It’s that time in your life again, your old car has seen its days through, and so the time is ripe for the purchase of that long-awaited new car. There are so many different makes and models to choose from, but you don’t want just the average car. You want something that is completely different from the norm. You start to do your research and get extremely excited about what you see, that is until you realize that your dream car is not available here in the US You ask yourself, how can this be? But the reality of it all is that there are quite a few of the world’s best vehicles that are just not for sale on our shores.
We have put together a list of those out-of-reach cars that may just be on your shopping list. Some will surprise you, while others will be obvious as to why you can’t get them here, and some just don’t meet our importation laws and requirements. No matter why we can’t get them here, or if we ever will be able to, there is an interesting range of vehicles that are just out of the grasp of the average motoring American.
There are a lot of people stateside that have probably never heard of the Alpine A110, but this manufacturer of sporty automobiles has been around since the early sixties. The first Alpine to hit the market was the A108, also known as the Berlinetta, which, roughly translated, means “coupe.”
The original A110s were powered by a Renault engine that could deliver up to 95 horsepower. The initial A110 was, unfortunately, discontinued in 1977, much to the disappointment of its huge fan numbers. But never fear, in 2017, Alpine re-introduced the A110 under the watchful eye of a Renault-Nissan partnership that has it running a 1.8-liter turbocharged power-plant that has kept this little gem up-to-date with modern technology and appears to have a promising future.
Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf
There is a lot more to the Aston Martin brand than meets the eye. We all know the name from the “James Bond” franchise of movies, but the similarity between the movies and the actual manufacturer ends there… or does it? The original Lagonda brand was purchased by the Aston Martin Company sometime around 1947. The very first Lagonda, known as the Rapide, was a V-12 powered luxury sports car that was the most expensive automobile available in the US at the time. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt soon after due to falling sales and the inevitable beginning of World War II.
Aston Martin decided to re-launch the brand at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, in collaboration with Mercedes Benz. Now, this is where the “007” link comes in. The original code name for the Taraf was called “Project Comet” and was designed by Aston Martin’s highly secretive “Q” division. I hope Miss Moneypenny doesn’t hear about this! All jokes aside, the Lagonda Taraf, which means “ultimate luxury” in Arabic, was manufactured in very limited numbers; only 120 cars were built, and they sold for $1 million each.
The Audi Company is a German-based automotive manufacturer that is part of the Volkswagen group. Now, I know what you are thinking; this is a list of cars you can’t buy in the US, right? But we have all seen various Audis on the highways here. Well, this is true, but one Audi you won’t have seen is the zippy little S1. This sporty stallion comes in two versions, the 3-door hatchback and the 5-door hatchback. Their performance specifications give them the nickname of the “Hot-Hatch” with very good reason. Powered by a 2 liter TFSI engine, based on the Volkswagen EA888 turbo unit, the smaller 3-door S1 can launch from a standing start to 100KPH (62 MPH) in an amazing 5.8 seconds. Now, there’s a whiplash waiting to happen, and the 5-door gets there in 5.9 seconds.
Well, if they can get to that speed so fast, where does it all end? Good question; both vehicles are electronically limited to a top speed of 250KPH; that’s an awfully fast 155MPH. At this stage, Audi has no plans to introduce the S1 into the US marketplace, but that being said, who knows what the future holds?
The Holden Company has been making cars since 1948, with the introduction of the 48-215, also known as the “FX.” This vehicle was so popular that the huge automotive group General Motors purchased the company and began making what would become Australia’s most popular motor vehicle. Holden has always produced a Ute, “Utility Vehicle,” after recognizing the need for such a hardy vehicle that would not only cope with the harsh environments of this arid land but also serve the needs of its many farmers.
In the early 90s, the Ute became extremely popular with the younger generation, and this prompted Holden to produce a sport package of the “Tradesman’s Choice” with an extremely healthy 5.7-liter V8 engine under the hood, replacing the Ecotec V6 Buick designed power-plant. It later upgraded this engine to the larger 6-liter Generation 111 V8 in 2006. General Motors had planned on releasing this vehicle in the US badged as the Pontiac G8, but this was shelved for good in 2009 when the world economic crisis took hold on a dwindling marketplace. Interestingly enough, I was recently in North Carolina, where I saw the 4 door version of this vehicle on the road. I guess where there is a will, there is a way.
Honda has produced some fantastic cars in their long history, and the S660 is another in a lineage of sports cars that Honda has become known for. It’s a lightweight pocket-rocket only weighing a mere 830 Kg’s (1830 lbs.). It replaced the hugely popular ”Beat” on its release in 2013. This mid-engine sports car is powered by Honda’s 63 horsepower SO7A turbocharged engine that some reviewers have stated is under-powered, but it makes up for this problem with its superior maneuverability. This is another example of the strength of the Japanese market, as these lovely little cars are only available in their home country.
Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake
The British certainly know how to produce amazing luxury vehicles, and Jaguar has been doing this for many decades. It is not unusual to see a variety of different Jaguar models on the roads all over the US as they have been a very popular car on the market here for many years. Jaguar’s XFR-S, however, is a car you won’t see on the highways here as yet, which is a real shame. Let’s have a quick look at its pedigree.
