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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:14 pm 
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:shock:

you a cop, buddy? lol

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:40 pm 

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

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:50 pm 
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fyi, somebody started a similar thread a ways back and it ended before it started


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:35 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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Location: Midwest, USA
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.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:29 pm 
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Good points all around JT. :tu:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:44 pm 
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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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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:38 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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Location: Midwest, USA
notajncr wrote:
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/

Quote:
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":
Quote:
“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.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:27 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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Location: Midwest, USA
This seems to be the story behind the story behind notajncr'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.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:33 pm 
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JT191 wrote:
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.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:52 pm 

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datsunfreak wrote:
JT191 wrote:
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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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:44 pm 
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JT191 wrote:
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.


Would be interesting to say the least. I'm just glad our smog testing is a rolling 24-year-old exemption. I would doubt they would do this (my personal opinion). Honestly the number of cars over 25 years old being imported is so mind-numbingly minuscule, that I would have to think the DOT has bigger fish to fry. But one never knows... :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:25 am 
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ca does not go by 25 year rule period.1976 and down are smog exempt,if you have a 1977 skyline and up it will require smog testing and have to be sent to a ref ,if the engine was never sold here it will not be able to be smogged hence the 1976 rule.ca does not move it unless they decide to at later date.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:48 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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There has been a trend of "Follow what California does" for decades now. Law makers in the other states never actually look at how these laws screw up life for Californians, they believe they have to copy what California does because whatever California does must be good. Going bankrupt will probably be the next trend.

Nearly every state has some kind of air quality enforcement issue from the EPA, so we have state wide or selected urban areas where we have to have emissions testing, because it is easier to blame all of air quality on the small part that cars contribute than it is to enforce and regulate industry (and risk campaign donations).

We had the tailpipe idle test, but then someone found out that California had treadmill emissions testing, so half the other states had to get treadmill emissions testing. They all hired the same company to run the program, and the company was just as corrupt and negligent in all the other states as it was in California. The company was quickly banned in half the states, but it took years and thousands of complaints from car owners to get them out of the rest.
Now they settled on OBD plug in testing for cars built after 1995 and no test at all for cars built before 1995. But a catalytic converter is still required to be bolted to the car to pass the safety test. No one has ever been able to explain how a catalytic converter adds to vehicular safety.
The OBD test appears to have become the standard in many states. No waiting in lint, no driving the car on a treadmill or possible damage from cars coming off the treadmill. No issues with someone changing the gear ratios and the treadmill running the engine past redline. This is why the ODB plug in test will probably continue to be the requirement long after 2020 in all of the states that have followed that trend. For everything built after 1995, the test requirement eliminates the possibility of modifying the engine with aftermarket computer systems or anything that takes the sensor readings out of factory spec, makes engine transplants impossible, and it effectively blocks any possibility of using a car built for a foreign market on public roads. These are all good things to police and bureaucrats.

It's different in every state.

Along with this, there are all of the laws for kit cars, constructed vehicles, non federal compliance vehicles, etc. Some states bar these altogether, others are very lenient. This is just like all the tricks car dealers use to transfer titles from one state to another to get salvage titles removed. You have to read the laws to know what you can and can't do.

Depending on someone who claims they run a business importing cars is not overly wise. First and foremost, there are way too many fees and costs involved in importing a car to ever make it profitable. Transportation costs alone are 1 1/2 to 2 times the value of the vehicle (for anything less than a collector or exotic car). You have to be ready to throw money away for a dream just to pay those costs alone. Short of the few people able and willing to pay double what a Skyline is worth just for the status symbol, the cost is out of reach of the rest of us. Try to add someone's agent fees or profit margin on top of that, and considering the exchange rate is now 88-89 yen per dollar, it's absurd.
And anyone doing this for a business becomes the whipping boy for enforcement, because they are held to a higher standard than private citizens. You or me importing a vehicle we personally own mess up and we can beg forgiveness with the excuse we didn't know. A business does the same thing in the name of profit and they start tying a hangman's noose. And because there is no way to make a profit legally, the only way to eek out a little money is to cheat and cut corners, leading directly to the hangman.
Hiding something from US Customs among the huge amount of import and export traffic might be one thing. But the problems seem to come up with registering the cars for use. I can not see how any sane person would operate a car import business in the state of California. Their laws are the most restrictive, their enforcement is the most aggressive, and the people in charge have a vendetta against the motoring public.
There are reciprocity laws that require each state to honor and accept contracts and licenses issued in other states. That's why people get married in one state and are still married if they go into a different state. The same for driver's licenses and plates. California seems to have gotten around this with their CARB program, and forcing a separate class of California Emissions cars. According to the rules of the other 49 states, you can transfer a title from one state to another, and they still have to accept it as a street legal automobile. California seems to have made itself a separate nation within the US. Ironically, that is where there is the highest demand for Skylines and the like.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:06 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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notajncr wrote:
By no means was I advocating Motorex


