RexSeven UltraDork
March 20, 2013 5:00 p.m.

My 92 AWD Eclipse winter beater is currently off the road with a toasted clutch and a leaky radiator. It runs OK otherwise and has had a lot of work done to the engine bay to fix a bunch of rotten oil and coolant pipes, but the bodywork is very, very rusty. It's bad enough that it may not pass safety inspection in October and all of the fuel and brake lines will need replacement soon.

A guy local to me has a JDM Galant VR-4 rolling shell that is in very nice shape, almost no rust and nearly complete mechanically. It has a cracked dash and no engine or transmission. He has a line on a replacement dash from Japan, while the DSM's engine and transmission are a direct fit.

There are a lot of stars that need to align right in order to make this happen, but if it does, then might I ask if anyone here has lived with an RHD car in the US or Canada? What are your experiences with it?

Enyar Reader
March 20, 2013 5:05 p.m.

Good if you deliver mail/newspapers.

mndsm PowerDork
March 20, 2013 5:05 p.m.

Really, other than getting strange looks from other people, having to re-adjust your turning circles for new spatial judgement, and parking next to the curbs, it's the same as anything. What's REALLY fun is to carry a spare steering wheel, and have a passenger hang it out their window (in this case on the left hand side of the car) and watch the reactions.

yamaha UltraDork
March 20, 2013 5:14 p.m.

I've driven a rhd s13.....honestly I didn't like the different blind spots.

RealMiniDriver SuperDork
March 20, 2013 5:15 p.m.
mndsm wrote: What's REALLY fun is to carry a spare steering wheel, and have a passenger hang it out their window (in this case on the left hand side of the car) and watch the reactions.


GameboyRMH UltimaDork
March 20, 2013 5:16 p.m.

Overtaking on 2-lane roads will become extremely difficult.

alex UltraDork
March 20, 2013 5:29 p.m.

A friend of mine is a charming, handsome middle aged man with a nice collection of motorcycles, sportscars and racecars. He says his slightly ratty yellow RHD MG BGT is the best for chatting up young ladies at stoplights. Says he's gotten more numbers in that car than all the others combined.

So, there's that.

irish44j UltraDork
March 20, 2013 5:35 p.m.

You'll have import tuner fanbois trying to race you all the time. Because JDM yo...

irish44j UltraDork
March 20, 2013 5:36 p.m.
alex wrote: A friend of mine is a charming, handsome middle aged man with a nice collection of motorcycles, sportscars and racecars. He says his slightly ratty yellow RHD MG BGT is the best for chatting up young ladies at stoplights. Says he's gotten more numbers in that car than all the others combined. So, there's that.

I don't think a Galant VR4 is going to be helpful for picking up women. Car-knowing guys know what they are, but women just think its some cheap-ass old Mitsubishi.

Even old ratty British sportscars attract attention. I get tons of it in the GT6, even with a rattle-can paintjob on it.

Streetwiseguy UltraDork
March 20, 2013 5:38 p.m.

Theres a disproportionate number of rhd cars at insurance salvage with damage on the left hand side of the front.

I think they are stupid and dangerous.

Now get off my lawn!

March 20, 2013 5:38 p.m.

Up here RHD cars are getting harder and harder to insure. Ins. companies are just flat out dropping people with RHD cars.

Keep that in mind.

Catatafish Reader
March 20, 2013 6:11 p.m.

I daily a skyline every day, never have a single problem with it being rhd.

BoxheadTim PowerDork
March 20, 2013 6:16 p.m.

I've driven a fair amount of miles in RHD cars in Continental Europe and LHD in the UK. You get used to very quickly and IMHO even the overtaking "issue" is a bit overblown if we're not talking Daihatsu Cuore here.

RexSeven UltraDork
March 20, 2013 6:23 p.m.

Good stuff for me to keep in mind, gents. I'm not really looking at this because it's JDM y0- but because it is local, not that expensive, and in very nice shape. If this were an LHD VR-4 or another AWD DSM it would be a no-brainer, especially since the owner may be willing to help me with the engine/transmission/hub (4-bolt GVR4 to 5-bolt DSM) swap, provided I get the clutch replaced on the DSM so I can drive it to his garage.

I think what gives me most pause is anything paperwork-related. (registration, insurance, etc.). There are RHD cars in Mass. that I see fully registered and insured for street use but I wonder what hoops I would have to jump through. As for adapting to the driving position, my commute is mostly highway if that makes any difference.

Driven5 New Reader
March 20, 2013 6:38 p.m.

Consider the following:

1.) Every country in the world mandates a single "drivers side" in their respective country.

2.) Regardless of which side is the "drivers side" in any given country, every single one of them places the driver on the side closest to the center of the road.

3.) There is a reason for this. It is not just a coincidence.

DrBoost PowerDork
March 20, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Drove many thousands of miles in the RHD mini. The only issue (may have been mentioned, didn't read it all). The turn signals are on the wrong side, and when in a left-turn lane at a light, you can't see oncoming traffic cuz you are on the wrong side of the lane.

cutter67 HalfDork
March 20, 2013 8:04 p.m.

