Latest News

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Liberty Walk Nissan Skyline GT-R ATV

Liberty Walk, a well known tuner from Japan, took a 1970 Nissan Skyline GT-R and shunk it, put it on an ATV chassis. The proportions on the Royal Phantom just look right. Shunk, but right.  Here in the US, the Hakosukas are not very well known, but in Japan they are legendary. Their Lambormini's have been featured several times in Heavy Hitters Magazine, even on the cover.

The owner of Liberty Walk, owns several very cool old school Nissan Skylines. His $400,000 collection was featured in a recent issue of Heavy Hitters.  The Lamborminis don't come cheap, but there are some Lamborghini owners that just have to have them. 

The Japanese company has not yet added pricing info on the Skyline GT-R buggy on its website, but just to get an idea, the Lambormini starts from 1.88 million Yen, which comes to about US$23,250 or €16,750 at today’s exchange rates. 

Source: Carscoop

Check out the video below of a Lambormini being assembled in the US.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

TX2K11 - 1300 - 1500hp TT Lambo's vs 300hp Busa 1100hp TT Viper vs 1200hp Supra

This is just too insane not to post. When the big boys, with the fast toys come out to play, they do it in Texas, at TX2K11. Surprisingly enough, a 1500 whp Lamborghini is pretty fast.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Heat Treatments R32 GT-R : Top Fuel Meeting 2011

heat treatments 32 b
The 1782 whp Heat Treatments Nissan GT-R is in Australia for the Top Fuel event at Willowbank Dragway in Brisbane, Australia. This is the worlds fastest GT-R with a 7.57@190 mph time a few years ago, ran a best time this year of a 7.65@181 mph on March 13th.  During that pass, they said they ran the best 1/8th mile time, that they have ever turned in the car.
heat treatments r32

On the first pass of the day, the car hooked hard enough off the line to break an axle.Earlier today, they ran a 7.93@176 mph with the clutch slipping from mid track.
heat treatments clutch

They have replaced the clutch, done some tune up on it, and are looking to lower their record 1/4 mile run. Within the next few hours, we should see some new results. Good luck to the team.

Source: Heat Treatments Drag Racing Facebook

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Passtime - Mustang GT. Guess the ET

Passtime is a game show that airs on Speed Channel, that takes some of what we do ourselves at the track, and might do out on the street, guess how fast a car will go, and turns it into a contest where you can win some money.

On this game show, there are a few different variations on the runs, but in this segment it is a single driver, and a single ET guess. The Mustang in this video looks like any other clapped out Mustang you might see at a test and tune day. Steelie wheels in the front. Unpainted bumper. Nothing too special.

Passtime SGMP Randy Jackson White Mustang Gt Truck block with B303 cam *wink**wink* Sleeper

My friend sent me this link, and while watching it, the car doesn't look that impressive at first. When they open the hood, if you are observant, you see the four fuel pressure regulators. When Randy is asked if he has nitrous he says "175 dry". My answer to that, was maybe per stage. Great sleeper.

Friday, March 18, 2011

This is the Reason the Nissan Skyline is Illegal in the US

Its heard all the time on the internet, the Nissan Skyline is illegal in the USA. To the layperson, they may hear this and take it as gospel.  It used to be you would hear its illegal because it is right hand drive. You would hear that it is illegal because it was too fast.  Neither of which is true.  Here is the true reason that the Nissan Skyline is illegal in the US, Mercedes Benz North America.

What does Mercedes Benz have to do with a Nissan Skyline?  Picture yourself as Mercedes Benz North America, the official distributor of Mercedes Benz. As the distributor you setup the dealer networks, handle parts and warranty, import the cars, setup pricing, and make money off each Mercedes Benz sold in the US.  Enter the “gray market” cars.  Gray market cars are cars that are imported, but not though official distributors. The gray market cars don’t have a warranty, they are not supported by a dealer network, but here is what they are……CHEAPER. In the consumer driven dollar and cents market place, the cheaper car, is the one the consumer wants.

