Importing a car from Japan is not the easiest way to get a sports car. You might wonder how did I came up with the idea.
Recently it occurred to me that it is time to get a car which I can use for drifting and which I can use for making a unique build and turn it into a nice looking sports car that turns heads on the street. The selection process was a bit slow considering that I had to match my desires with my possibilities which is always a hard task. The process itself included countless hours of reading resources on the internet, pondering about the maintenance and other costs related to the models I had in mind. After I’ve decided which car to get – no secret, it is the Nissan Silvia S15 – the next problem was where to get it. I was on an assignment at that time in the UK so I looked for one on the UK market (autotrader,gumtree,pistonheads).
Few vehicles were on the market but those were a bit expensive and the majority of them were highly modified already. For me it was essential to get a vehicle in near stock condition since I wanted to have the joy of modifying my car according to my taste. Stock S15 was hard to come by on the UK market and they were above £10,000. Because of the bigger market (wider selection) and decrease in costs I decided to import one myself. I did my research on it and found out that the last edition, S15 had two versions, Spec-S and Spec-R. Of course, everybody recommended Spec-R and albeit in stock form it might not be a catch for the eye, its modification and running costs are relatively low and that makes it very attractive. It was easy to get to like its styling, outstanding potential and last but not least that it is a superb drift car. It was an old dream to actually learn to drift so I needed no more reasons, I decided I want an S15 Silvia.
The only remaining question was, where to get one, since in the UK – where I work now – only a few were on sale in a bit expensive price range of £9-11.000. I started saving up and got two part time jobs as well so that I can buy it as soon as possible. In the meantime I was reading forums and lot of people recommended to import a car from Japan. Since S15 sales were not really going in the UK (the same ones were on sale several months later) and the ones on sale did not meet my criteria (I did not want an already heavily modified car, I wanted to do that myself the way I like it), I decided to go for an import. Truth is, I did not have any other options.
Alternatives I considered (for reference):
- Nissan Skyline R34
I like R34s but with a little research (reading blogs, forums) I found out that not only it is expensive (R33 is cheaper) but also getting parts for it or modifying the car can cost an arm and a leg.
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII-X
My other half fancies them. I also do like them so I continued my research and again came up with the same result: it is expensive to buy and also expensive to run & modify.
- Hachiroku (Toyota AE86)
Good car for drifting and although I fancy them, I wanted something newer and possibly more suitable for daily driving as well so I continued my research. Plus, the so called ‘drift tax’ raised their prices recently so I skipped this.
- Subaru WRX STi
Little bit more friendly to the wallet – at least that’s what the owners say on the forums I’ve read -, but I did want something more outstanding and unique.