- Base JDM Honda Civics aren’t worth the money
- Importing and registering JDM rides costs more than $3,000
- The base MK4 Toyota Supra isn’t worth importing
The 25-year rule keeps us all from bathing in JDM glory. The R34 Nissan Skyline still isn’t able to be imported, and values have skyrocketed. An Acura NSX is nirvana, but you can’t afford one of those either. But we’re here to talk about the other end of the spectrum. The Honda Civics, the Mitsubishi Delicas, and the JDM cars you should never, ever, waste the money on importing.
Can you import a JDM Honda Civic?
Now, I realize that some of these cars are cars that people dream of owning. I mean, who doesn’t want a clean EK9 Honda Civic Type R? But there’s a huge problem with that if you’ll lower the torches and pitchforks for a moment. See, people are so desperate for just a slice of that Honda Civic Type R glory that they’re paying $102,000 for new ones. You literally cannot depreciate a Honda Civic Type R.
So, what do you think that’s done to all the base EK and EG series Civics sitting at the docks in Japan, rusting away? They’re worth absurd money now. And you should not pay one good God dammed cent of it. As tunable as these early Civics are, the market has simply gone crazy for them. One JDM importer wants $20,000 for an EK3 hatchback (an automatic) with 30,000 miles on it. The base Honda Civic is a $20,000 car new. Never mind import fees, which can exceed $3,000.
A Mitsubishi Delica is so crappy it’s cool
Now, here’s something that’s so crappy it’s cool: the Mitsubishi Delica. These have become a hot ticket JDM item of late, owing largely to the whole #vanlife trend. Fourth-generation Delicas are apparently where it’s at. Those were produced from 1994-1996, meaning they’re just now becoming importable. But frankly, they’re kind of crap.
These are pseudo-Kei cars. That means they’re more suited to city life than they are a hard life on the road hauling that stove you bought on eBay and MacGyver’d in. Of course, the aftermarket can solve this. But the 2.4L four-pot only makes an asthmatic 135 hp. The V6 is certainly the one to have, making 185 hp. Now, there’s an argument to be made here, but the market has run away with these as well, with values creeping north of $20,000 before any sort of import fees and fines.
The base Toyota Supra is a terrible waste of money
This one’s gonna be controversial. The MK4 Toyota Supra, specifically the base non-turbo models, is another car that the market has run away with. We all know that low-mile twin-turbo Supras are six-figure cars, but the N/A models are simply not worth the money they command, and they only make around 220 hp. Not the 1,000 hp F&F special everyone will think you’re whipping. Non-turbo automatic models regularly sell for $30,000 and up, and they simply aren’t worth the work you’ll need to put in to make it anywhere close to the twin-turbo cars.
Plus, modifying your car can trash the resale value. A lot of these cars are JDM icons, but they simply aren’t worth the kind of money they command at market. We’d recommend waiting for the day the bubble pops if you want one of these cars.