Journal: Ten Classic Cars You Need to Import Now!

Ten Classic Cars You Need to Import Now!

By Petrolicious Productions
August 7, 2014
29 comments

Photography by Afshin Behnia and Daniil Matyash for Petrolicious

Lately, we’ve been feeling left out. There are many wonderful cars that much of the world has gotten to enjoy and yet for one reason or another were never shipped to the USA. We can pretty much import any car we want so long as it’s more than twenty-five years old. And so we asked you what you’d bring over with your own cash. There were some great suggestions but at the end of the day this is how we’d blow our hard-earned cash. We’re sure you’ll let us know what we’ve missed in the comments below. Have at it! Oh and if you’re a citizen or American resident, please make sure you sign our petition to decrease the twenty-five year waiting period to fifteen years. Thanks!

#10 Alpine A110–So close and yet… Coupling a gorgeous form with some powerful rally chops, Alpine had a hit on their hands that also won the very first World Rally Championship in 1973. And although Alpine also built them in France, they also manufactured the A110 right next-door in Mexico yet never sent them across the Rio Grande. Time to change that!

#9 Ford Escort MkI–Available with a variety of engines, some built by Lotus others by Cosworth, these cars were dominant in rallying in the late 1960s and early ’70s. While American cars were growing larger and heavier, Ford of Britain was building some light, nimble fun. Any Rally Sport trimmed MkI would be a blast!

Photography by Afshin Behnia and Daniil Matyash for Petrolicious

#8 Peugeot 205 T16–Straddling the line between the mundane FWD 205 and full-on race car, the 205 T16 had a transverse, mide-engine layout and four-wheel drive. It also made about 200hp (about half that of the racer). This car would be a blast, but alas only two hundred were ever built to homologate the car for Group B rallying. If you can’t find one, try a 205 GTI.

#7 Renault 5 Turbo–The first four hundred models were manufactured at the Alpine factory for homologation into Group 4 rallying. This car is so radically different from the normal 5 that sharing the name is almost comical. The biggest difference is the fact that the 5 Turbo has rear-wheel drive and a mid-mounted engine. Also it’s equipped with a big honkin’ turbo that helps the little 1.4L easily go from 0-60mph in less than seven seconds. It is the very definition of hot hatch.

Photography by Afshin Behnia and Daniil Matyash for Petrolicious

#6 Ford Falcon–The Falcon has been in production in Australia continuously since 1960. We’d skip most of the early US-based variants, and focus on the third generation (1972-’79). They’re muslce cars, sure, but they also sport four-wheel power disc-brakes (1973 and on). If we had to choose one though, we’d go with an early XB-GT with the 5.8L Cleveland (or big-port) engine. Need another reason? Ok, it was Mad Max’s car.

#5 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo II–In the US we had perfectly nice and normal versions of the 190E. Unfortunately however, we never received the Cosworth-built monster that was the 2.5-16. And yeah, we’re still upset about it. The original brief to Cosworth was to build an engine for the 190 that MB could take rallying. However, appearing outgunned by Audi’s Ur-quattro, they took it touring car racing instead (in the DTM). In its final trim, the engine developed 235hp. Only 502 Evo IIs were ever built though, so they are scarce.

Photography by Afshin Behnia and Daniil Matyash for Petrolicious

#4 Nissan Skyline Hakosuka–Godzilla’s grandpa. In many ways, it’s like Japan’s Mustang: it’s got humble sedan roots but was built and designed to whoop everything, no matter how expensive or exotic. The particular model you want is the GT-R Coupe with the S20 motor (that made 160hp). It was stripped for racing and looks every bit the part. In a couple of months, we’d happily take the R32, too.

#3 Lancia Delta Integrale HF–I’ve never been lucky enough to drive one of these amazing machines. However, and take this with a grain of salt, if Forza and Gran Turismo are to be believed, this is the most neutral, balanced, easy-to-drive-fast car on Earth. In fact, it’s so good that we as Americans should be in mourning every day until we’ve driven one. Seriously, you should sell any organ you have to just to get your sweaty palms on this hot little Italian.

Photography by Afshin Behnia and Daniil Matyash for Petrolicious

#2 Porsche 959–A technological tour-de-force that helped Porsche establish its reputation in the world of all-wheel drive and insane speed. It was, in fact, the world’s fastest street-legal car when introduced, and depending on trim could achieve 197mph. Intended for Group B rallying, the 959 was immortalized in the US when Mr. Bill Gates’s personal car was impounded and stored for over thirteen years by the US Customs Service as it was never approved for importation by the Dept. of Transportation (before the Show and Display law was passed, which Bill helped push).

