A considerable number of vehicles have been unattainable for American car enthusiasts due to safety and emission regulations. Automakers can meet these regulations, but some choose not to incur the extra costs, which locks out the U.S. market. Fortunately, loopholes exist. You can import an illegal vehicle under show-and-display rules, but you can’t actually drive it.
The other loophole involves the 25-Year Law, which allows you to import and drive vehicles previously deemed illegal — if the car is more than 25 years old. The 25-Year Law means each new year expands the scope of importable cars Let’s look at a few of the top vehicles that became legal in the U.S. this year.
1. Audi RS2 Avant
Co-developed with Porsche, the 1994 Audi RS2 Avant is the first Audi RS model. The vehicle was actually assembled in Porsche’s assembly line in Zuffenhausen. It came fitted with a 2.2-liter inline-five turbo engine that produced 311 hp and 302 lb-ft of torque. The RS2 Avant’s engine couples with a manual six-speed transmission.
2. Toyota Celica GT-Four
The Toyota Celica GT-Four is based on one of history’s greatest and somewhat notorious rally vehicles. Toyota received a one-year ban due to an illegal turbo restrictor with Max Mosley, former FIA boss, commenting on the device’s sophistication.
Though the standard sixth-generation version was available in America, the all-wheel-drive turbocharged version never made it to the states. It has a 2.0-liter 3S-GTE that produces up to 252 hp. The Celica GT-Four also includes better suspension, aluminum hoods, and an anti-lag system based off of the rally car.
3. Mitsubishi FTO
This front-wheel drive coupe was never sold outside Japan; well, at least not officially. Two different engine options powers the Mitsubishi FTO: a 1.8-liter inline-four or one of two V6 2.0-liter engines, with the most powerful one making 197 hp. The car also came with transmission options. You could get one with a manual five-speed transmission, semi-automatic four-speed, or semi-automatic five-speed transmission.
4. Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II
Before Nissan ended production of the R32 Skyline GT-R in 1994, it introduced several improvements. A 1993 V-Spec model came fitted with a 2.6-liter inline-six turbo engine. The V-Spec II came a year later with updated all-wheel-drive, 17-inch BBS wheels, aluminum hood, and Brembo brakes.
5. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution II
Similar to the original Evolution, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution II features a 2.0-liter inline-four turbocharged engine that produces 252 hp (slightly more than the previous car). The engine couples to a manual five-speed transmission. Further improvements include wider tires, a longer wheelbase, larger rear wing, and lighter sway bar.
6. Alfa Romeo 145
Though Audi’s Quadrifoglio is preferred among enthusiasts, the three-door standard 145 Hatchback, along with its four-door 146 Sportback, are respectable models. Though a manual five-speed transmission is the only option available, the car has a variety of engine options ranging from a flat-four 1.4-liter to an inline-four 16-valve 2.0-liter powering it.
With these “forbidden fruits” not forbidden anymore, you can finally get your hands them — 25 years after they first came out.