Journal: Which Classic Car, Never Sold in the USA, Would You Import?

Which Classic Car, Never Sold in the USA, Would You Import?

Avatar By Yoav Gilad
August 4, 2014
37 comments

Here in the United States, we have some pretty absurd laws depending on what state, county, and municipality you happen to be in. But there is one federal law (because it relates to international commerce) in particular that irks us here at Petrolicious. It is the “Show and Display” law that allows private individuals to import a car to the US, which would be too expensive to modify to meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and does not have a federalized counterpart originally built for the United States market. The reason we hate the law is that it basically makes really cool cars unavailable to us. It also limits imported cars’ use to less than 2500 miles per year on public roads. The cutoff for this law is twenty-five years, after which you can import whatever you want. Regardless, we think the law should be changed.

Frankly, it is a foolish law because while there are many car aficionados, how many are realistically going to spend the money to ship and import a car? Furthermore, how much more marginally unsafe do lawmakers think a Porsche 959 is than a 911? Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not an “abolish the federal government” type, it just seems that lawmakers think we need to be protected from ourselves. If I want to drive a car that has six thousand horsepower and no safety belts I should be allowed to as long as I don’t hurt any one else. I have insurance after all, and I pay the premiums.

So here’s the question: the law being what it is, which car more than twenty-five years old (1989 or older) would you import that was never sold in the US? For me, it’s easy: the aforementioned Porsche 959 (can I borrow a couple of dollars, though?).

Images Sources: oldcarmanualproject.com

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Raul Solis
Raul Solis

r32 r34 stratos 22b

Ivor Carrington
Ivor Carrington

Holden kingswood, Datsun sunny minitruck, any older euro spec bmws, mk1 and mk2 ford Cortina, mk1 escort, all older skylines

Jo Moore
Jo Moore

Yes, yes, and yes…
From the Porshce museum…

AC
AC

Chaser, S15 Silvia, SR’d s13, evo 3, or evo 6, or the original impreza wrx sti (god so many choices)

Andrés O'Neill-López
Andrés O'Neill-López

I’d love a Toyota Sera, a Honda Beat and a Nissan Figaro.

Vintage Son
Vintage Son

If I ever do spend the money on such a thing, I don’t think it will be anything except a Lancia Delta. As long as it’s got AWD, and isn’t an ugly color, I’ll take it. I missed a good one that was on Bringatrailer awhile ago that was exactly what I’d buy, but I didn’t have the money/exemptions aren’t in place yet, so I’d be out of luck for awhile and decided not to buy and just wait. 🙁

Nate L
Nate L

Peugeot 205 T16! And install some airbags..lol!

dtam23
dtam23

I don’t want to rub it in but in canada we can import at 15 years. We are in igloos for 11.5 months a year so I would probably have to pick a defender. Otherwise it’s a Zonda all day long.

David Bedard
David Bedard

Since we’re talking 25 years or older, I would say the Sierra RS Cosworth. I recently sold my dead WRX (engine blew up) and bought a Fiesta ST, bringing me full circle back to the Blue Oval.
If we’re talking less than 25 years, I would go for the Escort RS Cosworth over the Sierra. But the ultimate dream car would be a Subaru Impreza 22B. Love that car! I guess I will always have a place in my heart for a good WRX.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams

Either the 90’s Nissan Skyline GTRs, the Lancia Delta Integrale Evos, or the Lancia Stratos. All are fantastic to drive, have great racing pedigrees and sparked imagination for people of all ages.

Derelict
Derelict

Already saving to do just that. Mid 80s dual cab Toyota Hilux. Just a plain, honest truck.

marktrank
marktrank

E46 M3GTR and E92 M3GTS

Kieron
Kieron

TVR Cerbera. Eventually i will bring one across.

Nicolas Reiller
Nicolas Reiller

I’m living in Europe so the problem is opposite, we import cars from the States (even European car cause they are less expensive and rust free), I imported a Mustang GT390 from california. However if I would live in the US, I would think about a Fiat Dino 2000/2400 coupe, a rare car but what an engine ! I think also about the 911 RS 2.7, which I think wasn’t originally imported if I’m right !

