The insane McLaren 600LT meets crazy JDM models from the 90s
McLaren’s launch campaign employs the clever catch phrase, “The edge is calling” to entice millionaires to push themselves beyond their current limits and reach for something more — more power and handling than ever before offered in a street-legal McLaren.
It’s the kind of serious performance that borders on insanity, and the cinema-quality launch video for the McLaren 600LT captures this wonderfully through a dark, almost sinister atmosphere, horror-movie sound effects, truly impressive driving on a desert track, and memorable lines like “on the edge of sanity lies genius”.
In other words, you have to be crazy to drive a car with Formula One performance on public roads. Then again, maybe only geniuses driven to extremes are successful enough to afford a McLaren 600LT, which boasts a sticker price of $242,500.
The rest of us can only dream of what it would be like to drive a McLaren 600LT supercar. None of us will ever own the pinnacle of supercar technology. And few of us will ever test drive anything remotely as fast.
But we can still reach for extremes.
In the early 1990s Japanese auto manufacturers went out of their way to build some crazy cars for dreamers like us in Japan. Cars that captured the imagination and provided a taste of excitement at the edge of sanity — without having to spend an arm or leg.
Now that many of these crazy JDM (Japanese domestic market) cars are over 25 years old, they can be legally imported to the United States and driven on American roads. Here are some examples with doors reminiscent of those on the McLaren 600LT.
The Autozam AZ-1 is a turbocharged mid-engine, rear-drive sports kei car with gull wing doors, pop-up headlights and Testarossa-inspired side. It was made by Suzuki but sold by Mazda at Autozam dealers in Japan from 1992 to 1994. Now Americans can finally import the Autozam AZ-1 in accordance with the 25 year rule. Extremely small but packed with personality, it offers excellent performance, quick steering and super traction, making it extremely fun to drive and own.
The Suzuki Cara is basically the same as the AZ-1, but with Suzuki branding and minor changes such as the addition of fog lights. It was sold at Suzuki dealers from 1993 to 1995 and is also now available for export to the United States. Only 531 of these rare, highly collectible vehicles were produced!
The Toyota Sera stands out with its mostly glass roof and butterfly doors (the same type of doors featured on McLarens). Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard three-door hatchback of standard size and power offering the dependability, high quality and performance you’d expect from Toyota. Imagine the stares and comments when you park at your local supermarket and open those doors!
There are plenty of other extreme JDM models from the early 1990s to choose from, like the Honda Beat, Suzuki Cappuccino, Nissan Figaro and Subaru Vivio T-Top, which are all super lightweight and fun to drive. Americans in the know have been importing these outrageous models since 2015, and tuners have been modifying them to boost horsepower up to 300%.
Japan Car Direct can help you directly import the used JDM model of your dreams. If you’re attracted to automotive extremes without extreme prices, there’s no better choice than the used Japanese car market where Japanese used vehicle dealer auctions offer a huge range of affordable choices. Contact Japan Car Direct and compare!
I was totally clueless and was having a really hard time finding someone that I felt I could trust to help me with these auctions. A couple folks recommended Mathew over at JCD and I very reluctantly reached out. Yeah, I have trust issues. Dude put me at ease and really walked me through the whole process. After a couple months I didn’t end up buying a vehicle, but that’s on me. When I changed my direction, Mathew helped me wrap things up and wished me well. I have zero reservations about reaching out to these guys or recommending anyone else to do so. Very helpful, knowledgeable, prompt and everything I needed. You won’t be disappointed.
Ordered an Acty Van with these guys. five star service all the way. everything went perfect!!!. I was so afraid to import a car myself. JCD made it seamless. I would import wit them and only them again and again. Thanks guys!!
Discovered KEI vehicles about a year ago and spent many hours searching the internet in hopes of finding an affordable van state side, to no avail. That is until I sent a message to Mathew at JCD. He was quick to respond, answered way too many of my silly questions, and worked diligently to find the right van for me. He is thorough, clear, and timely. Made the process simple and enjoyable. I am more than excited to work with him again. I highly recommend the service these gentlemen provide.
