Retrospective>>top 10 Drift Cars Of All Time Pt.1

As I'm sure you know, during the month of July we spent a lot of time covering different aspects of the drifting world. Even though it's now August, we still have a few special drifting features left, and this is one of them. A few weeks back, we came up with the crazy idea of doing a "Top 10" list of the world's iconic drift cars. When compiling the list we considered criteria like the number of individual victories and championships, longevity in competition, breakthrough achievements, or cars that have have had a major influence on the sport. Of course we also rated the cars based on our personal ideas of what makes a great drift car.

Several of us came up with our own lists and then we tallied up the votes to derive our "official" top 10. Actually it was surprising how similar our individual lists were considering we all come from different backgrounds and have different tastes.

Now that you have an idea of what we were looking for, let's get started. For this post we will look at numbers 10-6. We will then follow with 5-2, and finally number 1.

#10. Koguchi 180SX

Type: RPS13 180SX

D1GP Japan and USA as well as other events like Drift Showoff.

Years Active:

Koguchi Power

Yoshinori Koguchi

Chassis Variations:

Current Status:
Active in D1GP Japan

Number of Wins
: 1


Breakthrough innovation: Few cars represent the "purity" of drifting more than Koguchi's 180. The RPS13 180SX is the quintessential drift car and Yoshinori Koguchi is nothing less than a master of this car.

Notable Achievements:
While Koguchi is not known for having tons of wins in D1 , the influence of him and his cars go far beyond statistics. He represents the original spirit of Japanese drifting and has never gone far from his roots. Koguchi and his 180SX also played a big part in the rise of drifting in the USA by performing at the original Drift Showoff events in SoCal. After spending a little time in a JZX100 Chaser, Koguchi has returned to the 180SX and recently got his first D1GP victory at the 2008 spring D1 match at Fuji.

Lasting Influence
: Koguchi is and will continue to be a hero for hardcore S13 fans as well fans of Japanese drifting history.

#9 Falken Mustang GT

Type: 2005 Ford Mustang GT

D1GP USA, Formula D

Years Active:

Falken Tires, Xtreme Mustang Performance

Vaughn Gittin Jr.

Chassis Variations:

Current Status:

Number of Wins:


Breakthrough innovation: This car is one of the first V8-powered "muscle car" drift machines. The Ford Mustang is as American as apple pie and having a fire-breathing Mustang GT drift car makes perfect sense. Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s rock and roll personality and aggressive driving style are a perfect match for this beast of a drift car. It also happens to have one of the most distinct exhaust notes of any drift car ever.

Notable Achievements: No one will forget JR's pair of victories at the D1GP All Star events in 2005 and 2007. He showed the world the high talent that American drifters posess as well as proving the capabilities of the Mustang as a drift car. Although he hasn't had a Formula D victory yet, no one will be surprised when he eventually does get one. He also finished fourth overall in the 2005 Formula D point standings.

Lasting Influence: No car better represents American style drifting.

#8 RMR Pontiac GTO

Type: 2004 Pontiac GTO

D1GP USA, Formula D

Years Active:

Rhys Millen Racing, GM

Rhys Millen, Daijiro Yoshihara

Chassis Variations:

Current Status:

Number of Wins:


Breakthrough innovation:  Besides being one of the first non-Japanese pro drift cars ever, the GTO was also notable for being the first factory-backed drift car. I still remember the Option video where Mana-P goes to check out the GTO as it's being built. After an impressive debut performance at D1 in 2004, the car would go on to become one of the most successful American drift cars ever.

Notable Achievements: When Rhys Millen was driving the GTO he scored three victories in Formula D, as well as taking the 2005 series championship. After Rhys switched to the new Solstice and the GTO disappeared for a while. In 2008 the old GTO reappeared and is now being driven by Daijiro Yoshihara as part of Rhys Millen's team. Dai has proven that the GTO is still a capable car and is currently ranked in third place in the FD standings.

Lasting Influence: This car marked a turning point in the history of drifting. For better or for worse, the introduction of a works team signaled the transition of drifting from a grassroots cult motorsport to a mainstream professional one.

#7 Sift/Yuke's AE86 Trueno

Type: Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno 3-door

D1GP Japan & USA

Years Active:

Sift Racing, Revolver

Katsuhiro Ueo

Chassis Variations:

Current Status:

Number of Wins:


Breakthrough innovation:  If you have ever been mad about the high prices that AE86's have sold for within the past few years, you can probably put some of the blame on Ueo's D1 AE86. During the period when D1 was expanding, Ueo was dominant in his underpowered AE86 and proved to the world how magical the AE86 can be in the right hands. While many other drivers were moving on to newer, higher powered cars, Ueo stuck with his screaming Hachi Roku.

Notable Achievements: After winning the opening round of the 2002 D1 season, Ueo would go on to take the season title that year. In 2003 he would gain even more fame after winning the first ever D1 event at Irwindale Speedway. This established him as a hero among AE86 fans worldwide.

Lasting Influence: Although he switched to different cars before dropping out of the spotlight, Ueo will always be known worldwide as the 86 maniac.

