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ISF: From USA to Korea

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Old 10-03-11, 08:34 AM   #1
huksa
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Default ISF: From USA to Korea

Hi, guys..
It's been almost 4 months since I left Philadelphia after earning my MBA.
When I decided to go back to my country, I hadn't given a second thought about selling my 2009 ISF. My car had a long journey over the Pacific and found new home in Korea.
Just in case if you wonder, personally importing a car to Korea never makes financial sense.. Especially since Lexus Korea began selling ISF for the Korean domestic market at around $75,000. ISF has been available here since Sep 2010 as a 2011 model. But I just can't sell mine even if that means I have to pay more than $20,000 for custom and registration taxes. Yes, my ISF is that special to me.

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May 16, 2011. On the trailer and ready to go! My ISF will never see the US soil ever again. Even though the fender of the trailer did flip, you can't open the door. I had to crawl out of the window. I had the front plate bracket mounted before the car goes aboard.

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At the warehouse where the car will be loaded onto the container. It was not until a month and a half later that I got to have a chance to see her.

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On June 23, 2011, my ISF finally came across the Pacific! In PA you don't have a front license plate. But in Korea, it is a serious offense not to have one. It was strange scene with Korean temporary license plate and all the Korean cars around.

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Hmm.. Do I spot another ISF in Korea??? In fact, that is KDM 2011 ISF that my brother owns. He came from an Exige community in search of "civilized performance."

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We all know that '11 ISF is different from the previous model-year cars. Here are some small differences that your car magazine never tells: (There may be KDM vs. US-spec differences, too)

1. Dashboard: Interestingly, the textures of the dashboard are not the same. '09 dashboard is more 'plasticky'; '11 is more 'rubber-like'

2. The shape of the rear headrests: '09 rear headrests are smaller and contoured into the seatback. '11 has upright headrests.

3. Exhaust sound: '11 is noticeably louder. I wonder it is because the noise regulations are different for US vs. KDM markets? I can't explain..

4. No TPMS for '11: Probably a KDM thing..

5. Power folding mirrors for '11: Definately a KDM thing. It is a neccessity, not a luxury, to have them in Korea!

6. '11 brakes don't squeal....

Click the image to open in full size.
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Cool night!

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Now my ISF is legally registered (after all the inspections and things) with the legitimate license plate.

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My brother thinks that my car is too black, with all the plasti-dipped emplems and JoeZ exhaust covers. I think so, too. Sharp-eyed members might notice that the license plate is placed a little bit lower than it should. That is because the Korean license plate is a tad bigger than US counterpart and the bolt holes do not align. A custom mount was required...

Click the image to open in full size.
My brother's '11 ISF. Note that it has longer licence plate (mine has short one..) All post-2008 cars in Korea require a long, EU-like plates. However, short plates are still available for older cars and gray-import cars like mine.

Click the image to open in full size.
Happy motoring, guys! Give me a buzz if you have a chance to come to Korea. I am going to Korean F1 GP in two weeks and I hope to see some of you there, however the chance is so slim.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:49 AM   #2
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Very interesting journey and writeup! Have fun in Korea.

What are the speed limits like over there? Are the police very strict?
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Old 10-03-11, 09:00 AM   #3
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nice to hear from you hyungnim...I also got my f last month here in Korea. we should get together sometime...
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Old 10-03-11, 09:15 AM   #4
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Great write up! Interesting journey for your F... Might be an odd question but what do you do about the navigation? Do you have to get a Korea Nav Disc now?
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Old 10-03-11, 09:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptAwsm View Post
Very interesting journey and writeup! Have fun in Korea.

What are the speed limits like over there? Are the police very strict?
The limit is between 100km/h and 110km/h (around 65mph). I shouldn't say this, but police is rarely a problem. But you have to watch out for speed traps.

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Great write up! Interesting journey for your F... Might be an odd question but what do you do about the navigation? Do you have to get a Korea Nav Disc now?
The GPS tells you the latitude and longitude, as well as NEWS, but that all. Although factory GPS is available for '11 models, the tech says the whole system needs to be replaced because all the interfaces for A/C and audio are different. I wouldn't even ask the price ($5,000+??).
Another option is to get an aftermarket GPS for about $1,000.. The cool thing about good aftermarket GPSs is that they tell the locations of speed traps, updated regularly!

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nice to hear from you hyungnim...I also got my f last month here in Korea. we should get together sometime...
We should definately meet. Call me at 010-8080-3499.

Last edited by huksa; 10-03-11 at 09:50 AM..
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Old 10-03-11, 10:59 AM   #6
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Have fun with your F in Korea bro..
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Old 10-03-11, 11:14 AM   #7
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Fun write up
I was hoping to see come cool shots of your new city
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Old 10-03-11, 12:11 PM   #8
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do you live in the city?
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Old 10-03-11, 03:47 PM   #9
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Glad your kept your IS-F. Good story.
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Old 10-03-11, 06:40 PM   #10
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+1 Please keep us updated periodically with your USDM F and the car culture over there on this thread. The subtle differences of the KDM were very interesting. I might be in the same boat, as far as taking my F overseas in the future.

Love the picture on the bridge with the city lights in the background.
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Old 10-03-11, 07:24 PM   #11
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Thanks for posting up your story. Very cool that both you and your brother are sporting F's!
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Old 10-03-11, 08:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCoolBeans View Post
Fun write up
I was hoping to see come cool shots of your new city
I'll have a long date with my F here and 'll post pictures in the future!

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do you live in the city?
Yes. I live in Seoul. Not surprising because almost half of the whole poluation of the country live in the Greater Seoul Area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurduePete View Post
+1 Please keep us updated periodically with your USDM F and the car culture over there on this thread. The subtle differences of the KDM were very interesting. I might be in the same boat, as far as taking my F overseas in the future.

Love the picture on the bridge with the city lights in the background.
It was quite an experience to personally import a vehicle. I wish you enjoy the good and bad of export/import.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:09 PM   #13
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That's an amazing journey. I wish you many years of joy and happiness with your IS-F there.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:20 PM   #14
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You are awesome.. Thats one of the best stories ive ever heard about an ISF.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:24 PM   #15
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Awesome write-up and good luck to you!
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Old 10-03-11, 08:24 PM
 
 
 
 
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