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!
Trustworthy group here! They made it easy from point a to b. So glad this was the first group I tried as I have heard horror stories about the import process. Highly recommended.
Yoshi and team were patient in helping me find the right car (green 2016 Prius 4WD) and get me through the process. Flawless service, prompt response to communications, on delivery the car was better than expected, very close to new looking. Their recommended partners for shipping and entry into NZ were on the ball too. Highly recommended! Pro tip: don't mess around; decide exactly what you want, then bid to win.
I had been toying with the Idea of importing a Land Cruiser from Japan for a while and to be honest was quite hesitant about doing so, as the process for a first timer seemed quite daunting. Mathew at JCD made the whole process SUPER EASY! Been a pleasure dealing with him and was kept informed every step of the way and super fast communication kept the whole process stress free! Thanks again Mathew and I'm looking forward to the next Cruiser! Cheers!!
Mathew at Japan Car Direct has been a HUGE help and continually went above and beyond with assisting me. It was my first time bidding on vehicles at auction and having them shipped to the US. He even helped me arrange a mechanic in Japan to do some work on the Hiace I purchased so that it would arrive in the US in tip top shape and be ready to hit the road. I look forward to doing more business with Mathew in the future and you should too!
I was totally clueless and was having a really hard time finding someone that I felt I could trust to help me with these auctions. A couple folks recommended Mathew over at JCD and I very reluctantly reached out. Yeah, I have trust issues. Dude put me at ease and really walked me through the whole process. After a couple months I didn’t end up buying a vehicle, but that’s on me. When I changed my direction, Mathew helped me wrap things up and wished me well. I have zero reservations about reaching out to these guys or recommending anyone else to do so. Very helpful, knowledgeable, prompt and everything I needed. You won’t be disappointed.
Ordered an Acty Van with these guys. five star service all the way. everything went perfect!!!. I was so afraid to import a car myself. JCD made it seamless. I would import wit them and only them again and again. Thanks guys!!
Discovered KEI vehicles about a year ago and spent many hours searching the internet in hopes of finding an affordable van state side, to no avail. That is until I sent a message to Mathew at JCD. He was quick to respond, answered way too many of my silly questions, and worked diligently to find the right van for me. He is thorough, clear, and timely. Made the process simple and enjoyable. I am more than excited to work with him again. I highly recommend the service these gentlemen provide.
Matt made importing a few mini trucks for our farm a breeze. Super easy to deal with and transparent with all the details involved in bidding and winning auctions, the import process, and everything in between.
My truck had been stolen and Matt was helping me bid on mini-trucks to replace it. Of course once we started bidding the truck was recovered, but Matt was upfront and very helpful both getting into and out of our auction based relationship. I would not hesitate to work with JCD again!
I worked with Mat and i believe i couldn't have done any better. This was my first time dealing with importing, Mat was so patient and helpful through this purchase. I also feel he got me the best deals, i have since the first purchase made two more and will continue to do business with Mat.
I purchased three vehicles from auction with Matt, he made it extremely easy and was available whenever I needed him throughout the entire importing process. This is not the last time I will be dealing with them. I plan to order more vehicles in the near future! If your looking for a trustworthy company to order vehicles through I highly recommend JCD!
Mathew was super helpful if helping me get more info and bid on cars I was interested in.
Mathew and the gang were great with helping me with the acquisition of my 1994 Subaru Sambar dump kei truck. I was so excited about getting a truck I was ready to buy just about anything. Matt put the breaks on that and used his experience and knowledge to weed out the potential problems. I use my truck almost daily around our farm moving things and as a work surface. It is great. Mathew and Japan Car Direct helped my sister get a kei truck as well and I have and will continue to recommend them to anyone who has expressed interest in my great little vehicle.
I purchased a 1994 4wd Suzuki Carry Kei truck through JCD. Yoshi helped me during the process and after nearly 3 months and over 100 emails back and forth between questions and translations of auction sheets I finally decided on a truck. I've now had it for nearly a month and couldn't be happier with the purchase. They are extremely promt with responses and answered all questions I had. Being completely new at the importing process I never felt uneasy with my decision. If I ever decide to import another vehicle I will definitely use them again.
Excellent service from beginning to end. I registered over the new year holidays and received an automatic out of office response and also still received personal response indicating when auctions resumed. The process takes doing your own due diligence to study the cars you want but the guys at JCD will assist where they can as well.