Nothing matches the thrill of streaking down a wide, open road in a sports car that makes everyone go green (with the top down for that extra oomph). Sports cars are high on everyone’s list – they give off a glamorous vibe, and who doesn’t want to own the fastest legal thing around? Of course, most of them do cost a pretty penny, and all that power and speed make them quite the gas guzzlers. They’re also not known for being the most comfortable rides. But you can’t have everything, right?
Then again, some sports cars are so fast, so powerful, and so out there that they were even banned from American roads. Their power and speed can make them outrun a cop car and that’s a big no-can-do. Here are 15 of the coolest sports cars banned in the US that we can only dream of.
15An ‘80s Marvel: Porsche 959 S
One of the most exclusive and rarest Porsches in the world, the Porsche 959 S was introduced in the late ’80s. It made a whopping 575 horses and was the first production car to surpass the 200 mph milestone. In 2014, a 1988 Porsche 959 S sold for $1.1 million, and the US still steadfastly keeps them on the banned list.
14Once A GM, Now Foreign Again: Lotus Exige S
In the ‘80s, GM owned the British sports automaker, Lotus, which was all good. But, by 1993, Lotus was back to being British. This means you can pine over the Lotus Exige S, its 250 horses, and its stunning lines all you want, but you cannot have it in the States. It remains banned.
13A Banned Lambo: 1993 Lamborghini Strosek Diablo
To begin with, not many can afford it, and even if they could, the US government doesn’t let anyone have it, especially if it’s a 1993 model. The 5.7-liter, 48-valve V12 mill jets out a beastly 485 horses and can go 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. For the US, this Diablo is way too fast and too furious.
12One Down, Five To Go: 1993 Jaguar XJ220S
From the 350 regular Jaguar XJ 220 models ever produced, three were turned into GT racing models and six got the privilege to carry the “S” (sports line) badge. Out of these, only 1 managed to be legally imported in the US, with the other five (each boasting 680 horsepower) still banned to this day. Pity!
11Yet Another Porsche: 1992 Porsche Carrera 964 RS
A spin-off from the original 911, only 290 Porsche 964’s have been made after they were introduced in 1992. Track-ready, boasting a reduced weight, and made mostly to European standards, they remain illegal even 18 years down the line. The US authorities refuse to allow its citizens to let all this power go to their heads.
10Doesn’t Play By The Rules: 1997 Honda Civic Type R
There’s a reason why many Americans are so crazy about JDMs. While the cars are great, there’s something about forbidden fruit that appeals to everyone. Failing to meet the emission standards, the 1997 Honda Civic Type R remains banned in the States. Of course, the US now has its own Honda Civic Type R as a consolation.
9Refuses To Pass The Test: 2011 Weismann GT MF5
Only 20 of these cool cars have ever been made, each making almost 550 horsepower and 500 ft-lb torque. At $210,000 plus, they are the standard sports car fare. The only reason they are still banned is that wrecking three of these cars (out of the 20 made) to pass the safety compliance test would be a cardinal sin.
8The Fast And Furious Car: 1995 Nissan Skyline 32R GTS-T
If they called it the Godzilla, they had good s reason to. Some nine editions of the Skyline remain banned, one of which is the 1995 Nissan Skyline 32R GTS-T – a four-door Grand Tourer version of the car. With failed emission and NHTSA tests, this will remain off the US menu forever, perhaps.
7Yet Another Brit Car: Lotus 340R
The 340 nomenclature mirrors the car’s limited 340-unit run. The 340R is as stripped-down as a sports car can get, featuring no windows, trunk, doors, or even a radio system. What all this does is give the 340R a featherlight weight, allowing it to accelerate like a rocket despite its relatively unimpressive 178 horsepower. Unfortunately, all 340 of these cars remain banned in the US for safety concerns.
6A Kit Car? Nope: 1991 Pegaso Z-103
Not to be confused with the Pegaso Z-103 of the ‘50s, the 1991 version was a result of 11 replica models being commissioned by some British fans. The NHTSA, of course, does not like kit cars and their general tomfoolery. So, they didn’t let the Z-103s come anywhere near the US.
5A Risky Retro Roadster: Morgan Roadster
As retro-looking as a car can get, with a 3.7-liter Ford “Cyclone” V6 powering the wheels, this Morgan vrooms at 140 mph top speeds. The speed isn’t the reason for it being on America’s banned list, though; its lack of safety equipment like airbags is. So, the UK-made Morgan Roadster remains a no-show in the US even today.
4Safety? Nah, Speed Is Better: 2010 Noble M600
The Noble M600 can go lose-your-lunch fast at speeds of 225 mph and will reach 60 mph in just three seconds. The problem lies with its stripped-down profile that refuses to care about commonplace things that are usually there to keep the driver in one piece. Yet another banned British car. But bloody fast, for sure.
3No Plans For The US: 2010 Peugeot RCZ
The RCZ Coupe jetted out 266 horses for a very economical price that translated to about $30,000. And though the Europeans loved it, Americans could only watch it with hungry eyes. Like with all its cars, Peugeot didn’t plan to sell the RCZ Coupe on the US market, so it never tried. And this beautiful model remains banned to this day.
2Doesn’t Need The US Market: 2005 TVR Sagaris
Another one of those fast but unsafe (according to NHTSA) British cars, the TVR Sagaris is built for European and Japanese customers with a need for speed. With no ABS and no airbags whatsoever, the US banned these beauties from start. Not that they tried too hard to get into the US anyway.
1The Bond-Ish Car: 1993 Aston Martin Virage Volante
A beautiful British car, again. This one actually came with all safety and technology bells and whistles it needed but was produced in just a 13-car run. Only a single Aston Martin Virage Volante was ever allowed into the US, with the other 12 remaining on the banned list. So, much like James Bond, this car will never be American.