This Famous 2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R Dodged America's 25-Year Import Law

JDM / 4 Comments

A GT-R with a Fast and Furious history broke price records at Mecum Monterey, and it's all thanks to the feds.

At one point, Skyline GT-R enthusiasts may have seriously considered following their dream to buy an R34. That's because for fans of the Skyline GT-R, a contemporary Nissan GT-R Nismo just doesn't have the same allure. But that dream is slowly slipping from their grasp. Firstly, the R34 only came out in 1999, meaning it doesn't yet qualify for legal import under America's 25-year import rule, and then there's the cost factor. As prices soar, a GT-R Z-Tune recently sold for ludicrous money, and even regular models are fetching silly money. Worse still, the Feds also aren't showing any leniency for illegally-imported Skylines.

But the Bayside Blue 2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II you see here escaped the grip of the Federal Government and just sold at Mecum Auction Monterey for a record price. How much did it sell for, you ask? And more importantly, how did it get around the 25-year rule? Well, it all hedges on the very unique history of the car which appeared in marketing campaigns and was even driven by the late Paul Walker.

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If you're a JDM car enthusiast, you know this car; you may even have a poster of it on your wall. BF Goodrich made this particular 2001 Skyline GT-R V-Spec II the stuff of legends when it distributed a foldout poster of it bundled with your favorite tuner magazine (remember those?). But this car was much more than bedroom wall adornment. Earlier in its life. the late, great Paul Walker (aka Brian O'Conner) put an estimated 18,000 miles on the clock using the GT-R as a promo car for the Fast and Furious film franchise.

The car itself had some mods, like Nismo carbon fiber intakes, a GReddy intake and radiator, and a Trust exhaust. Tein coilovers and TE37 Saga wheels give the car a great stance, while the interior aesthetics are enhanced by Sparco harnesses and a Momo Apache steering wheel.

That still doesn't explain how this 21-year-old Japanese car was legally imported and sold in the US, though.

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For those that know, the US Government's 25-year importation rule means this particular 2001 GT-R is far too new to be imported legally. It doesn't qualify for the Show or Display exemption that the Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec achieved, either. And while the Show or Display rule allows a few notable cars to be imported into the US, there are strict guidelines on the usage and a milage cap of 2,500 miles per year.

But somehow, this infamous Bayside Blue R34 didn't need to meet either of these importation guidelines. Instead, it got a pardon of sorts and was able to be registered and driven in the US. The history behind this, however, is pretty dubious and includes the vehicle being registered as a 1999 car instead of a 2001 one.

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This car is one of 14 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II models that were imported by the troubled and now defunct MotoRex company, which sourced cars from overseas, brought them in, made modifications to get them DOT compliant, and was supposed to register them accordingly. After the company collapsed - the feds didn't take kindly to several activities that may or may not have bordered on insurance fraud - these 14 cars were pardoned by the feds and given a monetary bond release to be confirmed as NHTSA/DOT compliant.

The car did have several DOT compliance upgrades, such as side impact beams and more catalytic converters. However, what many Skyline fans don't know is that MotoRex only crash-tested the Skyline R33 chassis and applied the pass to the R34, which is why this car was registered as a 1999 model.

Although the car was expected to hit $750,000-$850,000 at Mecum's Monterey auction, it fell short, with the hammer coming down on a final bid of $577,500. While it's not the most expensive we've heard of, it is proof that the value of these cars is climbing.

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