These are the most exciting 25-year-old cars going legal in 2021


The 25-year import ban is something every JDM enthusiast remembers with a heavy heart. But keeping your patience helps because every year we get a batch of cool JDM cars that we’ve always wanted to enjoy (that’s a bit of a kid in a candy store!). As strange as the ban may sound, this rule has actually helped us uncover gems over time. There are cars that we have wanted for a long time, and at the same time, there are some that we didn’t even have a clue about!

The rarer ones will probably be much harder to get, there were some very common cars sold elsewhere which are gold to us. Most of this year’s cars would be upgraded, performance-enhanced cars from the MY 1995. GT-Rs, Lancers and Impreza continue to carry on JDM’s heyday, but this year we also have a heaps of quirky cars that can also spark the JDM vibe for families!

The final group that is exempt from the 25-year rule contains a slime-worthy and quirky group of JDMs to cheer you up.

Nissan Stagea – A practical skyline

Nissan Stagea third quarter front view


The Nissan Stagea was a wagon version of the R33 Skyline GT-R. Not completely, but it shared a lot of parts with the R33 Skyline, which made it very similar in terms of dynamics and powertrain setup. The fuel-efficient models were built with Nissan’s 2.5L Turbo (RB25DET) Inline-5 engine which was also used in the Skyline GTS-T. It came with a 5-speed manual gearbox and all-wheel drive.

You can also have a Stagea with an RWD configuration. But the ones we crave are the ones powered by the R33 GT-R’s 2.6L RB26DETT engine. It came with a more aggressive body kit and was named 260RS and was built by Nissan Autech’s in-house tuner, and pumped out 276 hp. This one looked awesome and only 1,734 were made in its timeline. So getting one can be quite a task.

Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IV – Bonanza AWD

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV third quarter front view


This legend does not need an intro and comes with a modified version of the 2.0L 4G63T from the Evo III. It added a larger intercooler and for the first time came with a twin scroll turbo for more power, 276 hp to be precise. This particular EVO was famous because it was the first of the bunch to be equipped with active yaw control which adjusted the torque distribution at the rear depending on the ride.

This EVO also had reworked mounting points for reduced steering torque which was quite important in this monstrosity. Mitsubishi only built 9,000 of these iconic EVOs. And oddly enough, it didn’t get the hype it deserved, which is actually a good thing because you can easily get your hands on one.

Related: 10 Japanese Cars From The 90s That Are Becoming More Popular With Collectors

Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 – The Lesser Known JDM

Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 front third quarter acceleration view


The chances of you knowing this Mitsubishi are very dark, as the EVO has eclipsed this gem of a machine. The Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 was also equipped with active yaw control and was fitted with a 276 horsepower 2.5L twin-turbo V6 and came standard with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The MY 1996 was in its 8th generation and did 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds.

It also had a model equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox that could go from 0 to 100 km / h in 5.3 seconds (quite fast for the time). It’s not very popular but deserves a lot of attention as an EVO, and it also came in wagon form – The Legnum.

Subaru Impreza WRX STI Version III – Rally Legacy

Subaru Impreza WRX STI Version III Front Third Quarter View


There were no major updates for the 1996 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Version III. But a subtle cosmetic update continued to make the ’96 Impreza one of the more elusive. The updated fluffy front fascia gave it an intimidating look that amplified its already cool appeal.

And it was also during MY 1996 that the WRX and WRX STI 276 hp (the magic number). The Subaru Impreza lineup ultimately stood up in terms of performance to its rivals, including Nissan Skylines and Mitsubishi Lancer Evos.

Related: These Japanese Classic Cars Are Notoriously Dumped

Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R LM Limited – Commemoration of The Skyline’s effort at Le Mans

Nissan R33 Skyline GT-R LM Limited front third quarter view


The Nissan R33 Skyline was given the green light for import last year. But the R33 we have here is a special edition model that was built in very limited numbers in the spring of 1996. The GT-R LM Limited has been notably modified aesthetically and all 118 of them have come in color. Championship Blue. It was built to celebrate the effort made by the Godzilla in La Sarthe.

It wore special LM decals and carbon fiber inserts in the rear spoiler, cooling ducts and front bumper lip. Due to their incredibly limited numbers and increased appeal, the Nissan Skyline GT-R LM Limited is hard to find, but making a few calls and giving it a try won’t hurt, right ?!


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