• ETC
  • Jan 3, 2014
Even before the 2015 Nissan GT-R and GT-R Nismo arrive to rewrite the handbook on Nissan's halo car, here we have the first 1989 R32 GT-R - the 276-horsepower coupe that started it all - to be officially and legally imported under the 25-year exemption. We don't have any information on it beyond the fact that it's here and it's legal, since the blog post at GTRUSAblog.com didn't want to swamp its new owner with questions and friend requests.

But we're told the owner's name is Trevor, and by having his DOT HS7 and EPA 3520-1 paperwork ready to go and filled out properly he was able to drive his GT-R across the border from Canada and into the US on the first day of the New Year. We have no idea where he's headed but it probably isn't California, as the Sunshine Golden State has much more stringent regulations than the federal government as to what cars will be allowed on its roads. But now that the naughtiest Nissan has turned 25 and is open for business, we figure we'll be seeing a few more of them in every state. Here's a primer on what it takes if you want to import one of your own.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 94 Comments
      Trevor Cobb
      • 11 Months Ago
      I'm so glad this went live! Thanks for the coverage Autoblog. The car is the first car legally imported under the 25 year exemption rule. More pics are here: http://imgur.com/a/l9JrE#0 including the pics from the seller's for sale ad on kijiji back in May 2013, pics from my trip to check it out in person and close the deal, then pics from Dec 31 at the gas station in Canada right before I crossed the border, then pics at the border and after obtaining my customs entry approval. Cheers guys!
        GT-Reg
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Trevor Cobb
        Congratulations to you and all your efforts Sir! How long did it take for the paperwork to process and do you mind sharing the price of the tariff? I miss the 32 I left behind in Yakota and I hope to get another from Canadaland. GROUP A KING! Sorry for the fanboi-ish comment hahahaha.
        Evan Terrell
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Trevor Cobb
        Trevor, you are my hero. I love the R32 Skylines SO MUCH. I wonder what it would take to get one into California. Hmm...
      J
      • 11 Months Ago
      Finally! The REAL GTR! Not that electronic nanny laden, paddle-shiting GTR of today. A GTR with a MANUAL Transmission. A pure driving machine at its finest!
        AcidTonic
        • 11 Months Ago
        @J
        +1 The only GTR I'd drive..... Manual or go home... It's about fun not another 0.02 seconds per lap while frowning.
      Making11s
      • 11 Months Ago
      Florida is the Sunshine State. California is the Golden State.
      Romeo
      • 11 Months Ago
      I was in Japan and owned 1989 4-dr sdn left side steering wheel. I was not allowed to ship it back to California It was an awesome strong car.
      sniperhunter2001
      • 11 Months Ago
      There are also two R33 Skylines (a GT-S and GT-R) in the Central Florida area near Orlando. A white one and a silver one (doubt they're "legal", but Florida is extremely lax). Both are absolutely gorgeous and driven almost daily. I'd die if I saw an R34 though, my all time favorite. :)
        Michael Star
        • 11 Months Ago
        @sniperhunter2001
        I know one is owned by Rex Birkmire, or at least used to be
      Mark Frank
      • 11 Months Ago
      Except it's not legal until August, the guy probably forged the documents, and the buyer will most likely be screwed when it's discovered.
      R33Vspec
      • 11 Months Ago
      The point, the point, the point. The point is, now that the car is 25 years old, you are no longer required modify the car to meet Federal DOT and EPA regulations. That saves you about $20,000. Basically, whatever you can find an '89 GT-R priced at is what you will pay, plus or minus shipping/marine insurance/tariffs, and port/dock fees. Depending on the mileage, you can find these for $10-$20k. That's a bargain for a car that sports the same AWD system (basically) as the current Nissan GT-R, and boasts a twin-turbo six capable of 450-500hp on stock internals. Ugly or not, this is a piece of automotive history.
