i just read today that there's a company in toronto importing JDM cars to ontario. the only legal restriction is that the vehicle must be 15 years or older.
the article was about the company's specialty vehicle - the skyline GTR - but they also take special requests. i couldn't resist sending them a message asking for an estimate on importing and selling me my favourite JDM vehicle...
the Honda Beat roadster:
- "kai class" car
- 3-cyl, 656cc, 12 valves, 64 bhp, 8100 redline
- mid-engine, 2 seat convertible
- 760 kg / 1675 lbs
- made from 1991 - 95(ish)
i spent quite a bit of time last winter researching importing one myself, and it looked like it would cost between $7500-10000 CDN. this was around 2x the cost of buying one in japan.
i asked around on some beat forums and apparently it'll also get around 40-50 mpg US - except most of the people i talked to were driving the snot out of them because they're such fun to throw into the curves (on go-kart tracks maybe, but you get the idea). so they may actually get decent mileage too, if driven efficiently.
it'll be interesting to hear what the import folks have to offer. already i'm trying to rationalize spending the money... "if i only drive it a few months a year, maybe i can treat it as an investment... a specialty honda like this in great condition must appreciate after time..."
Darin, thanks for your inquiry. The Honda Beat is a fun little car! I can quote you a landed price in Toronto, including GST, shipping, and customs fees. There's more to buying the car than just picking one you see on the internet. There is real value in having someone look at the car in Japan before buying. There are a lot of pitfalls the inexperienced buyer can run in to.
A rough estimate in price is $8-12K CDN depending on the condition of the vehicle.
I look forward to doing business with you in the future.
the hard part is rationalizing paying effectively double the price that the car is actually selling for in japan. half of MY cost is shipping, duty, and customs fees, not to mention the fee the importer charges.
and it would essentially be a "toy"... i've never spent $8000 on a toy before. it would certainly be one of the coolest hondas in canada (until someone else brought one over). and i agree it's way cooler than a smart car (though not as thrifty).
my rambling train of thought... how long would i have to wait for smart cars to depreciate down to $8k on the used market? probably 4 or 5 years. and the smart car will just continue depreciating... then there's the issue of getting parts from japan when things break... i wonder if a Beat would hold its value as a specialty/collector car...
yeah - a 15 year old used micro car... with probably 100-140k km on it ... for $8k - $12k CDN. now you see my dilemma.
i've driven them in GT too - they are fun. and apparently they go 0-60 in under 10 sec in real life.
mid-engine cars are where it's at. they are incredibly entertaining to drive because they change direction so readily, with the center of mass closer to the center of the car (than front engine cars). the Beat actually has the words "midship amusement" underneath the "Beat" badge on the side of the car. very appropriate.
i highly recommend trying a mid-engine car if you ever get the chance. an mr-2, or a fiat x-19 (i'm assuming you don't have easy access to an NSX, ferarri, etc.)
i remember reading a Beat review 15 years ago in one of the US car mags. someone had driven one in japan and said it's the most fun you could have at "legal" road speeds. because they're so small and high-revving, when you're driving them "agressively" you're still not actually going that fast.
Dooooo it. That's less than I could import a CRX siR glasstop for, so you should consider yourself lucky. And I def think that would hold it's value well, especially if you don't kick the pudding out of it.
If you are worried apart parts I wouldn't worry. Honda is known for using the same parts for year and years, often from model to model. I'm certain that you can get most of your parts from the junkyard off of civics or accords of similar years.
Maybe you can try to find one that has a blown engine and convert it to EV