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BREAKING NEWS: US Government Turns Up Heat on Skyline Owners
The staff at NICOclub have always tried to bring the Nissan community the best and most recent and accurate information regarding Nissan Skyline importing. We’ve enlisted experts such as Sean Morris, as well as former and current Skyline owners living in Japan, like Neal Hartman.
Tonight, we have some new news. Our friend and fellow forum owner “Vandrel” (owner of SkylineOwnersUSA) recently was targeted by officials because of his Skyline ownership. Here’s his story.
…most people in tuner communities throughout the United States can agree on one thing, and that is that ‘Skyline’ is a very dirty word. Since the dawn of the Nissan Skyline it has stood as a iconic figure to nearly everyone who takes interest in modified vehicles from Japan, setting numerous records on all playing fields and maintaining a well rounded reputation in many categories. The Skyline, even at an old age, still stands proudly at the top of the automotive food chain. While few in the country can actually claim to have owned one either presently or previously, they carry quite the market interest as forbidden fruit that most all wish to someday own.
It is never a surprise to hear that a Skyline is being seized by the U.S. Government, though it often will pique people’s interest to hear the details behind it and get the full story. History has proven that in most cases since the fall of Motorex, when a Skyline gets seized the owner of the vehicle generally doesn’t have the knowledge or means to handle the situation and walks away empty-handed, leaving the government to auction the vehicle off and collect a profit for their benefit. Since Motorex was shut down the government has spent countless hours and tax dollars to fund joint operations between government agencies in order to hunt down and seize Skylines that they label as ‘contraband’. In a broad spectrum it sounds pretty ridiculous, to think that the government spends taxpayer dollars to collect up a handful of cars because they (the government) say they are unsafe, while at the same time there’s thousands of illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. every day, not to mention budget deficits and illegal activities that occur day in and day out affecting the personal lives of American citizens. So what is the government’s real motivation for seizing Skylines? They obviously are not making a profit out of the deal – many people are already aware that Skylines can be purchased overseas for a fraction of U.S. market value – that leaves one to question the overall motive.
It’s a well known fact that Skylines are limited on importation into the U.S. Nearly everyone in the world that knows about cars knows that it’s nearly impossible under today’s rules to easily and affordably import a Skyline into the United States. The rules are very clear, and while they are set forth in the interest of safety to the public and environment, one still has to sit back and question “What is the REAL reason?” If a private citizen of the U.S. wanted to purchase and import a Skyline that is newer then 25 years of age they have to jump through numerous different channels and rules in order to satisfy the U.S. Government and comply with the laws and regulations in place. So what exactly is involved in the process, in a nutshell? A person that desires to import an approved Skyline, a 1996 R33 GTS for example, would first have to source the vehicle and finalize purchase to obtain complete ownership. The individual would then have to make liaison with a RI (Registered Importer) that is listed on the NHTSA’s (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) official RI list as well as a ICI (Independent Commercial Importer), both of which can be found on the NHTSA’s import information website. Under federal law, the import and modification for FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) of non-conforming vehicles newer then 25 years of age must be conducted by a authorized RI and is subject to inspection upon completion. To satisfy the regulations set by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), non-conforming vehicles newer then 21 years of age must be modified and completed by a ICI. The RI assigned to conduct the importing of the vehicle would have to notify the NHTSA upon it’s completion and then its at the NHTSA’s discretion to inspect the vehicle prior to release to the owner or reserve the right to conduct a inspection at a later time, this is commonly known as a “Bond Release” which essentially is a release statement from the NHTSA to the RI and owner stating that they have reviewed the submitted package for said vehicle and that they acknowledge its completion and meeting FMVSS. Subsequently the EPA also delivers a document to further approve its conformance (if applicable). At this point the RI can release the vehicle to the owner and the owner can then apply for a title in their respective state.