Some would argue that the old school automakers did it best. The formula was simple: Build a car that further unifies the bond between man and machine. It was a mindset unspoiled by the high-tech gadgetry found in today's cars. This could be why the five tuners featured in this Top 5 list went with a nostalgic Japanese car instead of building something more modern. What is your favorite old-school car you've seen in a past Import Tuner Magazine feature? Let us know in the comments section.
RA20 1970-1977 Toyota Celica
Feature excerpt: "Although JDM styling and tuning is as popular in this part of the world as it is in any other, rides like these are few and far between in a country like Australia. In fact, as far as Sydney (Australia's largest populated city) is concerned, Fonzy is quite sure that it's absolutely one of a kind. What's hard to imagine, though, is that this car began its (second) life with an outlay of just $100. But believe it, because it's exactly where this story begins." "The Celica's outward appearance might be its focal point, but underneath the beefy exterior is where most of the work has actually been performed. Fonzy built the engine himself, and although the Celica would have come factory fitted with a gutless 2T-C, these days it's a GT-spec DOHC 2T-G that resides between the front struts."
Why we love it: "We love how Alfonso Octaviano's '75 Celica integrates different styles including Shakotan, Group 5, Granchan, and a Kaido racer feel."
Full article: RA20 1970-1977 Toyota Celica
TE27 1972-1974 Toyota Corolla
Feature excerpt: "Besides the legendary Skylines, many other pre-'86 Japanese cars, squeaked their way in. Enthusiasts were treated to rows of impeccable nostalgic cars. It was inspiring to see these classic automobile aficionados and their attention to detail. I'm sure all would agree these aren't just cars; these are pieces of history."
Why we love it: "You know what they say, 'The older the berry the sweeter the juice.'"
Full article: TE271972-1974 Toyota Corolla
AE86 1983-1987 Toyota Corolla/Levin/ Trueno
Feature excerpt: "Toyota's AE86 Corolla is one of the best-known track weapons in the world. Equally at home on Japanese drift circuits as it is on rally stages throughout Europe, the rear-drive pocket rocket is a favorite for the racer on a budget, but its popularity means loads of them bought an early ticket to the scrap heap in the sky. It's made finding a good, factory-spec car nearly impossible." "That's only half the problem. A starring role in the Initial D series has given the AE86 a cult following, and as a result the last straight survivors are not only hard to find but sought after as show cars, and are rapidly climbing in value. They're no longer the performance bargain they once were."
Why we love it: "Who doesn't love the 86? It's perfect for that track junkie on a budget. We just hope that the Takumi phase will go away soon and people will realize it's really not meant to merely deliver tofu."
Full article: AE86 1983-1987 Toyota Corolla/ Levin/ Trueno
S30 1969-1978 Datsun 240Z
Feature excerpt: "The decision to build a first-gen Z hit Christine like a bolt of lightning one day when she happened to be on Speedhunters.com. All it took was one glance and Christine was hooked." "In the meantime, the gorgeous factory lines of the body have been complemented wonderfully with simple yet beautiful accents like the Xenon front air dam, IMSA rear spoiler, and of course the fender flares that house beautiful Work CR01 wheels with a -53mm offset."
Why we love it: "The Datsun 240Z was one of the first Japanese GT cars to be sold in the U.S. Considering the age of the car, you got to give props to those who painstakingly restored these classics the way Christine Siepka did."
Full article: S30 1969-1978 Datsun 240Z
Hakosuka 1968-1972 Nissan Skyline
Feature excerpt: "The Hakosuka Skyline is one of those special types of cars that holds a place in all of our hearts. Many of us, unfortunately, will never own one, but we can all dream. These Skylines aren't exactly easy to come by and those who are lucky enough to acquire one aren't likely to ever let them go. Roy De Guzman, the owner of this '72 2000 GT, searched tirelessly for his over six years ago." "Finding a Hakosuka Skyline is a bit of a task, but not totally impossible. A chance of finding one in really good condition, however, is another story. The ones that are usually on sale require some work, because they aren't in the greatest of conditions."
Why we love it: "The unique styling and racing pedigree of this legendary car is enough to put it at the top of our favorite old school chassis."
Full article: Hakosuka 1968-1972 Nissan Skyline