- In the US, when a car reaches 25 years of age, it is exempt from the NHTSA (25 year exempt), EPA (21 year exempt), DOT, and FHTSA.
Directly from NHTSA: “A motor vehicle that is at least 25 years old can be lawfully imported into the U.S. without regard to whether it complies with all applicable FMVSS… You should note that the 25 year period runs from the date [(Month & Year)] of the vehicle’s manufacture.”
Directly from EPA: “Vehicle at least 21 years old (calendar year of manufacture subtracted from year of importation) and in original unmodified configuration is either expempted or excluded from EPA emissions requirements, depending on age. Vehicles at least 21 years old with replacement engines are not eligible for this exemption unless they contain equivalent or newer EPA certified engines. Customs may require proof of vehicle age.”
Importing: Does California have any state specific restrictions?
- California Special Rules (CARB): It is possible to import cars into California under the 25 year rule. It might end up taking some extra time and money. 1974 or older are exempt from smog and direct import requirements. If the car is newer than 1974 it is much more involved and can cost thousands to legalize.
Importing: What cars can be imported?
- Essentially any car that’s 25 years old or older. Example: If a car was manufactured in June 1992, then it’s available for import in June 2017.
If you want a car imported that’s less than 25 years old; it’s a VERY pricey and lengthly process which requires rigorous modifications and crash testing. Feel free to contact us if you won the lotto or have a lot of money to spend.
Importing: Can you source a specific vehicle for me?
- YES! Visit our Car Hunter for more info.
FINANCING. How do I finance a JDM car?
Financing a JDM car is easier than you may think. Most banks won't give an auto loan for a 25 year old vehicle; Navy Federal and USAA are a few examples of banks that do. Call your bank to find out if they can help or... the simpler solution is to follow the steps below.
- Step 1: Choose a Financing Company. (3 Options Below)
- Step 2: Apply directly through them. Tell them you're getting pre-qualified for a Montu Motors vehicle.
- Step 3: Once approved, the Financing Company will provide next steps. Sometimes an appraisal is required.
- Step 4: Financing Company will provide minimum down payment, monthly payment, and other information.
- Step 5: Purchase your dream car!
Financing Companies & Appraisers
*Note: Woodside Credit: Minimum loan of $10,000. Requires 5 years of credit history and no bankrupctcies, foreclosures or repos. 700+ FICO Required.
*Note: JJBest has no minimum loan amount. Requires a history of at least 1 auto loan.
*Note: LightStream has no minimum loan amount. Requires good credit. No auto loan history required.
Can I place a hold on a car I am interested in?
- Yes, a $500 deposit will hold a car for 7 days.
- A $1000 deposit will hold a car for 14 days.
- This deposit allows time to secure full payment, which will be due at the end of the hold period. We will consider the car sold during this period and other potential buyers will be told the car has a hold. They will only be informed of availability if full payment is not met at the end of the hold time. This hold (deposit) will of course go toward the purchase price of the car.
REGISTERING. How do I register my new JDM car?
- Montu Motors is a licensed, bonded, and insured dealer. We don’t just import cars, hand everything over and say “Good luck!”. We hand you a Florida title that you can take to your local DMV to register it, as if you bought a used car from a local auto dealer. Along with the title, we supply you with all the supporting documents and paperwork that you would need to make registering the car a breeze. We can also provide temporary tags if you would like to drive the car back to your home state.
If you are a Florida resident we take care of getting you a new tag on the car, or transferring your old tag. Florida residents get the convenience of taking care of Tax, Tag, and Title at our dealership location. When you leave you will have a road legal car, with no trip to the DMV needed!
Note: Additional emissions laws may apply based on your State/County laws. Our sales team will help you determine if your state has any additional requirements.
COSTS. Are there any hidden costs?
- The prices of the cars in our inventory include all costs associated to picking the car up at our Tampa, FL location. The only additional costs you may have will be sales tax, registration fees, and shipping if you’re not picking the car up at our location.
You don’t have to worry about shipping & transportation fees (from Japan to our dealership), importation costs, paperwork, customs clearance, titling, or any unexpected costs. For the vehicles in our inventory, there’s nothing to worry about; we’ve taken care of EVERYTHING for you!
VEHICLE PREP. Can you install upgrades prior to pickup?
- We can prepare your car virtually any way that you’d like. Each car we import is detailed, inspected, and receives basic maintenance. If you’re interested in anything more, we would be glad to help you with that. We can do general maintenance, parts installation, performance upgrades, restoration (e.g. body & paint work), custom fabrication, conversion services, and more! Whether you’re looking to have a road course monster, drift machine, drag car or daily driver, we have the capacity to build exactly what you’re looking for.
Why Japanese cars?
- Japan has a long list of cars that were never imported into USA. Now that we’ve entered into the 1990’s (Based on 25 Year Rule), there is an ever growing list of amazing or unique cars to import into USA.
A 25 year old car in USA is not comparable to a 25 year old car in Japan as Japan has MUCH stricter rules around maintaining their vehicles. See Wikipedia’s take on the Japanese Motor Vehicle Inspection. It’s VERY detailed.
Do you have information on the R32 Skyline?
- See below for a few useful links. If you have more useful links, please email us and we’ll add them.