Something fun: Updated SEVS list brings JDM legends to Australia

Something fun: Updated SEVS list brings JDM legends to Australia

Need a load-lugging Lancer Evo? Four-pot Supra more your thing? SEVS can help

The Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme (SEVS) is your ticket to dream. But what is it?

In a rare case of the government supporting the use of enthusiast vehicles, the SEVSintent is ‘to make motor vehicles available in Australia, which cater for specialist and enthusiast interests’.

As part of a move away from the Motor Vehicles Standards Act (1989) – legislation that created the legendary ‘pre-89’ import regulations – to the modern Road Vehicle Standards legislation, the infrastructure department has released ‘interim’ SEVS measures that open a treasure trove of interesting cars.

While there are some interesting ‘specialist’ vehicles (Estima Hybrid, anyone?), of more interest are some truly tasty machines that we lusted after in-period… as well as some intriguing brand-new stuff that hasn’t gone through full AU type approval. Instead, your friendly SEVS registered shop can go through the local SEVS compliance process to ensure road registration of your new wheels.

Current Toyota Supra with 190kW turbo-four

Four cylinders in a new Toyota GR Supra?

Can’t stretch to a six-pot Supra? Can’t find one at a dealer? Then importing the 190kW, turbo-four J29 could be a cheaper, quicker solution.

Judging by time spent with the identically-powered BMW Z4 sDrive30i indicates the four liberates a sweeter chassis balance at the expense of some grunt. Externally, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

Current Shelby GT500

2020 Shelby GT500 with Carbon Revolution wheels

Unleash your inner beast with the latest take on a classic nameplate… and you can even have riding on Australia’s own Carbon Revolution carbon fibre wheels.

The snake bites with 760hp thanks to a supercharged, flat-plane crank 5.2-litre V8. Despite the capacity the Shelby has a hunger for revs, peak power hitting at 7,300rpm. Brembo brakes, a Torsen diff, and a seven-speed TREMEC DCT will have you gorging on GT3s… if track days ever become a thing again.

2002-07 Honda Accord Euro R

Honda Accord Euro R – grippy grocery getter

Honda’s Type R badge has adorned many official Aussie variants over the years, but we have missed out on the best.

First- and second-gen NSX Rs leap to mind, but it’s the regular production stuff that’s more relevant to most of us.

The Aussie Accord Euros were cleanly-designed and capable, but the Euro R’s screaming 164kW 2.0-litre four adds the mongrel we missed out on. Coupled to another of Honda’s superb six-speed short-ratio ‘boxes, and every grocery run could be a BTCC race.

2002-03 Subaru Impreza STi Spec C Limited

Special Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec C LImited… exhale

Why would you want an Impreza on steel wheels?

In the days of motorsport specials, many legendary JDM cars were delivered with these, in the knowledge they would be turfed by the purchaser’s choice of competition wheel.

Having been part of a Subaru Liberty rally car build, I can tell you that finding anything Spec C out of Japan was hotly pursued. This thing had all the kit (that mattered): the full-spec 206kW (Japan-mandated but pessimistic) engine tune, trick inverted struts, quick-ratio rack and a massive 12L water-spray tank.

Where’s the nearest gravel?

1997-2000 Honda Civic Type R ‘EK9’

EK9 Honda Civic Type R packed 134kW from only 1.6 litres

This JDM CTR is another case of the domestic market hoarding the hottest Hondas. Weighing only 1,090kg and packing 134kW from only 1.6 naturally-aspirated litres, the EK9 is rightly revered.

That power peak was delivered at a stratospheric 8,200rpm, demanding six tightly-packed manual gear ratios to keep it on the boil – shifted by a stunning titanium gear knob.

A helical front LSD and seam-welded chassis points further reinforced the EK9’s performance potential.

It’s cliché – but Championship White with the red Recaros is the hero spec for a reason.

2005-07 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Wagon

Tasty Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX Wagon

Crazy, right? They did a wagon. And you could have it as a manual or (gasp) torque converter automatic!

Packing the same drivetrain as the legendary Evo IX sedan (the final Evo iteration with the 4G63 engine and faster than the X in thanks to significantly lighter weight) the six-speed manual version hit the JDM-mandated 206kW peak power with 392Nm torque. The five-speed auto copped a smaller turbo but barely suffered with 200kW and 343Nm. Inverted-strut front and multi-link rear suspension worked with Ralliart’s advanced chassis systems to deliver special stage performance in the car park.

Enkei and Brembo contributed wheels and brakes respectively, while inside Recaro seats and a Momo steering wheel featured; the former modified for ‘easier access’, adding further truth to the fact that all families need a Lancer Evo Wagon in their lives.