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 Post subject: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:32 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Kirkland, WA
So I've been planning this for awhile, the plan is to take a trip over to Japan and search out my very own hakosuka and bring it back to Washington. I've looked throught the auctions and places online but I really want to go find my own. My reason for posting is to ask for any tips and advice from anyone who has done this or lives over there and what are some realistic prices of cars for sale over there.
Thanks
Zack


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 191
Location: Norcal
The good news is the exchange rate is starting to work in your favor. You've saved 15% by not buying it 12 months ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:23 am
Posts: 153
Location: Chicago
Prices vary wildly depending on age, condition and modifications. For a GT you could spend as low as $13k and as much as $38k. I think your biggest issue with doing yourself in person is the language barrier if you don't speak Japanese and the dealer doesn't speak English. Sometimes you run into Japanese that don't even want to deal with non-Japanese if more than food is involved. But you may meet some that are very friendly and helpful and willing to work through everything. I met a Subaru 360 restorer/dealer that was very nice and I visited for a couple hours, but he spoke some English and I have passable Japanese if I make an effort. I would do some research and line up someone to help you out...


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:55 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:22 pm
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Location: Snohomish County, WA
Good luck is all I can say...

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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:53 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:27 am
Posts: 350
Location: salt lake city
find a broker or dealer to work with you. save money and frustrations.

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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:53 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:54 am
Posts: 314
Location: Yokosuka, Japan
^^ so the plan is to come here and just look around for a hakosuka? is it impossible, no. just much easier ways to go about it. there are many websites (goonet for example) has hako's right there. they even ship cars...also jdm legends is right near you iirc. their pricing is actually on par with what you find here. actually, it's cheaper than your plan and the car would already be legal.

i get the joy of finding a needle in a hay stack, but living here, i can tell you your plan may not be possible with out some advanced planning on some known hakosukas for sale at the very least.

here's example of avg pricing on a mint condition/fairly modified hako: http://www.flexnet.co.jp/detail/shop/ze ... 210082282/

another, cheaper; http://www.flexnet.co.jp/detail/shop/ze ... 579331758/


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:23 am
Posts: 153
Location: Chicago
Yeah, I concur. I'm using JDM Legends for my Skyline. They do all the paperwork and deliver it to you with a US title for a flat fee, and they will check everything out on the car as well. While it certainly would be fun to scope out Hakos in Japan, unless your Japanese is up to par, it will probably be difficult getting it and setting everything up without someone to help. Even if your Japanese is good, you would still need help with the paperwork, deregistration and shipping. But if you have a broker in mind ahead of time, going and picking out your Hako is entirely possible. After travel and accomodations, it won't be any cheaper than buying it from here, but it would be an adventure for sure!


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:09 pm
Posts: 667
Location: Shibuya-ku
... and I am not even sure you can buy a car here without being a resident, or at least having a resident agent. Perhaps an unregistered car? Furikomi might be curious too without similar, they ain't gonna take a check! Neko.

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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:53 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:54 am
Posts: 314
Location: Yokosuka, Japan
^ that as well.

well he could buy the car, depending on the seller. tho honestly, on top of all the other things already mentioned, i HIGHLY doubt ANY dealer or private seller would sell a hakosuka to a tourist (unless you had some kind of connections).

i'd come here for a trip, maybe give it a shot. but i would just go thru jdm legends or some other broker liek FEAST if i didnt already live in japan, save yourself some heartache. not trying to be a dick, just trying to shed some light on the reality of how it is.


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:51 pm
Posts: 2200
Location: Sydney, Australia
I'd agree with the fellas and say that while it's not impossible, the deck is stacked against you :)

(Neko, if I get any of this wrong, feel free to correct :) )

Firstly, most Japanese don't sell their car privately, they mostly dump them with a dealer. So there isnt the equivalent of a newspaper that you can buy, full of for sale ads.

Secondly, the cheaper cars tend to be at auction (which you won't have access to, since they are not open to public) or dealers out in the countryside. So if you're just landing in Tokyo for starters, you'll find that the classic car dealers have relatively high prices, and you won't find any bargains. If you lived there, and it was your weekend project to venture out to check out cars, then that's a different matter, but I'd say as a tourist your options are limited.

