The dawning of the 21st century was a momentous even, kicked off by the arrival in 1999 of Nissan’s R34 Skyline GT-R.
We’re now on the edge of a crucial moment in Skyline history: After 25 years, those in the U.S. who crave the car will legally be able to import one fairly soon.
There is one issue (actually, there are several): cost. According to Classic.com as referenced in The Drive, the average price for an R34 GT-R is $201,480. Then add the import fees, which could be substantial.
Bah. What’s $200K-plus when it comes to the R34, which is one of the most desirable vehicles on the planet? Star of “The Fast and the Furious” and countless classic video games — and a favorite among those who live to tune Japanese cars — the Nissan was legendary.
The R34, the last edition to wear the “Skyline” name, ran with a 2.6-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six that was considered a masterpiece. It was paired to a six-speed manual and all-wheel drive system. In 1999, Nissan claimed that it made 276 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, although owners claimed that those figures were understated. Tuners often worked their magic, generating even more power.
Bah again: The Skyline GT-R was only sold in a few select markets, such as Japan, the UK, Hong Kong, and Australia. America was shut out.
Regarding the 25-year rule as explained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, after that time expires the vehicle is legal even if it doesn’t comply with all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. But — and there is a but — “the 25-year period runs from the date of the vehicle’s manufacture,” says NHTSA. In other words, if the 1999 model year car you desire was built in June of 1999, the import eligibility kicks in in June of next year, not on January 1.
Once a buyer locates the GT-R of his or her dreams, the most painless method to proceed is to contact an experienced import company to explain the fees, registration, shipping, and other matters. This Autoblog story from earlier this year offers information on a number of companies that handle automobile imports.