USA 25-Year Import Rule: Cars That Turn 25 in 2020

American car enthusiasts don’t like to be told what they can and cannot buy and drive. There has been an explosion of interest in late-80s and 90s foreign market vehicles. It is important that budding car collectors and enthusiasts are aware of the USA 25-Year Import Rule and what it means for them. What does the USA 25-Year Import Rule mean? Why does it matter? And what cars can you import now? All of the answers to these questions are below!

What is the USA 25-Year Import Rule?

To first understand the reasoning behind the 25-year ban of import vehicles, we first have to understand the term grey market imports.

Grey Market Imports

During the early 1980s, US car enthusiasts were importing vehicles from all over the world. By looking overseas, you could save money on cheaper models and have a much larger variety of cars to choose from.

These cars’s designs weren’t for American markets, therefore they did not meet EPA emission regulations or NHTSA safety regulations. In fact, some of these cars were modified versions of other cars that were sold to the public fraudulently as high-demand foreign import vehicles. These did not come from official manufacturer dealerships, hence the name grey market imports. This became an issue with both manufacturers and government agencies.

Manufacturer’s began losing profits. Consumers were using alternative channels to get whatever cars they want. This was also exposing motorists to vehicles that did not meet the strenuous US safety regulations or emissions standards. So in 1985, the EPA and NHTSA began regulating the importation of foreign market vehicles. While there are many intricacies to these regulations, the most maligned part of these new laws was the 25-year import rule.

The 25-Year Import Rule

This stated that any car that is 25 years or older is legal to import to the US without having to meet the United States vehicle regulations. This also meant that any car that was 24 years or younger was illegal to import to the United States. This allowed car collectors to keep the old cars they had and continue importing if they desired. As tastes shifted, 25 years become too long to wait to keep car enthusiasts happy.

The Controversy

Ever since the implementation of the 25-Year Import Rule; car aficionados, enthusiasts, and collectors have been very vocal about their distaste for the rule. There are many petitions by these car fanatics but to no avail. To this day, the 25-Year Import Rule is still alive but don’t worry; 2020 is a great year for new legal-to-import foreign market cars!

What’s the Big Deal With These Cars?

We’re sure a lot of people ask themselves what the big deal is with foreign import cars of the 90s. They’re just old cars that don’t look particularly impressive and are made by today’s standard car manufacturers. The difference between the cars of the 90s and the cars of today is…

Speed, fun, and affordability.

You could always spend a fortune on a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and any number of over-the-top super cars. The difference is that with the cars listed below, you can have the same performance and looks for a fraction of the cost. Anybody can own a Ferrari or Lambo, but these cars have true personality, a much lower price tag, and an even legendary status among a few listed.


The MG F turns 25 in 2020 and is legal to import! USA 25-Year Import Rule: Cars That Turn 25 in 2020 blog by

This strange coupe was designed and manufactured by British car-maker MG in 1995. Obviously channeling Japanese aesthetics that were popular at the time; the F is a tiny, affordable, and unique mid-engine roadster. The basic produces 118 horsepower, while the variable valve control version of the engine produces 143 horsepower straight to its back wheels. It dominated the affordable sports car market in the UK and now in 2020, it is available to import to the United States!

Alfa Romeo 146

The Alfa Romeo 146 turns 25 in 2020 and is legal to import! USA 25-Year Import Rule: Cars That Turn 25 in 2020 blog by

The Alfa Romeo 146 is a 5-door hatchback that was designed to compete in a crowded small-family car market that was booming all over the world in 1995. The 146 was also the successor to the classic Alfa Romeo 33 that was deemed outdated by the brand. The 146, with its largest available engine, could produce 148 horsepower straight to its front wheels. It was also revered for its exceptional handling, luxury interior, and a suitable successor to the 33. In 2020, it is now legal to import one of the most affordable Italian cars of 90s!

Honda Integra DC2 Type-R

The Honda Integra DC2 Type-R turns 25 in 2020 and is legal to import! USA 25-Year Import Rule: Cars That Turn 25 in 2020 blog by

Now we’re getting to the big boys. The Honda Integra Type-R is one of the most revered Japanese domestic market (JDM) cars of the 90s. While it was in the United States in the 90s, it was marketed as the Acura Integra and was missing many of the specifications that made the Japanese market version so special. It came standard with 197 horsepower straight to the front wheels, a strengthened chassis, significant weight reduction, a hand-built engine, among many other additional modifications. These changes caused the JDM version of this car to become a modern classic; topping lists of greatest cars by multiple reputable motoring publications. It was also popularized in racing video games, and the Fast and Furious movie franchise. Now in 2020, this piece of 90s performance car history is totally legal to import!

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III turns 25 in 2020 and is legal to import! USA 25-Year Import Rule: Cars That Turn 25 in 2020 blog by

Much like the Honda Integra, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III, or Evo III for short, is a highly revered JDM car that has had success in nearly every form of racing. The Evo III produces 270 turbocharged horsepower to all four wheels and more aggressive styling. The Evolution III is the third of ten different evolutions of the Lancer. During the Lancer Evolution’s production run, Mitsubishi racked up awards from all over the world with the Lancer Evolution. This made the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution one of the most iconic Japanese performance cars to date. 2020 marks 25 years since the release of the JDM Evo 3 meaning you can legally import it to the US!

Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R

The Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R turns 25 in 2020 and is legal to import! USA 25-Year Import Rule: Cars That Turn 25 in 2020 blog by

Last but definitely not least, is the Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R! The Skyline GT-R models, from the R32 to R34, are all lovingly nicknamed “Godzilla.” Why? Because the Nissan Skyline GT-R is a monster from Japan. One of the key differences in the R33 versus its predecessor, the R32, was the ATTESA E-TS Pro all-wheel drive system. This allowed the R33 to control the power sent to each wheel individually to allow for maximum grip and control. The base GT-R produced 301 horsepower from a twin-turbocharged engine. In 1995, the R33 also ran the fastest lap on the Nordschleife section of the legendary Nürburgring barely beating the previous record by one second. Expect to see many more of these on the street in 2020 because this car has a status unlike any other!

Are You Excited for the Cars That Turn 25? is excited to see all of the cars that are now legal for importation in the United States! If you’re tired of your boring, unexciting domestic car, sell it to for cash and buy that car you’ve always wanted! It’s as easy as 5 to 10 minutes on the phone with an offer specialist, and your car will be gone in 24 hours or less! Get started with an instant online quote and see what you could get for your car!


You can check out our previous article about cleaning your car to protect you from the coronavirus here!

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