In summary, the Nissan Skyline GT-R is prohibited from being imported into the US since it does not adhere to the 1988 Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act. The Skyline was not designed with the necessary safety elements to abide by the applicable traffic safety regulations.
A vehicle is exempt from these rules once it reaches the age of 25, at which point it is allowed to be imported and used on American roads.
With California being likely the most noteworthy exception in terms of particular states where you would have difficulties importing due to tougher emissions control legislation, this means that vehicles like the R32 GTR (the original “Godzilla”) can be imported into the USA.
By 2024, you should be able to start importing the R34 GTR. The oldest versions of the R33 GTR are also starting to become legal for import and compliance (provided there are no additional changes to legislation by then, or further tightening of emissions and environmental rules which is always a risk in the current climate).
To be on the safe side, there are no laws that prevent you from importing a Nissan Skyline as a “show piece” that isn’t allowed to be driven on the road but instead sits in your garage. However, we have heard stories of people looking to buy and store Nissan Skylines with a view to registering and complying them once they turn 25 years old in the hopes of increasing value. While it is likely not a bad idea, there is always a chance that the government could modify import regulations, leaving you with a depreciating burden rather than an asset that depreciates over time. Although it’s unlikely, it’s nevertheless important to remark.
We would be interested in hearing from you if you are aware of any other legitimate ways to buy a Skyline GTR in the United States. Please comment down below!
Was the GT-R R34 prohibited because it was too quick?
HotCars says that the R34’s illegality is due to a commonly held misconception.
The terrifying two-door coupe had a 2.6-liter twin-turbocharged engine that was capable of producing 300 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft of torque. Additionally, some enthusiasts claim that it handles better than any sports vehicle in history.
Because of its exceptional performance, the Skyline GT-R R34 was allegedly prohibited because American police cars could not keep up with it.
The fact that this Nissan has a top speed of 200 mph and could easily outrun most police officers is true, but it is not the reason it is forbidden in the United States.
Nissan never intended for its Skyline GT-R series cars to be sold in the United States because the Japanese automaker was unsure at the time of how American sports car fans would react to an import.
The American FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) laws and emissions testing were not taken into consideration when it was constructed. Owning one is still prohibited for this reason.
Can I bring the Nissan Skyline into the US legally?
First things first, we want to set the record straight and say that several Skyline models offered in the US, mostly under the ‘Infiniti’ brand, are in a whole different league.
You’ve probably heard the untrue allegations that the later-model Nissan Skyline R33 and R34 GT-Rs are currently prohibited from entering the US.
The most frequently cited responses include “Because they’re right-hand drive” and “Because they’re moving so quickly the Police can’t catch them.”
If a vaping Honda owner offers either defense at the neighborhood meet, politely leave the room and give them the link to this article.
First off, the R32’s legalization in the US demonstrates that right-hand drive vehicles are not prohibited there.
Even the US Postal Service has frequently used RHD vehicles, despite the fact that they are by no means ubiquitous, mostly for the ease of access to the curb.
The US import restrictions are completely to blame for the Nissan Skyline’s unlawful importation for usage on public roads for two very straightforward reasons.
Why is the R34 Skyline forbidden?
One of Nissan’s masterpieces is the Skyline GT-R. We shouldn’t be shocked that it has developed a cult following all over the world given its unparalleled power, handling, and design. The Skyline GT-R is regarded as one of the all-time greatest drifting vehicles and has won numerous awards.
Unfortunately, the Skyline GT-R cannot be fully appreciated in the American market. For the following reasons, the car is not certified for sale in the US:
- It’s a luxury car on the gray market with features that violate US safety and emissions regulations.
- All of the vehicles are right-hand drive. None are made to US standards.
- Although Skyline GT-R spare parts are unavailable in the US, you might look into the brand-new NISMO Heritage Parts program. As of December 1, 2017, some new GT-R parts are being marketed in Japan.
- It is faster than US police cars due to its speed.
Having said that, bringing a Skyline GT-R into the US is not absolutely difficult. (See the poster we created to celebrate the GT-R.)
Are R34 Skylines prohibited?
There is a widespread misperception that R34 GT-Rs are prohibited in the United States. That’s accurate for the most part, although there are some outliers. Federal legislation states that these vehicles cannot be imported until they are 25 years old, and this restriction includes the month of manufacturing.
The R35 is not a Skyline, why?
One of the most renowned Japanese performance cars of all time is the Nissan Skyline GT-R.
The “Godzilla” (see here why the Skyline GT-R is called as Godzilla) has come to represent strength and performance throughout the course of several different generations.
The Nissan Skyline GT-R has become one of the most coveted names in Japanese performance driving despite being illegal in the United States at the time (see our article on why Nissan Skylines are illegal in the United States).
You probably already know that Nissan stopped producing the R34 Skyline generation in 2002 (for more information, see our buying guide for the R34 GT-R).
The skyline actually kept going after that and is still going today, but it is now what is known as the “New Generation Skyline,” which is very different from the past skylines. The new Skyline is more well-known in America as a line of Infiniti vehicles, including the Infiniti G35:
This New Generation Skyline was mainly focused on giving a premium touring car experience and never included a GT-R variant.
