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


Reader Import Stories Wanted!

If you have a story you'd like to share about your import, or how you fell in love with imports... send me an email at robg@righthanddrive.ca! It doesn't have to be unique - you may have already written most or all of it on a forum somewhere. As long as it's your writing, and your story, I'm happy to post it.

If you have the inspiration to write an article and want to see posted here, I'd be interested in that too.


Daihatsu Hijet Deckvan – Reader import story

This is a repost, as it was lost when I lost data. This is too good to not be on the internet.

photo 1

My story started way back on Valentines Day 2 years ago.  I was at church with my wife and my friends and I had a hockey game later on that evening. During the hockey game I was struck by a puck on my right eye, eventually I would find out that I would lose about 80% of my vision.  Although this seems like a completely unrelated tragedy it would eventually allow me to dream about owning a vehicle like the Daihatsu Hijet Deck Van. It turns out that although losing an eye sucks it rocks to have good insurance!

After about a year after my accident my insurance company decided to give me a cheque to "pay" for my injured eye.  This began the dreaming stage and the search for a replacement to my Cavalier.  I had contacted a number of different dealers in Nova Scotia and BC about these vehicles but was nervous about spending that kind of money on line and not really knowing what you where getting.  So on a whim I typed in Daihatsu on my search engine and to my surprise this little blue thing pops up in the auto trader. I looked at it like 100 times, talked to my wife about it and decided to take it for a test drive in Winnipeg.

photo 2

It was dark by the time I got to the previous owners house but there was no doubt it was beautiful.  I loved it, we took it for a drive around the city.  The previous owner and myself got along really well and had some good discussions about the van.  It turns out that the Van was owned by and man in Fort Saskatchewan AB, and he was a toy collector...he had many cars and extra large trucks, and this little thing.  He is the person who brought this little midget to Canada from Japan and fixed some minor body work and gave it the BMW racing blue paint job.  The guy in Winnipeg bought it of him and used it as a handyman van while he was running his own business.  So after two test drives including one at highway speeds, I decided I needed to own this awesome vehicle.

photo 3

My 3 boys and I love it, the looks we get are priceless.  I have never been videoed while driving before, had people take pictures of my vehicle.  It is a great little addition to our family I use it for work and I have magnetics signs on it during the week and it is the best advertisement vehicle.  The 660 cc motor is fun, push button 4 wheel drive is a blast, the sound system pumps and the gas mileage is outstanding.  I absolutely love my Hijet Deck Van.


We produced with spartan air

My friend had these on the R32 GT-R he was driving. Had to share


The first time this post went up, a commenter mentioned that apparently Nissan tried to get all the air bubbles out of the metal in some kind of process.

Enrish and awesome.

Filed under: Car Talk No Comments


So, I've had my GT-B for a bit. The best quirk yet...


BvXY22ECQAE5EazYou can almost make out the numbers of the plate that were on there.

It's pretty tacky. I'll probably take them off - but I think it's awesome for now!

Nothing else is really of concern on the car. Whew.


Filed under: Car Talk No Comments

Container shipping to Winnipeg – Part 6

That's the end of my story.

Obvious questions:

Would I do it again? I'm not sure. I found the whole thing pretty tiring. It was literally my pastime activity for a few months.

Was it worth it? Depends on how you look at it. Raw dollars? About the same. I didn't need to take time off work to fetch my car, so less money there - assuming my time isn't worthless.

Could this work in my province? Yeah! For sure! Getting the destuffer was the most difficult piece of the puzzle.

What was the hardest part? Managing all the moving pieces. I ran point between Mark (exporter), Al (Canadian logistics), Willm Craning (destuffing), Hanjin (shipping) and my container buddies. It was a bit of a three ring circus for a while.

More questions? Ask away!

Bonus Images!




Filed under: Importing No Comments

Container shipping to Winnipeg – Part 5

Finding destuffers in Winnipeg was a bit of a chore. We thought we had found someone, but after seeing pictures of how the container was loaded they NOPE'D right out of there. I sent emails to 10 or 15 places with the same response. One of the people I shared the container with mentioned a craning company that 'likes the weird stuff'. I sent them an email and they were in!

