I recently posted about the unusual cars of Amsterdam, and about how surprised I was to find so many American-market cars there — some of which were imported by Dutch companies that specialize in bringing over cars American automakers won’t. I was contacted on Twitter soon afterwards by a reader named Marcus who informed me of something that’s maybe even more unusual: There are companies in the United Kingdom that specialize in the very same thing.
Now this may not seem unusual at first, but it’s quite odd when you think about it: There are companies in the U.K. that bring over American cars with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the road. So not only are you driving around in a massive behemoth of a vehicle designed for larger American roads, with a massive behemoth of an engine designed for American gas prices, but you’re sitting on the wrong side of the car in order to have this experience. Why would anyone make this sacrifice?!
There are a couple of other interesting things about this business. As I browse the website for this particular company Marcus showed me — named "51st State Autos" — I notice that the majority of vehicles it has in inventory aren’t unusual sports cars we have here in the U.S., but rather massive pickup trucks. In other words: At least some people want to bring in giant, full-size pickups to the U.K., pay incredible amounts of money to fuel them, barely fit on the roads and drive on the wrong side of the street.
The other interesting thing is the cost. On the front page of the 51st State Autos site, currently, there’s a 2016 Ford F-150 Platinum SuperCrew with 33,000 miles listed for 40,995 British pounds — or roughly $55,100 USD. And that price doesn’t include the U.K.’s value-added tax, which appears to be 20 percent for most goods — bringing the price of this thing up to something like $67,000. For a used F-150!
I’m shocked by all this, but also happy to see it; if I lived in a country with relatively loose import laws, I like to think I’d also import something cool — even if it was ridiculously expensive. Just maybe not if I had to sit on the wrong side of the interior. Find a car for sale