Due to the overwhelming demand from auto enthusiasts, the R35 GT-R was debuted in 2007 and is still in production today.
Indeed, the R34 GT-R was the Nissan Skyline GT-R R34, to give an example.
What makes the Nissan GT-R of today the Nissan Skyline GT-R R35? After all, any car sporting those distinctive taillights must be a Skyline!
The reason the R35 GT-R is not a Skyline is rather straightforward, in case you’re wondering.
Earlier GT-Rs (such as the R32, R33, and R34) were built on the Skyline platform of that generation.
Consider the R32 GT-R, which was offered in a variety of trim levels and engine/gearbox combinations, including as a sedan.
Nissan used that generation’s Skyline base to build the R32 GT-R (the original “Godzilla”), turning everything up to 11.
There is no platform overlap with the existing Skyline (known in America as the Infiniti Q50). The R35 GT-R is a “standalone” vehicle, as opposed to the previous generations of GT-Rs, which were all the pinnacle of the applicable Skyline platform.
Although the R35 GT-R is essentially the spiritual successor to previous Skyline GT-Rs, Nissan opted not to utilize the Skyline brand due to the distinctive platform.
Are R34s still prohibited in the US?
If you used a registered importer to bring the car over (RI). In order to comply with the applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, the RI will modify the vehicle (FMVSS). All motor vehicles less than 25 years old must adhere to FMVSS safety requirements in order to be permitted for usage in the United States under the new car importation regulations.
In other words, it is now possible to legally import a Nissan Skyline R34 into the USA. However, connecting to the RI and adapting the car to be road-worthy will be an expensive task.
The amount? I’m not sure. The initial cost of the car, shipping charges to transport it abroad, import taxes, federal taxes, and other as-yet-unknown “hidden costs” must all be taken into account. Then, you must cooperate with the RI to ensure that it passes emissions and crash tests. This becomes costly and may even need disassembling the car to upgrade or replace certain components to make it “safer.”
In the end, I’d estimate that it would cost $20k to $50k to legally import a Skyline r34. Given that the fifth-generation Nissan Skyline R34 was produced from 1999 to 2002, that’s a hefty amount to pay for a vehicle that is almost 20 years old! Perhaps all you need is an older R32. Heck, some individuals even prefer the R32 GTR:
However, if you have unlimited funds and a burning desire to acquire an R34 Skyline, go ahead. But it wasn’t always like this. Before the NHTSA changed the import laws, if you find a Nissan Skyline R34 driving around the streets, that vehicle is most likely a product of the 2006 Motorex scandal.
What makes the Skyline R34 so well-liked?
4 In Advance of Its Time. The R34 is arguably the best and most well-known Skyline model. The fact that this car seemed so far ahead of its time and is still in such high demand now was one of the reasons it was so well-liked. It is not surprising that the car is still so expensive and in such high demand in 2021.
Are Nissan Skylines uncommon?
The Z-tune, R400, and, of course, Brian O’Conner’s electric blue R34 from 2 Fast 2 Furious are a few particularly uncommon Nissan Skylines. But there is only one Godzilla that is genuinely as uncommon as a unicorn: the magnificent R33 LM.
The silhouette of this squat, wide-arched R33 may be recognizable to Gran Turismo players from the opening movie of the first game. Since then, every episode of the racing franchise has featured a similar vehicle. But unlike the fantasy realm of pixels where several copies can coexist, there is only one hard copy in existence.
It is kept at Nissan’s magnificent Zama DNA garage. A carefully crafted toy box stuffed to the gills with the Japanese manufacturer’s back catalog. We also met the LM there for a brief one-on-one conversation.
We begged and begged to be allowed to drive it, but that was not possible. Even Carlos Ghosn, the biggest of all Nissan bigwigs and chairman, president, and CEO, has never been permitted to operate a vehicle.
Even still, we continued to plead, threaten, and even consider stealing it in order to experience driving without a PlayStation controller.
Are JDM automobiles forbidden?
One of the most commonly used terms when discussing foreign vehicles that are prohibited in the US is “JDM.” The phrase “Japanese Domestic Market” refers to the fact that the vehicles were produced in Japan specifically for Japanese motorists. JDM automobiles are probably the most sought-after imports. You may have seen JDM automobiles featured prominently in movies, video games, and a variety of other popular media in recent years, which has greatly increased their appeal. These foreign vehicles are renowned for their distinctive performance strategies, whether it be for drifting, cutting-edge drivetrains, or just a cult following that the vehicle has developed. You might be wondering, “Why are JDM automobiles illegal, though.” It all boils down to construction if you’re wondering why Japanese vehicles are forbidden in the United States. Since Americans drive on the right side of the road and have vehicles that are left-hand drive, driving on the left side of the road and utilizing right-hand drive vehicles are both unlawful on this side of the Pacific. Almost all JDM vehicles manufactured in 1997 or later cannot enter the United States without paying a hefty fine. More severe punishments are deserved for owning or operating illegal JDM vehicles than for using drugs or automatic guns. Maybe in the future, the government will set priorities correctly.