‘I saw the Figaro in 1989 at the Tokyo Motor Show, and I said I’m activity to accept one of those,’ says Gary Duncan. ‘Now I’ve overdosed!’
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He’s not joking. As he says this, there are 115 Nissan Figaros lined up abaft him, forth with 25 Suzuki Carry mini-trucks, 15 Honda Beats – and about 700 cartage in total.
Gary is the architect of Duncan Imports in Christiansburg, Virginia, USA with a adulation and a aspect for JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) cars and mini-trucks. ‘This is what happens aback you’re 65 and cars are your hobby,’ he laughs. ‘A bedmate would accept been cheaper!’
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What’s absolutely agitative is the prices of his cars. They alpha at about $5000, for a mini-truck or a Honda Beat for example, admitting Gary recommends spending added if it’s a Figaro you’re after. ‘I’ve had them for $1500-1600 but you accept to pay in the mid-teens to get a appropriate example.
‘I consistently say, if you don’t like it accompany it back. If you can allow one again you won’t lose on it.’
Gary is a second-generation car dealer, in the barter from the age of 18, and his ancestors has been in the business aback 1955. His alternation of dealerships represent Acura, Audi, Ford, Lincoln, Honda, Mazda, Suzuki and more, but Gary has consistently admired archetypal cars – admitting initially they were Triumphs and MGs, not Japanese kei cars.
Everything afflicted aback he won a Honda banker award-winning to appointment the Tokyo Motor Show in 1989, area he aboriginal saw the Figaro (above). He asked the Nissan banker aback he could buy one, alone to be told that he couldn’t, because there were no affairs to advertise Figaros in the USA.
Gary never forgot the Figaro though. Production of the archetypal started in 1991, and US law allows the acceptation of cars not originally certified for use in the USA aback they ability 25 years old. So 2016 was apparent as the year that Gary would assuredly get himself a Figaro.
Meanwhile, in December 2016, Gary’s adulation of Japanese archetypal cars saw him visiting an enthusiast two hours from home who was affairs 1990s Hondas. They couldn’t accede on prices for the cars but, as Gary was leaving, the agent mentioned addition barn of cars – and there was a Nissan S-Cargo commitment van (below) and a tiny red Japanese firetruck (above). Gary had to accept them!
It angry out that the agent had a acquaintance in Washington who was importing these cars from Japan. ‘He alleged me up two weeks later, says he knows this guy… and I concluded up affairs ten added firetrucks. Angry out he was an importer, and amid January and May 2016 I bought from him, but the importers were charging me too abundant commission.
‘So I begin a Japanese adult in Los Angeles. We fabricated a deal, and I was advised like a baron – it’s like I’ve got a Japanese ancestors now! They’ve got bodies at auctions in Japan every night. I aces the ones I want, they translate, analysis them over, and we acceptation them to the USA.’
And this is how Gary came to accept over 700 cars in his warehouse. ‘It’s a passion, it’s an opportunity,’ he says. ‘I’ve had 1000 cartage aback 2016. I can’t amount out if it’s God or the devil authoritative me do it.’
Whichever one it is, Gary is still amorous abundant these cars to accumulate some of the gems aback for himself. If you go assimilate the Duncan Imports website, bang on inventory, and again array the cars by price, low to high, you’ll see that the aboriginal few pages are apparent as ‘private collection, not for sale’.
These are Gary’s own cars, and they accommodate what may be the best two Figaros in the world, anniversary with beneath than 2000 afar on the clock, additional Subaru Sambar and Mazda Porter mini-trucks (above) – scaled-down homages to the iconic splitscreen VY agent – as able-bodied as a brace of Autozam AZ-1s (below), a arresting chicken Suzuki Carry 4wd barter and a actual ambrosial 1984 Honda City Turbo.
Oh, and some hearses, of course. One is a almost aseptic Nissan President but additionally booty a attending at the highly-ornate Toyota Century hearse beneath (behind the appropriately over-the-top Mercedes hearse]. Words cannot do them justice.
Gary’s own cars accommodate some adumbration of which JDMs he thinks will be collectible, admitting abounding are there aloof for the arduous adulation of them. So which would he acclaim as affectionate assets?
‘I anticipate you’ll see the Toyota Soarer, Autozam AZ-1, Honda Beat (below), Suzuki Cappuccino and Nissan Figaro acceptable added and added collectible. Abounding of these cars are actual low breadth – they do added afar on the sea, advancing here!’
However, he’s additionally award that the Mitsubishi Delica (below) and Toyota Century are accepted with his customers, who don’t assume to be put off by the majority of his cars actuality right-hand drive.And he says that mail carriers are actively gluttonous out right-hand drive cartage for the convenience.
‘If you’d told me afore all this that I was activity to buy 700 right-hand drive cars, I’d accept told you you’re out of your mind,’ action Gary. He does accept rules though, and the aboriginal is that he will not buy cars that charge restoration. ‘I’m added about seeing them as authentic as I can get them. I appetite barter to see them with all the flaws. If it’s got bane I won’t buy it.’
Still, alike Gary seems afraid at the admeasurement and success of the business. ‘I feel like God is in ascendancy because I’m aloof not that good!’
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