JDM—yes, it’s one of the most overused and abused acronyms today but the coolio factor behind it still holds true to many of us. Japanese Domestic Market parts, whether engine or cosmetic, are on an upper echelon in the parts hierarchy. The reason why we have different parts from Japan is typically due to our country’s safety and traffic laws. But this opens the doors for enthusiasts to own something rare. There are JDM versions of everything—lights, engines, gauge clusters, shift knobs, the list goes on and on. And compared to the aftermarket stuff you probably come across, JDM is legit. These parts are OE quality; meaning fitment and durability aren’t an issue. With that being said, we’ve selected our top four JDM front-end conversions.
1. ’89-94 Nissan 240SX -> Nissan Silvia (S13)
Perhaps the most adored and sought after JDM conversion is the S13 Silvia. If you own a ’89-94 240SX in either coupe or hatchback , chances are you’ve had your eyes on a Silvia front-end. The most noticeable difference is the headlights—cheesy pop-ups to fixed lights. To complete the bolt-on install, it requires the hood, front bumper, fenders, brackets, bumper supports, corner lights and front grille. In Japan, there was also the option of dual or triple projector lights. All three look good, but we prefer the “bricks” above.
2. ’94-01 Acura Integra -> Honda Integra (DC2)
Our second favorite conversion is the Integra. We don’t mind the four-eyed US-look, but the JDM counterpart looks very sleek with its one-piece headlights and more aggressive front bumper. But this isn’t a bolt-on upgrade. This conversion requires you to cut off the factory radiator support and replace it with the JDM one. You’ll also need to fit new fenders, lights, brackets rebar, grille and hood. There’s also some options with the lights. You can go with chrome headlights from the SiR-G or black headlights from the Type R.
3. ’84-87 Toyota Corolla -> Toyota Corolla Levin (AE86)
Before the Corolla became one of the largest selling commuter cars in the world, it used to be cool. We're talking about the AE86 generation... The rear-wheel drive coupes and hatchbacks weren't uncommon to find at your local track. Japan received a coupe sweeter trim levels that amde us jealous. We fancied the 'Zenki' Levin most, which was sold from '84-85. To do the conversion, it requires the fenders, hood, front bumper, grille, lights and harness.
4. ’06-11 Honda Civic Sedan -> Civic Type R (FD)
If you’re like us, you were never a huge fan of the last Honda Civic sedan with its pointy headlights and its ‘beat with the ugly stick’ face. But the JDM counterpart showed us who’s boss with a much more sophisticated and sporty look. There’s no denying which front-end looks better. All you’ll need is the headlights, fenders, side markers, front bumper, grille, hood, bumper supports and brackets. It’s direct bolt-on job and worth the effort. Truth!
Finding original JDM parts isn’t an easy task. It could take hours browsing Yahoo Auctions Japan or scrimmaging through online forums. But if you’re caught in a jam, these companies might be able to help.