In December 1984, Time Magazine published this article about gray market luxury cars.  In the article, they mention that the change in the dollars value via the exchange rate, can mean up to a $12,000 savings for a buyer of an imported gray market car, vs a model purchased at a US dealer.  They mention that as many as 50,000 automobiles could have been brought into the US in 1985.
Example: a Mercedes 500 SEL, when bought from an authorized dealer in the U.S., is about $52,000. The same model bought in West Germany and imported by a U.S. buyer goes for some $40,000 after the extra charges.
Read more:,9171,923836,00.html#ixzz1H0r4a8CU
There is data on the number of vehicles imported into the US though the gray market, and though official channels, and at one point the gray market was importing more cars than the official US distributors.
The grey market was successful enough that it ate significantly into the business of Mercedes-Benz of North America and their dealers. The corporation launched a successful million-dollar congressional lobbying effort to stop private importation of vehicles not officially intended for the U.S. market. An organisation called AICA (Automotive Importers Compliance Association) was formed by importers in California, Florida, New York, Texas, and elsewhere to counter some of these actions by Mercedes lobbyists, but the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act was passed in 1988, effectively ending private import of grey-market vehicles to the United States. No evidence was presented that grey-import vehicles' safety performance differed significantly from that of US models, and there have been allegations of improper lobbying, but the issue has never been raised in court.
Mercedes Benz North America spent a million dollars lobbying congress to get the importing laws changed, to protect their interests, and money.  Lately I have been mentioning this a lot. It will take a lot of money to get the laws changed. It will take a lot of money, to try and get one seized Nissan Skyline back.

Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988.

So, if you have at least a  million dollars of lobbying power, there is a chance you might be able to get the laws changed. However, if you start to get close, there is a good chance you will be fighting Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, and maybe a few others. It is not in their best business interests, to allow a relaxation of vehicle import laws. They have their business interests in mind.
This is not about DOT, this is not about EPA, this is about money. If you have any doubt, just look back at the 1980’s vehicle import market.
Picture : SOUSA via NICO

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Burned cars at the port, after the tsunami
Updated with new Nissan information

The 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last week are going to have repercussions around the world. Thousands of deaths, massive destruction. From my home town in Christchurch last month with a 6.3 earthquake, to Japan, where I have many friends and associates from years of dealing in the export and import industry, it is a very real check on the fact the Earth we live on is in constant motion, and we are powerless in the face of mother nature.

One of my friends from Nissan was in the US when the earthquake struck. It is hard to know what to say to someone, than offer your help and support. He flew back to Japan on Saturday, and hopefully everything is going well for him in Japan.

There are obviously much more important things than cars, and supplies of cars, but part of reestablishing  of the country, and getting them back on its feet will be the Japanese auto industry.  The initial estimates are $100 billion in damage, and the death toll continues to rise.  Thousands of people are missing. Watching the amount of destruction on TV is shocking. Its like videos of the worst tornado possible with all of the wooden houses in some areas just leveled.

Nissan is closing its Tochigi assembly plant and an engine plant – both in the quake zone--at least through Friday. Elsewhere in the country, it is closing four assembly plants and one engine factory through at least Wednesday. The company wouldn't say how many units of production it expects to lose or how its U.S. exports may be affected.
Tochigi is the Nissan GT-R production plant, and several of the members of the NAGTROC forums  visited the plant during the Tokyo Auto Salon in 2009.

Autoblog is reporting that power outages have brought production plants to a halt, and many are staying closed due to supplier issues, and allowing families to reconnect.
The scope of the effect of the quake and tsunami has yet to be tallied on Japan's car industry, as automakers are still trying to figure out the status of their supply chain. AN reports that Honda alone has 113 suppliers located in quake zones, and they have not yet been able to reach 44 of them.

Even Stateside production of cars and trucks may be affected by the natural disaster, as many U.S. plants depend on Japanese factories to supply them with various components.
At Nissans Port of Hitachi, thousands of cars have been damaged or burned from the aftermath of destruction behind the tsunami.  The stoppages at the plants, plus the damaged infrastructure in the country, could mean it will be months before new cars are once again able to be exported.  It will be a long process of rebuilding and getting back to normalcy. You can donate to the American Red Cross to help the Japanese relief effort. 

Source: Autoblog and Autoweek 

Nissan's new press release has some new information on Nissan, its people, the plants, and vehicle status.

  • All Nissan Americas employees and their families are safe and accounted for, including those on assignment in Japan and those traveling in the country on business. Some Nissan Americas employees who were traveling in country on business have already returned to their home countries while others are in the process of returning.

  • Some Infiniti models and Nissan GTR and 370Z may experience delays in shipment to the U.S. and Canada with full impact still being assessed.
  • A shipment of more than 600 Nissan LEAFs destined for the U.S. left port in Japan on March 10, just prior to the earthquake, and will arrive as scheduled. Future impact, if any, on Nissan LEAF supply continues to being assessed.
Source: Nissan News

Saturday, March 12, 2011

GMC Typhoon Drag Racing : 12.11 and 11.95

Way back when, in a galaxy far away, I ran my GMC Tyhpoon at Pomona. These are two of my best passes. a 12.11 and a 11.95. My best pass was an 11.85, but after my truck was stolen, and I sprayed a little nitrous on top of boost.

