Foreign Cars that are Illegal in the USA

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the governing body in the United States responsible for determining what defines a vehicle as being “safe.” Safe for its passengers, safe for other drivers on the road, safe for the environment and safe for the economy. In protecting all of those assets of American life, there’s a lot of legislation created, and a lot of rules for manufacturers to follow.

As a result, many vehicles created by foreign manufacturers need an American variant able to comply with all of the regulations put forth by the NHTSA, otherwise, it is deemed illegal in the United States. Of course, that becomes a large endeavor that many manufacturers aren’t necessarily willing to undertake, and as a result, there’s a significant number of vehicles that cannot be imported to this country.

Last year, we looked at the list of illegal cars under NHTSA regulations, and now we’re back with an update and a further look into how you can bring your dream car into this country for a trip down some famous American highways. Show and Display regulations allow collectors to import a car that may not meet US homologation standards. There are 5 requirements for cars to be imported under Show and Display, which you can read in our last article covering this topic.

As of October 22, these are some of the top manufacturers with banned vehicles. According to the NHTSA, these are cars that have been denied a request for import under Show and Display for one reason or another:

Make: Aston Martin

Model: Virage Volante

Years: 1993

Make: BMW

Model: M3 Cabriolet

Years: 1989

Make: Jaguar

Model: XJ220 S

Years: 1993

Make: Lamborghini

Model: Strosek Diablo

Years: 1993

Make: Lotus

Model: 340 R

Years: 2000

Make: Morgan

Model: Le Mans ‘ 62 Prototype

Years: 2002

Make: Nissan Skyline

Model: Skyline GTS-T

Years: 1995

Make: Porsche

Model: 959S

Years: 1989

Make: TVR

Model: Sagaris, T350, Tuscan, Cerbera

Years: 1996-2006

There is still one way around this. However, you cannot be an American citizen for this to apply. On their website, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that Canadian and Mexican citizens can travel within the United States using their own vehicle. As a result, “Such vehicles are not subject to EPA emission standards and other requirements.” Section 2.2.5 of the July 2010 “Procedures for Importing Vehicles and Engines into the United States” does note, however, that these cars cannot be sold to Americans, and that vehicle and traveler both must leave the country after one year.

Of course, the best method for getting these cars into the country is simply waiting. After a vehicle is 25 years old, it is no longer subject to these rules, and can be legally imported through the proper methods.Today, any vehicle created before 1989 is considered an historic car under importation guidelines.

Check out the full list of cars rejected for Show and Display here (organized by alphabetically by manufacturer):

Alfa Romeo 8C Spider Roadster 2010
Aprilia Moto 6.5 1995
Aston Martin Virage Volante 1993
Audi Avant RS2 1995
Bancroft Roadster 1993
Beijing Auto. Ind. Holding Rodedawg 2005
BMW M3 Cabriolet 1989
BMW M3 Sport Evolution III 1990
Chevrolet Jimmy 1998-2009
Crosslander 244X 2005
Daimler-Chrysler Smart Car 2000
Fiat 126 P 2000
Fiat 500 Abarth 2008
Honda Beat 1991 – 1996
Honda Civic Type-R 1997-2000
Honda CRX Exclusive 1989
Jaguar XJ 220 S (race car) 1993
Lamborghini Strosek Diablo 1993
Land Rover Defender 130 2000 – 2001
Lotus 340 R 2000
Lotus Elise S1 1996 – 2001
Mazda Cosmo 1992
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Tommi Makinen Edition RD- RHD 2000
Morgan LeMans ’62 Prototype 2002
Nissan Figaro 1990 – 1991
Nissan Pulsar 1991
Nissan Skyline GTS-T 1995
Nissan Skyline GT-R Autech Version 40th Anniversary Edition 1998
Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R 1989 – 1994
Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R 1995
Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R V-Spec 1995-1996
Nissan Skyline R34 1999
Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R V-Spec 1999
Nissan Skyline R34 GT-T 1999
Nissan Skyline R34 25GT-T 2001
Pegaso Z-103 1991
Porsche 959 S (race car) 1989
Porsche 962 RLR 1990
Porsche 964 RS 1992
Porsche Carrera 4 Lightweight (race car) 1990
Rover Mini Cooper 1995, 1998 – 2000
Rover Mini Cooper RSP / LE 1990
Saab 9-5 SportCombi 2012
Skoda Fabia Greenline II 2012
Smart Crossblade 2002
Toyota HDJ81 Land Cruiser 1990
Toyota Sera 1991
Toyota Supra 1994
Trabant P601 1989
TVR Sagaris, T350, Tuscan, Cerbera 1996-2006
Volkswagen Beetle (Old Style) 2000
Volkswagen Beetle (Ultimate Edition) 2003
Volkswagen Beetle (Ultima Edition) 2004
Volkswagen Corrado Magnum Sport Kombi 1990
 

(Source: NHTSA.gov)

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