Nearly 25 years have passed since iconic moments like watching The Matrix in theaters or singing along to the Backstreet Boys’ hit single “I Want It That Way.” As we enter the year 2024, it officially marks a quarter-century since the final year of the 20th century.
For those of us who have fond memories of 1999, it’s a reality check that we’re no longer the young whippersnappers we once were. But there is a silver lining – federal vehicle import laws now allow the importation of vehicles that are at least 25 years old, regardless of whether they comply with all federal motor vehicle safety standards. This means that cars produced in June 1999 or earlier can be imported starting from June 2024.
However, not all cars that started production in 1999 will be available for importation on January 1, 2024. Some models will reach the 25-year mark at different points throughout the year. Let’s take a closer look at a few notable examples:
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI:
The Evolution VI, a successor to the Evolution V, made significant changes to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution in 1999. It featured a 276-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive, and subtle improvements that elevated its status as a sports sedan. The Evolution VI had enhanced styling, improved engine cooling, and a retuned suspension with aluminum components at the front.
Nissan Silvia (S15):
After saying goodbye to the 240SX in the U.S. after the 1998 model year, Nissan continued the story with the Silvia elsewhere. The S15, the latest and final iteration of the Silvia, hit the market in 1999 with two engine options, including a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four producing nearly 250 horsepower when paired with a six-speed manual transmission.
Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34):
The R34 is considered the pinnacle of the Skyline GT-R and represents the last time Nissan used the GT-R badge on a Skyline model. Despite not having the dedicated sports-car underpinnings of the later R35 GT-R, the R34 is known for being a more engaging GT-R. It has a lower mass, a six-speed manual transmission, and a smooth straight-six engine.
Porsche 911 GT3 (996.1):
The 996.1 GT3 may be overshadowed by its successor, the 996.2 GT3, but it has its own charm. Although slightly less powerful than the later U.S.-bound GT3, the 996.1 GT3 still delivers thrilling dynamics that make it a sought-after choice for enthusiasts.
TVR Tuscan Speed Six:
While it may lack the refinement of a Porsche, the TVR Tuscan Speed Six is a thrilling sports car with a classic front-engine/rear-drive design. It features a potent straight-six engine that generates over 350 horsepower, making it a striking choice for buyers who want head-turning looks and an engine that craves high-speed launches.
As we enter 2024, it’s a reminder of how time flies and how the automotive landscape has evolved. These cars from 1999 are now eligible for importation, allowing enthusiasts to relive the nostalgia and experience the thrill of driving these iconic vehicles from a bygone era.