The federal government, under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security, started investigating the importation of grey-market Nissan Skylines, tracking down their owners and even seizing the cars.
According to import laws, only a select few R33 Skylines from 1996 to 1998 can be legally brought to U.S. shores. The rest came by an importer that failed to import cars with spectacularly disastrous results; the cars weren’t DOT-certified, failed to meet crash and emissions standards, and the importer went out of business. As a result, the owners are faced with “contraband” cars.
One such owner has two Skylines, both with extensive paperwork and one that was old enough to be exempt from vehicle importation laws. The other, however, was deemed illegal and was to be seized—but when federal agents arrived, the owner had a surprise: “I made it very clear that my intent was to retain ownership for the time being and export the vehicle from the country,” he said on a forum post, “and that I had already made arrangements for a sale to be conducted as well as export of the vehicle.”
With the sale of his illicit Skyline, the owner now seeks to challenge these convoluted import laws, many of which were changed after the owners imported their cars.
The Skyline community will not be taking this lying down, either, and have already reached out to get the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) involved. After all, how many people in America own Skylines—a handful? Enough to fill a Nissan Elgrand or two? Let’s hope they aren’t a strong enough threat to national stability that would get the Department of Homeland Security involved in their fight against JDM motoring.