I have two rhd cars, i dont have a problem with them but i dont DD either so its fun. The real problem i have is always getting in on the left no matter how many times i go to get in one i always go to the left and have sat down in seat and said "oh E36 M3"

crankwalk Reader
March 20, 2013 8:18 p.m.

I've had a Galant VR4 (see the name over on and a RHD R32 Skyline.I wouldn't want to combine the two because the market on GVR4's is small and everybody is poor so resale sucks. Basically RHD only is nice so when you get bored with it you can sell it as a "feature". Nissan people, Honda people.....whatever will pay more for it but Galant people...don't care. You wont be able to resell it for more than a clean USDM Galant.

Anyway that being said I have gotten a speeding ticket in the Skyline and besides the passenger getting chewed out and then having to tell the cop "Hey I'm over here.", everything worked out the same because my paperwork was fine. Also the state of Georgia for the most part doesn't care. Shifting with your left hand is easy and you get used to it in a few hours.

I would just look for another 1g if you want to.\

PS, just remembered I got to go through the left drive through at Checkers by myself and that was cool. LOL

SnowMongoose Reader
March 20, 2013 8:45 p.m.

You people are such enablers.
Love it.
XOXO, Snow

I assume that it's state by state for how many hoops need to be jumped through? Mostly insurance issues?

T.J. PowerDork
March 20, 2013 9:05 p.m.

I don't think my state nor my insurance company know that my Mini is RHD. They never asked and I never mentioned it.

RexSeven UltraDork
March 20, 2013 9:40 p.m.

In reply to SnowMongoose:

If I lived in NH or Maine they wouldn't give a crap if the car were RHD. I've seen at least three R32 Skylines with full plates and such from those states. Mass. on the other hand isn't exactly car enthusiast-friendly. All cars in MA must be insured and registered for road use. I have seen some RHD cars with MA plates before (CRX, Evo VII) but they are the same or similar to USDM models which makes me wonder if there is VIN swapping going on. I'm going to talk to the owner tomorrow and will go over the VR-4's registration history. If something doesn't pass the sniff test (i.e. VIN plates swapped) or the paperwork turns out to be a nightmare, then it's a no-go. If not, it's still on the table but I'm not beholden to it.

I am keeping an eye out on CL and the New England DSM forums for USDM GVR4 and 1G DSM rolling shells (they basically have the same drivetrain). I have seen some for sale but they are either too far away for me to have towed affordably or are snatched out from under me.

RoadWarrior Reader
March 20, 2013 9:45 p.m.

Heh, that vr4's been on newenglanddsm for a bit... it's a really friggin clean chasis, would love to see it put together with the JDM bumpers,etc. I've driven a few RHD cars, the blind spots and shifting with the wrong hand take a bit to get used to, but didn't seem like a big deal.

aussiesmg UltimaDork
March 20, 2013 9:47 p.m.

I have driven a few. just wait until you do a fast downshift into a corner and open the damned door. BTDT.

gamby UltimaDork
March 20, 2013 10:16 p.m.

Funny this came up now.

Last week, I was behind a 70's-era Saab 900(?) that was RHD. It was in pretty rough shape but I thought it was awesome because it was so amazingly random to see.

Personally, I can't say I'd want RHD myself, though. The safety factor on right-lane roads seems a bit sketch.

SnowMongoose Reader
March 20, 2013 10:48 p.m.

Thanks for the info Rex.
I've driven some pretty sketchy cars without needing any sort of inspection around here, thankfully there's no emissions garbage to deal with...
I'll take a look on some local JDM/rice forums, get some answers.

1 2

You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

Tech Tips: 2006–’15 Mazda MX-5

16 hours ago in Articles

We asked a couple experts for the best way to upgrade the NC MX-5.

Project Turbo Miata: Hitting the Dyno With a Fresh Engine

16 hours ago in Project Cars

After getting a new engine, our turbo Miata project rolled onto the dyno.

Reader's Ride of the Week: Proud Prius

20 hours ago in News

Paul Sexton takes the checker while staying green.

Your Projects: Throwback MR2

20 hours ago in News

Take a Toyota MR2 AW11, add mud flaps and a cool livery, and you're ready for rallycross.

You Need This: Wacky Mazda RX-8

20 hours ago in News

Out with the rotary and in with the luxurious Infiniti drivetrain.

From the GRM Vault: Subaru Bounces Back

3 days ago in Articles

Proof that motorsports involvement can lead to corporate success.

Your Projects: SkinnyG's V8 Pontiac Firefly

3 days ago in News

Talk about a sleeper.

Calling All LS-Powered Track Machines to Holley LS Fest

3 days ago in News

Holley LS Fest will once again feature the Grassroots Motorsports Road Course Challenge.

From the GRM Vault: A Dual-Engine Honda CRX and 10 Other Cool Cars Hit the Dyno

4 days ago in Articles

Back in 1997 we put 11 cool cars on the dyno in search of horsepower and truth.

You Need This: Our Mustang GT CAM-C Project Car

4 days ago in News

Soon for sale: Our Mustang GT autocross project.

Deal of the Month: Christmas in July!

4 days ago in News

Get a year of our magazine for just $10.

Your Projects: Smith College's $2017 Challenge Miata

4 days ago in News

Smith College is entering the Grassroots Motorsports $2017 Challenge


Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More