So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

A forum for owners and fans of the legendary Nissan Skyline and Nissan GTR.
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GTRPower
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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby GTRPower » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:15 pm

1994- Not OBDII.

Talked to Sean, he mentioned US Spec as being an employee spinoff of JK. Also, in 2008 it may have been legal for the 1994 car to get through- ie. not rescinded until after.

So it looks like that car is legit. Legit no OBDII, but with proper airbag part number labeling as per requirement.


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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby Kyle Anderson » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:54 pm

GTRPower wrote:1994- Not OBDII.

Talked to Sean, he mentioned US Spec as being an employee spinoff of JK. Also, in 2008 it may have been legal for the 1994 car to get through- ie. not rescinded until after.

So it looks like that car is legit. Legit no OBDII, but with proper airbag part number labeling as per requirement.
I used to know the whole US Specs/JK/Motorex connection... they're all related

You're probably right. The eligible imports list I have is from 12-31-09, so it's very likely the restriction wasn't in place in 2008.

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GTRPower
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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby GTRPower » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:32 pm

I was there before Sean. Before MotoRex was "MotoRex."

Hiro and Sean did everything NHTSA asked them to do. They were prepared to crash another car or two if the agency required it- the cars were at MGA ready for testing.

I was there for the crash testing with Sean and Hiro. I have pics of the test. I stood behind Jonathan of JK during the test. He's much bigger than me and provided a good shield.

The fact the NHTSA rescinded the eligibility is a crock. Nissan never provided data showing the cars would not be substantially similar, just that they designed the cars to different standards, although there was no data correlating the cars NOT passing the tests.

I feel safe in my BNR32, the safety cell has two door intrusion bars on each side, from the factory and some stout door jambs. The rest of the structure is as sound as any late 80's-late 90's design.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby Kyle Anderson » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:18 pm

GTRPower wrote:I have pics of the test.
Definitely interested in seeing these... care to share?

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby GTRPower » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:40 pm

Sorry, I don't share those pics publicly.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby AZhitman » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:44 pm

Welcome aboard, Nick and Kyle. Good to see you both.

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andre1038
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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby andre1038 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:58 am

Tofubadguy wrote:
AustinandSarah wrote: But, on a slightly different topic, is it true that JDM front clips ARE NOT legal for import into the US? I heard that curious rumor.
When I had my R32 GTR front clip shipped in, the engine and tranny were pulled from the clip. Engine and tranny were on a sturdy pallet crazily wrapped in plastic and the clip was on it's own huge sturdy pallet in a big cardboard box, then plastic wrapped.

I was told they had to be separated to be compliant.
Sorry to go off topic again ...
But that is quite odd i had my front clip legally shipped with customs okaying it (with powertrain in it and not only that the clip still had coolant in engine and radiator and clutch fluid in the reservoir and lines and oil in the engine. Only thing missing was brake fluid since i told them they can keep the z32 front brakes since i already have them lol they gave me a discount cause of that lol) but then again my car was Z32 300zxtt if you don't believe me here is pics
Image

Image

O BTW i am interested in purchasing a gtr down the road possibly looking into getting a R33 Federal legal car or an 1989 R32 GTR. But i do agree it will be hard to find a mint or lets say good r32 thats an 1989 because it will be old and beaten but if your lucky you will find its all about will and determination. I found my Z clip car was mint it was a 2+2 300zxtt but it doesn't matter since all i cared for was the front clip. wish i could of brought the car but o well...since it was a 1992.. here is the pic of the car completely

Image

yes that is a type R integra in the background ^

Image

my was car sent out before the tsunami ever happened look at the dates of the pics (February 2011). You gotta becareful now since i have heard some people are selling tsunami damaged cars as front clips. When it comes to the JDM thing you have to ask a lot of questions and know what your getting

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby AustinandSarah » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:37 pm

Just found a Skyline on Facebook being advertised as for sale in the US. When i clicked on the link it took me to modifedcartrader.com. It's being listed as for sale in Orlando FL. I don't have the money to get it, but i want to know if it truly is legal. I didn't see any mention of a Substitute for US VIN or a federal Bond release. I'll post a link. Seems a few people on there already know about the necessary documents.

http://www.modifiedcartrader.com/for-sa ... an-Skyline

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GTRPower
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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby GTRPower » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:04 pm

Simple- ask for VIN, then call the NHTSA for verification of bond release. No bond release, not legal for US road use, ANYWHERE.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby andre1038 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:53 pm

Austin i have seen that car in person since i live in Orlando its freaking beautiful (although the green rims is not my taste but still looks sweet). Most likely he driving it illegally due to him selling it so he is trying to sell it before he gets busted lol but yea if i had a LEGAL R34 i would a) keep it til i die b) use it as a track car c) never sell it since it will be one of the handful of R34 that are legal in the U.S

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby AZhitman » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:09 pm

andre1038 wrote: Sorry to go off topic again ...
But that is quite odd i had my front clip legally shipped with customs okaying it (with powertrain in it and not only that the clip still had coolant in engine and radiator and clutch fluid in the reservoir and lines and oil in the engine. Only thing missing was brake fluid since i told them they can keep the z32 front brakes since i already have them lol they gave me a discount cause of that lol) but then again my car was Z32 300zxtt
The difference is your car was also produced in the US, so it falls under the 'substantially similar' exemption per NHTSA.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby AZhitman » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:15 pm

AustinandSarah wrote:Just found a Skyline on Facebook being advertised as for sale in the US. When i clicked on the link it took me to modifedcartrader.com. It's being listed as for sale in Orlando FL. I don't have the money to get it, but i want to know if it truly is legal. I didn't see any mention of a Substitute for US VIN or a federal Bond release. I'll post a link. Seems a few people on there already know about the necessary documents.

http://www.modifiedcartrader.com/for-sa ... an-Skyline
WAY too many uneducated idiots posting comments on that ad. Gotta love the fresh-outta-high-school know-it-all lot attendant spouting off about his vast knowledge of importation... what a bunch of idiots.

Here's the deal - ANY Skyline in FL is suspect, due to that state's shady DMV and the proximity to offshore dismantlers. It goes back decades.

Think about this: If it was a legit car, do you REALLY think the seller would need to list it online? Federalized GT-R's sell by word-of-mouth, or they go on ebay to the highest bidder.

This stuff isn't rocket science.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby GTRPower » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:51 am

AZhitman wrote: WAY too many uneducated idiots posting comments on that ad. Gotta love the fresh-outta-high-school know-it-all lot attendant spouting off about his vast knowledge of importation... what a bunch of idiots.

Here's the deal - ANY Skyline in FL is suspect, due to that state's shady DMV and the proximity to offshore dismantlers. It goes back decades.

Think about this: If it was a legit car, do you REALLY think the seller would need to list it online? Federalized GT-R's sell by word-of-mouth, or they go on ebay to the highest bidder.

This stuff isn't rocket science.
Any R32-34 Skyline in the USA is suspect. Always ask for DOT Bond Release letter for the specific VIN. Always ask for pictures of VIN tag on the A pillar (as installed by MotoRex) or dashboard if by another (even more rare). If in CA always ask for CARB certification.

There are MotoRex cars out there. I personally know of two that exchanged hands in the last two months. My silver 1994 is one of them, Ben at Bulletproof Automotive just bought the other (blue R32 GT-R, DOT/EPA/CARB approved). Seek and you shall find...

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby volition » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:31 pm

Well, this is a great thread. I've been searching for some information regarding all of this and even after looking through the drama with a forum member having a Skyline siezed I couldn't find any real clear answers to some questions.

I have been toying with the idea of bringing a bare chassis over to actually build as a kit car. I'm not talking re-assembling it with Skyline parts no I'm talking full swap (VH45/Z32 Manual) including all electronics, interior, safety etc (Z32 electronics, seats, S chassis modified lights) etc etc. All of the fabrication and electronics is well within my ability to do as I've done this kind of work countless times before).

As I understand it one of the big legal issues is the clean air act. Provided the drivetrain was swapped with all emissions controls intact that shouldn't be an issue Donor source would obviously be a Q45 of the same year of manufacture as the Skyline chassis or newer, excepting that it must be Pre Jan 1st-1996 date of manufacture (I'm well versed in fabrication and electronics, but making an OBD-II compliant system is beyond my skill)

Cost blah blah blah I have donor cars with everything I would need so that's not an issue.

My question really comes down to the legality of using the R33 1993 through 12/1995 manufacture date unibody and ONLY the unibody (meaning, all other parts would come from USDM market cars or aftermarket manufacturers) as the basis for the kit car.... the language I've found is very vague and there's no real clear answer that I can find. As I would need a 12/1995 or earlier chassis the VCP-32 does NOT apply as that only applies to 01/1996 and up cars.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby AZhitman » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:33 am

Good questions... and I think we may have addressed that in a separate article (http://www.nicoclub.com/archives/the-fa ... tes-1.html}, but the gist of it is, by definition, a "kit car" cannot have been mass-produced by a manufacturer and distributed to the consumer market.

Now, that begs the question, what about the RUF Porsches, Callaway Corvette, Saleen Mustang, et al (or other mass-manufactured cars repurposed and rebranded)... and we've never gotten a solid answer on that.

What we do know is this: The NHTSA has taken a dim view, historically, of people trying to circumvent the law via the "kit car" exemption, and this places the owner in an unenviable position: You've dropped $50K building a car that might just never be "legal", PLUS, in trying to utilize that exemption, you've just shone a really bright light on it (and yourself).

I'd loooove an LS3powered R32 GT-R. Definitely the best of both worlds.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby volition » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:42 pm

Yeah that's the entire problem and the language is very vague. Because of the way American law works, precendence usually paves the way when the law is not explicit meaning [Skylines have been legally seized before, therefore we can legally sieze yours now]

It really begs the question and the need for a clear definition of "kit car" from the NHTSA. Currently with the way the law is written and the justification used in siezed it doesn't seem that far fetched that NHTSA/DOT/ICE/etc could sieze cars that are based on a USDM chassis with swapped engines as those would "not meet NHTSA crash standards and EPA clean air guidelines in the modified state" once owners modify crash structures such as bumpers and steering systems and remove OEM installed emissions controls.

That is the entirety of the issue spending a large amount of money on a car that could be siezed. I could stand to lose the money invested.. I can always get more money, but losing the hundreds of hours of labor is something that can't be replaced.

So it would seem the only way for it to happen would be to take an existing [USDM] chassis and modify it to accept the Skyline body panels, or create a new tube frame chassis. The key would be to create a chassis that was not previously created for mass production as I'm understanding it. While both of these are really not options as once you hack up the unibody of a GT-R, it'll probably never have the same rigidity it had from the factory. Aside from that, the amount of labor involved alone really kind of puts that out of the range of one person to accomplish in a reasonable amount of time.

But even then, how much of a Skyline could you use before the Fed's say it's no longer a "kit car". Does using a Skyline subframe make it an illegally imported vehicle instead of a kit car? What about body panels over an existing chassis? If someone were to bring in just a chassis with sheet metal only and build every other piece from USDM market cars, would the feds still be able to convince a judge that you were "Circumventing the law" even though you were actuallly creating a special construction vehicle that meets all guidelines? Without further information I simply don't know at this point.

Although the post was focused on Skylines, questions like this bring up disturbing possibilities for people like us who make extensive modifications [sheet metal changes, drivetrain swaps] to cars. It opens the door to seizure and prosecution under circumstances that do not involve Nissan Skyline and that's what is starting to bother me. I understand there has been some attempts to try to change the law through various petitions and "defense funds" but they have so far been complete flops. It seems like rather than just focusing on Skylines a central effort should instead focus on the importation laws themselves. In addition, I don't think it's unreasonable for us to expect clear definitions of what makes a "kit car" as many of us have cars that could fall into that category.

So, I'll end my rant there but summarize that there are two key items I think we as automotive enthusiasts deserve:

1. A CLEAR definiton of what constitutes a kit car, and a way to verify a constructed vehicle meets federal requirements
2. An open dialogue on how owners [individual owners, not for resale] of modified cars, imported or not, need to have the freedom to work without fear of prosecution

I don't mention the rolling 25 year exemption at this point because I don't really see even a possibility of getting the NHTSA to discuss this with enthusiasts.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby AZhitman » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:04 pm

100% agreed with your entire post, and something I (and many others in the community) have been ranting about for years.

That's one of the reasons we're a member of http://www.semasan.com/page.asp?content ... e&g=semaga

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby volition » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:18 pm

So , after extensive study of legal documents including interpretations, here's what I've come up with:

"A disassembled vehicle that was not certified by its original manufacturer as being in compliance with our standards is subject to the same import restrictions as an assembled one; i.e., it must have been the subject of a conformance capability determination, and be imported, reassembled, and brought into compliance by a RI, which must certify its conformance with our standards. In this event, there are two manufacturers of the vehicle, the original manufacturer whose marque name should appear on the vehicle, and the RI, which, under 49

U.S.C. 30102(a)(5), is a "manufacturer" for purposes of notification and remedy in the event that a safety-related defect or noncompliance with a Federal motor vehicle safety standard is determined to exist in the reassembled vehicle."

So, if we interpret this and other information I've gathered and apply it to our application we can say safely that:

1. Even if you bring in just a body, you become a "manufacturer" of said body and must comply with all FMVSS.
2. If the body was manufactured as an assembled car previously, only a REGISTERED IMPORTER may assemble it to comply with FMVSS.

Therefore, using any part of the car [if it's IMPORTED] that was not originally certified as FMVSS compliant is strictly prohibited unless you are a Registered Importer. In plain english, you cannot use a Skyline chassis [Excepting dual air bag R33 models] because it does not and never did conform to FMVSS. You cannot use the chassis from an R33 model either as you as a person are not a registered importer and therefore cannot certify it has been modified to meet FMVSS.

Now, where does this leave us with using USDM cars?

1. You may use any parts that conform to FMVSS, so equipment (lights, chassis, etc) that comes from US market cars will generally be compliant
2. Engines are generally not part of the FMVSS standard, so the NHTSA could care less about engine swaps (DOT is another story)

This is all quite a headache.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby kellerk23 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:57 pm

How would you say nicely to someone selling a 2000 GTR your full of [email protected]#$. He keeps saying its legal but I don't buy it. I've asked for the Federal Bond Release paperwork, Vin # to match and all I got was Crickets. I just won't him selling it to a person that doesn't know what they are buying and wasting there money. Hes sold one like it for 59 grand to poor sap that didn't know. I know I'm trying to play police man but I just don't like people getting screwed out of a lot of money.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby AZhitman » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:56 pm

There's too many of them to round up... We do what we can when they come around here slingin'. You could always tell 'em this is a great place to sell a Skyline. ;)

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby kellerk23 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:09 pm

Thanks brother! You guys have helped me a lot figure all of this mumbo jumbo out on these cars. It sounds to me the gov't just likes to make money on EVERYTHING! You and GTRPOWER have been doing this for a while I see.
Question do you own one or have you owned one?

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby GTRPower » Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:58 pm

tyndago is far more involved and understands all the processes. Go to his blogs http://vehicleimport.blogspot.com http://www.gtrusablog.com and http://www.showordisplay.com for more information provided by him than anyone can digest. Best of luck, make sure you dot your i's and cross your t's.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby AZhitman » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:56 am

^ This.

I don't own one. Simple reason: I'd be a target, simply by virtue of what I do.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby kellerk23 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:30 am

What would you recommend to get? (car) I was thinking of saving my pennies and getting a R35 but I might be able to get one in 2026 lol! What would be a close car to the skyline? I've heard you guys talk about the 370Z frame. Would that be a good substitute?

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby Gold Digger » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:28 pm

I own one. Fully legal, too.

But...I live in Japan. lol!

Thanks for the kudos, too. Let's us know we're doing something right.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby AZhitman » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:08 pm

kellerk23 wrote:What would you recommend to get? (car) I was thinking of saving my pennies and getting a R35 but I might be able to get one in 2026 lol! What would be a close car to the skyline? I've heard you guys talk about the 370Z frame. Would that be a good substitute?
Honestly, for the money, you can build something that will outperform an R32 and remain US-legal.

We've built a 400-hp 240sx convertible, a 400-hp G35 Coupe, and a RB-powered 240Z, among others.

Anyone can buy a specialty car. Building one is its own reward.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby Tofubadguy » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:19 am

AZhitman wrote:We've built a 400-hp 240sx convertible, a 400-hp G35 Coupe, and a RB-powered 240Z, among others.

Anyone can buy a specialty car. Building one is its own reward.
:mike :mike

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby GTRPower » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:18 am

Not much validity in comparing a stock R32 GT-R with 25 year old tech, to a recently built Frankenstein.

If you throw a little TLC into a GT-R it will still be a world class performer.

Case in point- last week Champion Motorsport had my car at 568whp. At 20psi. On 93 octane Shell. Over 200wtq above 3000rpm. That is a lot of torque for a high revving engine out of it's power band.

Image

For comparison's sake, tyndago had previously tuned the car to about 570whp on 23-24psi on 93 octane. So Champion has another 3psi to eek out more power.

So, yes, you can "build" swaps etc. and get decent performance. And yes, there are negatives to certain engineering aspects of the Skyline GT-R that make it undesirable. But overall, it's still a damn good car. There's a reason why they have such a devote following in Japan and around the world.

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby AZhitman » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:44 pm

GTRPower wrote:Not much validity in comparing a stock R32 GT-R with 25 year old tech, to a recently built Frankenstein.
Sure there is - Especially if that "Frankenstein" is, say, an S13 Coupe with an RB swap or an early Z with an LS swap.
GTRPower wrote:So, yes, you can "build" swaps etc. and get decent performance.
Or, you can do it right and get phenomenal performance.

My point was that for the hassle and expense, a talented builder can build something that will outperform a stock, imported GT-R, and remain out of reach of any governmental harassment.

You know as well as I do that most of the early Skylines we're seeing come to the US *still* require a lot of work *just* to get them back to factory-spec performance... So there's additional expense on top of the purchase price.
GTRPower wrote:But overall, it's still a damn good car. There's a reason why they have such a devote following in Japan and around the world.
No argument there. Remember, there's only one n00b in this thread. ;)

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Re: So you want to buy a Skyline in the US....

Postby GTRPower » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:51 pm

AZhitman wrote:
Sure there is - Especially if that "Frankenstein" is, say, an S13 Coupe with an RB swap or an early Z with an LS swap.
That's as valid as a Camaro vs Corvette comparo. It may be just as quick with some mods but it is no Corvette.

Or, you can do it right and get phenomenal performance.

My point was that for the hassle and expense, a talented builder can build something that will outperform a stock, imported GT-R, and remain out of reach of any governmental harassment.

You know as well as I do that most of the early Skylines we're seeing come to the US *still* require a lot of work *just* to get them back to factory-spec performance... So there's additional expense on top of the purchase price.
If you get a bond released car there is no hassle. Get a Show or Display NISMO R32 GT-R and there is no hassle.

Outperforming a GT-R does not make it better. A GT-R can outperform a Ferrari 360 but that doesn't make it better either. Performance is just one measure of a car.

Early Skylines coming in? Which ones? Like any car, there are good ones and bad ones. We've found plenty of high Yen R32 GT-Rs in Japan that are very, very nice cars. There are also plenty of shitboxes. And there are plenty in between too. Almost all car models span that spectrum. Just because a buyer is too cheap to pony up for a good, low mileage car in good running condition doesn't make ALL GT-Rs coming over the the US automatically crap. Although I will say that, that does seem to be the case in Canada because many of the kiddies there who can't really afford them buy the cheapest, crappiest ones without realizing until its too late that quality parts for a GT-R are very, very expensive. Will that happen here? Maybe, I personally hope the F&F craze is passé and the children buy some used BRZ/FT86 or Scion things.


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