The New 25 Year Rule for Australia commenced on 10 December 2019:
Rolling 25 Year Rule (25 years old to month / year at the time of import approval application)
Operates in a similar way to the previous “1988 and older” rule
Applies to cars, 4WD’s and motorcycles (not buses, trucks or commercial vehicles)
Significantly modified vehicles and vehicles with certain modifications newer than 25 years are not allowed
How to apply for an Import Approval under the 25 Year Rule using ROVER and what is considered significantly modified.
Read more about the new vehicle import regulations.
Understanding the New 25 Year Rule for Australia (and Concessional Vehicle Imports scheme)
The 25 Year Rule commenced operation on 10 December 2019.
Note that the USA also has a 25 year rule, so Australians compete with US buyers (and their strong dollar) on many of the same cars. The USA is typically buying up to a year ahead of eligibility age with storage of the vehicles prior to shipping.
In 2020 / 21 there were rapid and substantial increases in classic car prices. This trend had been underway for some years but was pushed into overdrive by Covid-19 together with nostalgia for the past amidst a world moving to hybrid / electric vehicles.
Due to the high prices and limited availability of quality classic cars, by mid-2021 we stopped taking orders for almost all older models out of Japan.
So after seeing the 25 Year Rule coming for about 5 years since the Govt. first announced it, in the end there was a short-lived flurry of buying which started in 2020 and lasted about 16 months.
The remaining details below are just for general information – most of the vehicles mentioned we no longer source due to the market conditions explained above.
The 25 Year Rule is similar to the previous 1988 and older rule, so for most vehicles this will mean relatively low compliance costs of around $1,000 depending on the model. Additional costs may be incurred depending on whether side intrusion bars and retractable seat belts are required. This is controlled by each State / Territory registration authority at the time of roadworthy inspection.
A range of interesting import options is available under this rule.
You can use our online Auction Search to view upcoming auction cars across Japan and browse 3 months of past auction results to gauge availability and pricing.
Nissan Skyline R32 GTR
Delta Lancia Integrale
BMW M3 and others
Porsche 944 and others
Mercedes 190E and others