Alfa Romeo Spider / GTV
Soon after it abandoned the US market, Alfa Romeo released the wedge-shaped GTV coupe and Spider roadster. The latter succeeded the long-in-the-tooth Spider the Italian brand sold for decades prior (made famous for its appearance in the 1967 film The Graduate). Unlike the previous, rear-drive Spider, the new model – as well as its GTV counterpart – pushes its power to the front wheels. Sports cars the GTV and Spider are not. The two Alfa models, however, do look damn good.
Fiat took aim at the Mazda Miata with the Barchetta. Introduced in 1995, the Italian roadster pairs sensuous style with the thrill of open-topped driving. Like the Miata, the Barchetta relies on a humble four-cylinder engine for motivation. Alas, the Fiat pushes its meager ponies to its front wheels. Still, the Barchetta is reportedly an enjoyable driver’s car on twisting roads.
Honda Integra Type R
Yes, the US eventually got the Integra Type R, but that wasn’t until Acura brought it to our shores as a 1997 model-year vehicle. For nearly two years prior, Honda sold the model elsewhere. Besides its Japanese domestic market looks and right-hand-drive setup, the earlier Honda-badged Integra Type R shares the same key characteristics that make its Acura counterpart such a joy. Now, more US consumers can partake in that joy by nabbing a JDM-spec 1995 model.
Mercedes-Benz SL 72 AMG
Mercedes started production of the R129 SL in 1992. That generation lasted 10 years in the US, but the company never offered Americans a truly high-performance variant. So if you wanted the extremely rare SL 72 AMG model that debuted in 1995 – powered by a 7.1-liter V12 and good for 500 horsepower – you’d have to take up residence in Germany. But it’s been 25 years since production of the SL 72 AMG started overseas, so now is the time to import the high-performance SL of your dreams. Or you can wait two years for the even more-powerful SL 73.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III
Launched in early 1995, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III improves upon the prior Evolution II. Power is up by nearly 20 horses, while more aggressive styling gives the sports sedan a tougher look. The Evo III also introduced an even wilder rear wing that soon became synonymous with the Evo model line.
Mitsubishi Pajero Mini
The Mitsubishi Pajero Mini hit the Japanese market in December 1994, which means eagle-eyed buyers could have imported one before the turn of the decade. As its name implies, the small SUV is a miniature version of the larger Pajero, which Mitsubishi sold to us Yanks as the Montero. With a 660cc engine, the Pajero Mini is a slow little thing. But it’s cute as hell and likely has more off-road chops than your average crossover.
Nissan Skyline GT-R (R33)
The Nissan R32 GT-R gave way to the R33 GT-R in 1995. With slick looks, all-wheel-drive, a 276-horsepower (206-kilowatt) turbocharged 2.6-liter straight-six engine, and a five-speed manual gearbox, the R33 proved the GT-R could continue to evolve with the times. Car and Driver managed to scoot a V-Spec model to 60 miles per hour in 5.3 seconds and past the quarter-mile after 14.0 seconds with a trap-speed of 104 mph. Today, that’s quick. Twenty-five years ago though, those numbers were nothing short of shocking.
Porsche 911 GT2 (993)
To think there was a time that Porsche withheld the 911 GT2 from the US. But that’s exactly what the company did when it unveiled the near-race-ready, turbocharged 911 trim in the mid-1990s. Equipped with rear-wheel drive, a big rear wing, and more than 400 horses from its flat-six engine, the 993 GT2 looks as menacing as it likely drives. Given its limited production and high transaction prices on the second-hand market, the 1995 GT2 is surely a hard ticket to snag. Nevertheless, if you do manage to get your hands on one, you can breathe easy knowing it’s fully legal to drive in the US.
Subaru WRX Series McRae
The first Subaru WRX didn’t show up in the US until 2002. But well before that, markets outside of the US had access to the sporty four-door – and in 1995, the UK even got a special edition dubbed the “Series McRae.” The WRX Series McRae celebrated Colin McRae’s 1995 World Rally Championship win and was limited to just 200 examples. But if you can find one, it’s a fantastic import option.
Toyota Mega Cruiser
Here in the US we had Hummer, which rolled out its first street-legal H1 in 1992. But overseas, the Toyota Mega Cruiser was Japan’s version of the H1, used almost exclusively by police and military. But a handful of examples did make their way to the general public, and if you can find one, it’s a sweet SUV to import in 2020.
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