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NEW RIDE My Quest for a Skyline R34 GT-R


willizm

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Summary: this thread has been a progression of my hunt for a GTR in Japan, The first post here will serve as a summary of that progression with some hyperlinks to specific posts. Please feel free to join TCG if you are brought here to follow along and as I intend to do quite a bit with it in Japan before it is imported to the states in 2024.

So I'm starting this thread to document and discuss the process of finding and buying a R34 GTR. I think the value of these cars is only going to go up especially once they are fed legal to import. There are some grey market cars down here in Houston but I don't think it's worth the hassle to buy one only for it to be potentially seized later although there are quite a few down here currently. This leaves me with only a few options to import.

First is my criteria. Below is a general guideline of what I'm looking for but ultimately I can change a little on this if the value proposition is greater than the criteria of what I want in a car. For instance if I find a car meeting my spec for 140k lets say but then a rarer and nicer example pops up for 160k that I think will be more valuable later that will sway my decision potentially.

Acceptable criteria.

  • Year: 1999 or 2000 (Fed legal in 2024, 2025
  • Color: Bayside Blue
  • Mileage: Low miles preferred, but higher mileage considered if condition is well maintained
  • Trim: Vspec is preferred but would consider other higher trim packages.
  • Modifications: Stock is preferred but willing to consider bolt-ons, coilovers, wheels.
  • Condition: must be in top grade shape, I do not want a project car.
My budget is going to be a bit wide but I’m trying to target anywhere between $120k-$180k depending on what candidates become available. I also need to consider storage of the car in Japan which after discussing with TopRank is about $300/month for indoor storage and Garage Defend is appx 250/month. If I assume getting a 1999 this will be around $8-10k to store until it is ready for import. There are other fees, tariffs, shipping, that I’ll need to pay as well.

so what say you TCG? Has anyone gone through this process already or have recommendations? I’ve already reached out to Top Rank Imports as they seem to be the primary importer for these cars but willing to work with smaller well respected importers as well such as garage-defend.

Post Summary
  • it is worth mentioning as I went through this process I found that Doston at Garage Defend was going to be the primary contact to look at candidates and source only the best condition cars to buy. We spoke many times though out this process and watching his videos for years now I knew he would be the best person for me to work with. TopRank is starting to push back on finding cars and willing to store cars that are only in their inventory. By all means I think Toprank is a high caliber company but limited on finding the right car for me. Doston has a reputation of pushing back on cars/customers with questionable history or condition. I can respect that as there are cars people pay top dollar for that have major issues. Finding a respectable importer is key here to not being ripped off as they want to maintain a higher reputation in this space. Dare I say, selective on who they will work with. The history of this purchase is as important to the value of the car itself so I only want to work with someone that imports 100% by the book and only quality cars.
Here are candidates that we ultimately passed on.
  • First Candidate. TopRank Silver GTR Vspec. Although I liked this car and was able to work out a decent deal for it including the shipping and storage until 25 year legal, I ultimately wanted a bayside blue car and decided not to peruse this one. Although throughout this thread I went back and forth on possibly buying it, which I'm glad I did not settle on
    • 1635514516620.png

  • Second Candidate. GooNet Exchange car. I decided against this one ultimately as the dealer did not want to budge nor did he want to sell it outside of the country for export. The price of the car at just over 20 million yen ($176k) would have been the top of my budget and left very little room for storage or any modifications we would want to do with the car. The kicker as well is that it had a "repaired" history which could be anything minor or major but not much is known. Doston ultimately doesn't want to sell any questionable history on cars so he thought it would be best to pass which I agreed.
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  • Third Candidate. CarSesnor car 1. I had Doston chime in on this one. He knows the seller and he is trying to get more than my budget allowed. Doston thought it would be best to skip on it because 3 years is long enough of a wait and this car being a later 2000 would put me into early 2026 before I could get the car. He thinks if I were waiting out that long then maybe go toward a vspec2 car but thats an even longer wait. We passed on this one but it was a beauty and supposedly a S-Tune car from Nismo although we didn't look at it long enough to see if it was legit.
    • 1635518567644.png

  • Forth Candidate. Harlow Car 1 in UK. So I was told by Chris at Driver Motorsports that there are some really pristine cars in the UK that may be worth me looking at at Harlow. They had a very nice vspecII car that I liked alot but the color was just not what I wanted although I ran some numbers. Talking to Doston he sourced that very car for Harlow. Ultimatly its just not the color I want and the longer wait is not something I'd like to hold out for so I passed.
    • 1635518932393.png

