10 cars to own before you die

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Written by: Justin Fox

Just for the fun of it, we thought we’d attempt to put together a top 10 list of cars which we’d love to one day own. In trying to make this challenge a little more interesting we thought we’d try to keep it semi-realistic and also focus on true drivers cars. IE: Affordable and readily obtainable cars that have renowned driving reputations.

A big thanks goes out to the Cars Move Us, JDM Style Tuning and communities for their input into making this happen!

In no particular order:

Mazda RX-7. Must own a rotary before you kick it, right? Might as well be with an RX-7. The FD made it to many people’s top 10 lists. How could you not love it’s beautiful body?

Mazda MX5. One of these, and a winding road are what motoring fun is all about, stripped down to its bare essentials. Simple and pure. If you can’t have fun in one of these, you can’t have fun period. PS: We’d opt for an NA8C with hard top please.

Toyota Corolla AE86. Keiichi Tsuchiya, Initial D, like it or not, it occupies a drifting niche of the motoring landscape which cannot be ignored. When you’re an old grandpa in a rocking chair, and your grandkids eagerly ask you if you owned an AE86 when you were young, what will you say?

Honda Integra Type R. That red Honda badge, championship white and roaring VTEC. The DC2R being the most conceptually pure and respected (ie: less weight, made for the track and at the time considered by many to be the best performance front wheel drive car on the market), and each Type R since then getting more and more compromised (with exception to maybe the FD). All other non-Integra Type R’s get a nod too.

Honda NSX. The brief for the NS-X (New Sportscar eXperimental) team was to meet or exceed the performance of the Ferrari 348, while offering targeted reliability and a lower price point. The NSX features an all-aluminium monocoque body (world’s first production car to do so) and handling was developed with the input of Ayrton Senna. Everyday supercar? We would.

BMW M3. Whilst we’d kill for a mint E30 M3 Sport Evolution (heart) or E46 M3 CSL (head) we’d just as happily take any 3-series M coupe (manual, no SMG please).

V8. Burn rubber at 40L/100km. One day all of this will be illegal. Whether it’s old school or new school, domestic or import, V8 muscle had to make it to the bucket list.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution & Subaru Impreza WRX. Whilst the superficial elite can claim that these cars are ugly (both inside and out) and way too easy to drive fast (it’s a Playstation car) you can’t deny that these are fascinating cars with extraordinary handling capabilities. Direct steering, boost down low, plenty of braking power and bags of technology make for a truly confidence inspiring drive.

Special mentions go out to the 6.5 Tommi Mäkinen Edition for it’s titanium turbine and being the most raw of the lot. The lighter and more advanced tech over stock VIII MR. Any STi. The 22B, or any other 2-door WRX for that matter.

Pedigree, heritage, function, form and lack of depreciation. One of the oldest sports coupe nameplates with continuous production and development since 1964. We’ll take any 911 so long as it’s a hardtop, and manual too please.

Special mention to the 964 Carrera 2 for being the most advanced 911 that retains the classic Porsche 911 look, also the GT3 RS for being hardcore (road-legal roll cage, yes please).

Nissan Skyline R32/R33/R34 GT-R (oh, and the Hako). After a 16-year absence the GT-R badge re-launched in 1989. The R32 GT-R features the immortal 2.6-litre, 276hp RB26DETT twin-turbo straight-six.

In Japan it won all 29 of 29 Group A races and killed the class. Likewise in Australia it destroyed the ATCC. The Aussies named it “Godzilla” and they quickly amended the rules to effectively ban the Skyline and turn the ATCC into the V8 engined, two make set-up it is today.

So that wraps up our top 10. There’s bound to be a lot of people disagreeing with it but before we bang on, here’s a list of cars which got multiple nominations just short of the cars that made it in: Lotus Elise/Exige, Mini Cooper, 240Z, MKI GTI/R32 Golf, Renault Clio/Megane, S13/14/15, Caterham/PRB/Westfield, Corvette, C63 AMG, S2000, Lancia Delta Integrale, E-Type, Audi Quattro, Various Alfa Romeo’s and the Supra. Feel free to leave your comments below.

