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Thread: Legal car importation companies

  1. #1
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    :shock:

    you a cop, buddy? lol

  2. #2
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    :shock: Um yeah.. I'll second that.

  3. #3
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    fyi, somebody started a similar thread a ways back and it ended before it started
    -Matt

  4. #4
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    The original post may or may not have the best intentions, but short of designating all of the resources of the website to this topic and throwing away all of the other content here, there is too much data to even consider compiling into one place, and if one law changes, it changes everything else along with it.

    Also, this looks like a big advocacy for registered importers, which is not the only way to legally get a car onto the road and into use.

    Is the car 25+ years old, or is it 25- years old?

    ------------------

    If it is 25- years old:

    Is it on the list of government approved cars? If it isn't on the list, a registered importer can't import it without you paying to have it put on the list, involving tens of thousands of dollars in emissions and crash safety testing.

    If it is no the list, are you willing to spend $7,000 to pay a registered importer to install a couple thousand dollars worth of US market equipment, probably incorrectly, which you will have to do over after they are done, and then just give them the balance of the rest of the money because they can rubber stamp the government paperwork?

    Is 50 state compliance important to your use, or are you only interested in making the car legal in the state you live and must register the car? Is it an investment for resale to the highest bidder in any state, or your dream car you want to drive for the rest of your life?

    -------------------

    There are about a dozen registered importers. These are not the people who advertise in magazines or pop up in the corner strip mall or former gas station, claiming they can import anything for you. Most of the places that pop up on the corner or advertise in magazines don't last very long, because they promise to do things they haven't researched, soon find out they can't deliver what they promised, loose a lot of money and loose a lot of their customer's money, and quickly close down.

    The registered importers typically specialize in one model of vehicle, that they have paid the large sums to be put on the list, and developed equipment and replacement parts to convert the vehicles to meet the federal requirements. If you ask them to import a car they don't specialize in, or isn't on the list, they will decline to provide service to you and suggest you look somewhere else.

    Even registered importers run into problems. Notice that one of the newer Skyline models was available, and now is not. This is because the registered importer faked the paperwork for the emissions, got caught, and those cars will not be approved for import any more.

    ------------------

    If a registered importer is not possible because your desired car is not on the approved list and you don't want to pay to put the car on the list so everyone after you can import it for less than the GNP of a medium sized country, then importing it yourself is the only alternative.

    Your state may allow you to register a car that does not comply with the federal standards. The laws are different in every single state. You may get past federal requirements, only to find state restrictions, like emissions testing requiring a OBD plug.

    Roll On Roll Off boats won't take cars that don't run. An operational car has to comply with DOT and EPA. An operational car can not be put into an ocean freight container. Ocean freight companies do not process vehicles and do not load containers, they only make the container available for loading and move it from point A to point B.

    You have to sit down and read the laws and requirements for US Customs and figure out how to legally get a car into a form that it is shippable and is no longer categorized as a car for the government paperwork. Then, you have to figure out how to make those things happen on the other side of the world, without you being there to do them, or go there and secure access to facilities to get those things done.

    -------------------------

    EDIT:
    If the car is 25+ years old, the federal laws seem to have been recently rewritten to allow import without any EPA or DOT requirements, which would negate any possible reason to use a registered importer, or any company for any purpose other than to obtain the vehicle or make sure it is as described and in a condition you want it to be in. Check the federal law and consult US Customs. Then check with your state laws to see what is required to register it, or if there is anything to keep you from registering it.

    After that, it becomes a question of purchase, transport to a Roll On Roll Off boat, picking it up at the dock, and transporting it home.

    --------------------------

    If anything should be stickied, it is this:

    Read the federal laws and requirements. Then read the state laws and requirements. You won't find those here, everyone here lives in a different state and has a situation unique to them. Your research starts with the state and federal websites, then following through with visits to their offices and talking to them. Those are the people who decide if you can do what you want to do, or if you get to pay them to crush your dream car because you did not check with them first.

    And

    The car might be cheap, but the shipping and handling is a real b-tch.

  5. #5
    Administrator john's Avatar
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    Good points all around JT. :tu:

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    I'm good with the thread & found the information helpful.