Mac
Mac

I would say: Fiat 126p.

David Hayes

Ford Falcon GTHO. 351, race car for the road. Silly money, though.

Gregory Coe
Gregory Coe

Porsche 968 Turbo S, Porsche 959, or an Audi RS2

Mercman
Mercman

190 16v Cosworth Evo II – ready to go in six months.:D

Gianni Burrows
Gianni Burrows

Lancia Delta S4 or 037. Audi Sport Quattro.

JB21
JB21

Honda Beat and Suzuki Cappuccino come to mind. And I would like to see Ala 155, 166, 156, 159 and that family, Smart Coupe Roadster, Peugeot 205, 306, 106, that sort of things. List goes on and on.

JB21
JB21

Oh, I forgot Ford Escort Cosworth RS, I would dig that!

Alexander Bermudez
Alexander Bermudez

There are lots of really good suggestions already posted by my fellow petrol heads, I would add the Mk1 Ford Escort and Renault R5 Turbo both in rally trim!

Mauro Diaz
Mauro Diaz

I agree with you on the Escort!

Patrick Frawley
Patrick Frawley

This was one of my favorite [url=”http://jalopnik.com/5889298/ten-amazing-cars-you-should-legally-import-to-the-us-right-now/”]Jalopnik QOTD/AOTDs[/url] back when I was there.

I’ll stick with my intro and winner: On the budget end, I’ll get a Peugeot 205 GTI. Cost no object, as Matthew Lange noted, an ’85 Ferrari GTO. Couple others I can think of in there, but those two hold the mystique.

Patrick Frawley
Patrick Frawley

Remember/realize that per AOTD rules I was strictly limited to what the commentariat offered. Don’t remember anyone offering either of those; really, I had to wait a disturbing amount of time for the GTO to show up (it was my automatic first choice when we came up with the topic, but I didn’t want to pull it from consideration) and there were some others conspicuous by absence; I don’t know if anyone even knew that the Lancia Stratos was a valid choice. Besides, have to nod to the truly unusual when deserved; the ZIL was too cool to ignore.

Nathan Leland
Nathan Leland

In the future, E46 M3 CSL and a Lotus 340R

Mauro Diaz
Mauro Diaz

Z432 Fairlady, Hakosuka skyline, Renault A110

Phil Auldridge

Okay, Hands down, the 1991 Nissan Figaro. Most ‘Americans’ are completely unaware of this cool retro car built only one year, and only exported to RHD countries. I fell in love with one after seeing several on a trip to Great Britain several years ago. The Figaro was a limited edition model, and created such demand that Nissan had to sell them on a lottery basis. Some 20,000 were built overall, but I doubt there are more than 2 or 3 in the US at this time. The car featured a 1,000 CC turbocharged engine (that’s right, just 1,000 CC,… Read more »

m
m

I’d probably find a nice, original, stock, E30 M3 2.5l Sport Evo or E30 M3 convertible. Probably the ‘vert.

Kingshuk Mukherjee
Kingshuk Mukherjee

my list goes homologation models for Group B rally cars, earlier variants of the lancer EVO, the impreza 22b, M3 evo…other boy racer stuff. few more weeks until the R32 Skyline GTR is legal to import. looking forward to that as well..

Stephen Fitzgerald
Stephen Fitzgerald

This year an E30 M3 Evo II, next year an E30 M3 Sport Evo

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

None of the Ferrari Boxer family were officially imported into North America although quite a number made it over in period and since then. However if the Ferrari 288GTO does not make the top 3 on this list I will be surprised.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin

Hmmmmn …. Well …..the obvious choices would be either the Porsche 959 or a BMW M1 …

But what I would want/purchase personally as well as what I would use as a daily driver if I could have one would be .. the Bristol 411 Series Three or even better ….. the ‘ continuation ‘ 411 Series Six … by a long shot .

Taylor Nelson
Taylor Nelson

Ooooh, great question. I’ve really been a fan of the early Skylines (like a mid-60 or early-70s model). Early 70s Ford Falcon XB. Something along those lines.