Retrospective>>top 10 Drift Cars Of All Time Pt.2

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, make sure you check out the first post.

Well, let's jump right back into it with our choice for number 5.

#5 HKS S15

Type: S15 Silvia

D1GP Japan and USA, Formula D, etc.

Years Active:


Nobuteru Taniguchi, Daijiro Yoshihara

Chassis Variations:

Current Status:

Number of Wins
: 5


Breakthrough innovation: The HKS S15 was one of the first "pro-built" drift cars and was dominant during the first few years of the D1 Grand Prix. The car's distinct red and yellow livery made it instantly recognizable among fans and it helped to establish HKS as one the pioneering supporters of professional drifting. The HKS S15 also became iconic among American drift fans when it appeared in early D1 USA events.

Notable Achievements:
Nobuteru Taniguchi drove the HKS S15 to five victories in D1 as well as winning the inaugural D1 championship in 2001. When Taniguchi switched to the Altezza, the S15 disappeared from competition for a while. In 2007 one version of the car was sold to the Rockstar drift team where it was driven by Daijiro Yoshihara in Formula D and came very close to winning the series championship with the car. Another version of the car is currently being used for demos by HKS in the UK.

Lasting Influence
: This car helped to cement the S15 as one of the world's best drift machines and to many this car represents the "glory days" of the D1 Grand Prix.

#4 JUN Auto/ Team Orange Impreza

Type: GDB Subaru Impreza

D1GP Japan and USA, European Drift Championship

Years Active:

JUN Auto

Nobushige Kumakubo, Hideo Hiraoka

Chassis Variations:

Current Status:
Active in D1 and the EDC

Number of Wins
: 4


Breakthrough innovation: When Kumakubo replaced his proven S15 Silvia with a rear wheel drive-converted Impreza in 2005, many were not sure what to expect. As everyone would see, the original Team Orange Impreza would prove both JUN Auto's car building skills as well as Kumakubo's skill as a driver.With its RWD conversion and rear-mounted radiator, this car became one of the first "extremely" modified pro drift cars

Notable Achievements:
Kumakubo won the 2006 D1GP series in this Impreza as well as picking up a few event victories along the way. Although he switched to an Evo in 2007, he continued to use a GDB Impreza in the United States. In 2008 Kumakubo's "overseas" Impreza was shipped to the UK where he is currently driving it in the European Drift Championship. He has already had one second place finish and one win in the EDC. Back in Japan, the 2006 championship car is now being driven by Team Orange member Hideo Hiraoka in D1.

Lasting Influence: This car helped start the trend of using converted AWD cars for drifting use. Besides the several cars JUN has built since, similar cars have poppped up in other countries around the world.

#3 Keiichi Tsuchiya AE86

Type: AE86 Sprinter Trueno

None, but do iconic Japanese videos count?

Years Active:

TRD, Kei Office

Keiichi Tsuchiya

Chassis Variations:

Current Status:

Number of Wins
: 0


Breakthrough innovation: Although this car is not a pro machine or exclusively a drift car, we knew it deserved a spot on our list for inspiring so many AE86 fans around the world. Actually we were not sure which of Tsuchiya's cars to use, but in the end we decided to go with his iconic white Trueno seen in many Best Motoring, Hot Version, and AE86 club videos. Besides having influential styling, this car is also one of the earliest and best examples of a 20-valve swapped AE86.

Notable Achievements:
When people around the world first saw this car in videos like Best Motoring Vol. 41, it inspired many of them to get involved with drifting and helped to establish the AE86 the favorite that it is today. There have been several replicas of this car built over the years and Tsuchiya's AE86 is a large reason for the popularity of the "SSR Dori Mesh" wheels which still sell for a premium today.

Lasting Influence: Even now the car still appears occasionally in Hot Version videos and it still drops jaws whenever it comes out. It also still sounds as beautiful as ever.


Type: Mazda FD3S RX7

D1 Japan anpresent

APEXi Japan and USA, Formula D

Years Active:

Youichi Imamura, Ryuji Miki

Chassis Variations:

Current Status:
Active in Formula D

Number of Wins
: 9


Breakthrough innovation: Although there is nothing really abnormal about the APEXi FD's specs, there have been few cars as dominant as these cars were when they were driven by Youichi Imamura in D1. It is important to note that there were two similar, but different versions of this car. One was RHD and built by APEXi in Japan, and another was LHD and built by APEXi USA. Both versions have seen plenty of drift action over the years.

Notable Achievements:
Imamura drove this car to several wins in D1 over the years and also won the 2003 series championship. The American-built car is now being driven by Ryuji Miki in Formula D. The RHD version of the car in its original APEXi livery recently resurfaced in Singapore where Miki drove it to victory in the Formula D exhibition match there. 