First there is the enormous 550 horsepower power-plant that can take you to a top speed of 186 MPH, with a neck breaking acceleration of 0 -60 MPH in just 4.6 seconds. Then, there is this thing called an “Adaptive Dynamics Chassis,” modified rear axle and those must-have anti-roll bars that encompass all of Jaguar’s innovative technological ideas. This, along with their world-renowned luxurious interiors, makes for an extremely attractive vehicle. If you happen to find yourself in China or even India, you can buy one of these highly sought after cars, but sadly, you won’t find one on any lot in the USA.
In a sleepy little town in the UK called Hethel, you will find an impressive factory with a very familiar logo emblazoned on its façade. This is the home of one of the world’s most famous sports car brands, Lotus. Formed in 1952, Lotus has been manufacturing some of the most exciting racing and sporting cars that the world has ever seen. Models like the Espirit, Europa, Elise, and, of course, the Exige.
This two-seater pocket-rocket has been on the market since its inception in 2000. Originally marketed as the Coupe’ version of the Elite model, it came into its own when Lotus introduced the V6 supercharged Toyota engine to replace the straight 4-cylinder power-plant that was originally used for motivation. Interestingly, the Exige was readily available on the US market until this engine swap was made; then, for whatever reason, the car became unavailable here. This car is a lot of fun, as its 177 horsepower will get you from 0 to 60 MPH in just 4.7 seconds, and it has a top speed of 136 MPH. Oh, what a feeling!
Mercedes A45 AMG
The US seems to have an extremely biased opinion on the hatch-back style of vehicles. For some reason, this design just isn’t very popular on our shores. It is because of this seemingly misguided opinion that the Mercedes group decided not to market their “A” series of vehicles here. This is a shame because the smaller A-Class series of the brand is the most affordable on the market today. The Mercedes-Benz brand has been a very common sight on our roads and highways for decades. In fact, these cars have been around since the early 1900s.
Their catalog boasts a huge variant of models, but much to our detriment, the A45 AMG is not among them. This zippy little car has the AMG tuned 2-liter 4-cylinder motivator that, coupled with its turbocharger, will give you 376 horsepower to play with. It’s such a shame that this car will never be seen our shores, as Mercedes have aimed their sights well and truly on the European market where the hatch-back has cemented a place in the hearts of the many motoring purists that have the available dollars to purchase this wonderful vehicle.
Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34)
What can you say about the Nissan Skyline that hasn’t already been said? The Japanese certainly know how to produce a vehicle that would become one of the greatest performance vehicles to ever hit our roads. The GT-R, or R34 as it was known, was the 3rd generation in the Skyline stable and would go on to set the standard for all to come. Its performance on the racetracks of the world was legendary, as was its road handling and power execution on the blacktops of the globe’s highways.
This car developed a life of its own, with many enthusiast lusting after one of these thoroughbreds. The R34, affectionately known as “Godzilla” was capable of running the quarter mile in an impressive 12.7 seconds and would launch from 0 – 100KPH in just 4.4 seconds. Not bad for an off-the-line production car. These insane cars stopped being produced in 2002 and have become one of the most popular cars on the collector’s list, so if you happen to come across one that is for sale, buy it, regardless of the price.
I am guessing that a lot of you who are reading this have probably never heard of Noble Automotive, a British-based supercar manufacturer from Leicestershire in the UK. And that is completely understandable, as not one of these cars has ever seen the light of day on any US road, to my knowledge.
The M600 is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful cars ever built anywhere in the world. Like most cars in this range, their beauty is only surpassed by their performance. This handcrafted stainless-steel and carbon fiber bodied supercar is powered by the unusual Yamaha-Volvo B8444S 60 degree V8 engine that breathes through two turbocharges, creating a formidable 450 – 650 horsepower, depending on the package chosen. This is transferred to the ground through an “Oerlikon Graziano” trans-axle six-speed gearbox using a manual shifter. With a top speed of around 215 MPH and a price tag of nearly $260,000 you had better start saving now.
This amazing looking car is the pride of Italian auto manufacturer Pagini. The Zonda is basically a mid-engine super-car that debuted at the “Geneva Motor Show” in 1999. The last of these cars, the Zonda HP Barchetta was capable of reaching speeds of up to 221 MPH utilizing its 789 horse-powered 6-liter V12 engine. Although not officially tested, this car will propel you from 0 to 62 MPH in 3.4 seconds, almost enough time for you to blink. Pagini’s other models, such as the Huayra are available here in the US, but it is unlikely that the Zonda will ever grace the highways here in the near future.
Shortly after the release of their last vehicle onto the US market in 1992, the French Peugeot company packed up and left the shores of the US for good. This was a sad thing for the US, as Peugeot is a highly respected car manufacturer throughout Europe and Asia. The RCZ ceased manufacture in September of 2015, after nearly six years of production, leaving behind an impressive array of awards and history.
