Denial was what pushed me, but also the facts and the timing. (To be honest I’m still surprised to this day that I pulled it off). I lived in Japan, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I had to have another Skyline. But I had to face facts, I could not afford to bring one back…or could I? Yes, an R33, R34 and KPGC10 was too expensive and and R32 wasn’t really “legal” (Thanks MotoRsomething). But I had two things on my side: TMO, the Transportation Military Office, and the U.S. military rules on shipping privately owned items. If the military moves you to a foreign country and you DO NOT have a car shipped or placed in storage; you are entitled to ship one vehicle back…as long as it
meets certain requirements.
It must be on the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) list I mentioned in Part 1, and must be shipped to an RI (Registered Importer) who will convert the vehicle to comply with U.S. safety standards.
UNLESS… it’s more than 25 years old!!! AND..If its more than 21 years old it does not have to meet EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standards WOW!!! I found my way.
But would it be enough? Time to do the footwork. I picked up some issues of Old Timer, Lightning Vintage Auto, and Nostalgic Hero magazines.
I couldn’t really read them but I can read numbers, specs, and prices! From there I got addresses to FLEX Auto Review, Biko Works, Rubber Soul and S20. I went to their locations and asked around for actual prices, differences in modeIs and what you can get for your money…I could actually do this; not for a K”P”GC10, but at least a regular KGC10 GT-R “Clone”. The price differences, are quite significant. Just to give you an idea, (at the time 2005-2007 era) the difference between Y1,250,000 for a slightly modded sedan 4dr sedan and Y15,750,000 for a genuine and completely restored KPGC10 GT-R. What is that in dollars? An easy way to get a ball park is to drop the last 2 zeros so $12,500 – $157,500. However the exchange rate then was roughly Y115-Y118 to $1 so it would be a little less.
Here are some shots of the places I visited. First up is FLEX Auto Review:
For more FLEX Auto Review pics click: http://s114.photobucket.com/albums/n265/vegasmr2/FLEX%20Auto/
One of my many visits to Rubber Soul (a.k.a. HELP, if you notice the logo to their sign is in tribute to The Beatles):
You can see my Silvia is in the bottom left corner…
I considered a Bluebird Coupe, as it was much more affordable…This was a stunning example by the way. A 1600 SSS model, dual inlet chin spoiler, and Hayashi Racing wheels.
…and I also considered a Laurel SGX, These things are so sexy when setup right, a true Japanese “muscle car”. This one had great bones, rust free chassis, great dark green metallic, and SSR Reverse Mesh wheels. Not very aggressive by todays standards but clean nonetheless:
…but I still wanted a Skyline, a “Hakosuka”.
I was first taught the “right” way to pronounce the word by Kawasaki-San, owner of Rubber Soul/Help, it just added to the mystic:
He said: “Hako” means Boxu (Box) neh? Anda “Suka” short for “Su-kai-rine” I replied: “HAY-KO-SUE-KA”? “Nay, nay, nay! You have to say it fast!” he said, “Noto HAY-KO-SUE-KA ; Ha-cos-kah!, fast neh?”
I was a little embarrassed at first, but he was adamant that I pronounce it correctly and very pleased when I finally said it right. I discovered the “u” is in the English spelling, but not really used in the pronunciation; it’s there, but barely. It is very subtle if at all.
For more Rubber Soul pics click: http://s114.photobucket.com/albums/n265/vegasmr2/Rubber%20Soul/
After considering what I could get for my money, and what “must haves” I wanted in my purchase, 2.8L swap. GT-R “clone” look, minimal rust, A/C (Ha!); I sent my limit to $15,000US. That may sound inexpensive to some of you that have purchased one in recent times, but keep in mind the exchange rate was much much better then, anywhere from Y115-Y120 to $1; so for my $1.5K I had, Y1.8M.
Stay tuned for Part 4: Funding