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Importing car from Japan?

montyharding

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Anyone have suggestions on how (English-speaking export service) to do this in the most hassle-free way?
 

turboman808

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Can't help ya there but I had a friend who imported a supra years ago and he said it was the biggest pain in the ass to get it legal and would never do it again. Getting it here is the easy part. Making it legal is a bureaucratic nightmare.

There is a video of him racing a saleen s7 on youtube.

Drives a 911 turbo now.
 

Tokyo Slim

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What kind of car?

Is it already DOT approved for import?
 

bigbjorn

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Unless it's a car already sold in the US market which can be made compliant via a registered importer, or older than 25 years, or a car on the NHTSA exotic list, forget it. Too much trouble. To Canada is easy if the car is >15 years old.

NHTSA "Show and Display" list is here: http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/sdlist040109.pdf
 

impolyt_one

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OP, you might find the best info on a forum specialised in the car make and asking about grey market cars there.
 

summej2

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I forget the details now, but I remember that after looking in to it I quickly gave up on this idea when I moved back to the US from Japan.
 

akatsuki

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The pain free way to do it is to have someone else do it for you - like Motorex who is used to importing Skylines. Otherwise it is an unbearable pain in the ass with no guarantees along the way, meaning you might pay all the money to get it here, and then moments away from being able to drive it, be told that you aren't allowed and it must just sit there. I know someone brought over a Focus RS from Mexico somehow too... but you really need to find someone who has done this process before. I had been looking at bringing over a TVR at one point, but gave up once it became obvious that it would be impossible.

If you don't believe me, read through the odyssey Bill Gates went through to drive his Porsche 959 legally. And this is Bill Gates, a man with more money than everyone on styleforum combined easily.
 

Tokyo Slim

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Originally Posted by akatsuki
like Motorex who is used to importing Skylines.
Did they get all those fraud charges cleaned up?
Sorry, that place is rather infamous among certain circles. It's pretty much the biggest scam/cocktease ever. (for a Skyline enthusiast, anyway) That story makes the Carlo Franco story look tame in comparison.
 

Tokyo Slim

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Pilot

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Originally Posted by akatsuki
T I know someone brought over a Focus RS from Mexico somehow too... but you really need to find someone who has done this process before. I had been looking at bringing over a TVR at one point, but gave up once it became obvious that it would be impossible.




Yeah i've read up on some engineer guy who bought a Mexi Focus RS. It was something ridiculous because the car isn't legal in the US so the only way you could drive it legally is if you had dual citizenship (which he had),. Even then, the car couldn't be registered in the US. Pretty crazy.
 

akatsuki

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Didn't know about the Motorex thing... so maybe forget that.
 

Tokyo Slim

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Originally Posted by akatsuki
Didn't know about the Motorex thing... so maybe forget that.

It's just been like five years since I heard anyone even dare to utter their name. I did a triple take when I saw you recommend them.
 

MrGoodBytes

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Originally Posted by Pilot
Yeah i've read up on some engineer guy who bought a Mexi Focus RS. It was something ridiculous because the car isn't legal in the US so the only way you could drive it legally is if you had dual citizenship (which he had),. Even then, the car couldn't be registered in the US. Pretty crazy.

the guy is from chicago and has IL plates on the car... he obviously jumped through some steep hoops but the biggies it boils down to are getting the head and tail lamps DOT approved which if they are shared (or replaced with) US stock.

like others said, if its older than 25 years, its pretty straight forward, just get the car here.... and deal with having all the fluids drained for HAZMAT reasons.

newer, there are some options, you can totally disassemble the car to clear customs and pull some bureaucratic magic out of your butt to get it relicensed.

if you say what car your importing, we can know the extent of what you need to deal with.
 

impolyt_one

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This thread sucks. None of you noted that OP is from the UK, where importing grey market RHD cars from Japan was/is common.
 
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Ya, I was about to say that too...I guess not a whole lot of the US guys recognise 'Ol Blighty' as London.

Anyhow, I have done this, with a Mitsubishi FTO into Australia. Used some Jap Motorsport importers that had previously done a Silvia for one friend and a 180SX for another. It took about a month, maybe two, cost was reasonable...I damn sure wouldn't wanna try and do it myself.

Basically I told them what I wanted, in what color, what transmission, any mods (I did the exhaust, that's about all) and they confirmed it, gave me a guideline price, which was an estimated auction price, plus shipping, compliance and registration in Australia, as well as a service fee for them.

They actually came in a bit under cost IIRC - they bought it at auction in Japan, and it was lower than their typical estimate.

It's over 12 yrs ago I did this, and to a completely different part of the world, but let me know if I can help...
 

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