This Is Why Most JDM Import Cars Won't Be Future Classics

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With the exception of one very important car.

Thanks to the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act, you can't import any nonconforming car (safety and emissions) into the US unless it is 25 years old. The R32 Skyline GT-R is only being sold in the US now because it meets this time limit, and you can have one for around $20,000-$25,000. However, as newer Skylines start to become legal no one really knows what will happen to the R32's value. Everyone in America is patiently waiting for the day they can import the R34 Skyline, aka the one made famous in the Fast & Furious flicks.


Skylines and other JDM cars are very unique compared to the previous vehicles we've examined in the future collectibles series. Skylines weren't just rare, they were forbidden. Simply never being sold in the US created a high demand for these cars. In other parts of the world people wonder why we are so obsessed with an old Japanese sports car. Because we could never have it we put the Skyline on a pedestal that it might not be able to live up to. We aren't saying that the Skyline GT-R is not a fun car to drive, but compared to some amazing and more modern cars they don't feel THAT special. In fact, I had the chance to drive an R34 GT-T.

How was it to drive? Well, it kind of drove like a really fast Maxima. The steering and shifter were nice enough, but was it awe-inspiring? No. Perhaps I need to drive a GT-R version soon to get the full effect. But trust me, these cars are just "good" to drive. That doesn't mean you may not love it. It just wasn't my thing. Now back to its value in the future. Finding a well-kept R32 is starting to become harder. Japan has caught on to our love of its old coupe and prices have begun to rise. By the time the R33 GT-R is legal in 2020 it will probably cost far more than the mid-$20,000s that we are now paying for the R32. You probably won't be able to get an R34 GT-R for less than $100,000 by the time it's legal.

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Other than the Skyline GT-R there aren't many JDM cars that have the same level of cultural awareness in the US. The Toyota AE86 comes to mind, and yes, they will likely be future collectibles as well. However, the vast majority of weird stuff from Japan won't be collectible here in the US. As Doug DeMuro proved, it isn't exactly easy to sell a Skyline in the US. There may be someone out there who is dying to have a Honda Beat, but chances are that if you buy a car from Japan you will have a tough time selling it. In Japan many of these models are completely typical. Even the Skyline came as a four door sedan. It is about as "special" there as a Mustang is here. You don't see too many Americans geeking out over a 1992 Mustang do you?

In short, most JDM cars will not become future collectibles in the US. However, the Skylines, especially GT-Rs, will definitely start to appreciate as the years go on. If you want to buy a GT-R in the US, we say go ahead! Just realize, it may not be everything you dreamed of as a 10-year-old playing "Gran Turismo."

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