Would You Rent the JDM Car of Your Dreams?

Photograph Courtesy Nissan

Nervous about buying a car in Japan nearly sight unseen and then shipping it halfway across the world? Worried about driving a right-hand-drive car in the U.S.? Rent JDM may be an option.

Offering “the real JDM experience,” Rent JDM lineup includes a Nissan R32 GT-R, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution II, and even a Suzuki Cappuccino.

The catch? According to their website, the operation isn’t open as of yet, and is limited to the Las Vegas area. As well, pricing options haven’t been released yet.

Is this the coolest new way to avoid commitment, or is it better to just take the plunge and buy a JDM car outright?

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Comments
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Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
1/28/20 2:30 p.m.

A Skyline GTR, maybe. If you spend actual money renting any of the cheaper import stuff you're probably paying almost as much as the importer paid for it in the first place.  There are a lot of JDM cars I'm interested in, but my lack of interest in the interests of the people who import them probably means i'd need to import one my damn self to feel like the value quotient was reasonable. That sort of logic leaves a pretty big hole around the whole idea of renting. cheeky That said, if the price was right I'd certainly consider it. Whether the price CAN be right probably depends on how much the owner is paying in insurance to cover this kind of use, since realistically most import cars aren't worth any more actual money than a new Elantra or Malibu you can rent for $27/day. 

I've driven a RHD car once. It was a manual. I honestly didn't think it was a big deal. But that's also true of the lead-ups to pretty much every car accident people manage to have in their LHD cars, so my opinions on the difficulty of driving are.. fringe i guess. I do regret not buying that car. It was a Nissan Pao and I still want one!!

bmw88rider
bmw88rider UltraDork
1/28/20 2:37 p.m.

Nah, I just go over to japan and drive them there at the dealers. Really none of the cars mentioned outside the GTR are really that exotic. There are enough of them in the US that I can go test drive them in many different places. And being that it's in Vegas, there really isn't any good place to drive them anyway. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
1/28/20 2:39 p.m.

In reply to bmw88rider :

Plenty of great places to drive around Vegas. I went here in a rented Corvette:

_
_ Dork
1/28/20 2:47 p.m.

Did it. Rented a 2012 gtr. Went on track. Disappointed. Had an instructor ride along and only shouted things like "you missed that apex" and "now we're JUST driving around the corner!"  Never meet your heroes. 
 

Flipside- rented a new gt86 from Toyota themselves in japan. Wrecklessly drove it down Hakone skyline Touge. Had a blast. Would do again. And cost me a lot less than the GTR. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
1/28/20 2:54 p.m.

How about an IDM???  Not sure why Japan gets all of the "domestic only" love- when Italy and France have a TON of cars we have a tough time getting.  Let alone Germany.  Or even England.

So JDM, IDM, FDM, EDM, GDM, etc....  KDM, too.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
1/28/20 4:01 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

Only tangentially related to the topic at hand, but an acquaintance of mine who does some importing told me once that Japan is one of the best places to get oddball European cars from, because their strict inspections mean they are almost always in better shape than examples that come from Europe. He particulary cautioned against getting cars from the UK and somewhere else in Europe I can't remember off hand.

therieldeal
therieldeal Reader
1/28/20 4:04 p.m.
pointofdeparture said:

In reply to alfadriver :

Only tangentially related to the topic at hand, but an acquaintance of mine who does some importing told me once that Japan is one of the best places to get oddball European cars from, because their strict inspections mean they are almost always in better shape than examples that come from Europe. He particulary cautioned against getting cars from the UK and somewhere else in Europe I can't remember off hand.

Only tangentially related to your tangential topic, but I've always wondered why there are eleventeen different places to shop online for JDM cars, but basically nowhere that I can go to shop for European cars.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
1/28/20 4:14 p.m.

In reply to therieldeal :

I wholeheartly agree.

Don't get me wrong, I love JDM cars as much as the next guy, but I would like to see more stuff coming from Europe. There has to be thousands--if not millions--of amazing cars that are turning 25 years old this year.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
1/28/20 5:03 p.m.

