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Picture a classic car in your head: likely it’s an American icon like a late ‘60s Mustang or even earlier like a ‘50s Fairlane. Maybe your taste is a bit more exotic and you’re imagining a classic Ferrari or even a British sports car like an MG or Triumph.

Times are changing, however, and so is the definition of what a classic car is. Increasingly the vehicles that come to mind for a younger generation of auto buffs are early, race-bred Japanese classics, like the Toyota 2000GT, Datsun 240z or Mazda RX3.

Don’t laugh at the suggestion. According to classic Japanese car enthusiast Ryan Rudd, prices for Japanese classic cars are steadily rising.

“I believe the Japanese classics will reach the prestige and price of the American and European cars, in fact, in many places, they already have. For instance, a 1970 Nissan Skyline GTR can go for well over $100,000 in Japan.” Rudd said. “In the U.S., the following of classic Japanese cars is growing at a very high rate as well.”

Rudd works at one of a popular Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) restoration shops in Utah. JDM Legends was “born out of passion for JDM cars” and is a go-to place for restored (and modified) classic Japanese cars.

For a long time Japanese cars have been thought of as too common and too cheap to become serious collector material. It seems those ideas are changing.

“As the younger crowd takes its place in the car world, they are going to have the desire to own the cars they loved in their childhood years,” Rudd said, “It is easy to see the different generations, and which cars they loved.”

Traditional outlets for classic cars seem to be oblivious to the changing attitudes. A representative from Barett-Jackson even told us that they “haven’t seen much in the way of Japanese classics at their auctions.”

Rudd, however, does see the trend. “It seems as if the generation that is now starting to have some extra spending money for a classic car, really appreciate the racing heritage of many of these classic Japanese cars, as well as the designs which were coming out of Japan in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.”

A recent example of a Japanese classic reaching the prestige of its American and European counterparts is a 1967 Toyota 2000GT, that was sold for $375,000.
Read the complete Japanese Collector Cars story at AutoGuide.com
 
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