    But since the forum is mostly for Nostalgic Japanese cars, most vehicles (not all) fall within the 25 year limit allowing import to the States. However, as pointed out, state emissions can cause registration issues for 1976+ cars in states, like California.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenmonster80
    If no one wants to participate. Delete the thread. Hope you enjoy your 25K cars that may or may not be 50 state legal. 25 year rule does not deal with registration.....Keep that in mind.
    The company you mentioned was Motorex.

    Motorex was the registered importer who was caught falsifying GTR emissions paperwork, which I mentioned earlier. What I had read previously was that a set of late R33 cars were found to be in violation, and that this eliminated those as well as the R34 cars, and only early R33 and R32 cars could be imported.

    Apparently, the story gets a little more involved:
    http://skylinegt-r.wikidot.com/0-60mrex

    Something about insurance fraud, complete falsification of all of the paperwork they ever filed to get cars certified, and a car theft ring.


    Look at the bottom of Motorex's website at:
    http://www.motorex.net/

    however MotoRex is no longer importing Skyline GT-R's.
    If Motorex is your example of a good company to import 50 state legal cars, then you have to start over. And, according to the published story, your R32 does not comply with US law and was released from bond only to reduce the number of people victimized by Motorex. And even that does not make the car "50 state legal":
    “It’s a weird document,” says Morris. “It doesn’t really say that the car is legal; it says ‘we’re releasing the liability of the bond.’ That’s all it says. And that piece of paper kind of freaks some DMVs and some other people out, because it doesn’t actually say that this car’s legal. It says we haven’t looked at it, but based on what we’ve seen, it looks like it’s OK.”

    ------------------------------

    I'll stand behind the earlier statement:
    Read the federal and state laws and talk to US Customs and your state's motor vehicle department. The rules are different in every single state.

  8. #8
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    This seems to be the story behind the story behind greenmonster80's post:
    http://jalopnik.com/5371967/feds-seize- ... rs-in-cali
    http://blogs.insideline.com/straightlin ... diego.html
    http://blogs.insideline.com/straightlin ... ornia.html
    http://www.autoblog.com/2009/10/03/niss ... e-illegal/

    Remember, according to the Motorex story (http://skylinegt-r.wikidot.com/0-60mrex), after Motorex was shut down in 2006, no 80's-90's Skylines have been allowed to be legally imported via registered importer.

    The problem beginning in September of 2009 seems to center around the California state registrations of these cars, under a California law referred to as SB-100. SB-100 was intended to allow for registration of "specially-constructed vehicles (i.e., kit cars, Cobra replicas and street rod reproductions)"
    (http://www.kitcar.com/editorials-kitcar ... /home.html)
    And that California has decided to define foreign built, mass produced automobiles as outside the definition of a kit car.

    I'll point out that this is an issue with a state law, not a federal law.

    It would be interesting to find out why federal law enforcement officers are acting to enforce California state law, but the caveat remains, read the federal and state laws for your situation. There are 50 different sets of state laws, and infinite possible variations starting with year of vehicle, type of vehicle, etc. Any discussion of this topic as a template to obtain a car from overseas is going to result in comparing apples to oranges, and someone in X state following advice from someone else in Y state, with predictably disastrous results.

  9. #9
    Administrator john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JT191
    after Motorex was shut down in 2006, no 80's-90's Skylines have been allowed to be legally imported via registered importer.
    Might want to clarify that the rolling 25-year DOT exemption would cover some 80s Skylines. Still up to state law, though, as you pointed out.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by datsunfreak
    Quote Originally Posted by JT191
    after Motorex was shut down in 2006, no 80's-90's Skylines have been allowed to be legally imported via registered importer.
    Might want to clarify that the rolling 25-year DOT exemption would cover some 80s Skylines. Still up to state law, though, as you pointed out.
    A car over 25 years old would not require the services of a registered importer.

    What is going to be interesting is the 1995 date. That is the starting year that OBD systems with the diagnostic lead were required in cars. The 25 year exemption law can be expected to be rewritten to stop at 1995 before the year 2020. And even without that change, states with emissions testing are lining up uniformly with requiring OBD scan of ECU error codes as the standard for emissions testing for all post 1995 cars. Post 1995 cars without OBD systems are essentially unregisterable now, and things can be expected to become worse, not better.

    There also seems to be someone at US Customs who has specifically targeted Skylines for special scrutiny, probably because of Motorex. I wouldn't be surprised if they started rounding up all the cars that Motorex imported and all of the middle era Skylines period.

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