What 25 year old European car?

2012 is just around the corner, and for foreign-car minded gearheads in the US of A that means there is a relatively fresh and hopefully rust-free crop of cars from 1987 that will turn 25 and be eligible for private import. If you're feeling adventurous this upcoming year, listed below as a public service enabler are some interesting options that will leave your neighbors/spouse/car-showgoers speechless:


1. Citroen BX MkII - Citroen's Gundam Gandini styled BX probably stood for BoX, but with that silky-smooth suspension and spacious interior, who cares? Slightly wheezy engine: standard. Hydropneumatic suspension: standard. Gundam-style exterior: standard. Enterprise-D interior: standard. Your BX being one of the first ones in America? Standard!


2. Opel Omega A - European Car of the Year for 1987, plenty of well-preserved examples to choose from, and a design that has aged pretty well, all things considered. 4.0 liter vroom vroom didn't get into production till 1991, but the 2.0 liter from 1986 isn't bad either.


3. Volvo 480 Coupe - because you'll be the only one with a 480. Granted, you may have to get used to answering the question "Why did you put a Volvo badge on your Honda?" every day, but it'll earn you enormous street cred from the Volvo crowd. Also see: Volvo 460. It's like the Volvo 480, though much much stealthier. It'll also earn you enormous street cred from the Volvo crowd. Though, admittedly, they're not a tough crowd to earn street cred from. Get used to answering the question "Why did you get this over a 480?"


4. Peugeot 205 GTI - the 1905cc GTI came out in 1986, which was the largest-displacement version of the 205 (not counting the T16). The Rallye version came out around this time as well


5. Ford Scorpio MkI - you won't get to a Ford show too quickly, but you'll be the only one there with a Scorpio. The Scorpio Cosworth with a 2.9L V6 didn't arrive till 1989, sadly. But you could wait a few years and get a Escort Cossie instead, or something that appears like one on the ouside - there's plenty of those too


6. Alfa Romeo 33 - okay, so there are a couple of these in the states, but that doesn't mean that there couldn't be a few more. The 1.7 flat-four 117bhp is the engine to go for, although its a carb.


7. Lancia Delta Integrale 8v - 1987 was the first year this version was available, so it'll be 25. Nuff said.


8. Puch G 2dr or Peugeot P4 - aka the Steyr or Peugeot-built G-wagens that was sold under Puch or Pug badge in some parts of Yurrp. Are you stumbling over G500's in your seaside New England town? Mock those leather-filled G-wagens with an authentic no-frills offroader.


9. Opel Senator B - with even more German-made awesomeness with all the goodies of an American full-size sedan, but with the ability to actually get into a 21st century parking space without inflicting body damage on other cars. 3.0 liter version is probably the one to go for, larger engines didn't get there till a couple years after 1987. Tons of examples to choose from, including RHD Vauxhall Senators if you're too bored with LHD driving.


10. Citroen AX - because in diesel form it can get ridiculous mpg figures that will spit in the eye of hybrid drivers. How ridiculous? 87mpg US ridiculous, which got it into the Guinness book at the time, after a diesel example drove on one tank from Dover to Barcelona.


Which would you have?


  • MrZuffenhausen 4y

    If I lived it the US I'd go quirky all the way with a BX GTI.
  • Tyler Linner 4y

    G-wagen SWB hardtop in avocado green. Hands down.
  • John 4y

    You know what my choice would be although there was an Alfa 33 for sale here a few months ago and it was very tempted.
  • Kompressed 4y

    John 205 GTI? : )

    MrZuffenhausen A properly cleaned up one might even have some resale potential stateside. Would love to see someone bring one in (as long as it's not me).

    Tyler Linner I saw a pretty funky one just this summer, a 280GE:

    Mercedes-Benz 280GE
  • Tyler Linner 4y

    A BX would be really cool to see but I wouldn't want to deal with the maintenance.