In reply to therieldeal :

Plenty of people are out there doing it (the European grey market has been around much longer than the Japanese one) but I don't think they are out there marketing themselves as aggressively as the JDM importers. I do see a lot of Lancia Delta Integrales and E30 touring models in particular being brought over though. So they are definitely around.

For general browsing of Euro stuff just for the fun of it I've found AutoScout24 is pretty good. My French car affliction has me occasionally looking at Renault 21s, Alpine A610s, Peugeot 106s and the like...

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
1/28/20 5:07 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

I'm still planning to import a proper EBM (BDM?) Midas. Probably the only car I can afford that's had some input from a certain Gordon Murray, Esq.

Here is one, in all its glory:

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
1/28/20 5:18 p.m.
pointofdeparture said:

In reply to alfadriver :

Only tangentially related to the topic at hand, but an acquaintance of mine who does some importing told me once that Japan is one of the best places to get oddball European cars from, because their strict inspections mean they are almost always in better shape than examples that come from Europe. He particulary cautioned against getting cars from the UK and somewhere else in Europe I can't remember off hand.

Anywhere in Northern Europe with the exception of the Scandianvian countries. They don't use quite as much salt as they do in the rust belt, but it's pretty close. Heck even the environmentally concious Swiss have started to salt the roads again. Ideally you want cars from Southern Italy and the South of France or maybe Spain, to an extent but the really old stuff (like pre-70s) isn't common in Spain as it was pretty isolated during the Franco years. Italy isn't the easiest country to buy cars in, especially if you don't speak the language. They've had all the time since the Roman Empire to perfect their bureaucracy, and it shows. Personally I would stick to buying in Germany, Switzerland or the UK, as I speak the language and am at least somewhat familiar with the bureaucratic hurdles.

These days, pretty much any European country has annual or bi-annual inspections, and they tend to be a lot tougher than what you get in the states that still do safety inspections. The problem is that you still need to check the cars over closely to ensure they haven't been worked over by the famous coachworks company of Bodgeit & Leggit.

One thing about Japan (other than the strictness of the Shaken) is that they don't salt the roads. That's why grey import JDM cars are so popular in the UK.

What works against getting relatively cheap interesting cars that just hit 25 years from Europe is that a lot of them from Continental Europe when to the former Eastern Block countries to be essentially used up there. It's fairly hard finding a lot of mid/late 80s to mid 90s vehicles on the continent for that reason. Easier to find in the UK, but then they'll mostly be RHD.

captdownshift
captdownshift UltimaDork
1/28/20 7:25 p.m.

If it's not a turbo charged 660cc cabover, I'm not interested

_
_ Dork
1/28/20 11:28 p.m.

In reply to captdownshift :

Hell yeah dude!

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku UltimaDork
1/29/20 11:14 a.m.

I could be suckered into renting a R32 GTR for a day. I'm sure these cars have tracking devices on them and maybe some sort of speed limiter? Not to mention a big stack of paperwork about what you may not do.

 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
1/29/20 11:22 a.m.

I'd rent an older GT-R.  It'd be a fun way to scratch that itch without having to buy one. Especially if the rental allowed for a drive away from Vegas and into the hills for a bit.  I've owned RHD car (Mini) and drove it a fair bit, so that doesn't really bother me.

Jumper K Balls (Trent)
Jumper K Balls (Trent) PowerDork
1/29/20 11:40 a.m.
therieldeal said:

Only tangentially related to your tangential topic, but I've always wondered why there are eleventeen different places to shop online for JDM cars, but basically nowhere that I can go to shop for European cars.

There is an easy answer to that question

 

That game series introduced a generation to cars no one had ever heard of in the US and instantly turned them into dream cars.

JohnInKansas
JohnInKansas SuperDork
1/29/20 11:40 a.m.

Wife and I discussed a vacation to NorCal, and found a couple places where people rent out their vintage cars. There was an EARLY Skyline GTR for rent. Wanna say it was something like $500 a day, but hot damn if I had more money than sense, I'd have done it.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
1/29/20 11:46 a.m.

Well, if they're still stock JDM they're limited to 180 kph.

Shadeux
Shadeux HalfDork
1/29/20 1:45 p.m.

I'm renting a Mazda 3 in Las Vegas this weekend... Does that count? laugh

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