Article by:Greg Childs and Matthew Moody – NICOclub.com – 03.07.2008
So, You Want a Nissan Skyline in America – Continued
On March 1, 2006, the NHTSA issued the following decision, rescinding nearly all Skylines from importation eligibility:
“This document announces a final decision by NHTSA to partially rescind a prior decision by the agency that 1990-1999 Nissan GTS and GTR passenger cars not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) are eligible for importation into the United States. As a result of this decision, only Nissan R33 model GTS and GTR passenger cars manufactured between January 1996 and June 1998 are eligible for importation. All other model and model year vehicles admissible under the prior decision are no longer eligible for importation. As a consequence, the agency is rescinding vehicle eligibility number VCP-17, which covered vehicles admissible under the prior decision, and issuing vehicle eligibility number VCP-32 to cover only those model and model year Nissan GTS and GTR passenger cars that remain eligible for importation. The rescission will only bar the future importation of the model and model year Nissan GTS and GTR passenger cars that are no longer eligible for importation, and will not affect the status of vehicles that have already been lawfully imported under vehicle eligibility number VCP-17.”
JK Technologies, LLC, who performed the actual crash testing for Motorex, did petition the NHTSA to perform crash testing for R34’s. Due to the Motorex fiasco and VCP-17 above, the petition was denied and will continue to be denied for R32’s and R34’s.As for R33’s, only JK Technologies have any information or the capabilities to federally legalize these vehicles.
To recap the above: Skylines imported into the US for use on public roads must either be over 25 years old or they must conform to FMVSS standards.While R32 – R34 Skylines were initially allowed for import, the FHTSA rescinded the importation of the majority of Skylines by limiting it to R33’s that were manufactured between January 1996 and June1998. In order to import a Skyline, an official RI must be used and they must fill out a HS-7 declaration for the vehicle.If the vehicle is to be used on the streets then the RI has 120 days in order to modify the vehicle to pass FHVSS requirements.The only company that has information in regards to Federally legalize R33’s is JK technologies. No other RI has access to this information nor are they capable of performing the upgrades needed for Federal legalization.It is possible for another RI to Federally legalize R33 Skylines but they will have to first go though the costly process that Morotex/JK Technologies has already performed andas of this time none have done so.
Improperly Imported Skylines
There are numerous people who try and get around the importation process.Typically, these cars never even make it through the ports.Seizure by U.S. Customs Officials are ever-increasing and typically the “buyer” has already dropped a hefty deposit on the vehicle they’re attempting to import.
Additionally, most of the “export only” (HS-7 claim) seized vehicles being auctioned are due to the fact that they have been held by customs and have overstayed their welcome. Typically, an uneducated buyer places a deposit on a Skyline they found on the internet.They tie up their entire savings on the word of someone who thinks they can sneak one in. The container arrives at port, the ship yard calls them up to let them know it’s arrived and the RI can pick it up from customs.The buyer then realizes that you can’t just buy a Skyline and drive it off the dock. They can’t afford to get the car legalized nor does the RI they utilized have the capability, so Customs waits until the time limit expires and auctions the car off. Most people think the cars get crushed, but the truth is, they try to auction them off first to recoup unpaid dock fees, etc. But, as many will find, the odds of it being bought and exported are slim and it’s most likely headed to a crusher. A NICOclub.com member relays his experience in this area:
“Just a brief description on what I do. I work for an auto auction inspecting vehicles.The department I work for handles government seized vehicles, repos, and illegally imported cars. Today we received three R34 GTR’s and a S15 Silvia that were seized from a few containers down at the port. The owner must be furious, I think any one would be, especially if you’re a car enthusiast like myself. Anyway, I wanted to share on what usually goes on a normal day of work.”
A brief review of a government seized property auction site in February 2008 revealed no less than eight seized Skylines up for auction (to be exported upon transfer).Eight cars per month on ONE site?Sounds like someone is losing a lot of money.
OK, So What Skylines Are Legal in the US?
Skyline models that are over 25 years old may be imported without having to be compliant with the NHTSA. Alternatively, Motorex imported a variety of R33 Skylines which are Federally legal and registered appropriately. Motorex-prepped R33 Skylines can fetch upwards of $50,000.Even though the R32 and R34’s that were already imported are not technically legal due to their lack of crash tests, they do have a Federal bond release issued and were imported prior to the Motorex violations coming to light. These appear to have been “grandfathered” in. Good luck finding one for sale.
While the idea of importing a pristine Hakosuka or Ken Mari Skyline from the 70’s sounds awesome, the reality is that these cars are harder to find in good condition. Even if you COULD locate one, they’re likely to command a premium price (due to their own regulations old cars in Japan are costly to retain and register), and parts for your rare Skyline will be next to impossible to source in the US and are even difficult in Japan. Windshields for 1969-1972 Skylines aren’t exactly common.