      Japan Car Auctions
      • 11 Months Ago
      The car is not 25 years old yet, and therefore this is a Federal crime. To be 25 years old, it would have to have been manufactured on January 1st, 1989. This is impossible as this day is a public holiday in Japan in the middle of the oshogatsu (new year) holiday period. If my memory serves, this model was first sold in Japan in May 1989, so earliest manufacture would have been around late March 1989. Just because Customs lets you in does not mean that the EPA / DOT do not track you down later. Just ask the guys who brought in Japanese minitrucks who thought they would get around the DOT rules by saying they were for offroad use only. That was OK for the DOT, but did nothing for the EPA who can regulate an engine class if the car is for on or offroad use. A lot of people lost a lot of money and vehicles were crushed for non-compliance. If you want to buy direct from Japan (JDM) in safety and not risk prosecution contact us here - http://integrityexports.com/ as we really know what we are doing.
      Matthew Samuel Saks
      • 11 Months Ago
      The R32 wasn't made until August I think and even then just in limited production, importation rules are based on month not year..unsure how the paperwork went through
        fabulous71
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Matthew Samuel Saks
        Just to set the record straight, over its entire production run, Nissan made over 40,000 R32's.
      Koenigsegg
      • 11 Months Ago
      the 8 year older version is much nicer
      FuelToTheFire
      • 11 Months Ago
      What kind of MORON would import a car here when we have so many great choices here? Who the hell does this guy think he is, importing a car into the country with the world's best cars and the world's biggest automobile market? Seriously, why can't he be happy with the MANY cars sold over here which are FAR superior to this piece of crap? As a libertarian conservative, I generally oppose restrictions on products and prefer that the free market decide. However, the law restricting the importation of grey market cars here was put in place for a reason: to make the automobile market here in the states more self sufficient, and to create manufacturing jobs here. It's absolutely disgusting that people like this are trying to bend the law.
        Nick Allain
        • 11 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        You're so wrong on so many levels. Bending the law? There's no bending going on here. The law says 25 years, the paperwork says 25 years, and the car comes in. The law was put in place because Mercedes lobbied congress enough. Mercedes wasn't able to make the financial case to sell some of their cars here due to (mostly) exchange rates. It has nothing to do with manufacturing jobs here at all. It has everything to do with protecting dealers and manufacturers from warranty claims and recalls on cars that weren't originally sold here. This car is a piece of automotive history that wasn't available in the US. 1989 was the era of the Ford Tempo. You're going to tell me that's far superior? What an asshat.
          FuelToTheFire
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Nick Allain
          And those dealers and manufacturers create JOBS here. Warranty claims and recalls are a burden on dealers and manufacturers. That burden translates into less money, which means less JOBS. This legislation eases the burden on the corporations, which create jobs. Of course the MSM wants you to believe that corporations are the devil and that lobbying is evil. But the truth is that both create JOBS. "This car is a piece of automotive history that wasn't available in the US. 1989 was the era of the Ford Tempo. You're going to tell me that's far superior?" This car is nowhere near a "piece of automotive history". And this is coming from someone who owns the descendant of the Skyline GT-R, a blue 2012 GT-R. The Skyline GT-R would just be another everyday sports car if the current GT-R hadn't been produced. The GT-R is the real reason why the previous GT-Rs have a cult following. And I would take a genuine American sports car from the era over this any day of the week, like the Lincoln Mark series, the Thunderbird, the Monte Carlo, the Reatta, the Riviera, and the Eldorado.
          aatbloke1967
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Nick Allain
          "What kind of MORON would import a car here when we have so many great choices here" That's just the point ... comparatively few choices are available in the two markets operating FMVSS compared with those which utilise UNECE. And typically "FueltotheFire" hasn't a clue just how advanced some cars were which weren't available in the States even thirty years ago. Which of course was way, way before he was born.
        MJHussain
        • 11 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        If a person wants to drive an imported Nissan Skyline GTR and can now legally do so, who are you tell him it is absolutely "disgusting"? Some people say it is absolutely disgusting to allow 3 ton SUVs on the road. Get a clue buddy. Real car guys understand that passion creates and drives automotive culture not libertarian conservatives.