That said...if your budget stretches to purchasing a car from a Tokyo dealer, then I guess all you have to do, is visit a few Tokyo dealers, pick out a shortlist of cars, and then reach out to a car broker who has a guy in Tokyo (I think these guys might have an english speaker living Tokyo) and they will do the rest.

Two Tokyo dealers that come to mind are Red Megaphone and Biko Works.

Here's what those dealerships have in stock:
http://www.kurumaerabi.com/site/car/zaiko/13545/
http://www.red-948.com/src/search/stock ... 0&type=car

This is nice, at Biko Works for US$33k: http://www.kurumaerabi.com/site/car/info/13545/12/
Reed Megaphone has this for US$43k: http://www.red-948.com/src/search/stock ... &shop=1330

If that's what you want and can afford, then you might be in luck...although you have to understand that classic car dealerships are rare in Japan, and so even in a big city like Tokyo, you may only have a few Hakos to choose from (and what if you don't like any of them).

Going through someone like JDMLegends before your trip, would mean that you have the whole of Japan to search from, and you have a much better chance at scoring a bargain Hako from that little dealer in a little country town. Maybe after you pick your car, you take a little trip to check it out, and have a little vacation, but to just go to Japan to find a car *during* a vacation, may require JDM-skills that are fairly advanced :D

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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:23 am
Posts: 153
Location: Chicago
Just from a lot of browsing before I decided how I wanted to get mine, I noticed that you get better deals outside of Tokyo. I checked out every online dealer I could find, from Japanese mag ads and search engines, as well as online auctions, and there really aren't that many dealers in Tokyo proper. Tokyo itself is massive, and add to that trying to take the trains to wherever else on the main island...it's a pretty massive undertaking if you don't live there. With lots of free cash and time, it would be fun, but otherwise you will probably just end up with a nice trip to Japan.

You haven't mentioned your familiarity with Japan and the language, though. Maybe you speak fluently and have made trips before! I have't spent tons of time there, three visits in 8 years, about three weeks each the last two, and each time I've gotten more comfortable with freewheeling it and taking longer train rides out of the city alone and wandering further away from train stations without worrying about getting lost...but it can still be pretty intimidating for a traveler. So a lot of it will depend on your personal experience, as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:09 pm
Posts: 667
Location: Shibuya-ku
Surprised this subject has not been discussed before, and perhaps as Japanese classics become more desirable, a subject sure to be discussed again and again. Perhaps someone with more time than I, can collate into an FAQ, or perhaps a 'Buying a JNC From Japan' post for the front page?

Regardless, all of the above is essentially true, and assuming the original poster is still reading, or for others considering the same, we can add the following general statements too:

o Kyusha are typically a working class pursuit in Japan - at least in 2013 - thus, Tokyo finds less op to browse. In my experience Nagoya & Osaka are 100 times better for kyusha anything.

o Dealers all over Japan, such as those quoted above, do not hold all their stock on site. Victory 50 has room for perhaps five cars, Red Megaphone maybe six, Flex Yokohama perhaps 20, thus any online listing of a particular car is not likely to have that car on display on-site. Takeys I think has a bit more space, but likely the same - not visited them. All such places also sell on consignment, so many of the cars they have listed can still be in the custody of their owners, and you will need to make an appointment convenient with both the owner and the dealer to see a particularly car.

o Many cars change hands through those in-the-know, and are not publicly listed. A lot of bargains and quality stock is handled this way, sold through friends and club members.

o Even in the wildest of rural Japan, owners and sellers of kyusha know exactly what the car is worth. From barn finds to one-owner cars, this place is wired-up and has been for years. I'll tell you about the Honda S500 I found one day...

o Not being a Japanese resident essentially means you do not exist. Even if you've got a Halliburton full of yen cash, you will be very lucky to be allowed to relieve someone of a car. Imagine all the questions you would ask if an otter tried to buy your car... even if she had a hanko and the cash.