  • Fifth Candidate. Garage Defend car 1. Not going to spend much time on this one but Doston had a guy ahead of me in line for a blue vspec so this got sold to a guy in Australia that same day. It was also a 2000 car so that much longer of a wait. The good news about this is that I moved to the number 1 position for the next blue vspec car he gets his hands on and gave them a deposit for the position.
    • 1635519060719.png
  • Sixth Candidate. CarSensor car 2. Doston went to inspect this car and pressed back on buying it. It was once used as a circuit car and had been previously modified and reverted back to stock. He thought mechanically this could lead to some future headaches and also had some wear and light surface rust. He didn't want to have anything to do with it. Looks like a great car and the original listing on carsensor has since been removed so maybe it sold or was taken down. Car is a bit smelly and the seats are quite worn. Overall not a good collector grad option so we passed.
    • 1635519546848.jpeg

Here is the car that I purchased.
  • Seventh and final car from Garage Defend/Manaboon. This whole process took less time than I thought it would as I was expecting to go back and forth for months if not a year, but I knew that if the right car popped up I would have to move fast. Manaboon is the sister shop to Garage Defend and if you saw in some of my posts, Doston had said they have another one coming in later in October. Well this is it and they posted it for sale on Saturday Oct 23rd. Doston and I talked about it that day and I sent a small deposit awaiting more information for the car to stay in first position. It is clean title with no previous history. Mileage is genuine with documentation to back it up. It comes with all the books and service history. Was garage kept and has 76k kilometers appx 47k miles and condition is perfect for a 25 year old car. There are some minor blemishes that we'll address from rock chips and paint but they will correct that as part of the purshase agreement. Outside of the ztune body parts, catback exhaust, and radiator the car is largely stock which is huge for me as it's rare to find one with so little done. I made the offer to buy it on Sunday and got the invoice/wiring instructions on Monday. Car was marked as sold on Tuesday when funds were received.
  • Underbody shots can be found here.
  • Purchase done here
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    • 1635522203118.png

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lastls1

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I think the cars are sick, but I would have some questions.

You said legal in 2024 or 2025. Could this change? Given the governments massive over reach currently and all the craziness around emissions and EV cars could this change? So basically you buy this thinking you can import it in a year or so but then get fucked last minute.

That price is already crazy at least to me. Do you think this will appreciate like some older Ferraris that went for millions? Again that took years like 30-40 years to get there.

Would this simply be a garage trophy? I assume to continue to get top dollar you really couldn’t drive it.

Idk to me, things like this are to much of a gamble.
 

Mook

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Show & Display 34s are going for 200+. Normal ones will be going for just as much I'm sure eventually. Japan isn't blind to whats going on and they're going to start asking a fuckton for these cars.
 

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This is literally one of my favorite cars, but IMO there's just too many risks.

Import laws could change (though this is unlikely)
I'd imagine it will be a PITA to register and expensive AF to insure
I'd be literally terrified of driving a car this difficult to replace on the road
If it arrives in worse condition than you expect, you probably have no recourse
- Would you be flying out to Japan to purchase & inspect the car? Won't protect you against storage or transit damage, but still better than spending that much money sight unseen for a 22 yr old car
LOTS of sunk cost in storage & shipping
It won't give you anywhere near the driving experience of any other car in its price range, i'd personally be looking at porsches if I were spending that much.
 

Mook

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Once 2024 hits, easy peasy to register.
 

N20GT

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What's it cost to ship these nowadays? I could see that alone being a $5-10k bill
 

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These prices are crazy, just a couple of years ago they were selling in Japan for $30-40k
Yup, I remember following an import page on FB that facilitated the sale and storage of JDM cars. Mint r34's for sub $50k were commonplace. I remember daydreaming about flying to japan, buying the car, driving it around for a week, then storing it and flying back out once a year to cruise it until it could be imported.

Given how expensive they've gotten, I prob should have done more than just daydream about it lol
 
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willizm

willizm

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This would be more of a garage queen / show car / rare weekend car. The Supra would be my fun every day car still. I get the risk but the rate of which anything is passed to change that 25 year rule and how long it’s been standing I think would be low risk. Could happen with executive order.

as for being screwed there is always that possibility that I’m buying something clapped out but I’m only wanting to deal with reputable importers that wouldn’t want to risk their reputation. Like Top Rank, Driver, etc. it’s a lot of money to put down on a car that’s over 20 years old but with it having to be stored for 3 more years I don’t have the pressure of feeling like I need it right now. I can be selective.
 

SleeperLS

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Is it at all possible to import the car now and just park it in your garage until the time comes to make it road legal? Shell out your left nut if you have to in order to get this car, amazing machine.
 
