Australia: The Pricey World of Right-Hand Drive Conversions

Car buyers in Australia and other RHD countries have long got the short end of the stick in terms of American muscle cars. The reason is quite simple: they drive on the "wrong" side of the road.

Most manufacturers are unwilling to do right-hand-drive conversions on what are essentially specialist models: cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Viper, Ford Mustang and the like. There just aren't enough buyers to rationalize the cost.

Fortunately, a cottage industry (or rather a man-in-a-shed industry) has popped up offering RHD conversions of American muscle cars for eager buyers in countries like Australia, the UK and Japan.

In Australia, for instance, you can get just about anything from a AU$359,990 Corvette ZR-1 (or around three times as much as it does in the U.S.) to a AU$139,000 Chevrolet Camaro (or the same as an Audi S5 Cabrio in Australia).

Want a 2011 Mustang GT convertible? Be prepared to pony up AU$142,500 (the same as brand new Porsche Boxster Spyder) for that Pony. And it becomes even more laughable when you look at the U.S. prices for these same cars:

We do not claim to know the full details involved with importing a car and converting it to RHD, but it can't be so difficult as to demand the of a new entry-level Porsche 911...

So the next time you harrumph at some foreign nobody, whining about, "How good you bleedin' Yanks have got it" – spare a thought for the poor, cash-strapped Aussie... selling his 911 to buy a RHD Corvette ZR-1.

By Tristan Hankins

Here's where we found pricing information for the RHD conversions:

Corvette Clinic - makers of the RHD ZR-1
Mustang Australia - builders of RHD Mustangs
Performax - makers of the RHD Camaro and other cars

And Top Gear Australia magazine's August 2010 issue.