In San Diego

With another Typhoon that went to Japan

After the truck was stolen

After the truck was stolen
After this video, the truck was stolen off the trailer at my house.  They ran it though the locked fence.  I actually found it, got the police to come, and they arrested the guy that stole it.   The engine was hurt, the truck was hurt, so I decided to use the nitrous that I had plumbed, but not used since I ran a no jet shot.  The last pass I ran, it did a 11.85. I pulled the engine with Brian, and it has sat since then. Its moved about three or four times, but hasn't ran in over 10 years.

Mitsubishi Evo X Will Be the Last Evo

In a sad day for the performance car enthusiast, the head of Mitusbishi global product development said the Evo X would be the last Evo. It is a true blow to automobile enthusiasts, and perhaps the start of the end of the high performance internal combustion engine automobile.

Eusegi killed dead any notion that the brand would roll out a performance-oriented hybrid as well. "Maybe the world can change, and maybe someday we can do a motor race by electric vehicles. Maybe then we can enter the market agian," he said.

 Source: Autoblog

Sunday, March 06, 2011

STILLEN Y-Pipe Only Video

A quick video of a Y-pipe(midpipe)only modification to a Nissan GT-R. The rest of the exhaust is stock. The Y-pipe drops 14 lbs of weight from the car, and frees up 20 hp. GTR504381 GTR Front with GTR background

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

State Titled Nissan Skyline Gets Seized : Skyline Owners USA

As most people know, I am very involved in the Nissan Skyline community in the USA. Since the Motorex days of importation, I have been dealing with owners, importers, EPA, DOT, CARB, legal and "illegal" cars.

From Motorex to Kaizo, and now onto state titled cars, I have written enough information to be a book. Now the current chapter goes onto Steve- Vandrel from Skyline Owners USA forum, getting his Skyline seized by ICE. Here is his story and pictures.

Most people in tuner communities throughout the United States can agree on one thing, and that is that ‘Skyline’ is a very dirty word. Since the dawn of the Nissan Skyline it has stood as a iconic figure to nearly everyone who takes interest in modified vehicles from Japan, setting numerous records on all playing fields and maintaining a well rounded reputation in many categories. The Skyline, even at an old age, still stands proudly at the top of the automotive food chain. While few in the country can actually claim to have owned one either presently or previously, they carry quite the market interest as forbidden fruit that most all wish to someday own.

It is never a surprise to hear that a Skyline is being seized by the U.S. Government, though it often will peak people’s interest to hear the details behind it and get the full story. History has proven that in most cases since the fall of Motorex, when a Skyline gets seized the owner of the vehicle generally doesn’t have the knowledge or means to handle the situation and walks away empty handed, leaving the government to auction the vehicle off and collect a profit for their personal benefit. Since Motorex was shut down the government has spent countless hours and tax dollars to fund joint operations between government agencies in order to hunt down and seize Skylines that they label as ‘contraband’. In a broad spectrum it sounds pretty rediculous, to think that the government spends tax payer’s dollars to collect up a handful of cars because they (the government) say they are unsafe, while at the same time there’s thousands of illegal immagrants crossing into the U.S. every day, not to mention budget deficets and illagal activities that occur day in and day out effecting the personal lives of American citizens. So what is the governments real motivation for seizing Skylines? They obviously are not making a profit out of the deal, many people are already aware that Skylines can be purchased overseas for a fraction of U.S. market value, that leaves one to question the overall motive.

It’s a well known fact that Skylines are limited on importation into the U.S. Nearly everyone in the world that knows about cars knows that it’s nearly impossible under today’s rules to easily and affordably import a Skyline into the United States. The rules are very clear, and while they are set forth in the interest of saftey to the public and environment, one still has to sit back and question “What is the REAL reason?” If a private citizen of the U.S. wanted to purchase and import a Skyline that is newer then 25 years of age they have to jump through numerous different channels and rules in order to satisfy the U.S. Government and comply with the laws and regulations in place. So what exacally is involved in the process, in a nutshell? A person that desires to import an approved Skyline, a 1996 R33 GTS for example, would first have to source the vehicle and finalize purchase to obtain complete ownership. The individual would then have to make laison with a RI (Registered Importer) that is listed on the NHTSA’s (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) official RI list as well as a ICI (Independent Commercial Importer), both of which can be found on the NHTSA’s import information website. Under federal law, the import and modification for FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) of non-conforming vehicles newer then 25 years of age must be conducted by a authorized RI and is subject to inspection upon completion. To satisfy the regulations set by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), non-conforming vehicles newer then 21 years of age must be modified and completed by a ICI. The RI assigned to conduct the importing of the vehicle would have to notify the NHTSA upon it’s completion and then its at the NHTSA’s discretion to inspect the vehicle prior to release to the owner or reserve the right to conduct a inspection at a later time, this is commonly known as a “Bond Release” which essentially is a release statement from the NHTSA to the RI and owner stateing that they have reviewed the submitted package for said vehicle and that they acknowledge it’s completion and meeting FMVSS. Subsequently the EPA also delivers a document to further approve it’s conformance (if applicable). At this point the RI can release the vehicle to the owner and the owner can then apply for a titled in their respective state.

