Almost 20 years after its debut, The Fast and the Furious film and franchise have kept enthusiasts tuned into Japanese car culture. Here’s what to buy now
Showcasing the talents of the likes of Mazda’s RX-7, Toyota’s Supra and Nissan’s 240SX, The Fast and the Furious exposed many Americans and Europeans to Japanese tuner culture for the first time. The best part of two decades since the cult movie opened to curious cinema houses on June 18, 2001, the film and ensuing franchise has injected the market with steady value growth across all employed marques.
After discussions with our friends at ClassicCars.com in the U.S.A, we reached a conclusion. Basically, Fast and Furious helped to create a new sector in the collector car market, and now customer demand for vehicles tuned until the headlamps pop out has reached fever pitch.
All manner of modern classics currently receive the ‘Vin Diesel treatment’, with the coveted Dodge Charger being top dog in the world of slow-motion jumps and questionable dialogue.
- Petersen Museum to celebrate Japanese car culture
- Beaulieu’s Simply Japanese show set to be most popular ever!
- Looking for a Japanese classic? Plenty here
Some of the latest movie and gaming offerings have witnessed tuned Range Rovers, Mustangs and Jensen Interceptors taking no end of abuse. Even Ford Escort RS2000s have endured mechanical on-screen carnage.
However, it’s the vehicles from the land of the rising sun that remain the true tuning icons. Winding back the clock, the first entries in the film series (which currently numbers nine, with the next instalment due in 2020) showcased Nissans, Mazdas, Toyotas and Mitsubishis in the same stable as the likes of Ferrari 355 exotica, American muscle and, um, the Volkswagen Jetta…
Younger viewers were hooked on the haunches, curves and flamboyant yet ferocious stance offered by the fire-breathing Japanese coupés. An altogether edgier yet more accessible aspect of car culture emerged, causing a shift in popular culture that still affects the automotive sector to this day.
With teenagers of the time now starting collections of their own, supply and demand makes for alarming asking prices on the open market. Here’s our pick of the Japanese stars you should bag today, with help from ClassicCars.com and Andy Reid, before prices skyrocket.
Expect demand to rise as fans age and acquire the means to purchase their dream Nissan Skyline. In addition, previously unavailable iconic tuner cars such as the R33 and R34 Skyline GT-R will be eligible for import to the US on their coming 25th anniversaries – there’s already a swarm of enthusiasts waiting to pounce. This is set to put more stress on the global supply, and so increase prices from their current levels of around $30,000. It could all go quite mad.
Finally, many of these popular Japanese tuner cars have been modified almost beyond recognition, making original and low-mileage examples scarce. This recipe for rarity will further drive prices skywards, making these cars a true future classic.
When new, the 1993 Mazda RX-7 had an asking price of around $33,000. In 2005, the 1993 RX-7 used in the film sold for the respectable sum of $40,250 at a Bonhams auction. Prices have continued to climb since then, with certain models demanding a premium of $59,000 – and that’s without movie provenance!
AutoClassics’ own Andy Reid believes the RX-7 is ‘a serious up-and-coming collectible’. With the Mazda enjoying 40th anniversary celebrations this year, interest in the unique sports car is only set to inflate…
Few cars from the original movie have seen the same explosive growth in value as the Mark IV Toyota Supra. In 1995, the Supra would have cost just shy of $50,000, certainly a princely sum for a Toyota in America. Today, an average example lands around $70,000. Who’s laughing now?
The 1993 Supra driven by Paul Walker in the F&F movie sold for $185,000 in 2015 – a full $115,000 more than non-movie cars, and $135,000 more than when it was new.
The Acura Integra GS-R is one of the more affordable Japanese tuner cars featured in the movie franchise. When factory fresh, the car cost about $20,000, and prices have held steady as most are fetching around $15,000 today.
‘A stock 1994 Integra or an Integra GS-R can still be had at an affordable price,’ explains Andy Reid. Seeing as he’s got his fingers on the market pulse, we certainly believe him. However, this affordable price bracket won’t last forever...
‘A 1997 Nissan 240SX can also be a good entry car,’ Reid says. ‘These can still be bought cheap, with stock versions being extremely rare. Most of the original S13 and S14 models have been either modified for drifting, or tuned to look more like performance cars from the film or according to trends seen in the Japanese and California import scene.’
An average 240SX will cost only a few thousand today, despite its price of almost $22,000 in 1997. That makes it good value in this class of future classics.
Lead image courtesy of MagicCarPics
Original price data from ClassicCars.com