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!
In This Article...
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.
Examining the Automotive Gray Market in More Detail
Nissan did not create their Skylines with the US market in mind. The creator of the Skylines, Naganori Ito, was imitating his instructor Shinichiro Sakurai. His task was to design a vehicle that would compete favorably with Porsche in the Japan Grand Prix.
The Skylines’ literal father was this Nissan 2000 GT. It was therefore predicted that when the 2000 GT showed its teeth at the track, everybody would be looking at the 2000 GT’s offspring.
Everyone wanted one after seeing how well it worked. The gray market became relevant at this point.
The gray market first gained popularity during World War II when soldiers fell in love with European automobiles and discovered that importing and maintaining the vehicles to meet US regulations was less expensive than purchasing the automobiles in the US.
People were able to import automobiles from the 1960s to the 1980s as long as they complied with US safety regulations. Gray market importers initially performed a fantastic job of importing cars and modifying them to meet the necessary American standards.
While the majority of gray market importers were legitimate, some discovered legal loopholes and began casually breaking the rules. At that time, illicit exotic vehicles, including the Skyline, were all over the streets.
In spite of the fact that they complied with US safety and pollution regulations, this is what encouraged automakers to pressure Congress into passing the legislation that forbade the import of automobiles from the gray market.
In short, the Skyline became unlawful since it didn’t adhere to the safety standards and laws that the Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988 established.
It’s interesting to note that the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) gave amnesty for imported vehicles older than 25 years after the statute was passed. This means that the R32 and R33 Skylines can be lawfully imported, but not the R34 until 2024.
But what if you have no interest in a classic car? What if you only wanted to drive around in a Skyline GT-R? You can clear a lot of hurdles to obtain a newer one of your very own and preserve it in the US. All imported vehicles under 25 years old must adhere to the NHTSA, DOT, and EPA requirements and be accompanied by a Show or Display exemption or a certification from Nissan attesting to the Skyline GT-legal R’s capacity to operate on US roads (which may be difficult to get because Nissan would never risk a lawsuit).
A 1996–1998 R33 would be the easiest to import if you’re up for the effort of bringing a post–1992 Skyline GT–R to the US because a registered importer by the name of Motorex had already set the basis for that generation. To demonstrate that the R33 complied with the safety criteria established by the US federal government, they determined all of the requirements for the vehicle and conducted crash tests. Motorex was forced to close business after being detected engaging in some illicit side deals before everything for the R33 could be finalized. The NHTSA, however, maintained its R33 importation certification.
Finding an importer who will transport a legal Skyline R33 to the US and take care of all the compliance work on your behalf will cost you a lot of money because it’s a challenging task to complete. For instance, an OBD-II system, which is challenging to retrofit, must be installed in all imported vehicles constructed after 1995. An older Skyline GT-R may be imported much more easily.
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.
Does the Nissan Skyline remain prohibited?
The NHTSA gave import automobiles older than 25 years of age amnesty in 1998. So even though it doesn’t comply with requirements, you can now import any Nissan Skyline that was manufactured in 1995 or earlier. California is the only state where you can encounter difficulties.
Why are certain skylines prohibited?
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.)
Why are outdated skylines forbidden?
The reasons Skylines were outlawed in America are the subject of a lot of false material. Some speculate that this was because, in the 1980s and 1990s, they could readily outpace law enforcement cars like the Chevrolet Caprice and Crown Vic. Many people appear to believe that this is the result of their right-hand driving.
Although this logic is completely believable, it is incorrect. The Skyline prohibition is mostly related to US import regulations, particularly because the vehicle did not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The subsequent circumstances fed the flames.
Are Nissan Skylines uncommon?
With only six miles on it, this uncommon 2002 R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II Nur has become the most expensive Skyline ever sold after selling for 60.5 million yen (approximately $545,000) at a recently ended auction. After selling for $400,000 a year ago, another V-Spec II Nur was previously thought to be the most expensive Skyline. Over the past few years, the R34 Nissan Skyline has become more and more well-liked among vehicle enthusiasts. Many people consider the Nissan GT-R of the R34 generation to be the best model ever. It was the final vehicle to sport the legendary “Skyline” logo and the GT-distinctive R’s straight-six engine. It was produced between 1999 and 2002.
Nissan first branded their cars with enhanced performance equipment as V-Spec in 1993. Nissan introduced the V-Spec II Nur, which was loaded with a variety of high-performance parts, at the end of the R34’s production run. The Skyline GT-R was tested at the storied German racetrack, the Nurburgring, and set lap records there long before it became the norm for all manufacturers of high-performance vehicles. The Nur was short for Nurburgring. It included an upgraded 2.6-liter RB26DETT inline-six engine with twin turbochargers that produced 276 horsepower, racing brakes that were used in Japan’s N1 endurance racing series, a gold serial number plate, bronze-tinted factory 18″ rims, a Getrag six-speed manual transmission, and an ATTESA all-wheel-drive system. Additionally, it included a rear active limited-slip differential that was electronically controlled.
Nissan produced 718 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II Nur vehicles, making them a rare and valuable collector. Although it only has 6 miles on the odometer, this specific specimen with the serial number BNR34-403129 was never registered. It was offered for sale as a part of a sale of rare and collectable vehicles that were never registered on Yahoo Japan Auctions. A 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 with a little over 100 miles, a 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster with fewer than 2 miles, and a 1996 Corvette Grand Sport with only 98 kilometers were also offered in the auction. The buyer’s information has not been made public, and it is unknown whether the immaculate R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II Nur will be shipped to the US or remain in Japan. In any case, the car cannot be lawfully brought into America before 2027 due to the 25-year limitation.