Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Hagerty Employee

8 amazing cars you can import in 2021 under the 25-year rule

We have a certain rule here in the States, and it’s often frustrating. To get an exemption from the various forms and regulations that allow a car to be registered here, the Department of Transportation requires vehicles to be 25 years or older. That means we’ve had to watch with envy from afar as enthusiasts in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere enjoy cars that are effectively unobtainium for us, at least until the clock runs down on them. Our neighbors up north, in Canada, also have a 10-year head start on us with their own 15-year import rule.


If there’s a silver lining to the 25-year rule, it’s that every 12 months we get a crop of classic cars that, to us anyway, fresh and exotic. Exemptions are also granted according to a car’s production date rather than model year, which means there is a rolling list of vehicles that become newly available as the months press on.


Here are eight cars we’ve had an eye on from the class of 1996 that will be eligible to import at some point in 2021.


Read the full list on


New Driver

Not so easy to license in California.  With all the time and paperwork be prepared to spend close to $10k in adjustments and add ons.  Plus be prepared for to go through a process that you might wish you didn't want.  Also keep in mind many of these 25 year old imports may not be the bargain you suggest.  These vehicles are probably in need of much service and hard if not impossible to find parts. Don't expect to use these as like new daily drivers.  The importers are used car dealers who might not be as honest as regular US used car dealers.  Besides there are many reasons they are being imported to this country. Importers are likely driven by large profits which they cannot command in their native country.  Buyer be very aware.

New Driver

I really would love the Tatra. I just love Eastern European and Russian cars.


Hagerty Employee

The Audi RS2 Avant falls into this category as well. It's been an icon since release, and there are a few of them starting to hit the market here in the USA. 


What about the MGF?