So what makes importing such a headache and prevents other Skyline models from being imported? One would think since Motorex imported R32’s, R33’s and R34’s years ago that they’d be legal as well, that is where things get sticky. When Motorex originally petitioned to the NHTSA to obtain approval to import Skylines they jumped through all the hoops the government required except one, crash testing. Most people did not learn of what Motorex did until the following of their shut down by the government and one would have to ask the question, WHY? Where Motorex screwed the pooch was the crash testing of Skylines to obtain a stamp of approval from the NHTSA on it’s safety compliance package to meet FMVSS. The law requires non-conforming vehicles not approved for import to be crash tested and have the subsequent data approved by the NHTSA before the vehicles can be cleared for import, sounds easy right? Motorex did infact hire a company to conduct crash testing, however, they only crash tested one car, a R33, and the submitted data was then approved. All good and well? Not so much. The approval that Motorex pushed through the NHTSA was that R32’s, 33’s and 34’s were to be imported and the crash testing data from the R33 was used for all 3 models under a substantially similar clause that was later challenged in 2006 when the VCP-17 approval of Skyline imports for R32’s, 33’s and 34’s was reconsidered by the NHTSA. It was decided that the 3 models were far to different and the fact that there was no crash test data to support the R32’s and R34’s sealed their fate and got them removed from the non-conforming approval list at the NHTSA. The approval for import was later redesignated VCP-32 and only covered 1996-1998 R33’s both GTS and GTR varients. In a nutshell, only specific Skylines can be imported as of 2006 and there’s still a constant uphill battle over OBDII that still has yet to see the end of the tunnel.

A interesting topic that is commonly discussed amongst Skyline owners is what happens to the cars that slipped into the country by unknown measures, both carrying U.S. titles and not. Taken from a recent affidavit: “If a vehicle is not on the list, it cannot be lawfully imported into the United States, even if efforts can be made after importation to bring it into compliance with FMVSS because that vehicle would not have been legally imported into the U.S. and would have violated Customs and Border Protection (CBP), US/DOT and EPA regulations in its importation into the U.S.”. Unfortunetly that means that if a Skyline does not carry a “Bond Release” from the NHTSA and applicable EPA forms then it’s not legal. But who is to blame in a situation where a private citizen of the U.S. purchases a Skyline in good faith and assuming that all is well? Does the government expect all citizens to be legal experts and carry NHTSA importation information pamplets around when shopping for vehicles? Sure, it can be argued that the information is out there and publicly available but let’s be honest, how many private citizens do you know of that know what documents a non-conforming vehicle is suppost to carry in order to be deemed legal, let alone know what the NHTSA is. I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of citizens probably wouldn’t have the slightest clue as to what the NHTSA is if the term was said to them. One would think that when purchasing a vehicle that carries a valid U.S. title that it would be fine and dandy and so long as it’s not listed as stolen or flagged at a DMV when applying for a title transfer. I for one know I’ve never asked a dealership for a bond release or EPA conformance document, and I highly doubt there’s very many people out there who have asked for the same when purchasing any vehicle from anyone for that matter because quite frankly it's not something that's required for every car in the country. Again, who's to blame? I suppose it's our faults for not being duty experts on cars with steering wheels on the wrong side.

In the end it comes to one simple question that the American public has to ask the federal government, “Just how much of tax payer’s money is spent to fund joint operations to seize Skylines across the U.S.?”. I think the same can be asked about the budget approved for the agency overall and just where all the money is going. In 1984 a organization was created to expose government waste of funds, named the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW). CAGW has helped expose high-profile cases of tax payer funds being waste, most noteably the Department of Defense's $640 toilet seat and $436 hammer. Sounds funny to think about it but it’s quite true that those are just two examples of where our hard earned money is spent by the government on items that everyone knows are not quite that expensive at all. Taking into consideration that the government will spend $640 on a toilet seat that would normally cost you and I $15 at the local home repair store, again, leaves one to speculate on where the money truly goes and just how big the budget is for agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), formally known as the United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I think most American citizens can agree that investigations are not free, especially when you factor in travel expenses and associated assets required to seize property from private citizens.

