These Honda imports were never officially offered in the UK, but don't let that stop you.
1. Honda Civic Type R saloon (2007-2010)
Fancy a third-gen Civic Type R but worried it’s not practical enough? The Japan-only Type R four-door, labelled FD2, might be for you.
Well, it will be if you want more power. With 221bhp at 8400rpm from its VTEC engine, it betters the European car’s 198bhp. Under the skin, the hatch’s bone-shaking torsion beam rear suspension has been replaced by a fully independent set-up.
The chassis is more rigid, too, with impressive results, namely racer-like super-sharp steering and immense roadholding, plus it corners precisely and has a firm but well-controlled ride. A sub six-second 0-62mph time is claimed.
If you can find one, it’ll be expensive (£12k and up) but worth it.
2. Honda Beat (1991-1996)
Japan’s tiny Kei cars were built to exploit tax and insurance rules, and in the 1990s many were unofficially imported to the UK. None was more fetching than the Honda Beat, a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive roadster of micro proportions and excellent manners, with a design originating from Pininfarina.
It was fun, too. Its 64bhp, 660cc three-pot engine revved to 8100rpm, with drive sent via a five-speed manual gearbox. This was wind-in-the-hair motoring on a shrunken scale. On the road, it went where larger cars couldn’t, and if you couldn’t find a parking space, you could always pick it up and carry it.
They’re rarer than hen’s teeth now, but £2k-£4k can buy you a good one.