Cheapest JDMs To Import To The US

Avishka Chandeepa

Posted 22 March 2024


The world of JDMs has been on the fast track to becoming a playground for the wealthy. Year after year, the prices of 25-year-old US-legal JDMs have been steadily climbing, transforming once-affordable dreams into distant aspirations. Vehicles like the Nissan Skyline R34 GTR now command jaw-dropping price tags of $200,000, while Toyota Supras have become increasingly exclusive at $30,000 to $40,000. It's enough to make you wonder if owning a JDM has become an exclusive club for the well-heeled.

But what if your passion for JDMs burns bright, and you're still in college? Is there a way to bridge the gap between budget constraints and your love for these iconic cars? That's where ZervTek and the Japanese auto auctions come into play, offering a lifeline to those who refuse to let their dreams remain out of reach. This article isn't about showcasing the most extraordinary JDMs or even exploring budget options. Instead, we're here to reveal the hidden world of dirt-cheap JDMs that you can import today.

 Most of these treasures may come in automatic transmissions, with a few packing a turbocharged punch. Whether you're a fervent JDM enthusiast or simply an adventurer in search of a vintage and electrifying addition to your automotive collection, we're about to uncover the secrets that will turn your JDM dream into an affordable reality.

All the vehicles below have been going for under 500,000 yen and can be legally imported into the US. This list does not contain any Kei cars, you can find those here.


Nissan Laurel

nissan laurel in a lot

With Nissan’s RB20DE engine under the hood of the Laurel Medalist, you'll discover the RB20DE engine, which is an integral part of its appeal. This 2.0-liter powerplant is part of Nissan's renowned RB series, and it showcases a design that's all about performance and efficiency.

Engine Specifications:

  • Cylinder Configuration: The RB20DE is an in-line 6-cylinder engine, celebrated for its silky smoothness and balanced power delivery.
  • Valve Train: With a DOHC configuration, this engine boasts 24 valves, contributing to improved airflow, which in turn enhances performance.
  • Displacement: The 2.0-liter displacement of the RB20DE engine provides a sweet spot of power, offering an excellent balance between efficiency and spirited driving.
  • Power Output: While not as potent as some of the RB-series' turbocharged counterparts, the RB20DE delivers a healthy dose of power, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of driving scenarios.


Nissan Cima

nissan cima

Two remarkable variants, the FHY33 and FGY33, often find their way to affordable prices in Japanese auto auctions. The FHY33 boasts a 3-liter VQ30DET engine with a V6 Cylind DOHC 24-valve IC turbo, while the FGY33 is equipped with a VH41DE NA V8 DOHC engine. These two engines, each possessing a unique character, grant the Cima a remarkable versatility and a timeless appeal. They cater to a wide range of drivers and passengers, cementing their status as an enduring icon within Nissan's lineup.


Nissan Gloria

Gloria’s Gran Turismo package comes in a variety of engines offering plenty of varieties to be picked up for cheap.


Delica Space Gear

For those looking for something bigger, the Delica Space Gear is a great cheap option. It’s a workhorse perfect for camping or exploring. The older Delica Space Gear models are their engine options. Depending on the specific variant, these vans were equipped with various engines, including fuel-efficient diesel options and capable gasoline engines. Their durability and dependability have contributed to their longevity, and many owners still cherish these vehicles as reliable workhorses.


Toyota Century

Toyota Century bought by ZervTek for USA

Although not quite as easy as the rest, there have been variants that were sold out under 500,000 yen in Japanese auto auctions. The Toyota Century is a masterpiece of Japanese automotive craftsmanship. With its timeless design, meticulous attention to detail, and an unwavering commitment to luxury and serenity, it embodies the essence of Japanese hospitality and culture. The Century is more than a car; it's an embodiment of excellence, elegance, and tradition, making it a symbol of pride and prestige in the world of automotive luxury. Making the Toyota Century a great JDM to import into the US.


Mazda Roadster

We had to include what is perhaps the most popular cheap JDM that has been imported into the US. They are cheap, and with the auctions, there are a ton of options to pick and bid per your preferences and budget. 


Mitsubishi Legnum

The Mitsubishi Legnum is a station wagon that is a similar and cheaper version of the Mitsubishi Galant. Despite being a station wagon, the most notable engine in the Legnum's lineup is the 6A13TT, a 2.5-liter V6 engine equipped with a twin-turbocharger. This engine is revered for its balance of power and efficiency, delivering spirited acceleration and responsive performance. It's offered in both automatic and manual transmissions. Despite its relative rarity and elusiveness, the Legnum remains an underappreciated gem, contributing to its affordability.


Toyota Cresta/Mark 2/Chaser/Crown GX and JZX 

Toyota Cresta bought by ZervTek for a US military personnel (SOFA member) in Okinawa

The JZX90 and JZX100 platforms do not need any new introduction. The NA variants of the Toyota Cresta, Mark 2, Chaser, and Crown may not have the sheer speed and power of their turbocharged counterparts, but they offer a unique and charming driving experience. With their focus on smoothness, reliability, and cost-effectiveness, they cater to a different set of enthusiasts who appreciate the elegance, comfort, and classic aesthetics of these iconic JDMs. 


Purchasing and Importing

Prices for Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) vehicles naturally vary based on factors such as condition, mileage range, and other considerations. Remarkably, some of the JDMs in this list have been known to sell for as low as $500. While our export fees remain consistent, shipping costs are contingent on the vehicle's size. Through Japanese auctions, you have the opportunity to discover vehicles tailored to your preferences. ZervTek is here to assist by sourcing and facilitating the shipping process for you, handling every detail up to the destination port.

Learn more about importing a vehicle to the USA here
You can find all the necessary links below:

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