by Grant Stoecker
“These five cars never made it to these shores while in production but they can be imported now under recent relaxation of import regulations…”
Bringing in this selection of cars from overseas can be a major hassle but as future collectibles, they just might be worth the paperwork.
These five cars never made it to these shores while in production but they can be imported now under recent relaxation of import regulations.
1986-87 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth
Ford lacked the ability to create a truly credible performance car in the U.S. for the duration of the 1980s, yet it seemed to produce a slew of turbocharged, high-performance offspring from its European operations. The crown jewel of the formerly forbidden fruit is the Sierra RS Cosworth. Built to fulfill homologation for Group A rallying, the RS packed a mean punch, banging out 224 horsepower from a Cosworth turbocharged 4-cylinder. The first generation three-door model only saw the production of 5,542 cars. At more than 25 years old, the RS is a prime target for importation.
The Ferrari Testarossa was a favourite here in the late 1980s, but its predecessors, the 365 GT4 BB and BB 512, remained forbidden fruit. Providing the silhouette for the future Testarossa, the Berlinetta Boxers provide connoisseurs of the prancing horse a unique alternative to the car that adorned the walls of every child from 1984 to 1996. With a production run of under 4,000 cars, the Berlinetta Boxer is a guaranteed classic from the hills of Maranello.
1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R
The R32 Nissan GT-R saw the revival of the legendary GT-R, a nameplate that had not been used by Nissan in nearly two decades. Attaining its cult classic status as “Godzilla” was not hard for the GT-R, as the car’s twin turbo 6-cylinder was good for a stock 330 horsepower and tuning houses can easily bring that up to 600 — impressive even by today’s standards. With power going to all four wheels, the GT-R was one of the first super cars to utilize all-wheel drive. Thanks in large part to its starring role in a slew of street-racing movies in the 1990s and 2000s, the GT-R will likely maintain its cult status for years to come.
2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
The 997 generation of the Porsche 911 had a smattering of limited edition variants — the Turbo S, the GT3 RS 4.0, the Speedster and the GT2 RS — but none of them is nearly as rare as the Sport Classic. Created to be a limited run of only 250 cars, the Sport Classic is a throwback to the 1970s 911 Carrera RS. The Sport Classic features some of the most beloved options of the original 911s, including a ducktail spoiler, black Fuchs rims, a double-bubble roof and painted racing stripes.
Aston Martin revived its DB series in 1994 with the DB7. They perfected it in 2002 with the introduction of the Zagato model at the Paris Auto Show, where it immediately sold out. A fitting homage to the 1960s DB4GT Zagato, the DB7 Zagato rode on a shortened chassis, and was powered by Aston Martin’s new 5.9-liter V-12. The bodywork was a classic Zagato design, and features a double-bubble roof, raised hood and enlarged front grille, an interpretation emulating the beauty of the original masterpiece. Just 99 Zagatos were originally produced, and were only allocated for sale in Europe, Asia, and Britain. The Zagato body DB7 is bound to be a future collectible.
Grant Stoecker writes for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca.
Matt Lewis writes for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca.
By Grant Stoecker
“American automotive manufacturers have made a number of performance cars exclusively for Europe and Australia, but have you ever heard of an African performance car?”
The U.S. and Canada might get a wide variety of unique and exotic cars, but there are a few cars that never made it to our showrooms and appear now only has special imports.
1972 Lancia Stratos HF
The Lancia Stratos HF is a monster of car. In the concept stages, the Stratos was an attempt by Bertone to get its foot in with Lancia, who had previously worked with Pinin Farina for design. The legend states that Bertone re-bodied a Lancia Fulvia and drove it to Lancia’s headquarters. Impressed with the Stratos prototype, Lancia agreed to collaborate with Bertone to create their next generation rally car. The Stratos was built around a Lancia chassis, with a Ferrari Dino engine positioned behind the seats. The rolling chassis was finished off with an aerodynamic body fitted by Bertone. The Lancia would go on to have a legendary career, winning the World Rally Championship from 1974-1976.
1973 Chevrolet Firenza Can Am
American automotive manufacturers have made a number of performance cars exclusively for Europe and Australia, but have you ever heard of an African performance car? Meet the Chevrolet Firenza Can Am, a Euro-American mash-up that was never sold in either of those markets. Built to compete with Ford’s inferior Capri Perana, the Can Am began its existence in Britain as a Vauxhall Firenza frame, which was then shipped straight south to Port Elizabeth, where it was paired with a power train straight out of an American legend — the 1969 Camaro Z/28. With a lightweight body and nearly 300 horsepower, the smell of burning rubber was a no-cost option, and I’m sure there was plenty of that. The car was limited to a run of 100, which were built to satisfy homologation requirements for Argus Production Car series, 30 of which are still known to exist.
1969 Ford Escort RS1600
While the latter part of the 1960s might have been the middle of the Mustang’s heyday, Ford was busy building fast cars all around the world. One of those cars was Ford’s venerable Escort, which was one of the top selling cars in Europe at the time. Of course, Ford engineers weren’t satisfied with a compact coupe with 1.3-litre engine, so they contacted the blokes over at Cosworth and developed the Escort RS1600. While the Cosworth engine may have put out only 113 horsepower, the tiny Escort was barely tipping the scales at 1,800 pounds, making the RS1600 one of the coolest cars cruising the UK at the time.
1969 Nissan Skyline GT-R
The Nissan Skyline GT-R is arguably the most iconic sports car to ever come from the islands of Japan. While the GT-R is most commonly idolized in its mid-’90s guise from the Fast & Furious franchise, our pick is the original — the 1969 Skyline GT-R. Introduced at the 1969 Tokyo Auto Show, the GT-R was a Nissan Skyline sedan that was stripped out and given the special treatment by the boys in the Nissan Skunks Works team. The heart of the GT-R is a Nissan racing V-6 engine putting out 160 horsepower, allowing the GT-R to outrun its European rivals. Other cool upgrades included wide wheel arches, rally wheels, front and rear spoilers, and of course, the now-iconic GT-R badges.
The Porsche 959 is a perfect example of what happens when some German mad scientists in Porsche decide that the 911 Turbo isn’t just quite enough. Built to be the ultimate Group B rally car, Porsche decided to slap an all-wheel drive system and a twin-turbo 2.8-liter boxer engine in a highly modified 911. In order to fulfill the FIA’s homologation rule, Porsche built 337 examples for consumption by the public. Of course, the EPA and Porsche weren’t quite on the same page, and the 959 was never legally sold in the U.S. However, several example of the 959 have made their ways to our shores, most notably the “Gates 959,” which was stored by U.S. Customs for 13 years and was key in the passing of the “Show and Display” law.
Grant Stoecker writes for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca