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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

8 Foreign Classic Cars That Will Soon Be Legal To Import Into the USA

For some American classic car enthusiasts it can be a hard pill to swallow. The fact that some of the coolest collector cars in the world are not allowed within our borders. Tough vehicle import laws make it next to impossible to own and register certain vehicles for the first 25 years of their existence.

Luckily there is a 25 year limit on importing these vehicles. As of today, only cars produced from 1992 or earlier are able to get through customs, but there are a few others that will soon be ready to cruise American roads in just a few years.

1992–1993 Alfa Romeo RZ
Alfa Romeo cars have long been reserved for Europeans and other countries that allowed them on their roads. We think this is a real shame because some of these Italian sport cars can be a real blast to drive.

Especially this quirky car… the Alfa Romeo RZ (Roadster Zagato) convertible. A few of the hard topped versions (Alfa SZ sports coupe) made it to the USA before they stopped Alfa entry all together in 1995. No promise you will ever see one as there are reportedly only 300 ever produced. You might be better off just settling for the new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider which can now be purchased new here.

1992–1996 Ford Escort RS Cosworth
If you live in Europe and were familiar with this car, you would know it better as a “Cossie”. It was built by Ford of Europe with rally car performance in mind. Over 7,000 were made and came stock with a 227-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a 5 speed transmission and of course the infamous whale tail! This was the last AWD car made by Ford until 2016 gave us the Focus RS.

1992–1995 Honda NSX Type R
North American models were sold as the Acura NSX, but this is the first-generation Honda NSX. This NSX became the world’s first mass-produced car to feature an all-aluminum body. Fewer than 500 were made which means that importing a first-generation Honda NSX is going to run you six figures easily.

1992–1994 Mazda Autozam AZ-1/Suzuki Cara
Not much bigger than a roller skate, this mid-engine miniature sports car would be a blast to cruise around in if you are under 5’5” and thin enough to fit inside. The gullwing doors might make it easier to squeeze into. Its small size and steep MSRP was what ultimately killed it in the Japanese market. 5000 were sold from 1992 to 1994 so might be able to find one and shipping it back to the USA shouldn’t cost you more it would to ship a motorcycle.

1992–2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution I–VII
1992 was a year of innovation for the Japanese and possibly its greatest debut was the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. The Lancer Evolution would claim a string of World Rally Championship titles and eventually be sold in other markets. The Mitsubishi Evo VIII was brought to the USA in 2003, but it is the previous versions that tuner purists are all after. The early versions remain truest to the car’s original spirit.

1994–1999 Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205
This car might look familiar to you, but don’t be fooled. This is the AWD Toyota Celica better known as the GT-Four to our Neighbors to the east. While the fifth-generation version came to the USA in small numbers as the Celica All-Trac through 1993, the sixth-generation GT-Four never made the trip, despite being even more advanced. Two more years before we can bring this ride home.

1995–1998 Nissan Skyline GT-R R33
The first time I saw this car was in a video game and I instantly thought, “why don’t we have those here!?!”. We still have to wait 3 more years before the 1995 version will reach the 25 year threshold, however it certainly makes the list. You can already claim the older R32 Skyline, it is the bigger and beefier R33 that American enthusiasts are patiently waiting for.

1996–2004 TVR Cerbera
If you are familiar with TVR then you know that conventional and reliable are two words you would probably never use to describe any of their vehicles. The TVR Cerbera is no exception. It is however a very light and powerful sports car that is sure to delight anyone that gets behind the wheel despite its unique and quirky setbacks.

Most Cerberas came with TVR’s 4.2-liter flat-plane-crank V-8 that pumped out an impressive 360 horsepower. There was also a 420-hp 4.5-liter version that could make up to 440 horsepower, but you’ll have to fuel up at the racetrack. Let’s hope that regulations remain the same and in 4 more years you could bring home one of these TVRs for your collection.

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