We ended up using Willm's craning. They were super awesome! One of the  guys doing the work actually had a Skyline GT-R! In fact, the president of the company - who usually doesn't do the manual labour - was running the show, because he was excited/interested about the whole thing.

The guys were super awesome - the container arrived on the 'chassis' (which is apparently what the trailer is called that holds containers), they put it on the ground with one of their cranes, and opened it up.

I got on-site as they were lowering the first Legacy - the 'freebie' Hijet was out of the way already.


The first thing I notice was how far over the 2nd Hijet the 1st Legacy actually was!

What the guys did was winch up the front end of the car a bit, remove the wood structure, and then winch it down so it was level with the ground.


Then use a forklift with really long prongs to pull the car out.

IMG_0218The wheels were in the hatches of the wagons, so those were put on... and TOUCHDOWN!



The next Hijet and the B4 were freebies. Then they did the same process with my Legacy. Here it is looking a little amputated


One strike against them - after they had unloaded the container they were markedly less friendly. It was a little frustrating, actually. I'd use them again, but, make sure I leave quicker. The problem we had was that no one knew who dropped of the container (I didn't even know the chassis/trailer was left with the container) - so it was a rookie mistake on all our parts.

I got there at about 9, and we were done before noon. Pretty cool stuff. From here, it was business like usual - get temp insurance to move it around, get it inspected, and get it registered.


Container shipping to Winnipeg – Part 4

Next problem: Shipping. Turns out not a lot of people (read: non-businesses) do container shipping inland. We worked with Al Thompson @ Thompson Logistics.

We had to ask Mark (the exporter) to ask Hanjin (the steamship company) for a through-rate to Winnipeg. This meant that Hanjin did all of the logistics for the container. From Dock to Dock - this even included 'drayage', which is the container being transported by truck and trailer to the unloading facility.

The container cleared customs in Vancouver, with the paperwork done by Al. It got flagged for dockside inspection - we were all worried they'd take the cars out of the container (at our expense, of course) - but it ended up being no huge deal.

Once it cleared customs in Vancouver, it was moved to the CN yard to be moved to Winnipeg by train!

CN Rail map

CN Rail map

CN has 'package tracking' not unlike UPS/FedEx/etc, so we could watch it's progress.

In Edmonton, off to Calgary!

In Calgary, back to Edmonton!

Turns out that rail maybe isn't the most efficient system in the world. Our container was dragged from Edmonton to Calgary... waited a day... unloaded. then was dragged back to Edmonton. If UPS functioned like this, they wouldn't still be in business. Our guess is that the container was on a car that was stacked 2 high, on top of a container that was bound for Calgary. Our container would need to be unloaded to get the lower container.

Once it finally got to Winnipeg, it needed the final trip to the unloading/destuffing place.

Timeline breakdown

  • 13 days on the Ship
  • 15 days on the dock
    • waiting for customs
    • waiting for dockside
    • waiting to move to the rail yard
    • waiting to be put on the train
  • 10 days on the train
  • 2 days at the rail yard

So... it's slower.


Presents from Japan

When you have a car exported, you can ask your vendor to toss some stuff in the car.

I've had some Wakaba on my fridge for a while.... but I wanted to collect both. So, I asked Mark to toss 2 sets of wakaba and 2 sets of the Koreisha mark too.

The wakaba is well-known to Japanese culture enthusiasts. The Koreisha mark is slightly less known. It's the mark you use if you're an elderly driver. This is pretty agist, and pretty funny. In Japan, people with classic cars will put it on the car to mark the car as classic... which I think is actually pretty cool.

The second set I got for my carpool associate... who pretty much freaked out. It's the little things!


Filed under: Car Talk No Comments

Container shipping to Winnipeg – Part 3

One post just to show the insanity of packing a container!

The map


The reality

The loading of the container!
03 04 05


Growing JDM Fleet!

JDM Fleet!

JDM Fleet!

I've currently accumulated an overabundance of cars. I've still got the Pajero, and the Legacy came to meet it. It's interesting, my cars have never met before. I'm not sure what to think.

More pictures of the landed leggy to come, in time.

Filed under: Car Talk No Comments