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Thread: Rules and Regulations on RHD/JDM IMPORTED Cars

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    Gods Chariot Vteckidd's Avatar
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    Default Rules and Regulations on RHD/JDM IMPORTED Cars

    Seems this topic comes up a lot lately so i want to have a sticky where we can just refer people to from now on. This will cut down on the same arguments and topics taking up multiple pages of a thread.

    First you have to know there are 2 types of "legal".

    STATE LEGAL: This means the car meets all STATE requirements to be legal, passes emissions, has the body panels it needs, etc. EVERY STATE has DIFFERENT rules and regulations it defines as making a car STATE LEGAL. Just because it is legal in one state doesnt make it legal in another. Just because it is titled in FLORIDA doesnt mean it will transfer to GEORGIA. Keep that in mind. CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL DMV TO FIND OUT IF ANY CAR YOU ARE BUYING HAS A TITLE THAT CAN BE TRANSFERRED INTO THE STATE YOU RESIDE.

    FEDERAL LEGAL:This means the car has the necessary BOND Release paperwork, NHTSA Crash data and paperwork, Japanese bond release paperwork , etc. To date (to my knowledge) there was only 1 company to obtain these documents(most specifically the NHTSA Paperwork), that was MOTOREX and this only pertains to R32 Nissan Skylines. This means only MOTOREX certified SKYLINES are FEDERAL LEGAL. More on that in a moment


    Motorex: I could spend all day talking about his but ill keep it short and sweet. The short version of the story is Motorex spent millions of dollars crash certifying the R32 Skyline, they then used that same paperwork on all R33 and R34 skylines. That was illegal, they got caught and shut down. The Federal Government grandfathered (IE looked the other way) on a FEW R33 and R34 skylines and gave them NHTSA certified paperwork and they are now LEGAL. ONLY THOSE FEW CARS ARE FEDERAL LEGAL! Thats it, no other car in the USA imported from japan meets FEDERAL CRASH STANDARDS and is subject to search and seizure/deportation. People speculate there were fewer than 40 MOTOREX/FED Certified cars at the time of release.

    WHAT IS LEGAL?:
    With the demise of Motorex, the Feds became aware of the BIG BUSINESS there is in importing illegal cars and engines and have started to clamp down across the nation.

    Just because you have a STATE LEGAL car (meaning you obtained somehow a state title for your JDM car) DOESNT MEAN IT IS LEGAL AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL. GOod analogy for this is Medical Marijuana. While it is legal for medicinal purposes in California, it is still ILLEGAL at the Federal Level. Same goes for cars, while you may have a STATE TITLE , at the federal level the car is ILLEGAL as Federal laws SUPERCEDE any state law.

    Any car over 24 years of age or manufactured in the year 1986 or earlier is exempt from these rules


    Importing and the Problem within:
    The problem lies in importation. WHen you import a vehicle you are saying it is for strict PARTS ONLY purposes. These are Federal guidelines enforced by USA Customs Agents. Customs states that you must import a "car" as PARTS only which means the engine/transmission, suspension, must be UNBOLTED and removed from the car. It even says all glass must be removed. Where it gets illegal is when people import say a CIVIC Type R BODY in one container, and the engine/transmission/suspension in another. Get them through customs then re-assemble the car and its imported parts once it has cleared through the Customs check points at their place of business. While its done time and time again, it is ILLEGAL. WHen you imported the car you agreed to do it as PARTS ONLY, at no point did you say you were going to re-assemble the car for driving purposes. This is not a loophole, its an exploitation of "doing the wrong thing when the cops arent looking". DOnt mistake it for being legal.

    Once the car is illegally assembled, it is usually sold by the importer as a car with "no title". Usually the car is at a substancial discount as the imported wants to get rid of the car as fast as possible. Ive seen RHD Type-Rs (98-01) for as cheap as $3000 off the docks in California. The importer finds a buyer and the car gets trailered to someones home. At this point the car has 3 options 1) Obtain a state title 2) Perform a vin swap 3) car stays stored in garage never to be driven again.