It is clear as of today that the U.S. Government has not put a hold on its goal to seize Skylines and in 2011 the first known case came to light when ICE launched an investigation into the heart of the community in the U.S. that consists mostly of owners of Skylines, Skyline Owners USA (SOUSA). The exact details are still being gathered and studied, however it is evident that the government is turning up the pressure to either meet a deadline or please someone with a lot of authority. In the past years their investigation efforts were skewed and very unclear with no rhyme or reason as to the direction they were heading and what their end-state goal was. Today, it is more clear than ever that the goal is “To get them off the road”, as stated by the Resident Agent in Charge of a local ICE office in North Carolina.
 As the owner, founder and community leader for Skylines Owners USA I am dedicated to absolute and unquestionable protection of all members of the community and I have come to the determination that action must be taken in order to safeguard the members of the community. As of March 1st, 2011 I no longer have anything to lose by challenging the U.S. Government regarding Skylines and those who own them presently in the United States. On February 11th, 2011 I received a phone call from my wife while I was at work, she stated that it was of the upmost importance that I leave work immediately and head home because Homeland Security was at the doorstep and they wanted to talk to me. Needless to say I left work with little notice and rushed home to get the scoop on what was taking place at my residence. Just before turning the corner to my street I fully expected to see an extraordinary amount of government vehicles and personnel on my property, and to my surprise I saw quite the opposite which was one car and two people. Matters were discussed over the course of several hours and in the end it was evident that someone somewhere had passed on some ‘bum scoop’, that I was running a business with the sole intent of trafficking illegal non-conforming vehicles into the U.S. by the dozens. In addition they were under the assumption that I possessed a warehouse where I kept all of the vehicles and also did all my automotive repair and modification work at. I learned that nearly all of their information was based off of some word of mouth “tip” they received and later did some research to investigate and monitor my activities. Needless to say they were quite puzzled by the situation they got themselves into and the lack of actual facts they possessed when talking to me. I do not disregard or deny that there is public information posted around various sources of the internet that may create a image that I was operating a business of some fashion and was able to import cars, however I made it very clear and provided documentation for the one and only vehicle I had imported, and legally might I add, under the 25 year rule that essentially makes all motor vehicles domestic and imported completely exempt from FMVSS and any and all regulatory standards via the NHTSA, not to mention the EPA at 21 years of age. I willingly turned over all documents I possessed for both the vehicle I imported legally as well as my personal Skyline to the agents for verification purposes on if they were actually legal vehicles. My personal Skyline carries a very lengthy history which I of course explained to the agents in the best details I could to include a basic official statement of my knowledge of the vehicle’s history and origin. Over the course of 2 weeks my papers were being cross-checked by various government agencies to include the OVSC department of the NHTSA as well as the EPA, I of course on the day they first arrived at my house had prepared myself for the worst case scenario since I knew it was a 50/50 chance on its legitimacy. I was contacted by ICE a week after the first visit and then notified that my vehicle was found to be illegal and that it was going to be seized, at that point they stated I could not alter or sell my vehicle and that I had to wait for them to issue the warrant to seize the vehicle before I could do anything at all. A date and time was setup for them to come issue the warrant, on March 1st, 2011 at roughly 10:30AM they visited my residence and we sat down to finalize the paperwork for the seize of the vehicle and turn over custody of the “contraband” to the U.S. Government. I made it very clear that my intent was to retain ownership for the time being and export the vehicle from the country, and that I had already made arrangements for a sale to be conducted as well as export of the vehicle, which of course shocked them completely since all past Skylines seized were not owned by someone who carried the ability to execute a export on the spot.
With no material item left in my possession that would cause me to worry about being questioned or investigated by the federal government any further, as stated before, I have nothing to lose by challenging them and I intend to do so to the fullest of my abilities and resources. Future discussions with ICE have been mentioned and are tentatively planned, however do not expect hourly or daily updates as much of what is to be discussed will be legal-sensitive content for the good of the community. All Skyline owners in the United States can rest assure that “We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!”.

As someone in some movie said -"Shit, just got real."

Source: NICO Forums , and Skyline Owners Forum