Twenty-five years is the magic number when, according to the federal government's vehicle import regulations, car collectors can legally import any automotive their heart desires (and their piggy bank can afford) regardless of whether it adheres to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. For each vehicle, it all comes down to when its manufacturers first produced it, meaning that a car with an inaugural production date of June 6, 1999, will have to wait until June 6, 2024, before a collector can legally import it into the United States.
These five vehicles will all pass the quarter-century mark sometime this year and are worth looking out for.
The Nissan Silvia (S15)
Japanese automaker Nissan pulled their 240X model out of the United States at the close of 1998. However, the following year, they revamped and reintroduced the Silvia, as they call it, in the Land of the Rising Sun. The sporty coupe, also known as the S15, closed out the 20th century with two options under the hood: a 2.0-liter inline-four and a turbocharged version. In conjunction with the S15’s six-speed manual gearbox, the turbo version could muster around 250 horsepower. With rear-wheel drive and an aesthetic that screams Y2K-era racing video games, the S15 is a driving purist’s ideal fast and furious daily driver. The Nissan Silvia (S15) started production in January of 1999.
The Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34)
Most car enthusiasts and quite a few movie fans will undoubtedly recognize the Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) as the vehicle that the late Paul Walker drove in the Fast and Furious franchise. (Fun fact: Walker’s R34 sold for a whopping $1.3 million at an auction last May.) The R34 came with the kind of engine that makes car enthusiasts salivate: an RB26DETT. It’s a beautifully engineered 2.6-liter twin-turbo inline-six that can generate over 300 horsepower. Its monstrous tuning ability makes the RB26 engine much beloved among gear heads. It doesn’t require any internal changes to amp up its tire-screeching prowess. Also, the R34 comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and all-wheel drive. The Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) was first produced in January 1999.
The Porsche 911 GT3 (996.1)
While there are other Porsche 911s available in the United States, is anyone going to argue that there can be too many Porsche 911s? Anyone who loves beautifully crafted foreign cars, or just cars in general, will fall head over heels as soon as they look at the 996.1’s jaw-dropping aerodynamic curves. And that’s not to mention the German automaker’s iconic egg yolk shaped headlights. The 996.1 sports a 3.6-liter flat-six that generates 345 horsepower. Porsche produced the 996.1 throughout 1999.
The TVR Tuscan Speed Six
The TVR Tuscan Speed Six sports a formidable straight-six engine with over 350 horsepower and the killer looks one expects from a British sports car worthy of the world’s most famous super-spy. Of course, the TVR Tuscan Speed Six has graced the silver screen, but not with James Bond tearing it up behind the wheel. Instead, John Travolta drove the Tuscan in the 2001 action thriller Swordfish. While that film may not have made a lasting impression, the Tuscan’s gorgeous styling certainly has. British sports car manufacturer TVR produced the Tuscan from 1999 to 2006.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI
Car and Driver touts the Evolution VI as an “all–around sports sedan” that is a step up from its predecessor, the Evolution V. Sporting all-wheel drive and a four–cylinder turbocharged engine that generated a solid 276 horsepower, the Evolution VI also featured better engine cooling and stylistic trappings than the Evolution V. Additionally, Mitsubishi revamped the Evolution VI's suspension by introducing aluminum components that also gave the vehicle smoother handling. A five-speed manual gearbox is the cherry on top here for driving purists. Mitsubishi first produced the Evolution VI in January of 1999.