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RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
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popeyearms76 Offline
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Post: #1
RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
For the North Americans here, has anyone ever brought over a RHD vehicle and registered it in the USA or Canada? How'd it go?

If the vehicle is over a certain age (25 years?) I've understood that it is not subject to all the safety and emissions regulations of newer vehicle. The costs of shipping it over could be prohibitive, but there are ways to avoid that cost by getting someone else to pay for it. When I was in the military, I considered importing a car back to the US at Uncle Sam's expense (can take one car back over) but I got sidetracked with more important things at that time.

It would really turn some heads and add that extra little bit of panache to have a RHD car. Passing on country roads would suck though.
11-02-2015 06:58 AM
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The Beast1 Offline
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Post: #2
RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
You can, there's a lot of grey market stuff involved.

What type of car were you trying to import?
11-02-2015 08:15 AM
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popeyearms76 Offline
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RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
No car in particular, just to do it in general. RX-7 or Nissan Skyline come to mind. What suggestions do you have? Is it too much of a hassle?
11-02-2015 09:33 AM
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The Beast1 Offline
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RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
Funny I was thinking about a Nissan Skyline when I saw your post.

So far it's looking pretty difficult from my cursory google search. You'll run into a lot of problems getting the car registered if it isn't EPA or DOT compliant.

Apologies, I've never done it and don't have much of an opinion. If you have the cash and are willing to spend it, anything is possible.
(This post was last modified: 11-02-2015 12:07 PM by The Beast1.)
11-02-2015 12:07 PM
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Mike0060 Offline
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RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
The import rule in Canada is 15 year and it's not that difficult to do. Plenty of JDM cars in Alberta and British Columbia. Dealerships that sell them at a marked up margin but available none the less.
11-03-2015 02:26 AM
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popeyearms76 Offline
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RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
It's no surprise that the USA has the most onerous rules for importing a JDM. After delving into the subject a bit, those in the USA that simply want a RHD car would be best off converting a car that's US spec already. That would get around the whole NHTSA/DOT bit and would also allow for a car that isn't >25 years old. Costs to do that might run into several thousands of dollars though. I am not that much an auto enthusiast to do that.

Here's an article about it that suggested doing the conversion of a US spec car vs importing. RHD cars in North America.
11-03-2015 04:15 AM
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Oz. Offline
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Post: #7
RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
Last week I saw an R32 Skyline driving around perfectly legal, right sided steering wheel and everything

(11-15-2014 09:06 AM)Little Dark Wrote:  This thread is not going in the direction I was hoping for.
11-03-2015 09:52 AM
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The Beast1 Offline
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RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
(11-03-2015 09:52 AM)Oz. Wrote:  Last week I saw an R32 Skyline driving around perfectly legal, right sided steering wheel and everything

There was a company that was importing them to the states for a pretty penny. Basically went through the whole gambit of crash testing and going through DOT/EPA certification to get the door stickers.

Nifty cars, though i'd be more into them if I was into Ricing.
11-03-2015 10:23 AM
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the Thing Offline
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RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
(11-03-2015 09:52 AM)Oz. Wrote:  Last week I saw an R32 Skyline driving around perfectly legal, right sided steering wheel and everything

R32's are 25 years old now so you can legally bring one stateside

“Our great danger is not that we aim too high and fail, but that we aim too low and succeed.” ― Rollo Tomassi
11-03-2015 11:54 AM
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DJ-Matt Offline
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Post: #10
RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
Several Jeep models have RHD models made for rural mail carriers.

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11-03-2015 04:20 PM
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Cr33pin Offline
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RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
(11-03-2015 10:23 AM)The Beast1 Wrote:  
(11-03-2015 09:52 AM)Oz. Wrote:  Last week I saw an R32 Skyline driving around perfectly legal, right sided steering wheel and everything

There was a company that was importing them to the states for a pretty penny. Basically went through the whole gambit of crash testing and going through DOT/EPA certification to get the door stickers.

Nifty cars, though i'd be more into them if I was into Ricing.

