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Thread: Help on Importing to US

  1. #1
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    Help on Importing to US

    So, I've searched around a fair amount and can't find much helpful advice on importing Japanese cars to the US. I know cars for road use have to be ? 25 years old, but I've seen conflicting sources on whether RHD is okay. I can't imagine why it would be illegal to have a RHD car over here since mail trucks are RHD, but I want to know for sure.

    Does anyone have some general advice on importing to the states? Good companies/bad companies? How to locate specific models? Is there a FAQ somewhere I should be reading?

    EDIT: Okay, so according to what I've found here, importing JDM cars 25 years old or older is relatively easy in terms of DOT inspections and the like. RHD is definitely legal. Shipping rates I've found for various exporters seem to range from $1500 - $3000 (plus transport across the country to Tennessee if you're like me). The real question I have now is: Does anyone have experience working with a particular import or export company that they would recommend?

  2. #2
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    Re: Help on Importing to US

    What car are you looking for?

  3. #3
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    Re: Help on Importing to US

    Looking for an '87 or '88 Suzuki Alto Works RS-R, as seen here: http://80shero.blogspot.com/2013/05/awd-works.html

    I've had some promising emails back from RightDriveUSA and Nostalgia Imports, but nothing solid just yet. Got a generic reply from japaneseusedcars.com as well. These little cars aren't the easiest things to track down. Anyone have any info on working with any of these companies?


    UPDATE: So I was sent this listing by Nostalgia Imports, which to my eye is highly suspect... First of all, because every single picture on that site is from this 80sHERO post which is 5 months old. Second, the figure they quoted me to have it delivered is the exact maximum value I gave them. It could still be legit, and if so it's a great opportunity, but it all seems strangely dubious at this point....

    UPDATE 2: RightDriveUSA sent me what I feel is a very legit listing for an '88. The car looks good (see below), apart from missing the factory Works wheels and all 20,000 original decals it came with (which are a necessary part of the charm, imo). Anyway, they are willing to help me track down further examples, do inspections, get further pics, etc. But only after I give them a deposit of $1500. Again, this is something I'd feel way more comfortable about if I knew some people who'd had positive import experiences through them...


  4. #4
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    Re: Help on Importing to US

    RightDrive does a lot of work here in Canada so they are trustworthy they will also make the car legal for the road in the US.

  5. #5
    Administrator john's Avatar
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    Re: Help on Importing to US

    Quote Originally Posted by saruken
    Does anyone have experience working with a particular import or export company that they would recommend?
    Heard nothing but good things about JDM Legends. Bunch of great guys over there. :tu:

  6. #6
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    Re: Help on Importing to US

    I use Cosdel. www.cosdel.com

  7. #7
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    Re: Help on Importing to US

    Quote Originally Posted by john
    Heard nothing but good things about JDM Legends. Bunch of great guys over there. :tu:
    Thank you for the responses. I've heard great things about JDM Legends too, and actually I didn't realize for a long time that they do sourcing and importing as well as awesome restomods. I sent them an email last week, but haven't heard anything back yet. I'll keep you posted on what I find out.

  8. #8
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    Re: Help on Importing to US

    When I first emailed JDM Legends, they didn't contact me until a car came up on auction at least a couple weeks later. That one had a very high reserve, but another 4-door Hako came up on auction about a week later which I won. JDML knows their stuff, but they are very busy and it takes them awhile to get things done sometimes. So if you are the patient sort, they are a great resource.

  9. #9
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    Re: Help on Importing to US

    jdmlegends is good if they have the car already, but if you want them to ship you a car...don't bother. they gave me an estimate of almost triple what it's costing me to use a highly expereinced and reputable importer that's coming to my house to tow the car to the docks, all paperwork and ship the car. also they weren't very sure on how to handle the request.

    not knocking the guys, just passing on my expereince with them. now if they source and ship the car, you may be better off. just realize they are not the only people that can do that. they are the most popular and are very professional though.

  10. #10
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    Re: Help on Importing to US

    Figure this might be useful for potential JDM Legends customers

    Hello Michael,

    Thank you for contacting us regarding the costs of importing a vehicle. What type of car are you looking for? I am sure we can save you some money getting a car through us, rather than sourcing the vehicle and having us do the importation. Typically the pricing is roughly 5K+ to import a car including all shipping, DOT, EPA, and NHTSA paperwork, etc. We also charge a 15% commission to go through with the whole process.

    If you would like to purchase the vehicle from us, the pricing is generally very similar to the pricing in Japan. If you would like, I can get you some more pricing information on a specific type of car.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.

    Best regards,
    some cars seem to get very high indeeed http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nissan-Other-GT ... ars_Trucks

    ^Probably sells in Japan for what a Z31 sells as here.

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