Having said all of that though, with careful planning you might be able to organize a Tourist Delivery. Selection and payment through an agent, again those reputable ones listed above, as their stock too is often on consignment, and still in Nihon too. You could then pick up the car from the seller, drive for a day, a week, or up to three months in Japan. Touring the countryside in what is your ahhhh... uninsured car. Damn, you have to be a resident to take out insurance... Scratch that! Technically too, the car would belong to the domestic agent, so perhaps that's not such a good idea after all. Neko.

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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:51 pm
Posts: 2200
Location: Sydney, Australia
Thanks Neko!

I've long had a dream of going to Japan, buying a classic (say an RX3 coupe), spending a couple of days at an acquaintance's workshop replacing stuff...and then just do a driving tour of Japan, from the southern tip to the northern part of the mainland.

But the more I research this, the more impossible and impractical it really is :D

I think the closest you can come to this (as a foreigner), is to arrange the purchase of your car via say JDMLegends, and then go to Japan and rent this:
http://fun2drive.co.jp/cars/gtr_hakosuka.html

...then maybe drive to the dealership where your car is, check it over and watch it being loaded onto a flatbed, bound for the shipping ports, and then drive the rental to Daikoku Futo for the obligatory forum pics :D This is of course, assuming you can successfully operate a GPS that speaks Japanese of course :D

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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:23 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:54 am
Posts: 314
Location: Yokosuka, Japan
haha a point i left out early as neko touched on...never underestimate the level of racism here haha


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:23 am
Posts: 153
Location: Chicago
familycar wrote:
haha a point i left out early as neko touched on...never underestimate the level of racism here haha


Yeah I've had it both ways...people coming up to me in a train station asking if I need any help (even though I'm not looking confused), and people literally doing an about face when they see me. For the most part, pretty much everyone is at least polite, but that doesn't mean they will want to work with you in any capacity other than serving you food or ringing up something at a register (though I've had encounters where they are very amused or excited that a gaijin would want to eat at their restaurant...to the point where I've been given tokens of gratitude). Just like anywhere in the world, it varies from person to person, but the Japanese have been known to shun outsiders. It's all fairly recent that so many Japanese sell on eBay...they haven't really had the same concept of selling products as individuals (excluding larger businesses of course) to outsiders. I can imagine many Japanese would just tell you flat out "no thanks" if approached about buying a car from them.


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:17 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 191
Location: Norcal
Just to add my .02$: I'd venture to say just based on my experiences, if you are an unknown buyer and are willing to pay well over retail, most well-known dealers will sell you a car. I always hear talk of cars being kept out of the hands of foreigners by sellers, but it's been my experience that money talks, and "gaiijin premiums" are a way of making the transaction happen. On certain cars, they won't be needed.

Otherwise, the best way to get in the loop is to be introduced by a friend to the seller. When you become familiar with the seller through an intro, you will be treated better, but there's still no guarantee you'll get a fair price, or a good car.

Unlike the United States, buying a car in Japan is akin to pulling teeth. In USA, most sellers go out of their way to explain why their car is so valuable and so important, and shower you with heaps of documents, parts and artifacts belonging to the car in an effort to make the transaction happen. Japanese sellers not so much. You'll have to press hard to extract ANY information about the car's history, and have to make several specific requests for information in order to get anything useful. Rare is the seller who includes any parts original to the car that he may have removed or replaced before offering it for sale. In fact, unless you specifically ask him if he has any other parts belonging to the car for sale, you'll likely never find out he has them.

Lastly, I have heard first-hand accounts of parts dealers absolutely refusing to sell parts to outsiders, a topic we can save for another thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:32 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:24 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Chicago
Alot of great advice here! I agree, it's best to source a Hako through a broker who will have access to the auctions and through other avenues not easily available to outsiders.

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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:36 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:54 am
Posts: 314
Location: Yokosuka, Japan
also good points xs10. my friend is trying to buy a s13 right now..the dealer says they can't sell it until they fix the engine. they won't tell him specifically what is wrong with the car (could be something as stupid as an oil change) and won't sell it to him until the do the mystery repairs :|

starting to wonder if the OP is still on the site after us crushing his dreams haha :shock: :oops: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:48 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:06 am
Posts: 185
Location: London, England, UK.
familycar wrote:
haha a point i left out early as neko touched on...never underestimate the level of racism here haha


I've seen both sides of that coin, and it's very often a two way street.

xs10shl wrote:
Otherwise, the best way to get in the loop is to be introduced by a friend to the seller. When you become familiar with the seller through an intro, you will be treated better, but there's still no guarantee you'll get a fair price, or a good car.