    In the case of option 1, again refer to my STATE TITLE paragraph above. Every state is different. Usually the buyer tries to register it as a "kit" car, or a "rebuilt car". Very RARELY is it actually titled as a JDM car direct from japan, as that can send up red flags this car was imported illegally and attract unwanted attention. But sometimes people know people inside the DMV that look the other way. California also has a deal where 100 people every year get exempt from REF and SMOG sometimes people get those certificates if they are lucky. While the car MAY BE GIVEN A STATE TITLE IT IS STILL ILLEGAL UNDER FEDERAL LAW. If you told the STATE DMV person how the car was imported, how it was assembled, and what you were doing they would deny you and call the feds an the car would be seized. The problem lies in the state offices dont have the capacity, time, resources, etc to track down , investigate, and figure out who is doing stuff wrong or right. So if you cross the right Ts and dot the right i's , you can get a title , doesnt mean its right. Just means you learned how to exploit the system.

    Option2, EXTREMELY illegal and will get you caught fast. Tampering with a Vin number is a felony offense with jail time attatched. While there are prob TONS of RHD cars with Vin swaps (i MAY have owned one at one time) it doesnt make it right. Instead of going through the state title process, you simply find a similar car, make , model, color, and put ITS VIN on your JDM RIDE. Essentially taking over the identity of the USDM car. At that point people claim its a "conversion" not a JDM car, you insure it as a USDM car, etc. This is the easiest method, and the most illegal. Not only are you commiting a felony with the vin swap, you are acknowledging the car is illegal to begin with (in regards to the importation of the car) which is another felony. Be careful if you buy a car with a VIN swap or if you are looking at a car with a VIN swap that is JDM and be sure you get an admission on paper from the other party so you dont get stuck with it if you happen to get caught.

    Option 3
    Wheres the fun in that? lol

    HomeLand Security:
    the Feds were caught off guard when they realized that Motorex was pulling a fast one on them. Once they shut them down most people thought that was that. But the importing continued, and in california, more and more RHD JDM cars were caught , seized, etc. The Feds started figuring out this was a huge problem lots of people were breaking the rules. Now Homeland security and ICE as well as Customs are looking, going after, and seizing cars illegally brought into the country. The obvious cars they will target will be SKYLINES as with MOTOREX, recently KAIZO Industries was caught for doing the same illegal practices with , you guessed it, SKYLINES. There have been reports that Homeland security found a Skyline imported by Kaizo , that was given a STATE TITLE. Homeland Security showed up at the guys house and seized his R33 GTR. There were internal memos being posted on the net about how Homeland security was looking into the people getting state titled JDM VIN cars and going after them. Because as i stated before any JDM car with a STATE TITLE WAS IMPORTED ILLEGALLY, so its a natural starting point for them to find what cars are here and where they are located. Anyone with a state titled car should be weary in the next few months/years.

    In closing, any CIVIC, INTEGRA, SILVIA, RSX, NSX, ACCORD, ETC you see on the road is here ILLEGALLY. While it may have a tag, a title, etc, at some point in its life it was put together AGAINST federal law and violates the rules it was imported under. There are only a HANDFUL of cars that meet FEDERAL guidelines, those are the old MOTOREX SKYLINES ONLY.


    Most of my information is general, i may have missed some stuff here and there, or been wrong on specifics of a certain case, but the outcome is the same. Anyone wishing to add to this, feel free.
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    You dont know!

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    Idk about all that, I know that the NSX meets all FMVSS and EPA requirements and can be legally imported here with a few modifications, but it would still be much cheaper to get one here.
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    This should be stickied and links should be added to your sources so those threads dont pop up anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by man View Post
    Idk about all that, I know that the NSX meets all FMVSS and EPA requirements and can be legally imported here with a few modifications, but it would still be much cheaper to get one here.
    Sources? All my reasearch has always led to one fact and that is Japanese cars simply do not meet crash standards therefore They are illegal. If a Jdm nsx was legal why was it never offered here in the first place? They also don't meet smog nor have the equipment to do so

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    hmmm very interesting.. and i agree, this should be stickied!

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    Let me get this straight, does a 25+ year old car automatically become state/federal legal and therefore become able to title/insure/drive without having your car seized or going to butt-pounding jail?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vteckidd View Post
    Once the car is illegally assembled, it is usually sold by the importer as a car with "no title". Usually the car is at a substancial discount as the imported wants to get rid of the car as fast as possible. Ive seen RHD Type-Rs (98-01) for as cheap as $3000 off the docks in California
    damn! I'd give that much just to have the R as a track only car!

