When we say celebrity and JDM the first and foremost name that comes to mind is Paul Walker. and his undying devotion to Nissan Skylines and Toyota Supras, shared by his F&F avatar, Brian O’Conner. Even before he became an actor and shot to fame as O’Conner, Walker was always a motorhead, and his love for JDM cars, classic Japanese cars imported after the 25-year mandatory hiatus, was something he often spoke about.
Since Walker’s fame and unfortunate death, the JDM market has exploded in the US, in a good way, although many other celebrities have often been spotted in JDM cars. That said; the latest Japanese cars in the US are often JDM-spec now, and sometimes, JDM is used as a fairly liberal term to simply denote superior Japanese automobiles even if the purists balk at it.
So here go 10 celebrities who have been seen in their JDM rides pretty often, which tells us they love driving their Japanese, over and above the luxury wheels they own.
10 Chris Pine’s Sporty Honda S2000
The S2000 did enter America, although it came much later than the Japanese entry, and yet again, bore a lesser-powered engine than the JDM Honda S2000. Fun, sporty, and definitely a rare celebrity find, it was a bit of a surprise to see Chris Pine zoom around in the thinking man’s Mazda…
In case you need to refresh your memory, Pine is the guy in Star Trek, and as Wonder Woman’s love interest as well and is dubbed “the best Chris” in Hollywood, considering there’s also Hemsworth, Evans, and of course, Pratt.
9 Robert Downey Jr Zooms In A Nissan GT-R
Robert Downey Jr., much like his MCU avatar Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, shares the same love for fast cars in real life as he does in his reel life. This is why he owns a Nissan GT-R, and it’s kind of refreshing to see a celebrity who likes speed married to Japanese excellence, as opposed to European or American power.
Considering Downey’s persona, the Nissan GT-R is the perfect foil to his drive and energy, which is a polite way of saying the man is a real-life Duracell bunny. Or is it the Energizer bunny?
8 Mel Gibson Ranted In A Toyota Cressida
Think Mel Gibson and car and the first thing that comes to mind is that long racist rant that he was famous for. The second thing is seeing him drive around in a Toyota Cressida, silvery blue, that had definitely seen better days.
Was it his way of trying to remain incognito? We don’t know, and while the Cressida was sold in the US, we want to think that the man would have at least got a JDM beater instead of the 3.0-liter V6 US variant. Because, well, monies.
7 Adam Carolla’s Race-Spec Datsuns
Adam Carolla is not your everyday comedian, and channels oodles of stomach-churning hilarity in his podcast. What you do not expect from this funny man that he is also quite the car collector, and by that we mean he owns plenty of Paul Newman’s race-spec JDM cars.
In fact, he owns ten of them, with most being Datsun/Nissan 240Z, 280ZX, and 300ZX race machines. Many of these were in turn tuned by Bob Sharp Racing in the ‘80s and are still more powerful than your average muscle.
6 Paul Walker’s Hero Skyline GT-R
Of course, we had to list in the man who started it all. While it was the F&F franchise that shot Paul Walker to instantly recognizable fame, it was he who in turn fuelled the craze for JDM cars. He drove many of the JDMs in the movie but even before that, the man was a motorhead who loved to tune cars.
By the time Walker passed in an unfortunate and untoward car accident, he owned and drove several Nissan Skyline GT-Rs and had some Toyota Supras as well. His cars were later auctioned off by a family trust.
5 Jay Leno Reveres His Mazda Cosmo 110S
When Mazda launched the RX-8, it laid the legendary Wankel rotary engine to rest, which was also what the cute little JDM car called the Mazda Cosmo 110S bore. Leno’s car once belonged to a US military pilot stationed overseas, likely in Japan and he has made plenty of changes to it ever since.
The engine went out and in went a new one that makes 200 horses, along with custom exhaust, transmission, cooling, and fuel injection systems. The styling is now more reminiscent of Miura than the Cosmo and Leno can be seen zipping in it.
4 Rutledge Wood’s Getaway Toyota 86
According to Hollywood Reporter, Rutledge Wood loves his little Toyota 86, which he calls his “funny little” car. Getting stuck at home during the COVID crisis was driving Wood a bit bonkers, and this is the car he likes to drive and get away from it all because he feels that one-two-hour drives, in the Toyota 86 is relaxing.
Knowing Rutledge, and his penchant for crazy cars, his Toyota 86 is probably an RC, as in the race version because why the ex-host of Top Gear USA drive just any car that Americans can have?
3 Cody Walker’s Inspired Toyota Supra
Paul Walker’s sudden and unfortunate demise put the shooting of F&F 7 into trouble because Brian O’Conner was still very much a part of the script. So they roped in Paul’s brother, Cody Walker to fill in, and with the help of CGS, he became Paul. Since then, Cody has decided to keep Paul’s legacy alive by acting, and also by driving JDM cars.
He made an appearance in a Jay Leno episode that featured a 1993 Supra, a JDM version that had just become legal for import in the US which wasn’t his, yet, but had certainly caught his fancy, and he admitted, the car was next in line for him.
2 Sung Kang’s Datsun 320
Sung Kang plays Han Lue in the Fast & Furious franchise and has spent most of his Covid quarantine time in restoring an unlikely JDM, a 1963 Datsun 320 pickup truck, that he sourced as a hero car for an upcoming horror-comedy that he was all set to direct – only, production stalled.
Since then, he has not only restored this truck, he has also maintained a hold on his sanity by working on it and driving it around, getting his quarantine kicks from the beautiful, classic JDM. Remember, Datsun’s first truck in the US was a 620 that came in the ‘70s.
1 Daniel Wu’s Gorgeous Datsun 510
Actor and director Daniel Wu is also quite the car collector and races a Porsche 911 GT3 Touring when he feels the need for speed in him, while also owning a Ford Focus RS. But then again, he also owns a 1972 Datsun 510, and this is something that gives him the ultimate driving pleasure especially up and down the coast.
Clearly, the man has taste, although he too has felt the impact of the pandemic and feels he has never been this “unemployed” in his entire adult life.
Sources: CarandDriver, TheHollywoodReporter
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About The Author
Arun Singh Pundir
(508 Articles Published)
Arun Singh Pundir has been a longtime media crackerjack and worked most of his life in sales and marketing. In 2018, he officially flipped and switched sides to the editorial. He lives with his wife, two rascally sons and is a car and motorcycle nut in his free time. Not that he has too much free time. He currently writes for HotCars on anything that has any number or kind of wheels. He is also penning pop culture, lifestyle and all things rich for TheRichest. For now, he considers his Isuzu D-Max V-Cross, Suzuki Ciaz, and Royal Enfield Classic 500, the three current flames of his life. His dream is to drive around the world; even if it takes more than eighty days.
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