About the Author

Justin Fox
I like to create things. I’m into everything Cars, Bikes and Design. In the 80′s I was into skating, mountain biking, and metal. I’ve worked for myself for over a decade. I’m the founder of Australian INfront, JDM Style Tuning and


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  1. I think you’ve hit the list on the head right there!

    Everytime I take a trip onto personal favourite website; those are all the cars I look for.

    AE86, E30 M3, RX7 and EVO; all done and done for me.

    I think GTR or Aussie Muscle HSV is next for me!

  2. Brilliant list! Happily own my NA8C and don’t go a drive in it without smiling at least once!

  3. chris

    don’t forget the american muscle, dodge charger r/t 1970, dodge challenger r/t 1970 (vanishing point, anyone ?), 1967 ford mustang fastback and the 2011 ford shelby mustang gt500 supersnake 😀

  4. Ricardo

    I miss a Supra with the mighty 2JZ engine 😮

  5. Raul Costin

    Where’s the Toyota Supra??!! 2jz-gte one of best engine made ever

  6. Sulc

    You should replace V8 with s13, everyone could buy it for little money, and have lots of fun with it…

  7. Web

    I will include Audi 90 Typ85 Quattro – put 2.2 20v Turbo engine with MTN chip – 300Horse power with pure Quattro system, no electronics.

  8. scarface_au

    Excellent choices! And I choose to believe it’s listed in ascending order of awesomeness (I may or may not own an R32 GT-R).

    The only one I disagree with is the NSX. Great car, but expensive, and what does it give you that a GTR doesn’t? To each their own, of course, but I’d rather have a Peugeot 205 GTI.

  9. Carl

    How could you forget the Escort or Sierra Cosworth? Otherwise a great list.

  10. Spike

    I agree with 9 out of the 10 of them! Don’t get me wrong, the MX5 is a fantastic car and I’ve spent many a weekend driving the back roads of Britain in one, but for me, a little bit more money will get you a Honda S2000. I made that change and never looked back!

    Next up, an E30 M3 if I can find one for a good price!

    Great list.

  11. Tony

    Yeah!!! I drove 7 of 10 cars in this list, and I have 2 of them….

  12. Miata, NSX, Skyline, and E30 M3 would maybe make it onto my list.
    Owning a 964 C2 now and I dont plan to get rid of it anytime soon.

  13. Autolegend

    Was this list made by a ten year old? Where are the Ford GT40s, Ferrari 250s, McLaren F1s, Ferrari F40s and all the other cars that were the benchmarks.

    • Andrew

      we thought we’d try to keep it semi-realistic

    • Skyzie69

      lol can you not read….. they said affordable, semi-realistic that are readily available. Im sure we’d all love a super car but obviously we cant all afford one………
      Any ways great list guys!!

  14. Tyler

    just a LITTLE japanese biased

  15. Personally (in my own top 10 affordable list of cars) I’d have included a Lotus Elise, even the first model which I kinda like the look of more than the newer shape. I’d also have a MKI Golf GTI, Audi Quattro and Lancia Delta Integrale, Alfa Romeo GTV… so many more cars to be had too though, the list goes on and on and on and on.

    PS: I’ve owned 5 cars from that list. One day that 964 Carrera 2 will be mine. M3 too. Gah…

    • Harry

      Great picks, I’m assuming you wouldn’t mind seeing a Quattro Sport, Peugeot 205 T16, Lancia Delta, Ford RS200 ect ect in your garage either lol

    • Robin

      How about a Mk 3 Supra or Mazda 323 Familia GT-R or even a Peugeot 205 GTI

  16. Harry

    Some great choices like E30 M3, Skyline, 911, Rx7.

