What is probably the largest collection in the United States of right-hand-drive Japanese cars is located at Duncan Imports and Classic Cars in Christiansburg, Virginia, where Gary Duncan has more than 300 of what are known as JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) vehicles.
Duncan’s parents opened a used car dealership in 1955, primarily featuring the usual domestic brands.
“In high school I drove a little bit of everything,” Duncan said, adding he didn’t remember what his first car was, but he did remember the first car he crashed, a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette when he was 16.
When he was 18, Duncan launched his own dealership stocked, also featuring domestic brands, but over time he added cars from Japan. In addition to his classic car dealership, Duncan has several other dealership locations offering Acura, Audi, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Lincoln, Mazda, Honda, Hyundai and Suzuki vehicles.
Duncan said much of his JDM inventory was assembled just in the last year.
“I didn’t own a single right-hand-drive car until a year ago, now I have about 400 cars either here or on their way over.”
According to Duncan, car auctions run each day except Sunday in Japan and he works with several vendors who attend those sales on his behalf.
“Each vehicle has been imported by the dealership following federal and Commonwealth of Virginia laws,” Duncan said, adding they come with Virginia titles and can be shipped to a buyer without a waiting period or additional import fees. However, he suggests buyers check with their own state’s DMV to verify local registration guidelines.
Duncan’s dealership JDM inventory encompasses more than just classic cars. He also has a selection of mini-trucks, antique cars, and muscle cars such as a 1938 LaSalle Series 50 convertible, 1940 Ford Deluxe coupe, 1957 Chevrolet 3100, 1971 Chevrolet Corvette and various Porsches.
“I’m a collector,” Duncan said, “the Japanese classic cars are very affordable and we are now seeing things we couldn’t previously import until they became 25 years old. They are just cool and a majority of them are $12,000 or less, so you can play with them or resell them and still make money.”
Duncan added that since he began importing JDM classics a year ago, he has seen appreciation for them grow. He said he receives inquiries from those in their early 30s to mid-60s.
“We have many local car enthusiasts and friends that visit [the dealership] frequently to share memories and stories of their passion for automobiles” said Duncan, who added that the collaborative passion he shares with fellow enthusiasts inspires and fuels his mission to provide car collectors with a “fair, friendly, fun experience when buying a hard to find Japanese Import car.”