There are several reasons why an automaker would design an amazing and potentially game-changing car and end up building just one unit of the car. Some of these unique features are a special request from a wealthy client, while others may be for display at shows and special events, for dress-up purposes, or just for fun. All unique cars have common characteristics, regardless of why the automaker built them – new design, new engines and the use of non-traditional materials.
While some of the unique models are prototypes from which production models are developed, others are concept cars that are used as platforms to test customer reactions to new technology. Getting it patched at this point in the game often translates to massive success when it hits production. Being one of the top automobile producing countries globally, Japan contributes significantly to the number of one-off vehicles in the world. So, read on for a list of some cool stuff JDM One-time cars.
10 Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R LM
Over the past five decades, the GT-R badge, starting with the Skyline GT-R, has produced a large number of special editions. One such model is the Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R LM, a one-off legal beauty with an extra-wide chassis currently in Nissan’s Zama DNA garage.
Not to be confused with the R33 GT-R LM Limited, the bulging silver-cheeked LM was built for homogeneity so the R33 LM could race the LeMans in 1995. It reaches 62 mph in 5.6 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. the hour.
9 Nissan 370-Z Clubsport 23
The Clubsport 23 project was created by Nissan Motorsports as a show car for SEMA 2018, based on the Nissan 370Z. Power for the highly tuned 370Z is provided by a 3.0-liter V6 biturbo engine sourced from the Infiniti Red Sport 400 models.
Getting a 6-speed manual transmission on the 370Z Nismo to work with the new engine required MA Motorworks to develop the new clutch and flywheel assembly. In addition to a long list of performance tweaks, the interior is elegantly upholstered in black quilted leather with contrast stitching, while the exterior has received some styling improvements as well.
8 Zero Dome
Finally revealed at the 1978 Geneva Motor Show, development of the Dome Zero road car prototype began in 1976 and was motivated by a desire to compete in Le Mans. Dome built the Zero on a semi-steel monocoque, marking a technological leap for the new company while the bodywork was made of glass-reinforced plastic.
Driving the rear wheels through a ZF 5-speed manual transmission was a Nissan-sourced engine tuned to produce 145 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. Despite Zero’s popularity in Japan, all that came out of the project were licensing deals with game manufacturers.
7 Nissan R390 GT1
Built in 1997 as a prototype for the development of the R390 GT1 race car, the car is currently at the Nismo Zama facility. Behind the cabin is a 3.5 DOHC V8 that sends 550 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed sequential manual transmission to the rear wheels.
In a show of powerful performance, the R390 GT1 can hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and topple the quarter mile in 11.9 seconds. Although the automaker gave it an official price of $1 million, Nissan never marketed the only road car.
6 Toyota RAV4 Limousine
200 employees at Toyota’s Takaoka production plant in Japan worked during off hours for four months, and built the Toyota Rav4 Limo. The limousine is 26 feet long while offering just two rows of seats and miles of legroom for rear passengers.
Painted once in an exclusive orange color that highlights it, the RAV4 features a unique interior and handcrafted side panels. Built for fun, the extended RAV4 retained many parts from the Standard Edition.
5 Toyota Century Convertible
Almost identical to the standard Toyota Century, Toyota created the convertible in 2019 to carry the new Emperor to his coronation. Replacing the 1990 Rolls-Royce Corniche 3 as the official show car of the Japanese royal family, the lone horn wears the imperial seal in place of the number plates.
One nuance between the convertible and the standard is the rear seat, which has been raised 4 inches to allow a clearer view of the new emperor. Power for the luxury car is provided by a 5-liter V8 engine paired with an electric motor to generate 425 horsepower.
4 Daihatsu basket
Revealed at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, the Daihatsu Basket is a compact four-seat convertible concept car with a compact, boxy design. Despite its small size, it offers excellent utility as the rear seat can be folded flat for increased storage.
Referred to as a slow-life vehicle by Daihatsu, it is powered by a 0.7-liter 3-cylinder engine that sends power to all four wheels. Above the front of the cabin is a removable fiberglass roof, while the top of the canvas covers the rear seat.
3 Daihatsu X-021
One of the demonstrators at the 1991 Frankfurt Motor Show was the Daihatsu X-021, an attractive two-seater sports car. Developed to compete with the popular Mazda MX-5, the X-021 was not only smaller and lighter in weight; It also has a better power-to-weight ratio.
tipping the scales at 1,543 pounds and paired with a 140-horsepower 1.6-liter power unit, the X-021 can hit 125 horsepower. Despite scoring the highest in aesthetics and handling, the X-021 unfortunately hasn’t made it past concept stage to production stage.
2 Honda HSC
It debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2003, and many favored the Honda HSC with its elegant design, as an alternative to the Honda NSX. Made of carbon fiber and aluminum, the weight was low enough to allow the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 to give it an excellent power-to-weight ratio.
Mated with a 6-speed transmission, it took the HSC to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and to a top speed of 186 mph. Designed to deliver pure driving excitement, the HSC combines excellent performance and agile handling.
1 Honda JV-X
Given the Honda J-VX’s sleek lines with scissor-swing doors and Lamborghini-like looks, there’s nothing to hate about the J-VX. Unveiled at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show, it was the world’s first supercar to use Honda’s hybrid Integrated Vehicle Assist (IMA) system.
At the heart of the hybrid system is a 1-liter 3-cylinder engine that combines with a supercapacitor in place of batteries to restore excellent fuel economy. Furthermore, the Honda JV-X features safety features such as ABS and seat belts with integrated airbags that inflate in frontal collisions.
We wish these stunningly beautiful cars were mass-produced, so we could see them every day.
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