In the realm of automotive enthusiasm, the United States has long been a land of forbidden fruit for Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) cars. Yet, with the enactment of the 25-year import rule, a surge of renowned right-hand drive models has inundated the American market, captivating the affections of enthusiasts who now have the opportunity to possess these mythical vehicles.
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JDM Sports Cars
This article will intricately examine a selection of the most captivating JDM sports cars currently open for import, each containing its distinctive allure and heritage.
Nissan Skyline GT-R R32: The Godzilla Legacy Continues
Undoubtedly, the crown jewel of JDM imports is the Nissan Skyline GT-R R32. Debuting in 1989, it brought the iconic RB26DETT engine, delivering a formidable 276 horsepower. The R32 earned its moniker as “Godzilla” due to its dominating performance on the tracks. Over the years, enthusiasts have pushed the limits, with some Skylines reaching staggering horsepower figures. While the GT-R prices have soared, the GTS and GTS-T models offer a more accessible entry point for enthusiasts.
Mitsubishi Delica: Redefining Cool in the World of Vans
Breaking the stereotype that vans can’t be cool, the Mitsubishi Delica was ahead of its time. Offering a 5-speed manual, diesel engine, and four-wheel drive, the Delica was an off-road van with a touch of adventure. With swiveling seats and a unique engine placement beneath the front seat, the Delica proves that utility and coolness can coexist.
Toyota Sera: Futuristic Doors and 90s Nostalgia
Produced from 1990 to 1996, the Toyota Sera is one of the most iconic RHD cars and a testament to 90s innovation. Boasting doors that rival a Lamborghini, the Sera may have had a modest 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, but its radical design made it a standout. With rare factory accessories like a car phone and fax machine, the Sera offers a nostalgic trip to a time before smartphones dominated our lives.
Toyota Century: Japanese Luxury Unveiled
While Acura and Lexus marked the entry of Japanese luxury cars to the U.S., the Toyota Century quietly ruled the Japanese market since 1967. Weighing in like a Mercedes S-Class or Cadillac DeVille, the Century featured V8 and even V12 engine options. Although it never made its way to the U.S., the Century remains a symbol of Toyota’s reliability and luxury.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III: Rally Heritage Unleashed
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III, powered by a 4G63T four-cylinder turbo engine, was a rally car enthusiast’s dream. Available only with a manual transmission, this car delivered 266 horsepower and showcased Mitsubishi’s rally heritage. Even in 2021, the Evolution III remains a rare find, offering an authentic taste of rally performance to American enthusiasts.
Suzuki Cappuccino: Kei Car Fun with Two Transmission Options
Competing with the Honda Beat and Autozam AZ-1, the Suzuki Cappuccino was a front mid-engine car available with both a 5-speed manual and a 3-speed automatic. With a detachable hardtop and a weight of 1,598 pounds, the Cappuccino provides a unique driving experience that was once unknown to Americans.
Autozam AZ-1: Gullwing Doors and Unique Kei Car Design
Manufactured by Mazda under the Autozam brand, the AZ-1 stands out with its gullwing doors and wedge-shaped design. As a mid-engine powered car with a 5-speed manual, the AZ-1’s rarity and unique design have made it a sought-after gem in the world of kei cars.
In conclusion, the 25-year import rule has opened the doors to a new era of JDM enthusiasts in the United States. From the rally-inspired Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III to the iconic Nissan Skyline GT-R R32, these right-hand drive models offer a diverse range of options for enthusiasts seeking a taste of Japanese automotive history. As the industry continues to grow, the allure of these legendary JDM sports cars shows no signs of fading. American roads are now graced by these once-forbidden gems, each with a unique story and a legacy that continues to captivate automotive enthusiasts nationwide.