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Hagerty Employee

Living with a JDM import: What you need to know

In some automotive circles, “JDM” is a badge of honor and a status symbol. The letters, which stand for Japanese Domestic Market, apply to right-hand drive versions of cars that Japanese makers sold in the U.S., as well as Japanese models that were never offered here. The Nissan Skyline GT-R and other performance models were for many years forbidden fruit that triggered car lust from within video games and movies.


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If you buy a JDM car, make sure you also join some forums related to that car, and the marque in general.  Many times forum members will have the unique parts to your car, and the forums usually have some very savvy members who can explain how to work on the car.


My "Old Japanese Car" was sold here originally, but there's about ZERO support available for it from Toyota, and the forums have saved my bacon many times, both in technical knowledge, and getting replacement parts for it.


- Jim


Seems to be an honest assessment of the cars. 

I can only comment based on experience with my particular car, which was available in North America in LHD for only 3 years. I hope the buyers of the JDM versions keep them coming. Paradoxically, import of the JDM versions seems to push valuations on the NADM cars, while at the same time, increases supply’s of used parts and other bits and accessories not previously available. I even think that the recent interest in JDMs helped motivate (In my case MAZDA)  to start producing NEW short blocks of a long discontinued engine. 


How have you found owning a Rotary in the US, period?  I've been really debating getting one, but am concerned about future-proofing it.  I call myself a C- with wrenching and can't do much beyond putting it on jack stands.
Intermediate Driver

I rode in a RHD Porsche from London to LM for the 2003 24 hour race.  We were seldom under 120mph and were cruising at 140mph.  In LHD France, when passing, my buddy (driving) would ask me if we could pass and took my word for it!


A couple of years ago my Sunbeam club made a trip out to Mr. Simpson's facility. What you see here is only a tiny fraction of the amazing fabrication work and collection of cars he has. And he is a real gentleman, letting us all over his creations and collection for the day. And he seemed genuinely excited to see the various Tigers, Alpines, and Harringtons that we brought with us. A great day!

Pit Crew

"[Simpson] says to expect difficulty finding parts for the ...Mitsubishi Galant VR4, and other “off the wall cars.”

The VR4 shares its engine and much of the drive train with the DSM cars...Mitsubishi Eclipse, Plymouth Laser, Eagle Talon, etc. Glass, body panels, etc. and many interior parts were common to regular Galants. While only 3000 VR4s were imported in 91 and 92, most parts are easier to come by than those on my first generation Honda Accord.

Community Manager

That's very good info...I bet the Galant VR4 is easier to get parts than the 3000GT version! 

Intermediate Driver

I think I've met Jim, have seen several of his cars. The silver Sera looks an awful lot like the one at the LeMay Family Collection s in Spanaway Washington.  I fell in love with a Toyota Jimny and a little Suzuki coupe I have seen. I'd like to see more of those fairladies from the '70's cruising around, though.