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Every time these JDM cars are posted on our Facebook page, you'll see tons of likes, but what makes them so desirable? Are they really worth that much?

06 Apr 2022


Singapore's used car market is pretty unique, due to our Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system, cars are given an arbitrary lifespan of 10 years from its initial date of registration - this means that you can't determine if a car's expensive simply by the price that the owner is asking for. Hence, annual depreciation became the default metric that one refers to when shopping for used cars here.

The cars on this list are some enthusiast-favourite Japanese made cars, most of which are currently selling for easily twice of what their depreciation was when new. To the average Joe, anyone who'll buy one of these cars at such ridiculous costs must be insane. So what makes them so desirable?
 
 
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX CT9A

The Evolution IX is probably one of the most popular iteration of this successful line of rally-bred cars
Current depreciation: $38,000 - $82,000
Horsepower: 282bhp
Engine type: 2.0-litre Inline-4 Turbocharged
Drivetrain: Front-engine All-wheel-drive
Production date: 2005 - 2007

Why it is so highly sought after:
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, as its name suggests, is the ninth generation of the Lancer Evolution series. From its first to the last iteration, the Lancer Evolution shares plenty with the base model Lancer, with the major difference being the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and the all-wheel-drive drivetrain which make these cars potent in on and off-road races.

At the heart of all Evolutions from the first till the Evolution IX are variations of the strong and reliable 4G63T engine, which features a cast-iron block that can take plenty of abuse, often capable of safely generating more than twice of its original power output with the aid of aftermarket upgrades.

What can you buy at this depre:
As sought after and amazing an Evolution is, at such a cost, you might want to consider buying a 911 Carrera at a depreciation of $40,000, or a 911 turbo S at a depreciation of $82,000 if you are eyeing the most expensive Evolution that is currently for sale.
 
 
Honda Civic Type R FD2

The Civic Type R FD2 is the last Type R with a high-revving naturally aspirated engine
Current depreciation: $16,000 - $26,000
Horsepower: 222bhp
Engine type: 2.0-litre Inline-4
Drivetrain: Front-engine Front-wheel-drive
Production date: 2007 - 2011

Why it is so highly sought after:
The Honda Civic has been an enthusiast favourite since the early 1980s. The later models with Honda's famous high-revving B-Series VTEC engines further cemented the strong support for these cars. The Civic Type R FD2 was pretty much a Japan-only model (fun-fact: Malaysia is the only other country with an official release of the FD2 Type R) that came after the European Civic FN2. The FD2 came with an improved version of the K20A, producing a stout 222bhp.

It didn't take long for drivers to realise the sheer potential of the FD2 Type R. In tests by media outlets in the U.K., it had a clear edge over the FN2 Hatch. Closer to home, it performed well at tracks in Malaysia, proving competitive against more powerful opponents. At the end of the day, the FD2 is a great proposition. At a reasonable price point, you'll get a track-ready car that doubles as a family sedan. That said, with how things are these days, it's kind of ironic - the FD2 is anything but affordable nowadays…

What can you buy at this depre:
At the current depreciation that these cars go for, you can buy most entry level Mercedes-Benz cars, such as a GLA, GLB or CLA and others, or if you want more performance out of the drive, you can also consider the Skoda Octavia RS at a depreciation of $19,000.
 
 
Toyota Corolla AE86

Everyone recognise the AE86 as the 'tofu car' of Initial D fame
Current depreciation: $30,000 - $53,000
Horsepower: 126bhp
Engine type: 1.6-litre Inline-4
Drivetrain: Front-engine Rear-wheel-drive
Production date: 1984 - 1987

Why it is so highly sought after:
You don't even need to be a car enthusiast to know why this car is popular - it is the star of the anime Initial D, a title which was brought to an even larger audience by Jay Chou's live-action movie. The funny thing is, the car wasn't even portrayed in a positive way within the series. It was actually supposed to be a major handicap against other way better cars, which made the main character's skills all the more impressive. The actual AE86 is pretty much the same.

In the real world, the AE86 Corolla is a sporty but economical car, and is even equipped with a live-axle rear suspension - something you'll often find in more utilitarian trucks. But of course, the main draw is how much it offers for its low price. A relatively powerful 1.6-litre engine back in those days and a rear-wheel drive setup, made the AE86 a favourite of budding drifters in Japan - it was one of the affordable yet great option to get into drifting. The car was also made famous by Japan's 'Drift King' Keiichi Tsuchiya as his personal choice. However, these aren't exactly very special cars - they're kind of like how the Vios and Lancers are over here, cheap and fun to mess around with.

With a paltry amount of them left in Singapore, and the huge following thanks to pop-culture, owners are only willing to part with these cars at extremely high prices - more than 10 times the price to get one elsewhere.

What can you buy at this depre:
To show the insanity of the pricing of the AE86 in Singapore, you can get a brand new BMW M4 Competition at a depreciation of $44,500 - substantially lower than what the most expensive AE86 is listed for on sgCarMart right now.
 
 
Mazda RX7 FD

The RX7 FD is the sleekest among its peers of 90s JDM legends such as the Skyline GT-R and Toyota Supra
Current depreciation: $50,000 - $88,000
Horsepower: 252bhp
Engine type: 1.3-litre Rotary Twin-Turbocharged
Drivetrain: Front-engine Rear-wheel-drive
Production date: 1992 - 2002

Why it is so highly sought after:
The Mazda-RX7 is known for its obscure powerplant, the Wankel or Rotary engine which doesn't have any pistons and valve like the conventional engines. The rotary engine is loved for quite a few reasons. With its design, it has the capability to run smoothly and is able to rev well, and is also able to pump out a fair bit of power despite its considerably compact size, especially when coupled with a turbo or two.

The RX-7 FD is the last in the RX-7 lineup. It is also powered by the last of Mazda's turbocharged rotary engines. Apart from the powerplant, the RX-7 FD also features a really sleek and timeless design that utilises pop-up head lights that so many enthusiasts love. Oh, and my personal favourite, is how these things can look and sound after some upgrades. Just go on YouTube and explore the various modified RX-7 FDs and you’ll know what I mean. These cars are also pretty rare here, which plays a huge part to the absurd prices that they tend to be listed for…

What can you buy at this depre:
Just how absurd is the pricing? Well, you can get a Porsche Cayman GT4 at a depreciation of $49,900. Even then, it only matches the cheapest RX-7 FD you can find in the market as of now.
 
 
Nissan GT-R

The Nissan GT-R was a supercar-beater at less than half the price
Current depreciation: $34,000 - $78,000
Horsepower: 473bhp
Engine type: 3.8-litre V6 Twin-Turbocharged
Drivetrain: Front-engine All-wheel-drive
Production date: 2007 - present

Why it is so highly sought after:
The Nissan Skyline R32 dominated its competition when it was raced in Group A, with plenty of victories in Australia, earning its nickname of the 'Godzilla' by the local press. The various Skyline GT-Rs that came after saw considerable success, with a growing fanbase that was further expanded thanks to the R34's prominent place in pop-culture.

Years later, Nissan came up with the GT-R, which offered supercar-matching performance at a really fair price. At around $250,000 when it was first launched here, it was priced similar to the Porsche Cayman, but offered 911 Turbo-beating performance thanks to the extensive engineering and technology that went into it.

What can you buy at this depre:
When the GTR was first launched it was touted to offer Porsche 911 Turbo-beating performance at less than half the price of one. These days, with such depreciations, you can actually pay for a brand new 911 Turbo
 
 
Want to buy a car used car, but not one that's so expensive? You should check out all the used cars available now!

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