Japanese cars, also known as JDM Cars, famous for their tuning and modification. Many popular models, from the Subaru WRX to the Toyota Supra MKIV, have seemingly unlimited tuning capabilities with interchangeable parts like light bulbs! These models claim significant horsepower ranging from several hundred to several thousand!
Regardless of the overall power goal, these Japanese cars are an ideal tuning platform due to their generous aftermarket support. Many of these models have performance parts that can replace nearly every stock component. Although it is not always cheap, it is always worth it!
Owners with deep pockets can unlock the unreal power hidden in these cars. Here are 10 Japanese cars with almost unlimited tuning capabilities!
10 Subaru WRX / STI
An essential component of JDM tuners is the Subaru WRX/STI. Since the 1990s, when Subaru finally brought the beloved racing car to the US side, it has been one of the most popular Japanese sports cars ever. The WRX/STI is a favorite for its nearly unlimited tuning potential, thanks to specialist aftermarket parts producers.
From Cobb to SubiSpeed, there is no shortage of parts. And the good thing too, die-hard fans love to strip every part out of stock and replace it with a more robust, street-ready one. WRX/STI is relatively easy to work with, but the details can get pricey quickly!
9 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Examples of how crazy the Mazda MX-5 Miata can be can fill YouTube playlists for days. Though, for good reason. The Miata is an almost blank canvas with a rock-solid engine block that can handle upwards of 400 horsepower.
MX-5 enthusiasts will also point out how fun the two-seater is to drive. There is virtually no limit to the tuning capabilities of the Miata. They have tuning support, a large stock section, and they are used at incredibly affordable prices. You’d be a fool if you didn’t tune your Mazda Miata!
8 Mazda RX-7
Another classic Mazda tuning-ready is the Mazda RX-7. The rotary engine is compact but packs a lot more, especially once some of the turbochargers and detonators have been upgraded. Reliability damned, this thing has nearly unlimited tuning potential!
There is no better example of a crazy Mazda RX-7 than Rob Dahm’s monster 1200 horsepower. With air wings, splitters, and cool styling cues, there’s not much you can leave on these bad boys!
7 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo
Mitsubishi brought some stiff competition to the tuning game with the Lancer Evo. It competed head-to-head with the Subaru WRX for years before finally getting the ax. It finally beat the WRX at something – it was the first to be canned.
Jokes aside, the Lancer Evo is tuning-ready thanks to mapping tools like the Piggyback ECU tuner. Additionally, many aftermarket companies sell stage kits that upgrade everything even the block, which can handle about 400 horsepower before some cam and piston swaps.
6 Honda S2000
In the 2000s, the Honda S2000 competed with the Miata and the MR2, but what makes it unique is the nearly unlimited tuning capabilities. Tuners love the rev-happy 9000 RPM motor that is just begging for some forced induction. With the upgraded cams and the aforementioned boost, you can get well over 450 horsepower with a stock block!
The Honda S2000 benefits from a wide range of tuning supports, which at one time were on par with the Civic. Classic JDM look, unlimited tuning possibilities – Honda, please bring back this popular sports car!
5 Honda Civic car
Honda Civic is the most famous car in the world. More popular than WRX, Evo and even BMW 3-Series. Practically every tuner started in the Honda Civic. With a wide selection of aftermarket parts, incredibly versatile and reliable VTEC engines, and an easy-to-modify platform, it’s easy to see why!
The best Civic tuners claim performance over the 1,000 horsepower mark. However, with body kits, engine swaps, and ECU tuners, the Honda Civic has virtually unlimited tuning possibilities!
4 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34
Americans are still waiting for the Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 to reach the shores of the United States. But in the meantime, everyone else has tuned the R34 to the predatory Godzillas it was meant to be!
The Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 has a large selection of aftermarket parts. Although these parts and tunes are far from affordable. No matter the cost, owners can take the twin-turbo V6, slap six-stage tuning, and unlock somewhere near 3,500 horsepower. This is almost unlimited tuning in our book!
3 Toyota Supra MKIV
JDM fans lament that the Supra’s latest incarnation is just a BMW in sheep’s clothing, but the MKiV has some real tuning capabilities. Many Supra parts can be replaced with aftermarket performance components, and the rear-wheel drive makes more than just a sporty engine.
In addition to the beautiful parts that you can change into your Supra MKIV, these parts are often quite affordable. Tuners have a fairly easy platform to work on, and some of the craziest Supra tunes break 2,400 hp!
2 Subaru BRZ / Toyota GR86
Subaru is so confident in the BRZ tuning capability that the company has made it the platform for the Japanese Super GT. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 are ideal tuning platforms due to the naturally aspirated engine that comes on stock models. Pair that with a manual transmission, and you’re ready to make some serious gains.
The BRZ and GR86 both have extensive aftermarket selections. Tuning kits are easy to find, affordable and straightforward to install. It’s pure driving pleasure, built for the track, and you can take advantage of the unlimited tuning possibilities.
1 Nissan 240/350 / 370Z
It was hard to pick just one Nissan Z because almost every model since the 240 came with great tuning capabilities. The 240 and 350Z are very affordable to find good examples, and each has plenty of parts to choose from.
The 370Z is a bit more modern and has a bit more oomph under the hood. With a naturally aspirated V6 engine under the hood, the 370Z can handle upwards of 500 horsepower before the cams and pistons need to be swapped. We can only hope that the Z Coupe is tuner-friendly!