I started this thread in hopes to bring to light companies like JDM legends


OK, it read like you were saying you had a Motorex 50 state legal car and now have an older Skyline that you know is 50 state legal, and were nudging back into the direction of Motorex as the standard.

Based on what we've discussed here, the bond release from a registered importer does not make a car 50 state legal, and is just a statement that the federal officials do not believe there is a problem, even though they have not actually inspected the car themselves. That paperwork has been filed by licensed companies to say the car should meet the standards. Those licensed companies may later be found to be less than honest.

And with the 50 different sets of requirements from each state, aside from cars built by the manufacturer with California Emissions, there really isn't anything else that is truly 50 state legal, because California has additional requirements for Federal Emissions cars.

50 state legal may be the biggest oxymoron phrase used and may simply not exist.

Good points about car condition and restoration quality. Pop riveted aluminum floor pan repair panels is the standard in Japan for dealing with rust holes. It violates the laws of physics to suggest that you could import one of these cars and make a profit, so additional restoration work can't possibly be very good quality.

I'm not suggesting anyone is a known crook in this, but the level of scrutiny in these matters by the customer has to be several steps above even the dodgiest internet auction seller or guy on the corner selling appliances out of the trunk of his car. Go in looking for someone to take your money, and you'll quickly find someone to provide that service for you.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:52 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:43 pm
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In most east coast states (at least the places I've lived like New York, Maryland, and Virginia) there are classic/antique/historic registration types which would typically be used for a car imported via the 25-year rule. Unfortunately here in Virginia that limits how you can use the car, but I wouldn't plan on commuting in a hakosuka anyway. You could register the car as a normal passenger car for unlimited use, it'd just have to submit to safety inspection every year. We dyno test cars older than 1996 but newer than 25 years; presumably in 2021 the dyno tests will be obsolete. :lol:

While many east coast states have adopted CARB's emissions standards and inspection procedures, our laws are generally much more straightforward when it comes to older cars, I've found. But our cities are less car-dependent and the proportion of cars still on the road that are over 25 years old is very, very, very tiny here.

Really, in many cases state laws completely fail to take imported vehicles into account. The federal laws are pretty much black-and-white, and people who try to find grey areas tend to get burned.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:15 pm 
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Unfortunately, this is how most of these threads end up... :?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:41 pm 
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I've stayed away from this thread because it wasn't really getting anywhere. I know what notajncr was getting at, and so do most. He just stood up and asked the question.

Anytime you have a market that can make money, someone will try and exploit it. The JDM market for cars is pretty hot right now, and with the 25 year rule banging on the door of cars the gen X'rs had on their bedroom wall, the market can be tailored to fit.

It boils down to this. If you want a car you can only find overseas you have 3 options...

1. Do it all yourself. Not easy, but doable. Do the right research for the state you live in and the states you plan on living in if you want to keep the car for awhile, and have at it. Ask questions and make a plan. I brought one in and wasn't even looking for a car at the time. I was looking for a bike...

2. Use one of the company's that spring up and ask high prices for their cars and give little information on them. Buyers beware. If you go the their web-site and it doesn't work that should tell you something too.

3. Buy what is on the market. Most of the JDM cars on the market seem to come out of the West Coast. So if you’re on the East Coast like me you may be SOL. Buying someone else’s project for big money can only lead to headaches.

I wrote up my experience over at Ratsun if anyone wants to read it.
click

Now, let's hear from the lurkers... :twisted:

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