The idea of importing a Volvo from Japan might sound a little bit like going to Australia to buy a wheel of brie, but in actual fact, there's a jolly good reason for importing a JDM 850. Quite apart from the fact that the steering wheel is, of course, on the correct side, there's the other oft-quoted reason for buying a grey import, which is that the lack of salt on Japanese roads means corrosion is much less of an issue - and usually non-existent.
Then, of course, there's the small matter of the Shaken - the much-feared five-year roadworthiness test that decides whether a car can stay on the road without vast amounts of costly repair work. When a car fails this in Japan, often selling it for export to a country where testing is less strict - for example, the UK - becomes appealing. And with the 850 in particular, Japanese examples often seem to have avoided the chunky mileages that many of the cars you'll see for sale over here have done.
But it seems this trend for importing non-Japanese Japanese cars is one that's gradually on the rise - and among other marques, the reasons are as with the Volvos. Old Mercs, in particular, are starting to come in from Japan in their droves - just like this lovely, last-of-the-line SL which, although endowed with the least powerful engine in the range, has to be a tempting option for anyone looking for a wafty drop-top ready for this summer. (Check out the gadget-fest on the dash if you want a giggle.)
Even less expected is this Porsche 928 GTS, another JDM refugee imported in 2015 but only registered recently therefore, in theory at least, benefitting from years of rust-free motoring. The 928's another one of those cars which is often listed with high mileage in the classifieds, and probably because of that, it's another model which is frequently imported. This one's done just 45,000 miles and is a real rarity - and it's priced almost identically to a similar UKDM example with twice the mileage available elsewhere on the site, making it feel like a decent deal.
There are, I should point out, caveats to buying any of these Japanese imports. In many cases - though not all - the history is incomplete or non-existent; and you do, of course, have to put up with certain specification differences, too. And don't forget the owner's manual will be tricky to make head or tail of unless you're a skilled linguist. But the biggest pitfall is the potential lack of rust protection. Because there's no salt on the roads many, though again, not all - manufacturers didn't feel the need to slap underseal all over their cars - so be prepared to budget for having it done as soon as you can, and if a JDM car's been in the UK for a few years already without the work having been done, get it up on a ramp and go through the underside with a fine-tooth comb before you decide to buy.
All that having been said, all four of these JDM gems look like they might be worth a punt. And we haven't yet discussed what, for me, is probably the most appealing thing they offer: not the low-mileage or the rust-free underside, but the satisfying conceit of being able to watch the expression on friends' faces when you tell them you own, for example, a Japanese Volvo.