    That's quite the color scheme on that G.
  • Kompressed 4y

    Tyler Linner Not to worry, you're not going to be able to get any maintenance for it anyway : ) But then, that's what people say about the CX's too.
  • MrZuffenhausen 4y

    Tyler you should grab a copy of Evo mag issue 163. There's a cool article on the Geländewagen and it's BRIXMIS version.
  • Kompressed 4y

    Speaking of the Peugeot P4, there is one on eBay now, and reviewed on BaT:


    There's gotta be a grand total of, like, one of these in the states.

    But if I was going to get a G-wagen, it would be one of Binz's long-wheelbase versions.
  • John 4y

    Yes, either a GTI or CTI. Both would be good! I know of two other P4's in the US, both on the west coast. It is exclusive but most would not recognize it as something special. There is a short wheel base G wagon in my neighborhood. I do not think I have ever seen it move but it is legally registered so maybe it just does not get used often.
  • John 4y

    Oh, and a BX might not be that difficult to get serviced. Most mechanical bits are shared with the 405. I know of one of these in the US, NM if I remember correctly.
  • Kompressed 4y

    John Now that you mention it, I do vaguely recall something about a BX in New Mexico... Jeff Lane might have one too.
  • fgeel 4y

    sign the petition to reduce it from 25 years to 15!

  • Kompressed 4y

    fgeel Ahh yes, if only petitions actually resulted in landmark federal legislation.

    The so-called 25 year rule didn't result from a petition, and it won't be overturned through a petition. And in the current economic climate, can you imagine just how hard the Big Three will fight commit millions to lobby against to prevent any attempts at carving out exemptions or doing away with the current legislation entirely? It might even go up if they get involved, god forbid.

    Be thankful one can still purchase a road-registrable 25 year old car from any manufacturer.

    /the glass isn't even half empty
  • fgeel 4y

    okay, i acknowledge it's a pipe dream -- i wasn't born yesterday. but this has me genuinely perplexed: why on god's green earth would the big three care about when people can obtain old grey-market imports? i mean really, are buyers cross-shopping weird 15+ year-old french cars with the newest chevy aveo?
  • Tyler Linner 4y

    Perhaps one might purchase a nice Nissan Skyline GT-R instead of a new Corvette. Or a Renault Sport Spider instead of a CPO Pontiac Solstice. When you have a lot of money and a lot of options you get to choose what you want. But when you have a lot of money and the gov't (read: corporations) doesn't give you options, well, you don't have options. By restricting the importation of modern non-USDM cars they improve the chances of you buying one of their cars.
  • Tyler Linner 4y

    I have to say though, in my opinion it's silly. If someone were to want a Skyline they'd buy a new GT-R, a G37 or 370Z, etc. If they wanted a Spider they'd just buy an Elise. The big three don't seem to have a lot of cars that would directly compete with ones you might import, and even if they did the customers would probably be too loyal to the foreign brand to go for an American car.

    After all, part of the thrill of importing a car is exclusivity. The big three don't really give us that.
  • Kompressed 4y

    fgeel It doesn't hurt the Big Three too much directly, as used car lots are used car lots, but their suppliers will argue (not without merit) that it'll take a bite out of dealers' parts and service business, which have increasingly become the breadwinners of dealerships. So that right there are the lobbies of automotive dealers' associations, (captive) parts suppliers, third party service providers like Meineke. They don't really have to show a tremendous potential for economic harm, all it takes is a whiff of a possibility. And once again, they can always go back to the same set of arguments that several manufacturers made in the late 80's to bring about the end of the gray-import market, which were tied to safety among other things, if I recall.

    Would SEMA SAN (Sema Action Network) be for or against this? That's not even clear - perhaps they've done an internal survey of their members' businesses already.

    The only interests that stand to gain (marginally) from this are certified importers, of which there are literally just a couple dozen, and mom-and-pop random import service shops, which are not really allied politically in order to fight for the right to sell people oil filters for Skoda Octavias.
  • FR 3y

    THANK YOU for your perfect photo of the car of my dreams, in my youth..: the Turbo 2 !!
    It won so many rallyes in France, when I was young and mainly the Rallye Monte Carlo 1982 etc... SUPER MERCI !!
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