And finally, #1… Ferrari 288 GTO–How could this car not top the list? It has literally everything anyone could ever want from a sports car: a screaming, mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive, power, torque, styling to die for, and turbos (yes, it’s plural). Like many other cars listed before it, the GTO was built for Group B racing; however, it never got the chance to race as the series was cancelled just before the GTO got to prove its mettle. And therein lies its greatness: this car is revered and yet it never once saw the track. Why? Just look at it.

Images Sources: emercedesbenz.com, japanesenostalgiacar.com

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Michel Dupuis
Michel Dupuis
4 years ago

Do you realize that the bargain on these cars have all been picked up ( in values also) sorry but 3 to 5 yrs late your piece !!!

Eric van Spelde
Eric van Spelde(@hvspelde10014467)
5 years ago

Discounting an Integrale because something newer with four rings has more power and ‘better cornering’ (I assume you mean ‘more grip’) is roundly missing the point – like dismissing a pair of celebrated high end speakers because your Cerwin-Vegas ‘have more bass’.
The Audi is an inert, blunt instrument, a party where the driver’s sadly not invited while the Integrale is a finely balanced, interactive and immersive driving tool. In a world where even fairly pedestrian cars have more outright performance than one can ever use on the road before becoming a social pariah, I am frankly disheartened that the ‘Top Trumps’ philosophy of ranking cars still dominates many ‘enthusiasts’ thinking.

Speaking of totally immersive sensory attacks on wheels that are still attainable for the many: the TVR Griffith (1992-on) and Chimaera (1993-on) are on the cusp of falling within the 25-year cut-off. Just sayin’. 🙂

Hermann Egges
Hermann Egges(@austin-eight-register)
5 years ago

What about the following: BMW 850, Ford Cortina, Ford Consul, Ford Granada Coupe series One. Ford RS2000, Opel Lotus Omega, Opel Calibra. These are forgotten cars in Western Europe and affordable. The Alpine 110 You mentioned is the best but already not for a poor man’s budget ? I believe my list are some of the bargains to get and will be searched for soon.

Orel Cohen
Orel Cohen(@orelco)
5 years ago

Love the R5 Turbo, It was My favorite after Porsche…

Per Holmen
Per Holmen(@holmen)
5 years ago

Love it when I can be an expert – the Falcon that you have picture is an XA and not an XB coupe. But besides that, it’s an XB coupe that Intook my drivers license in in Western Australia and had my debut with my first girlfriend. So not only a muscle car, but also able to pick up chicks.
The prices have already run away though – much like the GTHO Falcons – King of Bathurst.

moosesport
moosesport(@moosesport)
5 years ago

Oops, integrali. Mistyped.

moosesport
moosesport(@moosesport)
5 years ago

Skip all the others, buy the integali.

Nosy Peeking
Nosy Peeking(@spazzywazzypazzy)
5 years ago

Comments about the Lancia Delta Integrale are misinformed. While it has a lot of racing pedigree and looks fantastic, it can be easily outperformed by an Audi S3. Get the S3 if you are looking for better cornering and more power.

Per Eldh
Per Eldh(@per)
5 years ago

If you go looking for a 205 T16 you may aswell look for the Delta S4 instead of the mundane Integrale..

Ivor Carrington
Ivor Carrington(@datsun310)
7 years ago

growing up back in the Caribbean one of my dad’s friends had a yellow mk1 escort and I remember me and my dad cruising in it. it was a really fun lil car.

Kuroneko
Kuroneko(@kuroneko)
7 years ago

Nice list! But, for ‘Godzilla’s grandpa’, I think you will find a machine even more iconic and collectible – the [i]real [/i]grandfather – the Skyline GT-B. It was Nissan’s first serious [i]and [/i]successful effort in their racing space, and a true legend. If only in Japan for the moment… Gorgeous machines too! Neko.

Jared Moore
Jared Moore(@jared87)
7 years ago

Almost all these cars I’ve used in Sega gt 2002

Noddy
Noddy
7 years ago

Group A and Group B racing homologation requirements of the 1980s have left us with some of the greatest road cars in history. History can repeat?

Damian Nunimaker
Damian Nunimaker(@rc000e)
5 years ago
Reply to  Noddy

It is repeating…just in a different way. GT3 and endurance racing are pouring influence into the automotive market. The mid engine Corvette, the next mid engine Porsche, the ford gt, the push for track ready GT cars with a license plate…this is history repeating itself as we speak and none wouldve happened otherwise. While Europe has moved on into hybrid, forced induction, dct’s and electrics, America is actually putting out some of the best driver cars ever in Corvette, Mustang GT350, Z28, all still with a manual on board and attainable, etc. The NSX is getting GT3 homologated, mclarens, lambos, etc. As gen x gamers (gran turismo, iracing) of the world get older, gentlemen drivers will likely stay abundant as they find success. Road racing is finally global and strong!