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    There are ways to get them here if you are in the military. Some clause that allows you to import it for a certain amount of time. Years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty Octopus™ View Post
    yeah thats all you got cuz shortly after that picture you accepted tasteful wheels and better fitment into your life as your Lowered and Savior.

    Amen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5speed View Post
    There are ways to get them here if you are in the military. Some clause that allows you to import it for a certain amount of time. Years.

    Must be nice to be military.


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  11. #11

    Default wow people think they know everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Vteckidd View Post
    Seems this topic comes up a lot lately so i want to have a sticky where we can just refer people to from now on. This will cut down on the same arguments and topics taking up multiple pages of a thread.

    First you have to know there are 2 types of "legal".

    STATE LEGAL: This means the car meets all STATE requirements to be legal, passes emissions, has the body panels it needs, etc. EVERY STATE has DIFFERENT rules and regulations it defines as making a car STATE LEGAL. Just because it is legal in one state doesnt make it legal in another. Just because it is titled in FLORIDA doesnt mean it will transfer to GEORGIA. Keep that in mind. CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL DMV TO FIND OUT IF ANY CAR YOU ARE BUYING HAS A TITLE THAT CAN BE TRANSFERRED INTO THE STATE YOU RESIDE.

    FEDERAL LEGAL:This means the car has the necessary BOND Release paperwork, NHTSA Crash data and paperwork, Japanese bond release paperwork , etc. To date (to my knowledge) there was only 1 company to obtain these documents(most specifically the NHTSA Paperwork), that was MOTOREX and this only pertains to R32 Nissan Skylines. This means only MOTOREX certified SKYLINES are FEDERAL LEGAL. More on that in a moment


    Motorex: I could spend all day talking about his but ill keep it short and sweet. The short version of the story is Motorex spent millions of dollars crash certifying the R32 Skyline, they then used that same paperwork on all R33 and R34 skylines. That was illegal, they got caught and shut down. The Federal Government grandfathered (IE looked the other way) on a FEW R33 and R34 skylines and gave them NHTSA certified paperwork and they are now LEGAL. ONLY THOSE FEW CARS ARE FEDERAL LEGAL! Thats it, no other car in the USA imported from japan meets FEDERAL CRASH STANDARDS and is subject to search and seizure/deportation. People speculate there were fewer than 40 MOTOREX/FED Certified cars at the time of release.

    WHAT IS LEGAL?:
    With the demise of Motorex, the Feds became aware of the BIG BUSINESS there is in importing illegal cars and engines and have started to clamp down across the nation.

    Just because you have a STATE LEGAL car (meaning you obtained somehow a state title for your JDM car) DOESNT MEAN IT IS LEGAL AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL. GOod analogy for this is Medical Marijuana. While it is legal for medicinal purposes in California, it is still ILLEGAL at the Federal Level. Same goes for cars, while you may have a STATE TITLE , at the federal level the car is ILLEGAL as Federal laws SUPERCEDE any state law.

    Any car over 24 years of age or manufactured in the year 1986 or earlier is exempt from these rules


    Importing and the Problem within:
    The problem lies in importation. WHen you import a vehicle you are saying it is for strict PARTS ONLY purposes. These are Federal guidelines enforced by USA Customs Agents. Customs states that you must import a "car" as PARTS only which means the engine/transmission, suspension, must be UNBOLTED and removed from the car. It even says all glass must be removed. Where it gets illegal is when people import say a CIVIC Type R BODY in one container, and the engine/transmission/suspension in another. Get them through customs then re-assemble the car and its imported parts once it has cleared through the Customs check points at their place of business. While its done time and time again, it is ILLEGAL. WHen you imported the car you agreed to do it as PARTS ONLY, at no point did you say you were going to re-assemble the car for driving purposes. This is not a loophole, its an exploitation of "doing the wrong thing when the cops arent looking". DOnt mistake it for being legal.

    Once the car is illegally assembled, it is usually sold by the importer as a car with "no title". Usually the car is at a substancial discount as the imported wants to get rid of the car as fast as possible. Ive seen RHD Type-Rs (98-01) for as cheap as $3000 off the docks in California. The importer finds a buyer and the car gets trailered to someones home. At this point the car has 3 options 1) Obtain a state title 2) Perform a vin swap 3) car stays stored in garage never to be driven again.