First released at the “Frankfurt Auto Show” in 2009, the RCZ went on to win the prestigious “Best Sports Car” award five years in a row from the “Diesel Car Magazine” awards, as well as “Top Gears” “2010 Coupe of the Year” award. The RCZ was initially designed to be a simple concept car, but its popularity saw it go into full production by 2010. The car was extremely popular because of its performance, with either a 1.6 or 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and its affordability. It is likely that this car would have sold quite well here had it reached our shores.
Porsche Panamera Diesel
Why? This is the only question to be asked about why this car is not available on the US market. Porsche are probably the best known European car manufacturer in the world. Yet they have decided that this particular version of their flagship automobile will not be for sale on our shores. Let’s see if we can figure out why.
Now, we need to clear up a few issues first. The original series of this model is readily available here, with the introduction of the hybrid to the market as recently as 2013, but you will never be able to buy the V8 twin turbocharged version. The reasons are many, but the failure of important emission controls when tested in Europe probably has a lot to do with the reasoning behind Porsche’s decision not to bring the car stateside.
The Panamera 4S Diesel and the Panamera Sport Turismo 4S Diesel were both deleted from Porsche’s catalog in August2017. It was discovered that these cars emitted one-and-a-half times the allowable emissions of the legal requirement. This discovery prompted Porsche to announce that it will no longer be utilizing Diesel propulsion in the future. The bottom line is that is you do come across one of these luxurious automobiles, grab it up and put it in your garage; it will only increase in value.
Seat Leon Cupra R
Seat is a Spanish car manufacturer that is not very well-known outside of Europe and Asia. Having said this, their Golf R machine has made many in-roads into the North-American market place. This begs one to ask why they have decided not to pursue sales of the Leon Cupra R here. The Leon model has been around since 1998 and has proven to be extremely popular throughout Europe with the first generation being based on the Volkswagen Group A platform.
But this new generation of the Leon Culpa sees it being fitted with its own 207 horsepower motivator; this, coupled with its highly refined sports suspension, makes this car a joy to drive. This head turner is defiantly a car that the younger generation will love, so only time will tell if Seat decides to bring this gem to our shores.
For whatever reason, this mid-sized sports wagon was only released in the European and Japanese markets. Similar in design to the best-selling WRX, this hatch-back is a bundle of surprises. The name itself came from three words, LEgacy, revolution, and touring. At least, that’s what the manufacturer is being quoted as saying, but whatever the reason for the name, it is a name that will be on the tongues of motor enthusiasts for years to come.
The car’s power-plant is a 1.6-liter turbocharged unit coupled to a Lineartronic CTV 6-speed manual transmission. The car itself has been so successful that in 2016, Subaru announced that it would be entering into the “British Touring Car Championship” as a manufacturer teaming up with “Team BMR” to race the Levorg. The car went on to win the championship in 2017. Whether this remarkable car ever makes it to US soil remains to be seen, but we can only hope.
TVR is one of those manufacturers that a lot of people have never heard of, especially here in the states where most of their vehicles are not available. The Sagaris is no exception, especially since it was only manufactured between 2005 and 2006. The car itself was designed with endurance racing in mind, and strangely enough, ignores all of the features that other high-end sports cars offer.
You won’t find “ABS,” “Traction Control,” or “Stability Control” on the 406-horsepower beast that maximizes the “Tennis GH TVR Speed Six” engine. The name Sagaris comes from the Greek word for a battle ax used by the “Scythians,” which was revered for its light weight and its ability to penetrate body armor, an apt name for this lightweight missile.
Scirocco is a Mediterranean wind, and it seems that Volkswagen’s car of the same name blew in, then out without warning. Strangely, this model had two lives, first being manufactured between the years of 1974 to 1992 and then, re-emerging in 2008 until it ceased production in 2017. This extremely attractive sports car is powered by a 120-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, linked to a choice of 6-speed manual or auto transmissions.
The US market was originally bypassed because the executives at Volkswagen believed that introducing the Scirocco would affect the sales of the already high-selling “Golf” series of vehicles. But when the second generation of Scirocos hit the market, it was stated that the differential in the money market made the sales of the Scirocco unviable in the United States. For whatever reason, we here stateside have missed out on an incredibly durable vehicle.
What a better way to finish off our list but to add one of the most luxurious cars that you will not see on any US road. The Toyota Century is the top-of-the-range in the stable of Japan’s largest car manufacturer. With the comfort level of the far more expensive Rolls-Royce, this car offers everything that today’s executive is looking for.
The third generation of a car that has been around since 1967 became available to the world in 2018. For those of you who have a very deep wallet, the basic entry level for the Century starts at around $180,000, give or take some small change, but you will only have a choice of four colors to choose from – blue, black, red, or silver – so you had better like your limo basic.
Powered by a 5 liter V8, your driver should have no problems getting you from meeting to meeting with plenty of time to spare. The latest version of this top-end vehicle, the GRMN, was unveiled earlier this year, but, as yet, no one seems to know if it will ever be produced or not. Toyota… Oh, what a mystery!