#6 Blitz ER34 Skyline

Type: ER34 Nissan Skyline Sedan

D1GP Japan & USA

Years Active:

Blitz, URAS

Ken Nomura

Chassis Variations:

Current Status:

Number of Wins:


Breakthrough innovation: Although Nomuken has yet to win any series championships, his Blitz ER34 Skyline Sedan is one of the most recognizable and popular drift cars in the world. It is nearly as distinct as his personality. He has gone through many different cars, but they all have been ER34 sedans. The Blitz ER34 started out as a simple street-car based drift machine and has been evolving ever since.

Notable Achievements: Besides scoring numerous wins over the years in D1GP, Nomuken came within a blink of winning the 2006 series championship but was narrowly defeated by Nobushige Kumakubo.

Lasting Influence: Looking back at Nomuken's cars, you can watch the history of pro drift car style unfold before your eyes.

Well that wraps the first part of our look at the top 10 drift cars of all time. We are interested to hear what you guys think and whether you agree or disagree with your choices. This should spark some interesting discussion!

-Mike Garrett



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Looking forward to 1-5...

Hope your looking deep in the past cause... you already slotted my 1-2 in 6 and 7.

ALL TIME! And VG's Mustang even made the list... ?? RMR GTO too?? Valid points made but... ALL TIME encompasses a lot in my mind.

Fun read.


I've been a Ueo follower since 2002, Loved his car when it was just a J-blood front bumper, white te-37's, and his silly tribal graphics. Before the blister fenders, before the full kit. Sadly, Yukes put some big wing on his car for the D1GP game.


if haruguchis fc isnt number 1, shits guna get crazy!


Though people may or may not agree with me, I say that both the HKS and the Kei-Office/M.O.V.E. Silvias deserve a place among the list. They've both been top (and destructive) forces in D1 from their numerous debuts all the way until their retiring rounds. Although, looking back, it would be somewhat difficult to just pick these two out, considering Top Secret, GReddy/TRUST and Kumakubo have had their own very successful S15's, but I still stand by the HKS and Kei-Office monsters.

But Mike, I have no doubt that whatever you pick will still be very good choices. Good luck on making such a hard decision!


Nice choices and well picked. Im hoping to see NOBs HKS S15 or Altezza in there, Kei office S15, apex or trust FD Rx-7, and possibly one of Max Orido's rides or Mr. Ueno's Soarer just because im a fan boy. Can't wait for top 5.


The Top Secret S15 won the D1GP World Championship, retired on top. Then came out of retirement to compete in a D1 UK event, came in first place and then retired again.

If that doesn't get into the top 10, I'm totally lost...


yeah ben ill back you up on that, top secrets s15 should be up there.


HKS S15 For the win!


Bubba Drift.


I agree with HKS S15, Kei Office S15 and Apexi RX7.

I think Kumakubos Impreza should also be there because of it being one of the first 4wd to Rwd conversions.

As for Top Secret i can see your point but it longtivy suffered and HKS would have won if they didn't go to the Altezza.

Great list so far however.


Top Secret and HKS Silvia's are a must for this list! As much as I love Top Secret, I gotta go with NOB's HKS for number one! Can't wait to see the rest of the list!!!


Please don't tell me Sam's Viper will be in the top 5 :(


call me bias, but I'm all for the HKS IS220Z & IS220R, dare to be different.


I miss Ueo's 86.


That Mustang and GTO is crap. I agree with Jonathan, don't put the Viper in the top 5! I wouldn't read this blog anymore if that will be the case. PLEASE NO AMERICAN DRIFT CARS, DAMMIT! Ueo's AE86 and Nomuken's ER34 are more iconic drift cars than that stupid Viper! I completely disagree that Nomuken's ER34 is at #6, it is more or less #2 or something like that. HKS RS1 and RS2 Silvia should be in the top 5. Maybe you can also include Haruyama's C35 or A31. This top 10 is not going really well. I mean, Nomura's ER34 at 6?! Oh c'mon!


mike... be real.... was better


JIC / Hankook 993 GT2 Porsche should be in this top list... Just because it was such hard work getting that thing ready and that it changed the view on European High End Drift cars.

Also, I have a personal attachment to that car (Antonio knows why).


This is your list of top 10 OF ALL TIME??? The GTO doesn't belong on this list and I refuse to believe that Koguchi's 180sx is last. You should have displayed Koguchi's 180sx when it was black with hot road aero and blitz wheels and have it as #1!!!!!


Benson is nearly right. Koguchi's should be third. When it was black. With 17" RS Watanabe's and no kit. Kaicho's red 86 should be second. And Bensons should be first. I'll be happy with 4th.


#1 must be an AE86 of either Keiichi Tsuchiya or Takumi Fujiwara. Period. Hands down. End of story. Global icons.


listen to america. bubba drift, slow drift.


MAD MIKE FD!!! Where's it at??????


dear mr. garret,

why do you hate drifting?


the drifting community


I feel this is more like a driver achievement, instead of iconic cars 6-10.

i enjoyed reading your take on the top 10 though Mike. good read

it will surely butt hurt a lot of people.

looking forward to the rebuttle in the top 5



No no no no no.

