Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) classic cars spark curiosity whenever they pull up next to western vehicles in the USA. Their striking design catches the eye but so too does the driving set up. These right-hand drive (RHD) beauties provide an exciting experience for enthusiasts around the world, thanks to the assistance of importers.
If an iconic RHD Japanese car has caught your eye and you would like to see more options, JDM Sports Classics is the ultimate destination for savvy buyers.
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RHD vehicles in the US market
Despite some skepticism, it is perfectly legal to drive RHD vehicles in all 50 states. For example, the United States Postal Service (USPS) uses RHD trucks for many of their routes. This is because the driving orientation makes it easier for mail carriers to reach roadside mailboxes without stepping into traffic. There are, of course, many other sources of demand. JDM vehicles are particularly popular thanks to their stunning styling and low mileage. In addition, the exacting standards of maintenance in Japan mean that they are reliable.
Complying with local regulations
JDM vehicles, aged 25 years old or more, are exempt from regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transport (DOT). The “25 year rule” means that they do not have to comply with modern safety and emission standards. Importers can provide assistance to buyers by providing EPA/DOT waivers to streamline the process. This gives you peace of mind that you can enjoy smooth driving on the open highways of the USA.
Finding the right import partner
In any successful relationship, your choice of partner is vital to enjoying the journey. Prospective buyers should look for importers with a sound reputation of handling JDM cars. Easy ways of determining their standing in the industry could come from online reviews, client testimonials, or word of mouth. When you have found a reliable importer, the process of identifying, sourcing, titling and purchasing your dream JDM car becomes seamless.
The importation has other costs beyond the actual purchase price. Various other costs will inflate the number but a reputable importer should always disclose this. The end price may also include: shipping fees, import duties, taxes, and any other modifications needed. Of course, as with any substantial purchase, it is advisable to take out insurance on the vehicle.
The final hurdles
As your new ride reaches the US, the last few steps involve clearing customs and local registration. Your import partner will provide all the guidance you need to complete the paperwork for getting through Customs and Border Protection (CBP). After this, you will need to register your JDM gem in your state. After it is declared road-ready, you can hit the open roads!
Finally, you’re in the driver’s seat but it’s on the opposite side than what you are used to. There is no need for concern as adapting to a RHD vehicle is straightforward. The steering wheel may be on the other side but the shift set-up for changing gears is the same as your standard left-hand drive car. The accelerator, brake, and clutch pedals are where you would expect to find them. First time drivers report feeling at ease with the RHD configuration after the initial test drive. Within a few weeks of ownership, it is second nature.
In conclusion, the process of importing a JDM RHD car is a nuanced but rewarding process. Collaborating with the right partner, as well as prior research and dedicated planning, makes all the difference in this journey. It all becomes worthwhile when you get behind the wheel and turn the ignition for the first time.