Before I ever discovered anime, my first love was cars. Like anime, cars have a way of grabbing you and never letting go. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing, I’ll let you decide. Occasionally, an anime can capture the spectacle of a car just as much as the spectacle of its animation or story. That is what this list celebrates. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the best countdown of anime cars…
in the wor—I mean, in my opinion.
7. Caterham Super Seven JPE (eX-Driver)
Okay, I’ll be honest, I’m actually not a big fan of this OVA series. But one thing eX-Driver got right was the cars it utilized, from a Subaru WRX to this, a Caterham Super Seven JPE. In the series, the Super Seven is driven by 12-year-old (and no, that’s not a typo) Soichi Sugano, who drives around trying to keep everyone… safe.
The premise may be silly, but the Super Seven is displayed well in the series for what it actually is: a track day car.
6. See-Through (Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt)
screams screamed “America!” quite like the original, enormous, and gas-guzzling Hummer H1. Likewise, nothing screams “Anarchy!” quite like See-Through, the chosen mode of transportation for the Anarchy Sisters in Panty and Stocking. Loud, brash, completely over the top, and complete with a Barbie pink paint job, I can think of no better vehicle for the lustful Panty or the gluttonous Stocking to announce their presence with.
5. Lancia Stratos (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex)
The favored car of Section 9’s Batou, his Lancia Stratos definitely stands out in comparison to the other cars in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. It’s not just the body style though, the bright yellow paint job helps. Being based on a rally car, the Stratos is agile and fast, just like the enhanced Batou.
I can’t help but wonder how much Batou must make at his job though. A Stratos in good condition regularly goes for around $200,000 USD at auction today. So, being a Section 9 agent must pay well.
4. Renault Alpine A310 (Evangelion)
To survive in the Evangelion universe you need to be, among other things, rugged and tough. Enter the Renault Alpine A310, driven by Misato Katsuragi. This car survives not one, not two, but three attacks by Angels… kinda. The car still runs afterwards, so let’s leave it at that. It’s a good thing this car is so tough to kill. It needs to be with Misato’s crazy driving.
3. Toyota 2000GT (Dimension W)
Prominently featured throughout Dimension W, the 2000GT is one of Toyota’s crown jewels. Considering only a few hundred were ever made, it’s a wonder this one is still around and functioning in 2071, when Dimension W is set. But Kyouma Mabuchi somehow keeps it running like new.
On a personal note, I would give just about anything just to have the chance to drive one of these someday.
2. Mach 5 (Speed Racer)
Classic and original, Speed Racer’s Mach 5 stands as a testament to nostalgia. While the anime itself may be dated and campy, the car still oozes coolness. There was nothing this car couldn’t do, and no rival it couldn’t beat. And although the Mach 5 isn’t entirely based on a real world car, it does borrow many design traits from Le Mans sports cars of the 1960s, especially the Ferrari 250 Testarossa.
1. Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno (Initial D)
No other car sounds like it, and no other car drifts like it. The main character, the protagonist, and truly the star of the Initial D franchise, the AE86 (better known as the “Hachi-Roku” to some) is more than a car, it’s a legend. Whether drifting through the Japanese mountainside, or just delivering tofu, the AE86 can get it done… and then some.