The coolest 25-year-old cars you can legally import in 2020

There’s more than one way to import foreign-market cars into America that weren’t originally crash-tested, emissions-certified, or otherwise legal to use on the road here in the United States when they are new. If you order a Bill Gates bank account and want a Porsche 959, you could theoretically buy two of the rare sports cars and pay to have one road certified by testing the other. In short, bring cash or something into the country under posting and posting rules, which means you can’t really register your car on the street. If you’re like everyone else and really want to drive your precious import, the easiest way is to wait until the car you covet is 25 years old.

A long wait? It depends on the car you’re interested in, but trust us, there’s plenty of metal worthy of the name just begging for a boat ride to the old United States of America. Whether it’s a sweet version of one of your favorite cars that its manufacturer never sent to America, or a quirky one that had no business being in the United States, there’s tons of choices for the potential importer. Fortunately, for 2020, the selection of newly 25-year-old vehicles is strong. From sports cars to tiny Japanese-market Kei cars, we’ve rounded up ten of the coolest 1995 cars you can finally import into the US:

R33 Nissan GT-R

The R33 Nissan GT-R is a legend and is probably the most recognizable car on this list. It’s also probably the most desirable, so naturally we put it first. The R33 represents a huge step up from the R32 that preceded it, thanks to its improved rear-wheel steering, smarter all-wheel-drive system and longer wheelbase for better high-speed stability. These big coupes have also aged gracefully and don’t look as old and 90s as other performance machines from that decade.

BMW Alpina B8 4.8

Alpina is a highly respected BMW tuning company, which has been around since 1965, providing BMW with incredible visual and performance upgrades for decades. In recent years, his B7 has established itself in the United States. The B7 is a reworked BMW 7 Series sedan that would make a natural M7 – if BMW built an M version of the big 7 Series, which it doesn’t. Either way, the B8 4.6 represents Alpina’s go-to vehicle in 1995. Based on the E36 generation 3 Series, the B8 4.6 featured Alpina’s usual array of impressive geometric graphics and signature fine-spoke wheels. , as well as a 4.6-liter V. -8 engine crammed under its hood. Casual observers of the E36 3 Series might recall that the largest engine offered by BMW in the compact car at the time was an inline-six, a 3.0-liter unit used by the M3. The big V-8 put out 329 horsepower and was hooked up to a six-speed manual transmission, easily making it one of the craziest 3-Series of the ’90s.

Alfa Romeo 146

The United States could not experience the best of Alfa Romeo between 1995 and 2017, when the brand made its official return to this market with the Giulia and Giulia Quadrifoglio sports sedans. By 1995, when Alfa exited the US auto market, it had been reduced to selling only the Spider roadster and the 164 sedan. The smaller 146 sedan was not originally sold here, and although it isn’t exactly legendary, she’s cute, quirky, and now 25 years old. Alfa has offered the 146 with a variety of engines, but the one to get is the most powerful available, a 2.0-litre ‘twin spark’ four-cylinder exclusive to Ti sport trim levels.

Mitsubishi Evo III

Mitsubishi euthanized the last descendant of its potent rally machines, the Lancer Evolution X, in 2015 and announced there would be no future for high-performance Evo models. That means anyone looking to relive the glory days of Mitsu’s battle with Subaru’s Impreza WRX on and off the WRC circuit will have to step back in time to score any Evo. While you look back, could we suggest the Evo III? That’s right, skip the Evo VIII which was the first to officially arrive at US Mitsubishi dealerships, and go for the III which is finally old enough to be imported here. The Evo III was an upgraded version of the Evo II, boasting smoother aerodynamics, better engine cooling, a larger turbo, and more horsepower (270) and torque (228 lbs. -pi) than the previous car. That’s a lot, even by today’s standards.

Honda Integra Type R

True fans of the Acura Integra know how good the Type R variant was, and its legend seems to grow with its age. But, before the Acura model came to the United States in 1997, the Honda (not Acura!) Integra Type R went on sale in Japan in 1995. You want to top those Acura versions, which are now highly coveted by American Honda enthusiasts? Take this newly importable first-year Honda version, which came with a screaming 1.8-liter inline-four that developed 197 horsepower and 8,000 rpm, plus styling and engine upgrades exclusive to the Japanese domestic market. (JDM).

Nissan Rasheen

You’ve probably never heard of the Nissan Rasheen, a square little wagon that looks like the result of a crossover experiment involving a Volvo, a Jeep Cherokee and maybe a LaForza SUV. Thanks to its micro scale – the Rasheen is tiny! – and its derpy appearance, the Nissan is cute and friendly. Nissan fitted the Sunny-based Rasheen with all-wheel drive and offered a number of engine options, and it could look less pedestrian with a few styling tweaks and maybe a few small off-road tires.

Mitsubishi Pajero Mini

Wait, isn’t the Pajero a beefy SUV? Yes, but this is the Mini version. The Pajero Mini is a genuine Kei car, named after the “Kei” class of micro-cars in Japan that allows owners to reduce vehicle taxes and limits engine size and overall dimensions. Whether you think it looks like a smashed version of the Mitsubishi Galant of the era mixed with a retro Outlander, or a shrunken Pajero, it’s adorable. Because Kei cars are exclusive to Japan, bringing one to the United States is an easy way to stand out at your local Cars and Coffee gathering. No kidding, everyone has seen a Lamborghini, but how many Mitsubishi Pajero Minis have you seen? Exactly. Plus, imagine what kind of trails this could fit on that even a Jeep Wrangler couldn’t!


Think of the MG F as Brits embrace Toyota’s MR2 mid-engined sports car. The MG F, like the MR2, is a small mid-engined convertible (okay, the MR2 was more of a targa, but you get the idea). Apparently the design of the MG was inspired by the Ferrari 250 LM. Beyond the F’s round headlights, consider this missed mark. But hey, the MG F was still one of Britain’s last affordable sports cars when it was launched and until production ended in 2002.

Audi A8

Yes, we know it’s an S8, imagine it with less “S” logos and you get the idea.

The Audi A8 didn’t make its way to the United States until 1997, but it was first released in 1995. That means if you want one of the first A8s ever made, you can scour the internet for trying to find a German- market model to import. In his initial review for Top of the line (episodes are available on MotorTrend On demand!), host Jeremy Clarkson called it one of the most comfortable cars he had ever driven, better than contemporary BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class sedans. It’s quite a compliment for Audi’s first real attempt at a full-size luxury machine aimed at the big guns of the luxury segment.

Toyota Mega Cruiser

Rounding out this list of desirable metals in the overseas market is this decidedly American thing, the Toyota Mega Cruiser. Consider it Japan’s answer to the Hummer. It was large, designed primarily for military use, and you’ll definitely want to swerve if you see it behind you on the highway. The Mega Cruise is also mega cool, and you can finally make your Hummer-driving neighbor jealous for having something just as big, but more exotic and exclusive in every way. Also, hey, gas is cheap right now, so go crazy.

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