. Ceasing production in 2007, it was popular with tuners in Malaysia, but unknown elsewhere. Parts for the engine are available because the 3SGTE is fairly common.
Subaru Alcyone SVX
3.3 litre EG33 boxer-6 engine. 231 HP, 228 lb-ft torque.
The world was just not ready for a luxury Subaru GT car when the SVX was launched in 1991. It was supposed to be a flagship car, and accordingly had two different kinds of AWD, all wheel steering and a whole bunch of luxury options. It was way too over engineered, overpriced, too complicated and too alien. Guigaro’s design was heartbreakingly beautiful and its a shame that no one bought the SVX.
Subaru Legacy RS-Turbo
2.0 litre EJ20G turbo boxer-4 engine. 217 HP, 200 lb-ft torque.
The EJ20G is a god among Subaru engines, and before the Impreza was
even a thing that existed, the EJ20 was incorporated into the Legacy RS Turbo. Very few outside the Temple of Subaru know of the Legacy RS Turbo and Subaru’s rallying efforts with a lunatic of a family sedan. Very little aftermarket support exists for the original engine, those who tune it swap in a newer motor.
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