this week's challenge had us searching foreign websites for vehicles over 25 years old that were never sold in the u.s. we picked this age cutoff because nhtsa allows you to import pretty much any car you want here provided it's 25 years or older. registering it in some places might be complicated, so be sure to check your state's rules before heeding our advice on which ones to buy.
to help us with this task, we invited one of our favorite imports, british expat james lipman. lipman lives outside los angeles and is one of our go-to freelance photographers. he has one of the best web-cam setups we've ever seen and an admirably eclectic taste in cars. for example, when lipman lived in england, his family car was the barely-bigger-than-a-smart toyota/scion iq. then, as soon as he got to the states, he bought one of the largest cars he could think of: a 1994 buick roadmaster wagon. contributing editor john pearley huffman is also on the panel and surprises us with a couple great choices.
as usual, the discussion varies from esoteric digressions to potentially valuable insights, like that the renault r5 turbo and renault alliance gta have the same steering wheel. if you sit through the whole thing—and who wouldn't?—you'll see french hot hatches with red carpets, a numbers-matching trabant, a four-wheel-drive volkswagen golf country, and deputy testing director k.c. colwell's first-generation audi s8 with a manual transmission. we discover that it's possible to find some great once forbidden fruit for far less than our $20,000 budget.