    Dunno about an mx5 though lol. And the NSX? You could have a lot more fun with money spent on that.

    I would have to add to my list, mk1/mk2 escort, anything cosworth (ideally a sierra) , 20v Quattro, compact car like an old honda city turbo/ charade turbo, Triumph TR4/5/6 and probably most importantly a mini cooper. Soo many great cars out there.

  17. Adrian Rodriguez

    Definitely my top ten list all here especially ending with my all time must own car. The R34 skyline. I may just have to move to own one, but who cares. Someday…ahh….someday…

  18. miki

    is there a specific reason why 8 out of 10 are jdm cars ? there is so many other car that are a lot of fun

  19. GenJi

    The EVO IX and an old 911 are my goals.. had a Skoda 120L, now I drive a ’97 MX-3 V6 (:

  20. redsprinter

    you pretty much nailed it . only one i would take out is the mx5 and swap it for a caterham.

  21. Peter

    Where is a Toyota Supra mk4 ?

  22. mafas kandy kolla

    i would love to add mini cooper to the list..if u dnt hav a mini in ur life u r incomplete as a human being…

  23. eak

    Where is Subaru ?????

  24. Geoffrey

    Supra and old school GTI would make this list the best 12 cars ever.

  25. Brandon

    Honda Integra DC2R! A real drivers car =]

  26. RonBrooks

    Great list guys! Loving the Jdm feel to it with a mix of Exotic and v8 power and the dual inclusion of the Sti/evo mix.. Ingenious way to dodge the Evo Vs Sti ‘which is better’ argument 😛

    I too however, am dissapointed that the Nissan S platform/S13 Silvia was missed out completely. I mean when your talking Affordability, Readily Available and Renowned driving reputations what your really describing is everything that has always been the Nissan S Platform! Not to mention Power, Agility, Body Styling, Technology and l Everyone of the aforementioned characteristics are widely predominant and revered throughout the S Platform.

    And not to overdo it, but I couldnt not mention the heart of the platform and the cult followings behind both the almighty Sr20det and the power producing underdog the Ca18det(Which laid the foundations for the amazment that is the Rb motor Including the RB26dett 😀 ), Can you say Cult following? 😛

    Lol okay Maybe I overdid it but I may have a soft spot for the Silvia 😛 haha
    Great list none the less! Awesome choices there guys! Loving The progress that Zen Garage is showing 😀

  27. […] been posting a LOT of 911 content on Zen lately. A 911 featured in our article on 10 cars to own before you die, and driving Sam’s 911 last month pushed me over the limit (I put my EVO IX up for sale that […]

  28. […] had 911 on the brain a lot lately. A 911 featured in my article on 10 cars to own before you die, and driving Sam’s 911 last month pushed me over the limit (I put my EVO IX up for sale that […]

  29. Kyle Hamilton

    E30 M3, Any GT-R (preferably a hako or kenmeri), Datsun 240z, Land Rover series III (with a rover v8 swap), RX-7 FD, 930 Turbo, Alfa Romeo GTV 2000, 2004 Subaru STI (family car), NA8C Mx-5, Series 1 Lotus Exige. DREAM GARAGE

  30. Good list, but way too much JDM.

  31. Andy

    Some great choices Justin. Even though I love old school, after driving one I have now included The BMW 1M on my top 10 of (semi) affordable cars. Just a great uncomplicated drivers car.

  32. Enrico Salad

    +1 for Mini Cooper (original, not BMW), and throw in Lotus (or Caterham) 7

  33. mx5

    What happened to Honda s2000!?? Instead of the MX-5. S2000 please – 13K to redline.

    • We did mention the S2000 in the last paragraph! Definitely worthy, but was nudged out, not sure where you get the 13,000K redline from though?!

  34. R

    Agree. GTRs, Evos (7-9) were my favorite on the list. I might want to replace the miata though. 😉 hehe.

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