Over the past few years, the gap between things we (USA people) cannot have and could possibly get have narrowed.
Part of it due to the limitation on importing vehicles outside of the country – whether the regulation is for a vehicle that is 21 or 25 years old. Our Customs and Border Protection office of the Department of Homeland Security, allow for these vehicles to enter our country. Add on additional standards from the Environmental protection Agency and the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and your dream R34 Skyline GT-R could become more of a hassle than a reward for being unique and happy.
I will admit being fascinated by what can show up when it comes to the imagination of automobile folks. For example, my friend Richard's 1968 Triumph 2000 estate that ran in his family for a couple of generations and a couple of countries before his importation of it into the USA this year. It is a thing of beauty that still provokes the big question: "what is it, exactly?"
It is a white wagon that now wears Minnesota Historic Vehicle license plates.
I also have friends and acquaintances that own R32 Nissan Skylines. More desirable are the GT-Rs – the moniker that brings all of the enthusiasts together. You can blame the late Paul Walker for the R32 – it is a very provocative car that is capable of great velocity and performance. The R33 would seem to be the next to permeate our shores, while the R34 still have a few years to wait until they do the same.
Between that 1968 Triumph and the Skyline GT-Rs, there is something to be said about what we – as American citizens – can see as possibilities to fulfill our dream of owning some forbidden fruit. To be able to work with Homeland Security, the EPA and the NHTSA to be the most unique and interesting person in America.
My thought? What if I was a gambler? What if I wanted something I always wanted to drive here legally…at least to legal enough standards? What will it take to work with DHS and the rest of the Federal Government to get something truly unique for the show circuit and on the road?
I have done this before as a "My favorites" post. Let me revisit it again? That way, I can truly explore what is out there to maybe – just maybe – make someone’s dream come true. Or, mine? Or…well, you get the idea…
Here I go…
XC FORD FALCON: From July of 1976 to the end of the 1970s, it signifies the last of a great line of Australian market Falcons. They were shaped like American mid-sized coupes and exuded the brio of high performance V8s with its classic Ford engineering. Some have said that the Falcons of Australia were better built than any Ford here in North America. They had to be built well to meet the tougher roads in Australia – rather roads that really do not exist. The GS Hardtop coupe is perfect – that early 1970s Torino/Mustang fastback look with a couple of Cleveland V8s available. They are right hand drive, which means a bit of an adjustment for the American driver. In all, to drive one of the meanest machines of the 1970s – one that was made a star thanks to the "Mad Max" franchise – in the U.S. of A. would be cool for the muscle car set.
HOLDEN HQ: This one poured the cement on Australia’s car brand. Though part of General Motors, Holden was able to design and engineer their own cars for their specific market. They reputations were highly regarded that they were exported to a few other markets – as Chevrolets. You have to get the real deal – an HQ that was built from July 1971 over the next few years. The HQ combined GM's design cues from the Opel Diplomat to various Chevrolets worldwide. All of the engines may have been derived from an American one, especially the Small Block V8s. For this purpose, it would have to be a V8 – possibly the 350 cubic inch one. The most desirable one would be the Monaro GTS 350 two-door coupe. Considering they are very desirable, I could get away with a basic Monaro coupe, a Premier or Kingswood sedan. For American eyes, those are the ones that would scratch some heads. That could be a desirable result, come to think of it.
OPEL SENATOR/MONZA/VAUXHALL ROYALE: It would be easier to go through Australia to get one of the few couple of generations of Commodores. However, there could be an opportunity to get something in left hand drive, if I was looking somewhere in continental Europe. The Opel Senator sedan and Monza coupe were dismissed by discriminating executive car customers are being "not good enough" to replace their Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs and the like. Whenever I perused the British magazines of the era, I felt intrigued by the big GM European flagship cars. The Monza was a fastback coupe that looked like a wonderful grand tourer to drive. The sedans meant business – serious business. These are indeed good tenets to have for a car that was produced from 1978 to 1986. Power came from a series of in-line six cylinder engines, which were rated much higher than their predecessors for better velocity. I heard these big cars were truly solid on their feet, while exuding an upmarket feel. I think these cars would create more quizzical looks than anything – which is also a good thing.
R32 NISSAN SKYLINE SEDAN: Sure, I'll play. That does not mean I'll play along with convention. Right off, the R32 sedan is less desirable than the coupe. It had most of the technology found on the car – including four-wheel steering. Instead of the GT-R, I could get a Skyline sedan with a four or six-cylinder engine. The lower models would be complete turn-offs…or they could be seen as cool as a GT-R. Having been in a friend's R32, I like how the car is laid out…a step further than most of the Nissans I knew of from that era that were sold stateside. It is sporty, even in four-door trim. They only came in left hand drive, which would still be interesting. But, yo, it's a Skyline! That’s good enough, right?
TOYOTA CROWN S60/70: Keeping in the JDM theme, I looked at what Toyota offered back home and it would be easier to the a US-spec version and be over with. Then again, there had never been a US-spec Crown. In fact, the last time a Crown was sold here was in 1970. Why this Crown? It was the one Toyota Motor Sales USA could have brought over – but they didn't. The design was unique and out there, with its multi level front end, its fastback coupe with that reverse slant rear quarter window and it grew in size and prominence for this generation. It could be easy to keep the original motor – a lineup of four- and six-cylinder inline engines – but most enthusiasts feel the need to engine swap. Still, it is a classic JDM car that would provoke thought and be a great canvass for the wildest imagination to take hold of.
FORD GALAXIE/LTD/LANDAU: Huh? If you live in Brazil and was someone important – a government official, for example – you had one. What they are is the continuation of the 1966 Ford full-sized sedan, built until 1983. They had 5.0 and 5.8 liter V8s that powered the big car across the country from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia. Granted, they were large, but Ford did their best to update it to meet modern standards of the time. The point of having these big Brazilian barges in the States is to simply play with everyone’s minds. Granted there may have to be some work done to keep it up with current standards, but having a car that looks like a classic, but with more modern amenities – modern for 1977, at least – tells a bigger story than how it looks.
Cover photo by By OSX – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45595897