Well, here goes my own story on me and my Hakosuka. I’ll be honest I used to think I was the “go to” guy when it came to JDM goodness and all that was Skyline. I was hopelessly wrong, but it’s okay I guess, we all start somewhere .
When I moved to Japan in ’04, at the height of all that Fast and Furious jazz and Drifting was starting to not be underground anymore, all I wanted was a late ’96-’98 R33 GT-R, I knew those specific models we’re on the list at NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and one of the few newer Skylines that could be legally imported into the U.S. at a FEDERAL level (See page 17: http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/elig100111.pdf). TIP: Don’t be fooled by so called “importers” If its not on this list, it is NOT legal on a FEDERAL level (unless its 25 years or older). You can just about get any car into any state, get a smog certificate, get plates and insurance but that does NOT make it legal. State Law and Federal Law are 2 different things, and Federal Law trumps State Law (if it’s enforced, its kind of like marijuanna).
And so my story actually stars with this car (early pics):
…and some later images before she was sold…
The cost to import and legalize an R33 far outweighed what I was willing to spend at the time, and my car was not a BNCR33 GT-R, she was only a ’97 ECR33 GTS-T and was certainly not worth the money, the majority of the cost going towards making the car OBD II compliant (See: http://www.obdii.com/background.html ), this was a serious setback. I gave up on my dream of bringing one back legally, and went through a few cars until that fateful day I went to the ’04 Fuji Speedway, NISMO Festival…that day my life changed.