How It Works

Racehead Performance offers two ways to buy a Right-Hand Drive Imported Vehicle from Japan

• The 1st way is to purchase one of our vehicles from our Current Inventory

• The 2nd way to purchase a vehicle is to have the customer to be a part of the car buying experience


If you really want a right hand drive high performance sports car from Japan, then you are at the right place. Racehead Performance brings the customer direct access to over 100 different auction houses in Japan. The “Importing Process” takes anywhere up to 2-3 months to complete. The whole process includes getting the vehicle shipped here and finalizing all the paperwork to make it federally legal here in the United States.


We will briefly go over the fees and process again with you in person to ensure our customer understands how the whole process works. At that time if the customer wants to go ahead and get the process started, then we require a 25% security deposit of the estimated final cost (Estimated with our Cost Calculator), which is NON-Refundable after committing to bid on vehicle. IF WE HAVE THE CAR IN STOCK AT ONE OF OUR LOCATIONS THEN THE SECURITY DEPOSIT IS REFUNDABLE AS LONG AS BALANCE IS PAID WITHIN 48 HOURS. SAY WE CAN’T FIND A CAR THAT YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH WITH-IN SIX WEEKS THEN YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT IS REFUNDABLE.  Once the car is found at a local dealership or found at auction, the customer will decide to commit to buy the vehicle or not. If the customer decides they rather not and walk away at this time then their deposit is refundable but once the customer commits to buying the car (or giving permission to bid on a car at auction) then their 25% security deposit as stated above is at this point NON-REFUNDABLE. We buy and bid on cars according to our customers request and allow our customer’s to be apart of the bidding process.


Once your deposit has been placed you will start receiving picturess and details of every car that fits the requirements that you supplied from filling out the “Japanese car request form”. Now there are many fees that comes with importing a car into the United States, but we have a cost calculator to show you an estimate on what it could cost to import without any extra additional fees from storage or random searches when the car is entering into Customs. The calculator also breaks down every fee so that the customer can see exactly how much and what they are paying for. Now keep in mind that Japan is 12-13 hours ahead in time than us here in the USA, this cuts down on the amount of time that we have to bid on the cars at auction. Also, the Japanese auction houses adds cars sometimes 6 hours before the day they are being auction off on. Since Racehead performance has a team over in Japan we can add a bid sometimes last minute as long as it hasn’t been ran through auction yet.

Here are some of the fees associated with importing a car into the United States:

-Vehicle Cost – Varies on vehicle, mileage, rarity of the vehicle, and the overall condition of the vehicle
-Cargo Insurance- 15% of value of Shipment/Vehicle
-Japan customs export/deregistration fee – fees can vary from car to car
-Shipping Cost- most cars use RO/RO (Roll on/Roll off shipping) $1000-$3000 depending on vehicle
-Hazardous fee- $200
-NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) entrance fee – $35
-US Customs Entrance fee Per car – $125
-ISF Filing Fee – $140
-Customs Duty Tax – 2.5% of value of shipment
-Customs Merchant Purchase fee – 0.3464 % value of shipment
-Customs Bond fee-  $450
-Port holding fee – $80
-Harbor Maintenance Fee – .125% value of shipment
-TWIC License tow fee – $85
-NC title fee- for title processing fee for importing a vehicle into the United States this includes Ocean tax, highway tax, and property tax
-Transportation Fee- to transport vehicle from port to RHP storage facility, Diesel Fuel Plus flat rate fee (set by RHP) depending on vehicle.
-RHP Importing & Document Processing Fee – 25% Fee of total bill of vehicle after all fees & expenses for importing vehicle to the USA. Also this fee is for taking care of all the legalization process for the customer to be able to take possession of the vehicle with a NC Title, which saves you the customers unexpected fees at the DMV

As a general rule of thumb you can expect to put back $1,000~$2,000 on top of the cost of the car from our calculator for what we like to call “cushion money”. This cushion money is used for unexpected fees coming from the Customs port or fee added on by US Customs, storage, or a special inspection of the vehicle requested by Customs. It is not always needed but it is better to have just in case.