MoToRex was the company that imported them. An it was a cluster fuck to say the least.

The GTR R34 is an will always be mydream car, aside from a Lambo.
[Image: SKyline-r34-reaction-3.jpg]
[Image: 34697.jpg]

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(This post was last modified: 11-03-2015 07:43 PM by Cr33pin.)
11-03-2015 07:41 PM
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Fujiwara Offline
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Post: #12
RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
I've been riding around in RHD cars in the States since I was born, and driving lots of RHD cars since 2010 when I converted my first one. My current car which is my daily driver is a RHD car, and I still live in the States.

Having said that, it's fun, and I definitely have met people because of it, but now as I am typing I realize that everyone likes RHD, but as always most people are still dumb, but it helps me find legit car people who are about the work and not just writing the checks, because they recognize the work in the build. And then people that can only write checks write them to me fearlessly after they see what I am capable of doing.

I never tell people about it, they just see it. It is fun for me to pick up a chick and walk her to the car, and then when she walks to the wrong side of the car and notices it is always a fun moment.

It's weirder to be a passenger in a RHD car than to drive one.

Passing on 2-lane highways isn't so bad. Either you swing around to the right to peek past the car in front, or you have a reliable passenger that can give you a good "clear" or "no." Helps that my car is plenty quick enough to overtake pretty much anything, at any time, even here at 10,000 feet elevation.

The fun attention can get old, like when you are in traffic and people drive close to you to stare. Which of course makes me flex that engine, putting me at risk of speeding tickets.

Let's see, what else. Drive-thrus are tough, but fast food is bad and you should get out for a walk every now and then anyway. Toll booths will be tricky if they aren't using transponders but after a while you'll be able to sink those quarters like Stephen Curry hitting those 3's.

Now I am actually a driver by trade and I spend all day long moving around much more modern and higher end cars than my aforementioned RHD toy car, but when I get back into my car it just feels better. It's more fun.

And since this is the RVF, I will finish by saying that having a RHD car has never been a major contributing factor to me getting laid. Converting the car from LHD to RHD, however, did... Like when I would catch rides home from work because my "race car" is in pieces... "Here let me show you my project" wow, Fujiwara, you can do all this? (panties explode)

I got laid way more when I was riding a bike and the car was on jack stands than I do now that it's finished, painted, and runs like a bat out of hell. Probably because I needed pussy to get my mind off a stressful project car, and now that it's done... Well, it's the most fun car in the world.
11-04-2015 12:02 AM
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Fujiwara Offline
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Post: #13
RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
One more thing. My cars with their modified firewalls and non-US-spec drivetrains were built and registered in a lovely state with no vehicle inspections or emission testing. Also since they were conversions they have 17-digit US VINs since they use the original unibody.

But yeah, Skylines are cool.
11-04-2015 12:07 AM
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popeyearms76 Offline
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Post: #14
RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
Fujiwara, for an example, let's take a garden variety US-spec Honda Civic that's less than 10 years old. What's the all-in cost to convert that to RHD?
11-04-2015 01:25 AM
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Fujiwara Offline
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RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
Way more than you want to spend on a 10-year old Civic. Check eBay for prices on a JDM Civic RHD clip. Then, assume that the engine or transmission needs repairing or replacing, as there is a reason someone junked it in Japan in the first place.

Factor in a bare minimum of 50-60 labor hours at an experienced shop. If you are doing it for the first time it may take more...

Of course this assumes you already have the car to convert.

The car I converted was the cheapest part of this project. My damn coilovers cost as much, timing belt kit just for maintenance was $650 but that's normal I guess
11-04-2015 06:34 PM
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the Thing Offline
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Post: #16
RE: RHD cars in the USA / Canada?
Why you guys want a convert a car from LHD to RHD I don't get it, especially considering you can buy an R32 Skyline in Japan, stock RHD for $2000.




“Our great danger is not that we aim too high and fail, but that we aim too low and succeed.” ― Rollo Tomassi
11-05-2015 05:36 AM
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