Just something Mr B and I were pondering last night.

Can anyone think of a truly beautiful Japanese (Korean / Malaysian / Chinese / Thai) car? One that doesn’t look dated after, say, three years.

I’ll start with the just-passing-the-grade Datsun (Nissan) 240Z.

Comments are open. Feel free.

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  1. My choices:

    First-gen 1990 LS400
    First-gen 1993 GS300
    First-gen 1991 SC300

    First-gen and third-gen RX-7
    Original Cosmo coupe
    ’89-’98 first-gen MX-5 Miata
    ’93-’97 MX-6


  2. Hyundai Getz they rock.
    and i believe they are 100% owned by hyundai,100% made in the country of origin,and haven’t got big brother breathing down their neck.And probably wont go bust before my warrenty runs out.

  3. Well the Hyundai is hers not mine and she was looking over my shoulder telling me what to do (G.M style)

    For me it would be all of the Z cars,MX5,RX7 most of them, honda s2000,and my favourite the dato 260B or C,the best paddock basher $50 could buy.
    And last but not least the original first LT celica,still looks sexy no matter how old they are.

  4. My first post on, but I just wanted to throw in 1990-1999 mk2 MR2 for this odd topic….94+ models were truly beautiful..

  5. Hmmmm

    Nissan Cedric?

    otherwise: 300Z & Skyline GTR
    Current 300Z

    Toyota/Lexus Soarer

    Original Landcruiser



    Current Acura/ Honda Legend. Holy shit, what a car. 200+kw turbo 6 + AWD….sound familiar?

    Original WRX.

    On this note, however; ever noticed how many cars from the abovementioned makers owe a huge design debt to Saab? Hatchbacks, threespoke mags, turbo 4s, front wheel drive, 3 door coupes, fastbacks……

  6. Wooo. Nissan Cedric. Now Pete, tell me: the brunette or the blonde?

    I still can’t pass many of the above except for the ‘Z’ cars and maybe that Toyota 2000 GT. Just shows you how beauty is a subjective thing. True beauty. Alfa Romeo style beauty (that even only Alfa could get right some of the time). But that’s just me.

    Group hug time: all these cars are beautiful to someone.

  7. Z-Car’s
    Toyota 2000GT
    Last RX-7

    Timeless designs on all of those. Love your editorials swade…but calling the 240Z as just-passing is sad.

  8. 1967-1972 Mazda Cosmo Sport 110
    1968-1973 Datsun 510
    1969-1974 Datsun 240Z
    1970-1977 Toyota Celica
    1991-1997 Subara SVX
    1995-1998 NIssan 240SX “S14”
    60s Toyota Land Cruiser

  9. Saab Aero-X. Well it was designed by a Chinese guy.

    Seriously though I would have to say most Asian designs dont age that well because Asians really dont know how to design a decent car. All they do is try to copy European designs, unsuccessfully I might add. Look at the latest Lexus’, they all ‘look’ like BMWs.

    Having said that if you look at any MB these days they look like Kias, or Ssangyongs et al.

  10. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. How about well designed?

    The 240z/260z is close to perfect. The 260z 2+2 not included.

    The original MX-5, whislt an homage to the original Lotus Elan, is also wonderful.

    The series 6-7 (but not series 8!) RX-7 is perfect. There is not a wrong line on it. Sadly they are ruined by people who fit big wheels and OTT bodykits to them. The series 8 was a bit OTT from the showroom floor.

    Honda S600 and S800 convertibles.

    Toyota Corona RT40 coupe/hardtops are nice, too.

    Oh, and Mazda 1500/1800/Luces are very elegant, though they were penned by Guigaro while he was at Bertone.

  11. The following Asian cars look truly beautiful to me. They are not in any order:

    Honda Insight
    Acura TSX (or the Honda Accord sold in European markets)
    Lexus GS (2nd generation, 1998-2005)
    Lexus SC (1st generation, 1991-2000)
    Toyota Avalon (2005+)

  12. The Mazda MX5 / Miata does it for me. The original (1992?) is still an astonishing little roadster to look at… that’s the sort of car that could have saved MG-Rover, rather than the bloated style-over-substance MGF.

    The mid-life re-design, however, didn’t work for me: it just seemed to put curves and blobs in all the wrong places. But the new version is hitting the nail on the head again. Affordable fun in a tight little package.

    It’s memorable, but just not necessarily as a Mazda… Mazda admitted that the new nomenclature for their cars (which sticks the model number to the name – Mazda6 etc) was developed to overcome the problems discovered with the MX5. Lots of people knew it was an MX5 when they saw it, but didn’t know it was a Mazda … !


  13. Maybe the Miata/MX5 – the jury is still out.

    However, I agree with you Swade: the Z is the closest, and it doesn’t quite make the grade.

    The kicker is the ‘timeless’ requirement. I’ve yet to see an Asian design that didn’t look like a period piece several years later.

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