Once we start the process and you see a car you like, then you would email us back stating which car you would like to bid on and what’s the most you are willing to pay on that particular vehicle. Racehead Performance would then start bidding on the car on your behalf but keep one thing in mind, that these cars hold there value a lot better than the value of cars in the US. ALL OF THE CARS THAT WE BID ON WE DO A PRIOR INSPECTION OF THE CAR TO DETERMINE IF THE CAR HAS ANY RUST ISSUES, RUNNING CONDITION, OR ANY OTHER MAJOR FLAWS. We want our customers to be happy with their purchase and not buying another headache of a car. If we won the bid of the car of your choice then an email would be sent to you stating that we won the car, at that time you have 24-48 Hours to pay for your purchase in the full amount minus you 25% Security Deposit via Bank Wire Transfer.

Our staff in Japan go the extra mile to go locate and search all the local dealership in Japan to find you your “Dream Car” you have always wanted. When sourcing a vehicle from a dealership in Japan, there are a couple factors that come into play like is the dealership willing to provide the export certificate or not, How much are they willing to negotiate, and what kind of extra fees are added by the dealership. Sometime this isn’t the best route to go unless RHP finds a car that is really unique car because some local dealerships won’t release the export certificate to keep these cars in Japan. In this case we would then go to the dealer as individual purchaser vs. Business exporting the vehicle, by doing the ensures the dealer won’t add extra fees to the cost of the vehicle. Once we located the car you want to purchase then you would send a confirmation letter stating that you wanted that you RHP to start the negotiation process. If the dealership accepts our offer, then at that time you will have 24-48 hours to submit the remaining balance for the vehicle minus your 20% security deposit via Bank Wire Transfer.


Once we have secured you final payment, we then move the vehicle to our storage facility over in Japan and the de-registration process starts which can take 4-6 weeks to complete. This allows the vehicle to be released and state that RHP is exporting the vehicle to the United States. Then at this time Racehead Performance will setup the shipping arrangements and get a bill of lading(Shipping order and tracking number for the car). After the car is de-registered and ready to ship out, our staff in Japan will Ship out to our office here in Concord,NC the original title from japan and with an English translation, export certificate, and the bill of lading. If the car is eligible to import into the United states then we can go ahead ship the vehicle out to the US. It normally takes 5-6 weeks to ship a vehicle from Japan and once it arrives here at port then the US Customs process starts.


Waiting for Customs to release the vehicle is toughest part of the process. Just because it’s 25 years or older doesn’t mean certain agencies (NHTSA, EPA, CUSTOMS) of the government aren’t suspicious and may want to do a formal inspection of the vehicle. This is where that cushion money comes into play because depending on how many inspections/procedures they want to do, it comes with a fee. This is why we have a team over in Japan to prep the vehicle and to reduce the risk of having to deal with these unexpected fees. After Customs releases the vehicle, normally takes sometimes as little as 1 week up to even longer depending on how quick they release the car. Racehead Performance at this time, would go to the port and pick up the car to take back to our storage facility to start the process of legalizing and titling the car to make it 100% Federally legal. This process can take up to 2-4 weeks to complete since a DMV officer must come out to do a full inspection of the vehicle to complete the titling process.

As soon as we get the title and legalization process completed the car would be ready for pickup or RHP does offer to your door delivery service for a fee depending on the distance from our storage facility in Concord,NC.
After buying your car Racehead Performance wants to continue offer any parts or maintenance that you might need done to your vehicle. Racehead Performance has direct connections to get you OEM Parts and Aftermarket parts exclusively only offered in Japan, with the knowledge & resources to keep your Dream Car on the road running properly. It will be the best investment you will ever make in your life, this is what dreams are made of!!


Any vehicle that is at least twenty-five (25) years old (to the month/year of manufacture) is eligible to be imported into the USA, fully exempt of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (Department of Transport) and Environmental Protection Agency (vehicle emissions) standards or import restrictions. There are no loop holes. If the car is not 25 years old it can not be imported which would not make it a 100% Federally legal for you to own. Which also means that US Customs can come and seize the vehicle and demand the car be exported or crushed. Leaving you with a pile of fines and you lose your money invested into the vehicle. DEFINITELY NOT WORTH BUYING UNLESS IT’S 100% FEDERALLY LEGAL.

How do you confirm this, each car imported comes with a copy of the US Customs release paperwork, NHTSA Release form,and a EPA Release form. If these are not present, I honestly advised not to buy it because of the chance of it not being 100% Fed legal. Just because it has a state title doesn’t mean that it is federally legal, all three documents must be present to confirm if it’s legal or not.
Our goal is to make the process of buying a vehicle from Japan as pain-free as possible. And if you need replacement parts for you imported car then we can send one of our guys right over to the dealership and ship it out right to your door.


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