I agree in general, but there are exceptions. It's clear to me that many of the negative experiences described by disgruntled personal 'buyers' are at least half their own fault. I've seen unbelievably gauche behaviour first hand. I won't go into detail for obvious reasons, but some people would do well to start out by treating others as they expect to be treated themselves, and by at least making the most basic effort to learn some simple words and phrases in Japanese before waving their cash around.

There's a similar thing going on in the vintage wristwatch world at the moment. When the Yen was at its strongest some of the rarest and most sought after vintage watches made their way out to Japan, and now the situation is that Japan is one of the best places to buy certain models and variants. With the weakening of the Yen and renewed interest from collectors and 'investors', dealers from outside Japan are trying to buy them back. However, some dealers in Japan are refusing to sell to non-Japanese or jacking the price up so high that it puts the buyer off. One of my watch-dealing Japanese friends told me that this is a lot to do with the fear that once such watches leave Japan they will never come back. If they sell to private Japanese individuals they know that what goes around comes around, and it's generally better for the Japanese vintage wristwatch business in the long run. Some of these dealers have experienced the very same thing in reverse when trying to buy watches from the UK and Europe. I've seen it happen!

I'm often asked to help or assist / recommend sources for certain cars in Japan, and I often say that the best way to start out in the process of buying something like a KGC10 is to get all the books and mags you can on the subject and swot up. You have less chance of understanding an individual car ( and what's been done to it ) if you know nothing about the specs of the cars as they were when they left the factory. It's amazing how many people tell me they want a "KPGC10" when in fact they want a modified KGC10, and some don't even realise that the KGC10 had quite different rear arches to the KPGC10 when new. As many of these prospective buyers are from the UK and Europe they quite often haven't even seen any C10-series Skylines in the metal. My advice to them - if they can afford it - is to get a cheap flight and hotel deal for a short trip to Japan and to visit a few of the 'usual suspect' classic car dealers in the Kanto or Kansai regions. By at least viewing a few cars side-by-side, comparing prices for different conditions / specs and weighing up what their budget might get them, they will at least be a little ahead in the game. They will at least be armed with a little more practical experience than if they had stayed sitting in front of their computer.....

Simply asking one of the many auction-linking dealers to remote-bid on a car going through the commercial auctions is a sure fire way to end up with a dog. There's too much temptation to bid on the cars at the lower end of the market, and 99% of the dealers wouldn't know one end of a C10 from the other. I've been to the commercial auctions in Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe and seen first-hand the state of many of the older cars that go through them. You really need to be there in person to judge the cars properly, and even then there's often not the time - or the conditions - to inspect thoroughly.

So I wouldn't discourage anyone from going to Japan to have a look at some cars. The more they see the better in my opinion. What harm?


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 Post subject: Re: Going to Japan to buy an old skyline...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:52 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 191
Location: Norcal
Agree with HS30-H's points. Typical rules regarding respect apply. Also, being knowledgeable about the car and it's place in Japanese history goes a long way towards building a mutual respect. It'll also serve the purpose of helping the buyer understand exactly what he's buying when presented with an example.

Herein lies the problem, IMHO - as more individuals wake up to early Skylines, they'll likely look for written information, books and articles about the car. It's at this point they'll find a treasure trove of information - all written in Japanese. My own extensive search for English text about vintage Skylines turned up a total of about 20 pages, with almost no useful information.

This may be a bit off topic, but this lack of English text is often a reason why half truths and outright falsehoods about the origin of Japanese designs are perpetuated in Western culture. For example, Did Albrecht Goertz really design a slew of Japanese cars? Of course not, but there are limited English-text accounts written by the Japanese who were there to educate Westerners about the truth.

This is as good a reason as any to produce the definitive coffee table book about the early Skylines, similar to Shin Yoshikawa's 2000GT book. I'm thinking chapters on Prince, the Nissan merger, design and development, racing, etc, with archival pictures to help bring the real story to a new English-speaking audience.


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