Why import a car at all? That’s a weird question to ask, right? You’re reading this, so you already know why, but there’s more than just one “Why” when dealing with importing a car: Why own an imported car? Why import a car yourself? Why not buy an imported car that’s already imported?
I wouldn’t say importing a car is hard, but it certainly isn't easy. The word I’d use is complicated. It’s like a car itself. If you know how a car works, and you know how to work on a car, owning a car is affordable and incredibly rewarding. If you don’t know anything about cars, and can’t do anything to it yourself, you’ll probably just buy a newer car until the mechanic’s bill gets too high, and then get another one. When you work on a car yourself, and save the money (unless you get in too deep and realize you actually don’t know as much as you thought you did and end up paying even more than you would have if you never laid your greasy hands on it), you develop a deep and indescribable connection with your car, and this is true for importing a car from Japan (or anywhere, really). I wouldn’t have had this opinion before I started all this, but after I spent months learning, researching, and cursing, I can help.
So, here’s the first question you should ask yourself: “Why do I want an imported car?”. This is the best place to start, because this question will allow you to determine which path you should go down. Essentially there are three options: Don’t buy an imported car, buy an imported car, or import a car yourself. Now, there are a lot of people who want an imported car, but there are also a lot of people who want to be a race car driver. The problem is that most people understand they shouldn’t be a race car driver. It’s dangerous, it takes a lot of skill and experience, and it’s dangerous. What does it take to own an imported car? Money. That’s it! Everybody has money! If money is all it took to be a race car driver our streets would be riddled with fire and broken dreams. Not everyone that wants an imported car should import one themselves. But why?! They’re just cars! If you want one, and you have the money, you should buy one, right? It can’t be that hard, look at tall these other people doing it. Right?
This first question is the most important and should be taken very, very seriously. Why do you want to own an imported car? Is it to “break necks”? Is it because JDM YO? Is it because you just want something different? Is it because you want a Skyline? There are a lot of reasons people want a car from overseas, but they’re not all good enough to justify importing it themselves. If you want an imported car for a ‘surface level’ reason (break necks, JDM YO, Skyline, something different, etc.) that’s fine! I fully support this, but you should buy one from somebody who already imported a car. If you just want an imported car to have an imported car, go buy one! There are plenty of trusted companies out there that are importing cars. If you’re not 100% dedicated to importing a car, bad things can happen. Again, it’s not hard, it’s complicated. If your heart calls to a special lady who lays in the land of the rising sun, just think about this: You could be the first person to drive your dream car in this country. EVER. You could be American owner #1. You could be the one who sees pictures of your dream car in Japan, get it over thousands of miles of sea, and finally bring it to your garage. The best part? You can do this yourself. You don’t have to have a guy that ‘hooks you up’, or deal with shady companies. You can be the owner your dream car deserves.
Importing a car takes time, patience, and a certain level of dedication. If you’re going to import a car yourself you need to be ready to keep this car, because you most likely will. It’s a special bond, and shouldn’t be looked at as a normal car buying experience. Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought this before I imported a car, but after you go through months of searching, finally find the car you want, deal with all the legality and paperwork (and money), wait for your car to travel overseas, deal with America’s laws (and money), transport the car (with your money), and somehow still end up saving money you’ll already have developed a bond with this car (and you haven’t even driven it yet!).
If you’ve read all of this but still can’t wait to jump at the chance to import your dream car, this book will make everything a lot easier.