If you’re looking for something odd, exotic, or just a little different, you may have already started looking for a right-hand drive (RHD) car. In the United States, there are several misconceptions concerning RHD cars, including whether or not they are legal. In this piece, we’ll answer some of those questions for you.
Import a vehicle into the USA
You’re in luck if you’re importing a car that’s over 25 years old. Vehicles over 25 years old with the original engine are exempt from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, according to US Customs and Border Protection (FMVSS). Import it, register it, and then enjoy driving around on the wrong side of the road.
Importing something older than 25 years isn’t strictly prohibited. It only needs to comply with EPA and NHTSA rules. Because most automobiles that fit those criteria are already made in the United States, importing them from elsewhere is a little more difficult. Importing modern RHD vehicles is impossible because automobiles built to US requirements are left-hand drives. However, just because they’re RHD doesn’t mean they’re unlawful.
However, there are certain exceptions. If you have your heart set on a newer RHD vehicle, the EPA says you can import it under certain circumstances. Either you’re using an Independent Commercial Importer, or ICI, to import a vehicle, or you’ve gotten pre-approval from the EPA for one of the following exemptions:
Alteration or repair
You don’t live in the United States.
But be aware:
BEFORE transporting a vehicle that does not satisfy EPA or FMVSS regulations, you must make arrangements with an ICI or obtain EPA pre-approval.
What should you do?
You can go through an ICI and pay a lot of money if you want a recent RHD car. There is another alternative if that isn’t the case.
Purchase a Nissan Skyline:
The R32 Skyline, which was produced from 1989 to 1994, became eligible for import into the United States in August 2014, according to a 25-year law. And a large number of them were imported.
RHD cars built after 1995 are not covered by the 25-year rule at the time of writing. The R32 rapidly became a cult classic among JDM collectors nationally, with engines ranging from 90 horsepower through a 1.8 litre to the GT-276 R’s horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque through a 2.6 litre I6.
There’s a reason the GT-R is known as Godzilla: it has a stellar racing record and was so popular in Australia than it was dubbed after the Japanese monster. One of its more remarkable characteristics is its all-wheel-drive system, which, like the Porsche 959, uses an electro-mechanical AWD system to transmit up to 50% of its power to the front wheels.
We see a lot of Skylines on JDM Sport Classics because so many were imported as soon as the 25-year law was passed. Here’s a good example of a well-kept 91 Skyline. This one has a 2.0L turbo I6 RB20DET engine, so it’s not the renowned GT-R, but it’s still quite fantastic.
We’ve got RHD cars
So, if you want to buy a JDM cult-classic, amazing RHD car, take a look at the Nissan Skylines we have offered on JDM Sport Classics. You won’t have to worry about customs declarations, taxes, or anything else because they’ve already been imported. All you have to do now is transport it from your house to the yard, which will be quick and easy thanks to our shipping partner, EasyHaul.