RightHandDrive.ca/blog Canadian Right Hand Drive News and Thoughts


JDM Radio – Surprises after importing

Stock radio from a Nissan Figaro - Click for larger image

There's a number of strange little things about JDM right hand drives that some people might not expect when they're importing.

One of these things is that a lot of people that import their own JDM don't think about is that Japan runs on a different radio band. Turns out that's the case!

In most of the world the FM broadcast band, used for broadcasting FM radio stations, goes from 87.5 to 108.0 MHz. Japan's FM broadcast band is 76–90 MHz, the only country to use this span. (From Wikipedia)

So, as the first owner of a fresh JDM in Canada, you might be wondering why you can only get the first few FM channels.... this is why.  The AM radio band is the same, and will work, and if your area is anything like mine you'll be listening to a lot of informational programming. I always say that owning a right hand drive has taught me a lot, and this is one of the reasons why!

JDM radio tuned to a North American impossibility.

It's actually also funny to see what kinds toys come with these radios.  I've seen MiniDisc players, tape and some crazy Non-english undefinable peripherals.

So, when importing your own JDM right hand drive, or checking out one that's already landed... check out the radio - if you're really into FM radio it might cost you a bunch to swap out the radio. Speaking from experience... there might not be a simple way to hook up your new North American spec radio either.

You'll notice that I used the term 'JDM Radio' and 'JDM right hand drive'. This is because this particular problem is specific to vehicles from Japan... if you import a right hand drive from the UK or other right hand drive country you won't have this problem.

Big thanks to ST and friend for the images.



Right Hand Drive Seizures in the States

VehicleImport's unfortunately too true banner

I've heard about police seizing vehicles that have been improperly imported  - that's the nice way of saying smuggling. Not a lot of right hand drive vehicles are permitted for import into the states, and even trying to get those into the states can be a major chore, to the point it's impossible. A while ago I had read about a rash of R33 and R34 GTRs being seized by authorities Check it out here.

So I started to dig around to see if this was a common thing. Turns out that it's not uncommon. The US border guards will seize your vehicle if the proper paper work is not done... like this beautiful R32.

This got me even more curious, so I 'busted out' some 'google fu' to see what I could crop up!

Search term: right hand drive seized

The first thing I found: A Nissan Figaro that was seized when busting a Ponzi Scheme. Sounds like the person busted doing this Ponzi scheme had this in his collection. It's "improperly imported" so it was slated for sale... export only.

Not surprisingly, approximately the same story to the seizures posted on gtrusa.blogspot.com. There is always some degree a rumour to these postings about seizures, but I'm sure there's some truth to them. Here's on from a year and a bit ago: http://www.autoblog.com/2009/10/03/nissan-skyline-gt-rs-seized-in-california-over-possible-illegal/

Surprisingly, the first two pages were almost ENTIRELY USA related. Which is odd, most of the world has LHD/RHD problems, and the USA don't really even allow them to be imported (by and large). Googling "right hand drive impounded" does not have much USA, or even North American info.

Excited by my initial success, I decided to exploring some more: "right hand drive stolen" - A BUNCH of USA posts. Again, weird. I guess they'd really be an interesting can in the states, therefore a target. But again.... the USA doesn't really have RHD cars... so  are they all getting stolen, and the all the owners are complaining online?

Then, a fun one: ["right hand drive" illegal] (with quotes around right hand drive). This brought up people from the states asking if it's illegal to drive an RHD. Which in a way it's not. It's just illegal to import them.

Then finally: "right hand drive problems". This  brought up a lot of hits from Canada, which makes sense. There was  some lots of legal issues still being panned out, and getting parts for RHDs can be... tricky... sometimes.

At any rate, it was an interesting excursion into the fountain of google.

Banner borrowed from vehicleimport.blogspot.com


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The JDM Licence Plate Mod

This is always a surprise to a first-time owner. It seems obvious after you think about it, but not before you see it.

The mod, in action

In short, Japanese license plates are a different size, and have a different bolt pattern. Bolt pattern? Is that the term? Sure it is. I had to drill a hole beside each of the regular holes to center my license plate.

It's actually one of the simplest ways to figure out if a car has been imported or not. People rarely buy new license plate holders, and just drill the license plate. I've seen Mercedes and Porsches running around with drilled license plates too.

A real problem came in with my truck. In Manitoba, trucks have a T in the upper left corner of the plates.  So, I couldn't drill a hole there. Instead I had to drill through the bison on the other corner.

The poor bison will never look the same

Desperate times, desperate measures. Now, when you see a plate that looks like this, you'll know why.

Just a little crooked, and we know why.

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Ringing in 1996, I mean 2011

Another year is done, and another year of grey imports is allowed into the country.

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing some Lancer Evolution IVs around. The Delica crews are looking forward to the upgraded SpaceGears.

One year to go before the Pajero Evolution can be imported.... that thing looks mean!

Any cars you're looking forward to importing, or seeing on the road?


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