After close to two decades since the release of the original The Fast and the Furious, the movie that exposed countless Americans to Japanese tuner culture for the first time, the value of the marques and models for that film are on the rise, yielding enormous returns for early investors, and superb opportunities for tuner car collectors.
According to ClassicCars.com, an online marketplace for collector cars, Nissan, Toyota, and Mazda models featured in the original chapter of the popular film franchise have led to a new sector in the car market. The rise in popularity can be attributed the teenagers who experienced the film in theaters back in 2001 are just now beginning to be able to afford car collections of their own, and are gravitating, like most people do, to the cars of their youth.
In the interest of exploring the vintage Japanese tuner car market, here is a list of the cars made famous in The Fast and the Furious.
No car from the movie has seen its market value skyrocket more than the fourth iteration Toyota Supra has. In many instances fetching in excess of $70,000 these days owing to the car’s good looks and ease of tuning, combined with the fact that it was hero Paul Walker’s choice of whip in the film. In fact, the actual 1993 Toyota Supra driven by Walker sold for $185,000 in 2015, over $115,000 more than non-celebrity provenance examples, and $135,000 more than when the car was new was new.
“The Supras commanding the highest asking amount are completely stock and low mileage, meaning they probably haven’t taken part in many street races,” says ClassicCars.com’s East Coast Editor and Analyst Andy Reid. “Owners mistakenly believe that because they’ve added $50,000 in modifications to a Supra, it is ultimately worth $100,000. Higher yields only happen when modifications are done properly.”
When it was new, the 1993 Mazda RX-7 would run you about $33,000. The 1993 Mazda RX-7 used in the film sold for $40,250 auction in 2005, but prices have since continued to climb. A non-movie provenance 1993 RX-7 listed on ClassicCars.com right now has an asking price of $59,000.
“A 1993 Mazda RX-7 is a serious up-and-coming collectible,” remarks Reid.
1994 Acura Integra GS-R
Of all the tuner cars featured in The Fast and the Furious, the Acura Integra GS-R is one of the most affordable. The car cost about $20,000 new, and prices have held steady. Most low mileage examples sell for around $15,000 today.
“A stock ’94 Integra or an Integra GS-R can still be had at an affordable price,” explains Reid.
1997 Nissan 240SX
“A 1997 Nissan 240SX can also be a good entry car,” Reid says. “These can still be bought cheap, with stock versions being extremely rare as most of the original S13 and S14 models have been either modified for drifting or tuned to look more like performance cars from the film or according to trends seen in the Japanese and California import scene.” Today, a decent example of the 240SX will cost only a few thousand today despite its price of almost $22,000 in 1997, making it an excellent value in this class of future classics.
Japanese tuner car fans can also look beyond the cars that were featured in the movie and find good combinations of price and performance. The Mitsubishi GT3000 VR-4 Turbo can be had for less than $25,000, while the Nissan 300ZX Turbo, which yielded near supercar performance exclusivity when new can be snagged around the $20,000 mark. The Lexus SC300, which shared many features with the MkIV Supra can be yours for under $10,000.
“Like with the most memorable vehicles featured in movies from the hot rod and muscle car eras, it would not be difficult to imagine that the cars, trucks and bikes most closely associated with The Fast and the Furious movies will loom increasingly important to automobile collectors, movie memorabilia aficionados, and anyone else with a fascination for the drama, creativity and social significance emblematic of the best tuner cars,” notes Leslie Kendall, Chief Historian at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, which currently has two exhibits featuring Japanese classic cars.
So what does this all mean for the future? Expect demand to rise as Fast fans grow older and wealthier. Of note to these folks is that is has been announced that previously unavailable Japanese tuner cars like the R33 and R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R will be available for import to the United States on their coming 25th birthdays. This will have the effect of increasing prices from their current levels of around $30,000 in Europe and Canada.
With many of the surviving tuner cars having been modified to an extreme, unmolested and low-mileage original and low-mileage examples are becoming more and more scarce, thus driving prices up
No doubt, The Fast and the Furious and its sequels will continue to affect both collector values and car culture far into the future.