    In the case of option 1, again refer to my STATE TITLE paragraph above. Every state is different. Usually the buyer tries to register it as a "kit" car, or a "rebuilt car". Very RARELY is it actually titled as a JDM car direct from japan, as that can send up red flags this car was imported illegally and attract unwanted attention. But sometimes people know people inside the DMV that look the other way. California also has a deal where 100 people every year get exempt from REF and SMOG sometimes people get those certificates if they are lucky. While the car MAY BE GIVEN A STATE TITLE IT IS STILL ILLEGAL UNDER FEDERAL LAW. If you told the STATE DMV person how the car was imported, how it was assembled, and what you were doing they would deny you and call the feds an the car would be seized. The problem lies in the state offices dont have the capacity, time, resources, etc to track down , investigate, and figure out who is doing stuff wrong or right. So if you cross the right Ts and dot the right i's , you can get a title , doesnt mean its right. Just means you learned how to exploit the system.

    Option2, EXTREMELY illegal and will get you caught fast. Tampering with a Vin number is a felony offense with jail time attatched. While there are prob TONS of RHD cars with Vin swaps (i MAY have owned one at one time) it doesnt make it right. Instead of going through the state title process, you simply find a similar car, make , model, color, and put ITS VIN on your JDM RIDE. Essentially taking over the identity of the USDM car. At that point people claim its a "conversion" not a JDM car, you insure it as a USDM car, etc. This is the easiest method, and the most illegal. Not only are you commiting a felony with the vin swap, you are acknowledging the car is illegal to begin with (in regards to the importation of the car) which is another felony. Be careful if you buy a car with a VIN swap or if you are looking at a car with a VIN swap that is JDM and be sure you get an admission on paper from the other party so you dont get stuck with it if you happen to get caught.

    Option 3
    Wheres the fun in that? lol

    HomeLand Security:
    the Feds were caught off guard when they realized that Motorex was pulling a fast one on them. Once they shut them down most people thought that was that. But the importing continued, and in california, more and more RHD JDM cars were caught , seized, etc. The Feds started figuring out this was a huge problem lots of people were breaking the rules. Now Homeland security and ICE as well as Customs are looking, going after, and seizing cars illegally brought into the country. The obvious cars they will target will be SKYLINES as with MOTOREX, recently KAIZO Industries was caught for doing the same illegal practices with , you guessed it, SKYLINES. There have been reports that Homeland security found a Skyline imported by Kaizo , that was given a STATE TITLE. Homeland Security showed up at the guys house and seized his R33 GTR. There were internal memos being posted on the net about how Homeland security was looking into the people getting state titled JDM VIN cars and going after them. Because as i stated before any JDM car with a STATE TITLE WAS IMPORTED ILLEGALLY, so its a natural starting point for them to find what cars are here and where they are located. Anyone with a state titled car should be weary in the next few months/years.

    In closing, any CIVIC, INTEGRA, SILVIA, RSX, NSX, ACCORD, ETC you see on the road is here ILLEGALLY. While it may have a tag, a title, etc, at some point in its life it was put together AGAINST federal law and violates the rules it was imported under. There are only a HANDFUL of cars that meet FEDERAL guidelines, those are the old MOTOREX SKYLINES ONLY.


    Most of my information is general, i may have missed some stuff here and there, or been wrong on specifics of a certain case, but the outcome is the same. Anyone wishing to add to this, feel free.


    the rsx is an acura which is the american version of the integra. so it is legal to have them in the us. acura also sells the nsx. so dont go around saying stuff is illegal and without spend a million dollars you can prove that the specs on the honda models are almost exact to the us acura models for crash ratings
    u posted this to keep the thread short and less stupid people sayng false things congrats your one of them

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    Gods Chariot Vteckidd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelsok06 View Post
    the rsx is an acura which is the american version of the integra. so it is legal to have them in the us. acura also sells the nsx. so dont go around saying stuff is illegal and without spend a million dollars you can prove that the specs on the honda models are almost exact to the us acura models for crash ratings
    u posted this to keep the thread short and less stupid people sayng false things congrats your one of them
    youre 1000% wrong. You cannot import a JDM car into the united states because

    A) It doesnt meet OUR Crash Standards
    B) It doesnt possess the necessary Smog Equipment to pass OBD2 scans.

    The only exceptions are cars over 24 years old, and MOTOREX SKylines.

    While we have a USDM RSX, the JDM RSX is not LEGAL here in the USA. The engine doesnt meet US SMOG or crash standards.

    Congrats, youre a moron
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