Lasting Influence: There are few drift cars with as much history as the APEXi FD, and this car's journey appears to be far from over with Miki still putting on great performances in Formula D with it.

So that takes care our first nine picks, next time we will announce the winner. Any guesses?

Photos from Doristars, Super Street, and Best Motoring.

-Mike Garrett



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Kazama's S15?


the #1 influential drift car to america :

Stock 240sx on coilovers and welded diff.


kazama's s15 ???

ueno's soarer ???

oridos supra ???


This probably won't make the list, but in my opinion, one of THE most influential cars on the drift scene in America is the old Signal Auto 180sx with S15 face. Yes the blue car with sparkles. "Drifter X" car.

This was one of the first real drift cars to show up here years ago when USA drifting was starting to bloom. It definitly made USA kids LOVE to put S15 front ends on thier S13 hatchbacks. There were TONS of those ugl ass cars floating around. I'd go so far as to say it started the sparkle paint trend in USA too.

The original blue version of the car was just badass. Of course it had an UGLY Target front bumper on it, but for some reason that was easily overlooked. This car was still one of hte last "street" cars that came out of Japan over here. The "Drifter X" car went from D1 in Japan, to Drift Showoffs in USA, to Drift Session in Hawaii. Then it was repainted with an orange body and blue roof. Chris FOrsberg drove it for a while. I'm not sure of that car's current status. It never really won anything, but DAMN, it set some trends for sure.

I miss that car.


Ah man I agree. I remember the videos of that car drifting in the beat up parking lot at Candlestick Park in SF.


i like the list so far. i'm hoping for kazamas s15 as #1.


I also guess the kazama S15, has been active many years, many variations of it too, one of them is here in Norway and is being driven by Kenneth Moen in the drifting series here.


Nice comment Brian! That Signal 180SX was indeed sick! And, you were def. right on with how influential it was over here. It sent me scrambling for funds to do my own S15 faced S13. It never happened for me (prob for the best), but photos of that car hung on my wall for years!

Great post Mike!


I'd have guessed Kazama's Kei office s15.

Although I really thought that Takumi Fujiwara's AE86 was going to be the winner, but I guess we're counting only real cars?

I've had the pleasure of seeing the HKS car in the UK. It did a drift demo at a tuner open day. Middle of an industrial estate, or industrial park if you're american, with no room to play with and it was driven to absolute perfection. Sometimes only feet away from some parked cars from the guys attending the open day. I think it was Darren McNamara who drove it that day, but I could well be horribly wrong.

Great articles so far Mike.


If Hariguchi's car isn't #1, I'm going to stop reading this blog.




I agree with the Signals Auto S13's... they did make a huge splash with US drifting and did make a difference.


Gotta be Kei Office S15

FAIL for not placing UENO's Soarer in the top ten.

I also feel that Tsuchiya's AE86 shouldnt be on this list. That car is used mostly for touge battles, not drifting competitions. I love it but yea, it shouldnt be there.

Take out the GTO and put RE Amemiya FD. Take out Tsuchiya AE86, move everything up and put UENO soarer @ 5.


Oh, I did not realize that you didn't do number one yet!

It has got to be Kazama S15.

I understand people's opinion on Ueno JZZ30, but..... I don't think it made any kind of Impact.

...ok cool he has been driving one since 2001/2002 or so.

I don't think many people have followed and made Soarers into drift cars. Sure there are a couple, but... meh.

Top Secret S15 - No. It is just a basic S15 drift car (well, "basic" as far as D1 anyways) But, it is nothing compared to the S15 driven by Kazama or Taniguchi.


Ueno or Kazama... yeahh...

But Kazama is agood drifter and that car win the D1GP and Ueno never won the d1gp.

But Ueno's car... is pure style when you see fiber doors... that is thanks to Ueno's car...


I agree with Brian about Ueno's Soarer. It could be number 10 because of it's long standing in D1 and the fact that it's been all over the world. I'll just continue on down the line with my own list.

9. Nomuken's ER34- Little guy, big car, big smoke.

8. JR's Mustang- It's a big hairy American winning machine. It's loud and flashy and

7. Forsberg's orange 350z- Yes 2 DA cars but DA is American Drifting and that car combines Japanese and American influences perfectly.

6. Team Burst Silvias- These guys aren't even pros and they're known around the world.

5. Ueo's AE86- Foot to the floor 4AG screaming up and down the touge and at D1 events.

4. Haraguchi's yellow FC- One of the best looking drift cars ever. Don't forget backwards entries at Bihoku.

3. Kazama's green S15- Great car great driver and even though he wasn't driving it was the first car I saw tear up HTM.

2. Taniguchi's personal S15- Won the very first D1GP championship and it looked like a daily driver.

1. Koguchi's black 180sx- Pushed the boundry of the S chassis both in style and performance.

WOW, that was alot harder than expected.

honorable mentions: Hibino's crazy sr powered Levin, Mad Mike's spaceship FD, All of Team Orange's Subby drift cars.


both of forsberg's 350z

the sr z was the first real competitive z chassis

his v8 z started the drop a v8 into a japanese chassis movement and

it showed that its still possible for a privateer to be sucessful in US drifting


Agree on the original Signal Auto S15 faced 180. Drifter X and XL days were so cool. First time I've seen pro drifting live was a Signal auto demo.

