Factory specials seem to be an overused marketing gimmick these days with ‘Special Edition’ plastered to the rear of every other hot hatch and slightly lowered Crossover SUV. And this doesn’t exclude JDM cars of this era – who wants a NISMO Duke anyway?
But 90’s JDM was a whole different story. Special editions actually meant something and showed solid improvements over the base models. So in this list, let’s go over some of the best special editions in JDM history.
5. Nissan Skyline R33 NISMO 400R
How do you improve an R33 Skyline? Well obviously you don’t just add a sticker down the side, you add a few enhancements under the metal. Despite the car being overseen by NISMO, the RB26DETT engine was bored and stroked by REINIK, and with a number of other upgrades which included higher output turbochargers, produces 400hp. A host of aerodynamic enhancements and chassis upgrades meant it was a serious machine.
4. Nissan Skyline R34 GTR NISMO Z-Tune
With only 19 of these special editions ever being made, these are certainly worth a bob or two. But more importantly, this one was of the best cars NISMO has produced to date. It was given an incredible 500hp, meaning it could not only get to 60mph in just 3.8 seconds, but it could break the 200mph barrier to 205mph.
3. Acura NSX Alex Zanardi Edition
With the NSX already being an incredible car and taking the competition straight to some of Italy’s finest, Honda (or Acura if you wish) had to go one step further and produce a special edition named after the racing driver, Alex Zanardi. He won the CART Championship in 1997 and 1998, but didn’t do so well during his Formula 1 career. Despite this, the NSX named after the Italian racing driver was a more hardcore version with firmer suspension, manual steering, and lightweight aluminium wheels. Only 50 were made.
2. Subaru Impreza 22B STI
Fans of this Subaru special edition rave about its incredible handling and chassis. It had bigger brakes, a sportier suspension, and arguably more importantly, a lighter weight. On top of that, it produced 300hp. Only 400 were ever made, making this special edition one of the most sought after Subarus in history.
1. Mazda RX7 FD Spirit R
With the RX7 being one of the most popular and sought after JDM icons ever, the Spirit R edition of which only 1,500 were built. In fact, they made up the last 1,500 RX7s to ever be built, and came with upgrades such as bigger brakes, a lower weight, and more special features. These are hugely collectible.
Want us to add to this list? Leave your favourites in the comments below!