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Discussion Starter #1
Alright guys here is the challenge:

I bought my 2001 S2 Elise in Germany (where I'm stationed). The car is U.K. spec, right side drive and everything. I'm gonna take it home in the states.

The Goal:

Well kinda obvious, but with a twist. I want to leave it right side drive.

What I know:

A lot of shops will do it, but it changes it to left and no one really gives a price. I know its possible to drive on the right in the states knowing some people in ATL that have RHD Evo's.

What I'm guessing....

headlight, windows might need to be changed? need to install airbag? could i get around that if i get racing seats with a 4 point harness?

Any info would be nice, I'll try to post more info when i get some to help others. Thanks guys!
 

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I'm stationed in Germany too with a right hand drive Exige, watched a video of how they swap it to left hand drive and I said " NO WAY IN HELL" they have to cut and do some crazy unsafe looking crap. I think there is some thing with the bumpers and the emissions too. If you want LHD though I am pretty sure Komo-Tek can do it, that may be your best bet to find out what needs to be done. You should call Daniel and ask him.


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Lol your screen name got me :p
 

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After I got my JDM STI I really wanted to change my Elise to RHD. I actually prefer it over left. There are all sorts of benefits, such as better curbside parking visibility, or if you have to pull over on the highway and get out its much safer.
 

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There is loads more to it than RHD/LDH. Your 2001 Elise has a Rover engine which you will never get approved for road use in the US... and you don't have ABS... or airbags... and the gas cap isn't under a door... so many little things :(

I really don't think you have any chance of legally getting your car to the US.
 

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Not sure if he (Daniel) does but would think if not then he would know who. Another way and it is going to sound crazy but if you dismantle the whole car and then ship it with your household goods. When you get it back to the states and rebuild it, you could try to register it as a kit car, kind of how the Nobles are done.


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Not sure if he (Daniel) does but would think if not then he would know who. Another way and it is going to sound crazy but if you dismantle the whole car and then ship it with your household goods. When you get it back to the states and rebuild it, you could try to register it as a kit car, kind of how the Nobles are done.
You may get away with it... but that is certainly not legal. Nobles do it because they are kit cars - an Elise is a factory car and the rover engined ones are specifically prohibited from road use in the US.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
well, this just got even more fun... I'm going to see a german guy that does converts cars to us spec and see what he says, I'll post my findings later
 

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Discussion Starter #11
also the no airbags/abs thing is still up in the air to me, i know this car 4 years older then mine but the McLaren, (yes i know a 20k lotus to a million dollar car isnt really apples to apples) F1 didn't have ABS and i don't think it even had an airbag, I'm wondering if the airbag rule is out with a 4/5 point harness system.... cause really, how is an airbag gonna be of use if the seats are doing its job. what I'm hoping is that the ABS deal went into effect right after 2001, but then again, will let you know when i got better evidence then just theories
 

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Airbags and ABS not withstanding the Rover engine is the killer. Maybe a K20 swap would work in your favour here?
 

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Nothing will help. It can't be done with an Elise or any other post 1995 production car. If the VIN number doesn't indicate it was built to US specs it can't be converted. Sell it and buy a Fed Elise when you get home.
 

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Why? You can not make the car federally legal no matter what you do... I believe you can bring the car into the us for a year or two under military relocation lop hole? Not sure? But you can't keep it street legal and it will never be federally legal, the vin determines that.
 

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Why? You can not make the car federally legal no matter what you do... I believe you can bring the car into the us for a year or two under military relocation lop hole? Not sure? But you can't keep it street legal and it will never be federally legal, the vin determines that.
First of all - what Fitfan said!!

As for the McRon F1, the US ones were actually converted to US standards by Ameritech at a large cost and were registered as Ameritech McLaren F1s - easy to justify on a million dollar + car not an Elise

I get that you may want to keep your car but it's not worth it - if you really want to keep it import it as a track only car and/or buy a fed Elise for road use - the Toyota engines are better anyway;)
 

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Do a search on nhtsa skyline.

Or the Motorex story

I've done a ton of research on this and what I've found:

You have to import via a registered importer (RI)
The importer has to modify and crash test the cars and submit data to the feds.
Only that vintage car can be imported and only by the importer who did the testing. If you test an R32, an R33, R34 are not qualified.

This is why "legit" Skylines cost $60k and non-legit ones can be bought for $30k, but then have to be hidden from the feds. With cars that are similar in the US like Evos and STi's, it's common to strip the JDM chassis of every part (parts are legal, the chassis isn't), and put the parts on a USDM chassis.

There are plenty of non-legit cars running around. You can register them, title them, drive them all you want. States could care less. If the feds find you, you'll be given a timeline to surrender the car. It will then be crushed. A friend of mine has a skyline legitimately purchased from a government agency. He was given 30 days to remove it from the country. He drove it over a border.....documented that.....and drove back across the border. It's registered and he drives it. He is very careful and it's never at a show or car gathering of any type.

I think it would be cheaper to sell your Elise and buy a USDM one when you get here.
 

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In any event, the car will always have a question if it is legal. So unless you are absolutely honest with your insurance company (and you will not be as no insurance company is going to insure a potentially illegal car) as soon you get into an accident, possibly a serious accident with liability litigation, your insurance company will claim that is was an illegal car and drop you and not pay the claim.

Now if you are broke and own nothing but the Lotus and don't care if you get sued, have a lien placed on your possessions, bank accounts and have your wages garnished for the rest of your life to pay off some lawsuit, then go ahead.

This is of course assuming you did not kill someone, when in that case you go to jail for killing someone with an illegal car.

I think buying a US Elise is a much easier option.
 
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