UENO has to be in there because his car is one of most recognizable with the drift sport. Its pretty much the only true competitive Soarer and its been in the game since D1 was born in japan.

I dont think any Z should be on the list. There hasnt been an impact or a memorable car in the drift scene with any Z. I do really like forsbergs Z's tho. The latest one is just awesome to watch and listen to. Oh yea the Taniguchi S15 is also good too, I remmber the mobara circuit vids from ADVAN with all those older cars.

Good job on the list but in the future you guys should do a voting poll or something like that. This way you let the readers decide. Maybe change these post ttiles to SPEEDHUNTERS top 10. Its a great list but so many of us disagree.


section 9 - don't get me wrong here. I do NOT want to give the impression that the ORANGE signal cars were cool. Those were terrible. The ORIGINAL blue maziora painted one with all the street car fixins.


idk about you guys, but I feel like Haruguchi's FC and his massive VIP wheel drift style should be here. idk, that's just me. And the RE-Amemiya RX-7.

I feel like a JZX chassis should be up here somewhere.

Mike, maybe this should have been a top 15 or 20. But still, really good posts.


Fujiwara Tofu AE86?


Please change this to "Top 10 "COMPETITION" drift cars of all time! :(


This is a wild wild guess, I'm guessing Koguchi's black 108SX, or maybe Orido's Ridox Supra, but deep down I'm hoping it's the RE Amemiya FD3S!


Tezuka's JZX81 sounded insane, Fukuda's yellow 180 and his unreal entry speeds, Hariguchi 's FD and FC were way ahead of their time with the huge rims, huge wings, and huge bn aero. They didn't leave ahuge impact but they carried the privateer spirit through the eventuall transformation d1 went through around the 03 and 04 seasons with their originality and determination. Take Tezuka for example, an old, heavy 4-door obviously can't remain competitive against the modern works teams. But he still showed up event after event many times after wrecks, probably knowing if he made it to top16 he would face a far newer, lighter, and expensive machine. That WAS what it was all about.



i mean i love kenji he's a great friend and i rode w/ him many times but this list is WACK im sorry.

HEre's my list and im serious becuse these cars INFLUENCE the cars we have now imo.

in no order because i didnt take THAT much time.

ueo ae86 before the big sponsors. even when it was black and privateer it was nuts

haruguchi fc3s. seriously. big wing CRAZY angle. that was unknown in 01/02

taniguchi s15...was yellow went red. pre BIG HKS setup.

kazama/boss s15. red and then blue. awesome car. brought him way up in D1GP

suenaga FD3s. RE built car. amazing sound and driving speed by suenaga

saito daigo jzx100 markII. there's so few 4 doors (takahashi chaser...meh) that rule. this one rules.

nomura ER34. seriously.

kumakubo subaru. amazing work of art. full race car for drifting

koguchi 180sx. need there be mroe? greatest 180 built ever.same car FOR YEARS.

kuroi s13...rb26dett privateer status. old timer.

anyways thats my list of top 10

all usa drivers were pretty much influenced by one of those cars. im sure some wouldnt agree but they be lying to themselves. or have too big an ego to admit it.


Haruguchi and Ueo at Bihoku, Taniguchi at every track, Everyone from Marionette, Nightzone, and Nightwalkers.

These are all the people and cars that influenced me the most and it's sad to only see two of them on there. When I see more American cars out at drift events I'll start to believe that those cars were influential drift cars.


DONT TELL ME THAT VIPER IS NUMBER ONE. if it is then you guys should rename this to the top 10 drift cars that competed in the US


Brian I totally agree with you about the original street styled 180sx. I was just saying the orange drift cars were the first cars I ever saw drifting. We never go to pleasure of seeing the original trimmed drifter X car here in the east coast. I dont think those cars were terrible tho, they were fun drift cars to watch.


Great work so far.

I guessed all but the drift king's Ae86 in 6-2.

Your reasoning made sence however.

There is two GTO's (the original which got destroyed at irwindale and the one Dai's driving) and doesn't Imamura own the other Apexi RX7?

I can see peoples reafoning about cars such as Uenos Soarer and Hariguchis FC but they didn't win many events but they do have a lasting effect on drifting.


Ueno's JZZ30 definitely belongs on the list.


what abotu Koguchi's black /green 180sx? that was inspiration to alot of 240sx hatch people in the states


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


i don't know where you guys though up this list, but it's wrong.