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The insane McLaren 600LT meets crazy JDM models from the 90s
McLaren’s launch campaign employs the clever catch phrase, “The edge is calling” to entice millionaires to push themselves beyond their current limits and reach for something more — more power and handling than ever before offered in a street-legal McLaren.
It’s the kind of serious performance that borders on insanity, and the cinema-quality launch video for the McLaren 600LT captures this wonderfully through a dark, almost sinister atmosphere, horror-movie sound effects, truly impressive driving on a desert track, and memorable lines like “on the edge of sanity lies genius”.
In other words, you have to be crazy to drive a car with Formula One performance on public roads. Then again, maybe only geniuses driven to extremes are successful enough to afford a McLaren 600LT, which boasts a sticker price of $242,500.
The rest of us can only dream of what it would be like to drive a McLaren 600LT supercar. None of us will ever own the pinnacle of supercar technology. And few of us will ever test drive anything remotely as fast.
But we can still reach for extremes.
In the early 1990s Japanese auto manufacturers went out of their way to build some crazy cars for dreamers like us in Japan. Cars that captured the imagination and provided a taste of excitement at the edge of sanity — without having to spend an arm or leg.
Now that many of these crazy JDM (Japanese domestic market) cars are over 25 years old, they can be legally imported to the United States and driven on American roads. Here are some examples with doors reminiscent of those on the McLaren 600LT.
The Autozam AZ-1 is a turbocharged mid-engine, rear-drive sports kei car with gull wing doors, pop-up headlights and Testarossa-inspired side. It was made by Suzuki but sold by Mazda at Autozam dealers in Japan from 1992 to 1994. Now Americans can finally import the Autozam AZ-1 in accordance with the 25 year rule. Extremely small but packed with personality, it offers excellent performance, quick steering and super traction, making it extremely fun to drive and own.
The Suzuki Cara is basically the same as the AZ-1, but with Suzuki branding and minor changes such as the addition of fog lights. It was sold at Suzuki dealers from 1993 to 1995 and is also now available for export to the United States. Only 531 of these rare, highly collectible vehicles were produced!
The Toyota Sera stands out with its mostly glass roof and butterfly doors (the same type of doors featured on McLarens). Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard three-door hatchback of standard size and power offering the dependability, high quality and performance you’d expect from Toyota. Imagine the stares and comments when you park at your local supermarket and open those doors!
There are plenty of other extreme JDM models from the early 1990s to choose from, like the Honda Beat, Suzuki Cappuccino, Nissan Figaro and Subaru Vivio T-Top, which are all super lightweight and fun to drive. Americans in the know have been importing these outrageous models since 2015, and tuners have been modifying them to boost horsepower up to 300%.
Japan Car Direct can help you directly import the used JDM model of your dreams. If you’re attracted to automotive extremes without extreme prices, there’s no better choice than the used Japanese car market where Japanese used vehicle dealer auctions offer a huge range of affordable choices. Contact Japan Car Direct and compare!
Awesome experience !! Their service was extremely good and efficient. Yoshiro was soo patient with my many requests for information and translations. The vehicle purchased was better than expected. I would definitely consider using their services again.
All I can say about the experience is AMAZING! I worked with Matthew and he was helpful through the whole process of bidding, purchasing, and shipping the car to me. He had an answer for every question, and was always quick to respond. Enjoying my new Mercedes and I will be using them again!
All around exceptional experience! Matt was great to work with and guided me through the entire process with ease. As a first timer, importing was a bit nerve racking but JCD did a great job providing a cool little truck I can enjoy here in Delaware. I look forward to picking up the next toy/vehicle through them.
The experienced, grizzled veterans of the import scene. They were very accommodating with all my questions and concerns. It was my first time importing, so everything was confusing and intimidating, but I'm happy to report everything went as planned! I'm definitely calling them back when I finally come up with an excuse to import another!
Mathew was great to work with and made what could be a scary daunting experience very easy. I am super happy with my car and am sure I will be importing with them again!
Working with Mathew and his team was an absolute pleasure. I went from never knowing you could import your own vehicle to owning my own Suzuki Cara within 6 months. Mathew was so helpful and completely transparent with me during the entire process. We spoke on the phone and via email and he helped me pick the perfect car exactly within my requirements. He dealt with my excitement and inexperience with patience and understanding. I couldn't be happier with my experience and will absolutely use Japan Car Direct again when it's time for another project. I highly recommend Mathew and Japan Car Direct.
Just purchased my second car through Japan Car Direct. Could not be more pleased with their customer service. Matt went above and beyond to help me find the right car. Translating countless auction sheets, messaging sellers, requesting vehicle inspections, putting up with me and my requests well after his time in the office, etc. I can happily and honestly say that I would recommend this company to anyone looking to purchase a car from Japan and that you will not be dissappinted. Very kind, helpful and professional. Can’t wait for vehicle number 3.
Mathew and the team are amazing. Bought my first Porsche in Japan and they have helped me all the way through. They are competent and honest people, will definitely be doing more business with them. Thanks guys!
Mat is is the best he was right on target and video descriptions are perfect. Shipping was alot faster than I thought it would be, as JCD didn't mess around. My van was at port and ready to go. I will be using JCD again soon, got my van now I want a car.
I hunted the internet for a broker I could trust with my money. JDC won and I am so happy I went with them. Matt and Yoshi are great. Matt puts up with a very demanding customer in me, I can certainly take up time. Matt sends me cars from the list I sent him, when I don't have time to check the auction. It is scary how accurate Matt is when I ask him to predict a selling price. He is always very close which sometimes is not fun but he really does know pricing. They have walked we through buying two cars now and have held my hand on both. I really apricate all the time and knowledge. After purchase they have also held my hand through the whole import process which can be daunting for a first timer. I am a dealer and Matt is great at suggesting other cars to import as well. I am very satisfied with my choice
What can I say? The service was friendly and good, and I got my car, which ended up being in a better condition than expected. Sure, there were couple of unforeseen snags that no-one had anticipated, but overall, it was an extremely positive experience. Hommat meni hyvin, auto tuli Suomeen eikä noiden pyytämä hintakaan ollut mikään mahdottoman paha.
I bought a 1993 RX7 FD from these guys they are great! Communication was very good, and prompt! Iv has my car now for 6 months and have been loving it! I would recommend emailing them and looking into the options! They are upfront about price and will steer you into the right direction on what the car will take to own! I’m working with Yoshiro to buy another car now! I’m very pleased with the service I received. It can be scary sending lots of money to a person you don’t know for a car you have never seen, but they will come through with everything they tell you they will do!
They've somehow made what was expected to be complicated, so simple. I got all the info I needed and imported my first JDM car without a single problem. Matthew was super fast to respond and always had an answer.
A must for exporting cars from Japan. I've exported various models with these guys now and they have been exactly how we wanted them with no underlying issues or surprises when they arrive. Very pleased and will continue to use these guys in the future!
This was my first time importing a vehicle for my personal use and naturally I was leary about who to go through. After looking through a few other places and after getting in touch with a longtime customer of theirs I decided to try these guys out. I can say without a doubt I'm glad I did. They are definitely professional and know their craft when it comes to getting you your dream car. Everything from getting cars inspected and bidding was completely transparent and went smoothly. I couldn't be happier with the car I bought and I hope down the line I'll be able to purchase another using these guys!! Thanks for all you guys do!!!