        Polak_RX8
        • 11 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Yet, u have no faith in this generations great American cars, since you said you have a current GTR. Why not buy a Shelby 500 or ZR1. 25 yrs from now kids will consider the current GTR a classic. And because of that it Nissan will produce another.
        john96xlt
        • 11 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Do you honestly read every article and think to yourself "what's the most idiotic thing I could say?"
        prince_david
        • 11 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        I'm a libertarian and your views on this are way out of line. Governed has no right making these restrictions.
        colin.shark
        • 11 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        That makes you a socialist, not a libertarian. Not sure where you're picking up these ideas of yours.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 11 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        "the world's biggest automobile market" This is beyond moronic. There are TONS of great cars that are not available for sale in the US of A.
        Cyrus Brooks
        • 11 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        You are not a libertarian. A libertarian wouldn't want the government to get involved in what people should and shouldn't buy or drive.
        chris
        • 11 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Someone better make cars for sale by owner illegal then! I mean, obviously that is wrong too, right?
        dearest rat
        • 11 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        This is a car blog aimed at the interests of automotive enthusiasts, not libertarian conservatives. But it is a free country, so you're allowed to make idiotic statements as you please. If you were an auto enthusiast, you could appreciate this article. I genuinely thought your comment was dripping with sarcasm until I read further. You think the "Lincoln Mark series, the Thunderbird, the Monte Carlo, the Reatta, the Riviera, and the Eldorado" are sports cars?! You are a joke! The first generation Skyline is the reason why the current GT-R exists! Enthusiasts in the States have been salivating over these for decades. Your reasoning and logic are flawed, and one's love for the automobile should be unsullied by politics.
      ChaosphereIX
      • 11 Months Ago
      thank god I live in a free-er country where I can import any vehicle I want as long as it is 15 years old, 25 just seems like a damn eternity...why 25? hopefully soon new laws for safety and emissions are in place and we can get rid of these draconian laws...
        • 11 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        [blocked]
          ChaosphereIX
          • 11 Months Ago
          I love Italian cars, that is my passion If you don't, that is fine. But wouldn't you love to import your favourite 1999 car right now? You cant, but I can. 15-25 years, no difference other than arbitrarily picking a number.
          • 11 Months Ago
          [blocked]
          john96xlt
          • 11 Months Ago
          @ChaosphereIX Kudos to you for perusing your passion and buying the cars YOU enjoy. It doesn't matter if other people disapprove or don't understand why you'd choose those specific cars. I recently chose to buy a '95 Ford Taurus (as well as a 2012). Why? I like the car. I like the way it drives, I like the way it looks (gen II Taurus' were the best body style IMO, aside from the current one of course), I like the interior layout, I like the ride, I like how comfortable it is, I like how cheap and easy it is to maintain and repair, and I like how cheap the car was to buy in the first place. Would carguy1701 be caught dead in it? Probably not. Does that bother me? Not in the slightest. In fact, in brings a smile to my face. Back to the topic at hand, if I had my way, I'd import a '95+ JDM Honda Integra Type R. I'm not a "ricer" by any means (did I mention I daily drive a Ford Taurus? LOL). But, I appreciate a good driver's car when I see one, and I MUCH prefer the JDM Integra's front styling compared to the "bug eyed" USDM Integra. I previously owned a USDM Integra GS-R, and it was a great car but I never got used to the front styling. I never knew a much better looking version was sold in Japan until recently. I'd also like to have a Mitsubishi Mini-Pajero (or a regular Pajero 2-door), and maybe another kei car/truck/van/SUV just to "play" with, heh heh.
        Pat
        • 11 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        Don't brag too early... all of our unique policies are being dropped in favour of (North) American standards. In God We Trust as Stephen Harper would say!
        Baylok
        • 11 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        I would gladly move to Canada and give up my 390hp Sport Wagon for a 1997 Sti Type R/RA V4 V-Limited . :D
        Sebastian Koch
        • 11 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        And I live in a country where I can import even brand new cars...basicly I can drive anything I like, even the position of the steering wheel does not matter. Does that make me a free man? Not really....
          ChaosphereIX
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Sebastian Koch
          makes you free-er than even my country, as far as driving imported cars are concerned... all in context...
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