NerdWallet: These cars are cute and cheap, and no one else has them—how you can get one

by | Jun 28, 2022 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  If you drive your cute, imported Nissan Figaro to a cars-and-coffee meetup, you’ll be mobbed with fans. Meanwhile, the rich guy across from you is all alone with his Ferrari
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because everyone’s already seen that car.

At least that’s what importer Gary Duncan says after selling these unique foreign cars, many of them from Japan, for decades at his dealerships in Virginia and Tennessee. “It’s the aesthetics” that draws people to these cars, says Jim Simpson, a car designer and collector who has owned and restored dozens of Japanese cars and has an early 1990s Toyota Sera as a daily driver. “For not a lot of money, you can get a car that you don’t see on every street corner,” he says. Unlike German, English or Italian collectibles, Japanese imported cars are more reliable, easier to maintain and sometimes use parts that are interchangeable with available U.S. models, says Simpson. To top that off, you can have fun driving one for a few years and perhaps even sell it at a profit. Also read: Do you own one of these cars? It could become a desirable collectibleThe 25-year rule Once a car is 25 years old, it can be imported without meeting U.S. safety and emissions standards (some states have additional restrictions). This opens up a niche market for budget-minded collectors. But before you buy a Nissan
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Figaro or the adorable Honda Beat sports car, or the Suzuki Carry Mini-Truck, you need to know that they are small — some are tiny — have the steering wheel on the right side and often lack the features we’ve become used to, such as air conditioning. It requires som …

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