JDM in the US: 1988 Toyota Celica Convertible

Now that every auto year of the 80s is exempt from the federal government's 25-year and older rule on importing used cars, all sorts of quirky new classics have been flooding in. One huge market in the making are Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) cars in the US. These were cars made for Japan and were either never imported here or were imported with changes ranging from subtle to major.

The Celia of course made it to North America and was very popular. But this is a JDM right-hand drive version. It's an odd choice of car to be worth the hassle of importing but it's definitely fascinating to see.

For one, I can't remember the last time I saw this era Celia, much less the convertible. These were among the first front-wheel drive Celica, and for what they scarified in glorious ability to drift they gained in better styling and greater efficiency.

It helps this one is in black-on-black, never a bad combo. The smoked indicators and amber-cornered taillights are tell-tale JDM-spec. Overall, the body looks remarkably clean, straight and free of dents and dings.

Underneath the hood is a 2.0-liter 16-valve 4-cylinder engine. It won't set your hair on fire, but it will get you to where you need to go, and without emptying the gas tank, too.

The seller says they brought this over in July 2013. They say everything is working except the cruise control and there is no rust. The also think the paint could be original.

The right-hand drive will take some getting used to (as will the Japanese waveband radio!) but this seems to be a neat little car in unusually good shape. It will be a hit at the JDM shows.

Available here on ebay with bidding starting at $5k and a Buy It Now of $7,200.

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