Koguchi's 180 at number 10? And what are those other 4 cars doing on a top 10 list?


so cars that i think ill see on top 5

chris forsberg

kumakubos car

taniguchis old s15...or taniguchis something

i dunno those are guesses

and bubba drift. haha.


"Iconic" is a big word for some of these cars :) When I think Iconic...I think cars that have a little more history then just 4 years ago :( I don't really consider any Formula D car to be "Iconic" considering how young the series is...How about Nomuken's old ER34....or Kuma's old s15...or Haraguchi's FC? These are "Iconic" to the true drift enthusiast that have been following the sport before America's beloved Formula D decided to introduce Energy drink sponsors and Sears poster boys....blah!


Well first of all let me say that I did not come up with the list on my own, so you don't need to personally blame me if you don't agree. Like I said, a number of us (including pro drivers) gave our picks and we simply tallied the results. Second of all you have to remember that the list is not necessarily our "favorite" drift cars of all time. I know a lot of you guys seem to hate anything not Japanese, but I don't see how cars like the GTO don't belong on the list. Whether or not you like the car, there is no denying the impact that it had on the sport. That is a big part of what we were looking for.


no car could be more iconic than haruguchis fc. the whole super wide,big kit, stretched tyres, mega dish was brought to the fore at TAS 02(?). it started a revolution!!! everyone knows of the "bn sports FC"


That GTO must be removed from the list. Mike, I dont think this car had ANY impact on the sport at all. It was just another drift car.

All other cars are good choices. I do agree with most that Koguchi shouldnt be at number 10. Thats' the ultimate drift 180sx! I also dont want to see the VIPER in top 5. I love it but I dont think it gets top 10 of all time. The Mustang should definetely be on the list, hell even top 5. That car beat the D1/World guys 2wice!

Hmm what else:

6. (replacing GTO) JIC / Hankook 993 GT2 Porsche

5. RE Amemiya FD3S

4. T&E Soarer (Dont ask which version, lol, there are too many)

3. RS-R/RIDOX Supra (short lived but it was so badd ass!!!!)

2. HKS Hiper Sylvia

1. Team Orange Kuma GDB (Wins for its uniqueness and countless victories in the D1 series)

Honorable mention: Hibino's 86's the jumping drift master + Drift Samurai FC!


All I am saying is give me some "DRIFT HISTORY" in this top 10!!!! All these cars are fairly new :( Am I surrounded by newbies and fad followers?


Yoshioka Autopolis 2005 ftw!!

Drift Samurai in top 5


Hey Mike, I got it. Why not make it top 20 instead of top 10? That way, you get more coverage of the different cars out there.


ER34 at number 6?!!!!!!!!!! I still havent gotten over the fact that it is at number 6!!!!! DAMMMIIT!


Just speaking generally, I definitely agree that Koguchi should be way higher than 10. Not so much his new car, but his first 180sx (that was at Drift Showoff), the green one, the black one with Blitz wheels (which is like the most seen drift video ever, by both the public and drift fans alike), and all other incarnations of that shell. But like anything else, top 10 of anything is always relative to the person, so its hard to pick a top 10 that would work for everyone. I think the choices also depend on when that person you ask came into the game, and what relation they have to the world of drifting. I think if you compared a fan from the days of Drift Showoff at Irwindale versus a fan from the days of Formula D, you would definitely get different results. Not that either is better, but its all relative to the person's taste and experiences. And although I'm repeating much of what has been said....where is Haraguchi's FC! I had to change many pairs of pants when I first saw that thing!


In the previous post we started our top 10 drift cars countdown with a look at numbers 10-6 on the list. Now we will continue with numbers 5-2 before announcing the winner in the final post. If you haven't read our criteria for picking these cars


It's time to finish up our look at the top 10 drift cars of all time and reveal our pick for number one. Before we reveal the top car, let's first look at some of our "honorable mentions". These are cars that made people's lists


You fail to note that Koguchi's 180 had several innovations in the early days of pro drifting. The engine was lowered and pushed back for better weight distribution. His car was one of the first I saw with a v-mount intercooler and extended steering rods. He also had the Ikeya Forumula sequential shifter. I think the car in green trim with LM GT4's was the best look.


uh... "top 10 of ALL time" ???????

All time... meaning, since the start of it all... Japan, America, Australia, UK/Europe.

Iconic, meaningful, influential, these are words I would NOT use to describe 5 out of the 6 cars listed in this article. I will have to respectfully disagree, and be slightly dissapointed at the obvious "young/uneducated" view/opinion on this matter.

btw, Benson and Paz are right.




hiper cars are so cool i would love to see one in real life that would be my dream my dream hiper car would be a aston martin dbr9 cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool lol


WOW............ Nice shots!


I was one of those that initially hated on the RMR GTO. Thought it was ugly and too big for drifting. I saw the car in person and it changed everything. I became fan. Best American drift car IMO.