We take a look at some of the best cars we never got
Some of us like to own something a bit different, a car that you’re unlikely to see another copy of coming the other way. One way of achieving this is to buy a car not officially sold here, importing it from right-hand-drive Japan perhaps, or the sunnier parts of the US, where rust doesn’t bite. But get familiar with the UK aftermarket support network first.
Chrysler Sebring, 1996-2000
£1800-£3000: For a rock-bottom-price import that’s not entirely without appeal, consider that US tourists’ rental special, the Chrysler Sebring. True, it is of limited dynamic merit, but with a V6 engine and the sun on your shoulders, you might manage to care less.
One we found: 2000 Chrysler Sebring 2.7, 101k miles, £1895
Nissan Pao, 1988-1991
£3200-£7000: One of the lesser-known Nissan Pike cars, the Pao is a play on Japanese and European utility cars of the 1950s and 1960s but with modern equipment. Like the more famous Nissan Figaro, it’s based on the K10-gen Nissan Micra. Most are automatics, a few are five-speed manuals and some have electric fabric sunroofs.
One we found: 1990 Nissan Pao, 140k miles, £3200
Toyota Will VI, 2000-2001
£4000-£6000: Another (very) oddball Japanese machine never officially marketed here and perfect, perhaps, for someone nostalgic for the Ford Anglia and its reverse-rake rear screen. Yaris-based, automatic only with a column shift, it sports a design heavily influenced by Citroën’s 2CV and Ami. It seems that there are only 27 WiLL Vis in the UK. You may not be surprised at this.
One we found: 2001 Toyota Will Vi, 3000 miles, £3999
Ford Mustang, 2004-2014
£8000-£100,000: Not the current right-hand-drive version, of course, but the previous LHD generation that reignited the Mustang stampede. It’s no Porsche, but it’s cheaper, it’s a US muscle car and it looks great. There are many variants – Bullitt, Shelby, Supersnake, coupé and convertible – all available in the UK, the cheapest being the V6s. Prices are often lower here than in the US.
One we found: 2005 Ford Mustang 5.0 GT, 96k miles, £10,990
Dodge Ram SRT-10, 2004-2006
£10,000-£115,000: It’s big and it has an 8.3-litre Viper V10, five seats, cupholders, all-wheel drive and stripes in case you’re worried about not being seen. There are many varieties of American pick-up and more of these Rams (and Ford F-150s) on sale here than you might expect.
One we found: 2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10 Quad Cab, 74k miles, £31,500
Dodge Challenger, 2008-now
£10,000-£127,000: If you want truly unnecessary quantities of V8 power, consider the Hellcat Redeye mutation of the Challenger. This smokes 797bhp through rear tyres packaged within blistered wings, an arrangement labelled in Ronseal style as the Widebody. A nearly new Hellcat Redeye is yours for £87k and substantially more gets you the brilliantly named 807bhp SRT Jailbreak version. Import one yourself and you should save up to £20,000. Challenger hunters on real-world budgets can find early V6s in the UK from £10,000.
One we found: 2020 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody, 140 miles, £102,950
Lincoln MKX, 2015-now
£15,000-£22,000: If you fancy a properly rare SUV and don’t mind left-hand drive, consider a Lincoln MKX. It’s a Ford Edge relative, comes with heaps of kit and is tastefully shaped. The earlier generation usually has a 3.7 V6, later editions a 2.0 or 2.7-litre Ecoboost motor or a V6. From 2019, it was renamed Nautilus. Great value.
One we found: 2014 Lincoln MKX Ultimate V6 AWD, 19k miles, £14,995
MG RV8, 1992-1995
£18,000-£50,000: Rover built 1983 examples of this 1990s born-again MGB V8, of which no fewer than 1579 were sold in Japan. Many of those have since made the return journey, usually arriving in pristine condition to provide a lesser-spotted alternative to a TVR Tuscan or Jaguar XKR convertible.
One we found: 1995 MG RV8, 1000 miles, £50,000
Toyota FJ Cruiser, 2007-2018
£22,000-£45,000: Inspired by the early, utility-focused Land Cruisers, the cleverly retro FJ has a separate chassis, great off-road ability, a funky interior and a bit of a thirst. It was aimed mainly at the US market and designed at Toyota’s California studios, but its success led to right-hand-drive versions being made for Japan from 2010.
One we found: 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4.0, 46k miles, £22,995
Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, 1990-1995
£23,000-£30,000: This is the version with the 375bhp 32-valve V8 engine designed by Lotus, which had a hand in its handling and braking, too. It’s rapid, well equipped and collectible. Prices are rising, but the ‘King of the Hill’ ZR-1 remains terrific value.
One we found: 1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, 86k miles, £23,995
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