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willizm

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Is it at all possible to import the car now and just park it in your garage until the time comes to make it road legal? Shell out your left nut if you have to in order to get this car, amazing machine.
Sorta, so there is a guy down here in Houston with a blue r34 GTR that he’s trying to sell for $200k. He’s pretty open about it not being fed legal and has many none fed legal cars he’s sold to people that haven’t had an issue. So yes you can, but it’s a risk I wouldn’t want to take for that amount because the fed government can seize it at any time. Also I’d be worried that even after it turns 25 years old I don’t have record of it being imported after that period so even after 2024 I’d be worried it could be seized. At least the risk of waiting for the 25 year rule by storing in Japan is within the current law and not outside if that makes sense
 

Mook

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Sorta, so there is a guy down here in Houston with a blue r34 GTR that he’s trying to sell for $200k. He’s pretty open about it not being fed legal and has many none fed legal cars he’s sold to people that haven’t had an issue. So yes you can, but it’s a risk I wouldn’t want to take for that amount because the fed government can seize it at any time. Also I’d be worried that even after it turns 25 years old I don’t have record of it being imported after that period so even after 2024 I’d be worried it could be seized. At least the risk of waiting for the 25 year rule by storing in Japan is within the current law and not outside if that makes sense
Spending 200k on a car that isnt legal is just about the dumbest thing someone can do, imo. Yes, you can absolutely get away with it but its fucking retarded.
 
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willizm

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Spending 200k on a car that isnt legal is just about the dumbest thing someone can do, imo. Yes, you can absolutely get away with it but its fucking retarded.
I hear you, as cool as it is to own one now I’m glad you talked me out of that because yeah I’ll most likely not be caught but if I did there is nothing I could do. Plus I’d be worried that without the proper import it would make the value of the car much lower once these cars start coming into the country.
 

Mook

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I hear you, as cool as it is to own one now I’m glad you talked me out of that because yeah I’ll most likely not be caught but if I did there is nothing I could do. Plus I’d be worried that without the proper import it would make the value of the car much lower once these cars start coming into the country.
Folks that sell these cars before theyre legal are scumbags. No different than the assholes that were bringing in shells and res-assembling the cars as kit cars or slapping 240 vins on, etc. Thieves basically. "Oh, I've never had a problem, you'll be fine." You buy the car and some asshole rear ends you, now what?
 

NOMIEZVR4

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wow, thanks for sharing your venture with us. I was looking to get into a GTR but i dont have the space and like some of the reasons mentioend above, id lose sleep over whether or not the car was in my garage every morning. But good luck and keep us posted! should be quite the adventure.
 

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Sorta, so there is a guy down here in Houston with a blue r34 GTR that he’s trying to sell for $200k. He’s pretty open about it not being fed legal and has many none fed legal cars he’s sold to people that haven’t had an issue. So yes you can, but it’s a risk I wouldn’t want to take for that amount because the fed government can seize it at any time. Also I’d be worried that even after it turns 25 years old I don’t have record of it being imported after that period so even after 2024 I’d be worried it could be seized. At least the risk of waiting for the 25 year rule by storing in Japan is within the current law and not outside if that makes sense
Have you heard of anyone with an r32 or r33 that imported it illegally but managed to get it registered legally once it hit 25 years?

I agree I wouldn't risk that considering what they cost, but I'm super curious if it has been done

It's such a stupid law in the first place
 

IceCreamAssassin

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Well you have my attention! I dig your criteria and think it will be doable, but you’ll pay for the blue and especially for a v-spec. If you can find an importer or someone who legit goes there to buy the cars (the dude who runs http://www.jdmautoimports.com/ used to, not sure if he still does) that’s the way I’d go. They can look for rust and then help you with storage. Another route to consider is finding one in Canada, they become legal there I believe 5 years before us so having one bought and stored there might be a nice feature.
All I can suggest is to do your homework, run the vin (there are some good Japanese vin check sites) and just use your best judgment on who you buy from.
 

frank

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Doesn’t fit the criteria but seen this one pop up

 
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willizm

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Have you heard of anyone with an r32 or r33 that imported it illegally but managed to get it registered legally once it hit 25 years?

I agree I wouldn't risk that considering what they cost, but I'm super curious if it has been done

It's such a stupid law in the first place
Registering the car is no problem in Texas but that is with the state. Feds would be a different deal. My concern is let’s say I got one today and held on to it until 2024 before I even registered it. If the feds ever came a knocking and I couldn’t produce paperwork showing when it came into the country I’d be worried they would seize it. Conversely if I were a buyer in 2024+ and the seller couldn’t show it was imported after 25 years I’d be weary of buying it. Unless some use case can be posted here of how to have one legally without show and display options I think it’s just best to buy and store abroad
 

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