Tim Suddard says: This car was sold through Acura dealerships and had one mission in life: to win races. It features a lightened, reinforced body, reworked suspension, bigger brakes and hand-assembled engine. U.S. production was limited to about 3850 examples.
Autoblog says: Hand assembled engines? No argument here.
Tim Suddard says: The NSX proves that Honda can build a supercar. And in typical Honda fashion, the NSX didn't ask its owners to make too many excuses. The car is comfortable, fast and stylish. Plus it always starts on the first try.
Autoblog says: Duh. Weren't these collectible five minutes after they rolled off the assembly line?
Tim Suddard says: Some say that this car single-handedly destroyed the British sports car industry. The 240Z was fast, practical and beautiful. Its inline six engine emitted a new kind of smooth. It was a Jaguar XKE for the rest of us.
Autoblog says: Another choice that's nearly impossible to argue against. Though, were it our money, we'd go for the more potent 280Z.
Tim Suddard says: This box rocks. While it wasn't super fast in stock trim, the 510 proved to be a great blank canvas. Peter Brock's BRE race team made the car a winner in professional sedan competition, while countless enthusiasts made the 510 work well in so many different venues, from autocross and club racing to rally and even Baja.
Autoblog says: Mr. K's first Datsun has been collectible to those in the know for years. The one big problem is finding a 510 without a turbo'd SR20, Sylvia gearbox, R32 suspension and Skyline brakes. Maybe that's not such a big problem.
Tim Suddard says: Good things come in small sizes. The Honda CRX went through two design generations, both marrying a flyweight chassis with a willing engine. The Si version added the good bits: better brakes, more power and a bit nicer interior. The CRX Si is like driving the automotive equivalent of an air-powered impact gun.
Autoblog says: Finally, a car we can argue against. Now, don't get us wrong -- we love the CRX Si. We just don't ever see them becoming collectible. But hey, look at Isettas.
Tim Suddard says: Honda's first cars were anything but crude. The S600 featured a small inline-four engine fed by four individual carburetors--a nod to the company's motorcycle roots. Another carryover from their bike history: The S600 features an unconventional chain drive.
Autoblog says: We'd rather have a Datsun 1600. Moreover, if you're going to go for obscure Hondas with motorbike-like engines, why not go for the air-cooled inline Hemi four-banger 1300 Coupe 9?
Tim Suddard says: Here's the car that helped re-ignite America's love affair with the classic sports car. The original Miata wasn't the fastest thing out there, but it had the right balance and poise to make it a great driver. Plus the top goes down. Mazda has made a ton of them, but it's now getting harder to find a clean original model.
Autoblog says: Like the Corvette, every Miata made is a collectors item. Plus there's no lame late 70s, early 80s models to foul our theory.
Tim Suddard says: The Mazda RX-3 seems to have a special cult following that's hard to describe. The cars have become rare and prices continue to climb. The RX-3 had also enjoyed a rather successful competition record in both professional and amateur competition.
Autoblog says: We're not feeling this one. No doubt a very cool car, but perhaps a little too cool, if you know what we mean.
Tim Suddard says: After a less than stellar U.S. launch, the original RX-7 really helped put Mazda on the map. It married a smooth rotary engine with some sexy sheet metal. The underpinnings were a bit pedestrian, but it was the right car for the times. It has also enjoyed a stellar stack record.
Autoblog says: We think Tim may have missed the mark on this one, as the 2nd (FC) and especially 3rd (FD) generation RX-7s are the ones we'd want.
Tim Suddard says: Make a car the star of an animated series, and odds are strong that it will garner a cult following. The Japanese manga "Initial D" follows the adventures of Takumi Fujiwara and his Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX. Thanks to his midnight mountain runs, this tofu delivery boy has become one of Japan's best drivers--well, at least in the "Initial D" comics and animated programs. The Corolla GT-S is the U.S. version of his chosen mount.
Autoblog says: The AE86 has an uphill battle, as most of them are already beat to death drift cars and the rest have slushboxes. Still, sporty Corollas are pretty nifty.