Importing Tuners.


Asked by Oct 09, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Question type: General

I've heard that if you wanted to import a JDM vehicle, into the U.S, you can still do it even though it won't meet our
standards by importing it under the disguise of a spare parts car. I first heard of this in a question answered by
import tuner magazine, and I've also seen  a black legit JDM RX-7 FD3S featured on, which was
present at Sevenstock and HIN. The owner completely disassembled the car in Japan, sent it over here in a
container of parts on a ship, and then reassembled it in about a year. Can anyone help me by providing more
information? A list of registered importers would also greatly help, as the .gov sites are pretty outdated with their

19 Answers


Sounds like it might break a few laws. I suggest you just get a car here, no assembly required.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

federal laws aren't the only ones you have to deal with... Remember every state has there own saftey laws that must be met. A highway patrol office should have a book detailing this. Additionally the car will need to be federalized in order to register it. However, I don't believe there are any issues importing it gray market as is... Perhaps I'm wrong but weren't there only minimal differences between the JM1FD and the FD3S? Really you should try to get a hold of one of the Australian ones... I remember hearing about 'em a race version modified for street use.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Thank you!


That's true. I'm not interested in the FD3S, I;m just using it as an example. I've checked, and it seems that in order to import the vehicle, it must also pass our crash tests, and have crash test data. On the .gov list of vehicles, it looks like the 96-98 Nissan Skyline GT-R 33 is eligible to be legally imported. However those are not easy to come by anymore.


u can actually import as a whole car. but put diffrent vins on. exp skyline just put 240sx vins on it. which means u revin the inter car


That sounds kind of shady but thanks. I've also heard of stuff like importers bringing your car, allowing you to drive it at the dock and then they take it back, have it disassembled somewhere in the Caribbean, like the Bahamas, and then shipped back in parts under the disguise of a kit car, however, this doesn't work. Also, the problem with importing is that many importers are not actually registered. They brag that they can do everything necessary, including modifying the car to bring it to legal US standards. But thats a load of crap. Customs gives you at least 120 days to do this, but the Importer just leaves you hanging because they really aren't able to. And then your car gets shipped back, or worse, (brings tears to my eyes) gets crushed.


have you looked at or i have also been pondering this question for a few years also. Ive found those two sites. You can definitly get any car here to the USA but it all comes down to getting insurance and registration. I wouldnt know where to begin on that. What if you crash? Your car would probably be crushed and you would be in jail lol


and also there is a 15 year cut off law in canada i think so have you ventured down that avenue? Your 91 skyline is legal there i believe.


Import Auto Salvage in Marion, NC has a direct JDM connection with Japan for HONDA products. It may be worth your while to send an email to Larry Hollifield at that company.


Wow, thank you very much, that is some useful information! I've been looking for a source for JDM Honda products, and it's on the East Coast to boot!


Only 15 years, wow! The cutoff here in the U.S is 25 years! That's helpful to know, but it's still not easy to import a car from Canada even though they have similar regulations. I read that somewhere on a .gov site.


Almost forgot..if you need strictly JDM engines and Trannies, try New York Block Exchange in Asheville, NC. They have a web site.


and has some things if you havent already checked it out


Yes, I have heard of password JDM. Thank you!

3,125 This is a pretty interesting article about how to get pretty much any car you want through this guy


I have actually heard of a guy who had this done to his personal R34 in Japan and he brought it here (Canada) in pieces. Transport Canada would not allow the R34 to be brought over, licensed and plated, so he made it look as if he had purchased numerous amounts of parts separately. Assembled the vehicle in the garage and VIN'd it as a kit car through Transport Canada. Now it may be very costly to have someone disassemble a car for you in Japan, crate it and send it over to you. So your next best bet is to try and buy one of the numerous JDM vehicles that Moterex (sp?) imported into the US. They have since sold them privately to various people in the US and they are grandfathered in to be legit. Just be 100% sure that paper work all matches up with the vehicle if you decide to go this way because only the legit imports are allowed and I have heard of alot of people trying to sell vehicles that were not grandfathered but they claim they are. They usually have 1 or 2 of them on Ebay every couple of months that are legit imports.


Here is one here Hope you have 450K saved up


Thank you. I have read all about the Motorex story and have actually seen 100% legit Skylines on Ebay before, they're just very expensive and far away.


To be realistic I think it would cost more to have one stripped in Japan and sent over in pieces and rebuilt again. Plus you still have to go through all the DMV nonsense that Motorex has already done for you.

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