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman(@fb_1293493178)
7 years ago

all great cars but also sought after overseas so forget about grabbing a bargain.

Jarrod Hills
Jarrod Hills(@derelict)
7 years ago

This is an alright list but so many of these cars you can already import, and are being imported by many people. Why use the 25 year rule and then choose a list that is predictable and unoriginal? MK1 Escorts are cool but have been legal for some time now. You ignore epic 80s fast Fords like RS2000 or Cosworth Sierra and Sapphire? Some more original, outside of the box thinking would have been better.

Pat
Pat
7 years ago

I know the fella sitting on the Escort in the advert…….he’s called Alan Wilkinson and he was a Ford works driver back in the day. He still does promo stuff….the first time I ever saw a Focus Cosworth 500 he had it to test for Ford likewise the GT, Maserati Quattroporte and Ferarri 458……..and he still drives like the Devil’s after him! I don’t know if he still has the suit though. Also, I think the advert was from the year I was born!

Jonathan WC Mills
Jonathan WC Mills(@thewoodsman)
7 years ago

Hey that’s a chic Sheik!

Without knowing the details I think that seems the Lamborghini LM002 would also be an excellent candidate for import? Despite the 20,000 costs for a set of replacement tires.

Vintage Son
Vintage Son(@vintagesun)
7 years ago

I believe the LM002 was sold in the US, just very few of them.

T.J.
T.J.
7 years ago

Number 8. The 205 T16 was a full-on Group B monster. Not one photograph here is of the Homologation Special. These are the 205 GTI, which is front-engine/FWD. Sort-of like a standard Fiesta, not Ken Block’s gymkhana car.

Alx
Alx
7 years ago

You forgot the M3 CSL 🙂

Ian Miles
Ian Miles(@smilo998)
7 years ago

Some cracking cars in there. The Renault 5 Turbo 2 in the flesh is something to behold. In fact pretty much all the bonkers Renaults, the Sport Spider and V6 Clio are particulary amazing. The 1.9 Pug GTi a great alternative to the GolF (Rarebit) GTi. Some memorable exceptions. Ford Scort Cosworth. Fords attempt at an Integrale. Forget the 2.3 16v Merc 190. The 2.5 is pretty good. Merc (AMG) 500e? Presumably also a series of TVR’s: Chimera, Cerbera and Sagaris?

Francisco Neira Corvalán
Francisco Neira Corvalán(@fb_100005919401698)
7 years ago

where is bmw?

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani(@ben-shahrabani)
7 years ago

You can actually import a few of these already…which is good. What about some early 90’s cars like the Audi RS2?;) and the earliest 959’s are OK to import I think.

Charles
Charles
7 years ago

This article pops up and on the same day, another blog posted a story about a ’72 skyline with that engine for sale! http://www.carthrottle.com/nows-your-chance-to-buy-a-perfect-1972-skyline-gtr/

Kieron
Kieron
7 years ago

Oh my goodness. That Mercedes. I….I….i’m speechless.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

Skip the Falcon and the Nissan [ too pedestrian and culture specific ] Add in a Bristol 411 Series III or IV … along with the Facel Vega . Then find a bit more space [ turn it up to 12 ] for the Renault Sport Spider and the madcap Clio V6 …. and you’ve got yourself a mighty fine list of cars we’ll never be able to have here in the US [ honorable mentions going to Land Rover Defenders – Mercedes G Wagon 2drs – ‘real ‘ Toyota FJ’s ( not the Cruiser ) – all the Alpine A’s and post US VW T2’s ]

Adeel
Adeel
7 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

Skip the Nissan Hakosuka? The grandfather our the Nissan GT-R? Are you joking? The cult following of that model is insane. An original Hakosuka is already 50.000+ Euro’s (often 80.000 Euro’s too) and climbing.

Justin Sane
Justin Sane
4 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

Your post became irrelevant immediately as you ‘slipped’ the Ford Falcon and laughable as you called it ‘too pedestrian’.
One of the greatest cars Australia produced and one of the best worldwide at the time. Not only a significant race car but also iconic to Australia and the history of vehicle design in Australia.
Regardless of its Mad Max fame, this car was already a force to be reckoned with before the movie short it to stardom.
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