Why buy a classic from outside of Europe?
In short: in Europe, most cars are known and so are the prices… So it is hard to find the right car at an even better price. Outside of Europe there are still opportunities: e.g. the USA market is a popular one these days. However the Japanese market might just be even more interesting, let us tell you why:
First of all, in recent years the Japanese economy has not been doing very well. With raised taxes and many people getting in trouble, up-market items like used sports cars (Porsche, Mercedes, Ferrari,..) are not finding many buyers in Japan. As a consequence, prices become more reasonable.
Secondly, Japanese people them selves are a bit different from what they were 20 to 30 years ago. Back then, having a great car was an accomplishment, something you would’ve worked very hard for. Super sports cars and luxury cars were objects of desire for people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s who were in a financial position to fulfill such dreams in a high wage / low tax economy. In the current economy, it’s become a lot harder for the younger Japanese people to be able to afford these exotic cars.
This also means that whoever bought his dream 911 or Alpina 10, 20 or 30 years ago and now wants to sell his treasure onto someone else who will enjoy it, will struggle to find a buyer in Japan. Again, this makes selling prices reasonable.
Thirdly, it is not that obvious to buy a car in Japan, it is kind of a closed market. You need to go through a Japanese company. And as Japan is half way around the world, you don’t just hop on a plane to go and see a car. What you really need is a good reliable partner, who can be your eyes in Japan.
And lastly, most importantly for us car enthousiasts, Japanese owned classics:
have low mileage. Driving in Japan is very expensive and heavily taxed, so there’s no commuting to work.
are in excellent exterior and interior condition due to Japan’s mild climate and no salt on the roads in most places.
have received the regular required maintenance and are usually not run on a budget by wannabe racers.
have been garaged since new.
So basically, the up-market cars you can buy in Japan don’t deteriorate or age as much as they do in most other countries, and they are not likely to be abused or neglected; they are bought, driven and maintained by people who can afford to.