Another year has passed which means there is an opportunity for you to own some newer cars if you can import them. As you may or may not already know, there is a legal clause known as the 25-year rule which basically states that certain makes and models of vehicles can be imported as antiques after 25 years into the United States. The 25-year clause basically says any vehicle that hits 25 years old is now an antique and therefore no longer subject to the regulations that previously had prevented them from being sold in the country sooner.
In 1989, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) decided to clean up the importation of vehicles into the country which was quickly becoming quite the grey area. As a result, they determined vehicles over 25 years of age could be presumed collect vehicles or antiques and as such would only allow those vehicles in. In large part, I do believe the 25-year rule has largely been a success in preventing vehicles that had no business being driven anywhere let alone on the roadways of the country, into the country.
Nissan Skyline GT-R NISMO 400R
I think when people think of the Nissan Skyline they naturally think of the R34 as the greatest Skyline to ever be made, but I think those people are wrong. Personally, I’ve always preferred the appearance of the R33 Skyline which is more of a personal choice than anything. But there was a very special edition of the R33 made called the Nismo 400R with the 400 standing for the amount of horsepower and the R standing for Racing. This R33 was developed by NISMO and took the original RB26DETT engine and made it more powerful. Then they upgraded literally every other aspect of the vehicle from the clutch to the exhaust to the body. The engine did produce 400 horsepower and 347lb feet of torque allowing a top speed of over 186mph and a 0-60mph in just 4 seconds. While these are now legal to import there were only 44 of them ever made by NISMO which makes it hard to find. The going rate for this is a cool $2.2 million so yes you can import them as long as you have a lot of money.
Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution
Back when Mitsubishi was making cool cars, the Lancer was not the only nameplate they made an “Evolution” edition for. Back then Mitsubishi decided it would make a performance version of their four-door SUV called the Pajero, which was also sold as the Montero in North America. Now when I say performance version they literally built the Pajero Evolution to be an off-road competition car for rallies such as the Dakar Rally. The Pajero Evolution street version was a 2-door SUV that featured a 3.5L V6 engine producing 275 horsepower. It also featured skid plates, a double wishbone independent suspension on the front and a multi-link independent suspension on the back. The drivetrain was a 4WD system and it had front and rear Torsen differentials. Only 2500 of these were ever made but surprisingly they can be found for relatively cheap when everything is considered.
Honda Civic Type-R EK9
I know the Civic’s numbers aren’t really that impressive and they have a bit of a bad rap thanks to the ricer world. But once you drive one of these, specifically a Type-R, you’ll realize just how fantastic they are. The Civic Type-R is powered by the B16B engine which is a 1.6 litre 4-cylinder engine which puts out 182 horsepower and 118lb feet of torque. While those numbers don’t scream performance, just keep in mind the Civic Type-R also features a lighter body and chassis, better breaks, a LSD, close-ratio gears, and sound deadening. Once you drive it you realize just how much heart and soul these things have and perhaps this might even give you new perspective to own one.