Authorities in Wisconsin are bound and determined to crack down on gray market vehicles. According to Stevens Point Journal, In 2010, the state government orchestrated a sting to catch Justin Beno selling two Nissan Skyline models, one of which played a role in the Fast and Furious franchise. A Wisconsin Department of Transportation investigator spotted both a 1995 and a 1996 Skyline up for sale and pretended to be a buyer. The investigator asked if it were possible to get the cars titled, and Beno said he believed the vehicles could be titled in Florida, then retitled in Wisconsin.

This was not the correct answer. The government seized both cars and charged Beno with a spate of offenses, including two felony counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, one felony count of owning a vehicle without a vehicle identification number tag and two misdemeanors tied to those missing VIN tags. Beno said he had originally purchased the cars as bare shells without the tags and that the seller later mailed them along. He also says he didn't know it was a crime to simply own a car without its VIN tag attached.

Brown County Deputy District Attorney Dana Johnson offered Beno a plea deal wherein he would accept the misdemeanor charges and give up both fully restored Skylines. After offering to pay the fines and help the authorities find buyers for both machines overseas, the prosecutor declined. Instead, both cars will be crushed and sold for scrap. That's particularly heartbreaking after Beno spent years assembling both from parts bought from all over the world. It's made worse by the fact that in just a few short years, both cars will be exempt from federal safety and emissions standards for vehicles over 25 years old. Head over to Beno's site to see the Big Bird Skyline that's headed for the reaper.


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  • 147 Comments
      jebibudala
      • 2 Years Ago
      Waste of taxpayer money.
      Tim Schultz
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's not government of the People any more. It's government TO the People. George Orwell was right, he just had the wrong year.
      fabulous71
      • 2 Years Ago
      The regulations make even less sense when you consider that the government allows you to bring in cars that are 25 years old or older that are probably more polluting and less crash worthy than a car built 10-15 years ago. Yet you can drive around in a VW beetle from the 1970's (as an example) that is more polluting than any of the newer Japanese super cars we're not supposed to have here. As I said before, I really hope there are some gov't officials with some sense of normalcy that read the feedback and may realize that change needs to be made. If anything, find some way to tax people for importing these cars, but allow it to happen and let the states use the money for useful endeavors.
      Chris
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a waste of time, money, and resources!! Honestly, who is this guy really hurting and how is crushing the cars he worked so hard on supposed to benefit the people of Wisconsin, or the country? This is just more evidence that governments and law enforcement agencies have gotten out of control in this country. More and more they seem to be resorting to various forms of bullying and intimidation.
      Ryan Comerford
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bad paint job or not, this is just another example of State (in most cases it's the Fed) government overreaching into our personal lives. We should be able to have these cars if we wish. We should be able to do what we want with them.
      themanwithsauce
      • 2 Years Ago
      So the state investigators found the time and money to setup and orchestrate all of this? Oh good that means they must've finally caught the guy who stole my uncle's vette and will either a) give him compensation for his loss or b) give him the vette back.
        RJohns
        • 2 Years Ago
        @themanwithsauce
        Getting you uncle's Corvette back might have involved dealing with people who (gasp!) might hurt you. This guy is a much safer target and they still get to check the "win" box on the annual departmental review checklist.
      CJ_S4
      • 2 Years Ago
      I agree with the general sentiment here. All of the real crime that goes on in this country and this is what our taxpayer money is paying for - ridding the country of JDM vehicles. I'd like to see someone on this "task force" go talk to the families of people who were murdered, killed by drunk drivers, raped, or otherwise had a real crime ruin their lives and justify how they could be ridding the streets of criminals and solving more crimes but instead they are ridding the streets of cars that are deemed "illegal". "Hey, I'd be working your case to find your son's murderer, but I'm on illegal vehicle detail this month. We have to go find some fast cars to get off the street because they don't have VIN's. Maybe we will have the budget/manpower next month to work on your case. Sorry." Rediculous...
      Sean Morris
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is no reason to crush a car, there is a clear VIN/chassis number on the car, its stamped on the firewall. Every Nissan/Infiniti vehicle sold in the US has this same layout. This is merely a minor label issue that they are trying to turn into a problem to make him an example. There are lots of parts in a modern car with VIN numbers on them. Just because the US has 17 digit VIN's does not mean the rest of the world does. If you are shown something that is not 17 digits, it doesn't mean its illegal, it doesn't mean that its wrong, just that different parts of the world have different requirements. Nothing more, nothing less. The VIN of each vehicle shall appear clearly and indelibly upon either a part of the vehicle, other than the glazing, that is not designed to be removed except for repair or upon a separate plate or label that is permanently affixed to such a part.
      hocus_focus
      • 2 Years Ago
      The cars could have been registered as homemade according to the Wisconsin DMV site. The true criminals are the public officals involved in this shenanigan.
      ToniCipriani
      • 2 Years Ago
      Come on... send them to Canada. We have laws to properly register them for road use.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      pasigiri
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is ridiculous. I say the state owes him two GT-R35 as replacements (which really would not replace these beautiful classics) since they want to be all "legal" and crap. Why don't these officers go to my hometown, St. Louis, if they need some action.
        IBx27
        • 2 Years Ago
        @pasigiri
        I'd agree but add in the fact that the prosecutors should rebuild, in the same painstaking manner, the two classic Skylines they crushed, then have their own cars crushed and make them watch.
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