Matt made importing a few mini trucks for our farm a breeze. Super easy to deal with and transparent with all the details involved in bidding and winning auctions, the import process, and everything in between.
My truck had been stolen and Matt was helping me bid on mini-trucks to replace it. Of course once we started bidding the truck was recovered, but Matt was upfront and very helpful both getting into and out of our auction based relationship. I would not hesitate to work with JCD again!
I worked with Mat and i believe i couldn't have done any better. This was my first time dealing with importing, Mat was so patient and helpful through this purchase. I also feel he got me the best deals, i have since the first purchase made two more and will continue to do business with Mat.
I purchased three vehicles from auction with Matt, he made it extremely easy and was available whenever I needed him throughout the entire importing process. This is not the last time I will be dealing with them. I plan to order more vehicles in the near future! If your looking for a trustworthy company to order vehicles through I highly recommend JCD!
Mathew was super helpful if helping me get more info and bid on cars I was interested in.
Mathew and the gang were great with helping me with the acquisition of my 1994 Subaru Sambar dump kei truck. I was so excited about getting a truck I was ready to buy just about anything. Matt put the breaks on that and used his experience and knowledge to weed out the potential problems. I use my truck almost daily around our farm moving things and as a work surface. It is great. Mathew and Japan Car Direct helped my sister get a kei truck as well and I have and will continue to recommend them to anyone who has expressed interest in my great little vehicle.
I purchased a 1994 4wd Suzuki Carry Kei truck through JCD. Yoshi helped me during the process and after nearly 3 months and over 100 emails back and forth between questions and translations of auction sheets I finally decided on a truck. I've now had it for nearly a month and couldn't be happier with the purchase. They are extremely promt with responses and answered all questions I had. Being completely new at the importing process I never felt uneasy with my decision. If I ever decide to import another vehicle I will definitely use them again.
Excellent service from beginning to end. I registered over the new year holidays and received an automatic out of office response and also still received personal response indicating when auctions resumed. The process takes doing your own due diligence to study the cars you want but the guys at JCD will assist where they can as well.
When I thought about importing a vehicle from Japan, I was a little apprehensive. I read some real horror stories. Once I got in contact with Yoshi, he put me at ease. The entire crew at Japan Car Direct made the process effortless. From translations, to inspections, to the auctions, I felt comfortable with the entire transaction. The hardest thing was waiting for the ship to arrive at port with my new truck. I highly recommend JCD to anyone considering a vehicle import from Japan.
The entire Team at Japan Car Direct has been incredible at making purchasing a vehicle from Japan quick and effortless. Matt and Yoshiro are extremely friendly, and have performed above and beyond my expectations from start to finish. No matter how many questions you may have, these guys will know all the right answers! If you’re looking for a vehicle from Japan then look no further than Japan Car Direct. 10/10 ⭐'s
After ordering my minivan from Mathew and the folks at JCD, I will definetely use them again. Took three months to get the van but I am on the other side of the world. Van arrived in better condition than I expected although battery was dead and gas was extremely low. Other than that, the documents were sent to me promptly and the process of registering was seamless with the supplied documents. Thank you Matt and team and I look forward to working with you in the future!
When starting my path of importing a JDM classic Land Cruiser, I spent weeks doing research before actually committing because I’d never imported anything before. I was fortunate to come across Japan Car Direct, and that’s where I met Mathew. Wow, where do I start with Mathew..... (Just kidding Chicago!) Mathew was fantastic, from spending time on Skype answering all my questions to teaching me everything I needed to know to successfully find the truck of my dreams. Well today in fact I picked up my truck at the port, and it was in even better condition than I could have seen in the pictures and from the reports provided. Guess what, just ordered another one! You are the Master Mathew. Go Hawks!