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Thursday, April 28, 2011

25 Years and Older Vehicles Importation to the USA

Most of the world has some kind of vehicle importation laws. Most of these laws are written to protect local markets, and local manufacturers.  Many countries in the world have an exemption, where cars over 15 years old are allowed to be imported. Canada is one local example of having a “15 year rule'”.   Here in the US we have a weird stack of rules. It may not make sense, but don’t try and figure it out, just understand it. 
Vehicles over 25 years old are Department of Transportation(DOT) exempt from meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards(FMVSS).  Over 21 years old are Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) exempt.  To meet California smog exemption requirements, the car must be older than 1976. This does not make cars newer than 1976 impossible to import to California, but there are extra requirements, and testing.
We have started to work with a company in Japan, R- International, which gives you direct access to Japanese car auctions.  Sign up for their website, for a free preview of the dealer auctions. Today, there are over 21,000 cars available at auction.  Only a few of these cars are eligible for import to the US, but an example of eligible cars are below.
1975 Toyota Celica
1975 Toyota Celica. The auction starts at 100,000 yen or about $1200.  Twin cam, wing mirrors, all good stuff.
1981 Landcruiser Diesel
1981 Toyota Landcruiser.  This 4wd diesel landcruiser is a fairly rare sight in the US. Diesels of this vintage are smog exempt in California.
1982 Cedric
1982 Nissan Cedric. 2 liter, turbo. wing mirrors. Who else has a Cedric in the US?
1984 Nissan President
1984 Nissan President Limo.  Check out the plush lazyboy seats. I am not sure if you could drive this, I think you need to be “driven” in it. This is pimptastic.
1967 Cedric
1967 Nissan Cedric.  Another very unique car. 151k km. The auction starts at 30,000 yen or about $368.

These are just a few examples of the cool cars available overseas.  Are you looking for a new unique project?   Once you have signed up and have an idea of what kind of car you want, contact us. We can help you organize payment, get the car deregristered, and arrange shipping to the US. Once its on its way to the US, we will organize the customs brokering and paperwork clearance for you. Then once its here, and legally imported, we will arrange transportation to your location, and assist with registering your over 25 year old car. Contact us for cost estimates.

For the last 22 years, we have been involved in the vehicle export and import business. Over the years we have shipped thousands of cars overseas. Cars, trucks, boats, and motorcycles to Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. We have experience in both container and Ro-Ro shipping.

Importation is not difficult if you know what you are doing, but if you do it wrong, you can end up with huge shipping charges, and the possibility of getting your cargo seized.  Our experience will ensure that you will minimize any risks associated with vehicle import.
Source: R-International

Sunday, April 24, 2011

World Challenge Race at Long Beach 2011 : Start

Watching the start of the Long Beach Grand Prix World Challenge race in 2011. I thought that the Volvo of Randy Pobst would get a pretty good start. All wheel drive, 25 psi, and starting at the back of the pack should have been good. However, the stall by the vette, then a couple of touring cars getting together, threw the race and the standings for a real loop.

At the end, the winning VW of Navarro was found to be non compliant, funny other VW's last year were also found to be non-compliant, and Shea Holbrook in the Civic was declared the winner. The lure of the $15k winning bonus by VW is probably just too great for most, and they will try and win at any cost, including bending the rules.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nissan LEAF™ NISMO RC (Racing Competition) Takes Zero Emission Strategy to a New Dimension – the Race Track

A full electric racing car is an interesting concept. With 20 minute run times, 93 mph top speed, it will not do too well as a race car. Even short sprint races are 30-50 minutes. The car shares very little with the actual production LEAF, mid mounted motor, rear wheel drive. Shorter in length, wider, and about a foot less tall than the production car LEAF. The full press release from Nissan is below.

– Purpose-Built Prototype Wraps Production Nissan LEAF Components and Technology in a Dramatic Ready-To-Go-Racing Carbon Fiber Body –

The name on the back panel, just under the massive adjustable rear wing, says Nissan LEAF™. The powertrain is an 100% zero emission advanced Lithium-ion battery design, just like that found on the world’s first affordable mass market electric vehicle. And despite its lack of rear doors, rear seat, trunk, audio system, navigation, carpeting and other amenities, there is a discernable family resemblance. But that is where the similarities between the production Nissan LEAF and the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC end. As indicted by the “RC” – for Racing Competition – this new electric vehicle, which makes its world debut at the 2011 New York International Auto Show on April 20th, is purpose-built to bring new meaning to the term “Racing Green.”

Already a world leader in zero emission production vehicles with the late 2010 launch of the Nissan LEAF passenger vehicle in the United States, Europe and Japan, Nissan is now looking at the racing world as a way to draw attention to the seemingly untapped potential of electric vehicles.

“Combining the talents of NISMO, Nissan’s world renowned motorsports group, and engineers behind some of the company’s Super GT and FIA GT1 race teams, the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC will serve as a rolling laboratory for the accelerated development of EV and aerodynamic systems, as well as a platform for the development of new green motorsports series,” said Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas.

The new electric race vehicle will likely make a series of special demonstration appearances at various motorsports venues in 2011, with the company exploring pioneer zero emission competition spec series in future years.

A Serious Racing Machine
The Nissan LEAF NISMO RC is designed and constructed as a real racing machine, starting with its full carbon fiber monocoque bodywork. The three-piece bodywork includes removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and taillights and adjustable rear wing. Building on the unique exterior styling of the production Nissan LEAF, the 2-door race version was created by Nissan Global Design Center in Japan. Special 4-coat Pearl White paint with blue NISMO/Zero Emission graphics completes the exterior.

Dimensionally, the race car features a 3.9-inch shorter wheelbase, is 0.8 inches longer and 6.7 inches wider. The most dramatic difference is height, with the NISMO RC sitting more than a foot (13.8 inches) lower than the production Nissan LEAF. Ground clearance is limited to 2.4 inches, compared to 6.3 inches for the road going car. And, at 2,068 pounds, the race car weighs in at about 40 percent less than the production vehicle.

The layout of the NISMO RC is also markedly different from the production sedan, offering a mid-ship location for the battery pack, electric motor and inverter – with drive to the rear wheels versus the production Nissan LEAF’s front-wheel drive. The NISMO RC also utilizes a double-wishbone suspension design front and rear and driver-adjustable brake balance. It rides on 18-inch 6-spoke wheels and P225/40R18 Bridgestone racing tires.

Like the production Nissan LEAF, the NISMO RC is powered by a lithium-ion battery composed of 48 compact modules and a high-response 80kW AC synchronous motor that generates 107 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. It can be charged up to 80 percent of its full capacity in 30 minutes using the quick charging port located inside the rear cowl. And unlike other competition vehicles, the NISMO RC has no tailpipe, no emission of CO2 or other greenhouse gases while being driven, and no exhaust sound.

In preliminary testing the NISMO RC produces 0 to 62 mph acceleration in 6.85 seconds and a top speed of 93 miles per hour. It is projected to have a running time of around 20 minutes under racing conditions.

“There’s a perception among some people that electric vehicles fall on the dull side of the automotive enthusiasm scale – which is certainly not the case with either the production Nissan LEAF or this electrifying Nissan LEAF NISMO RC,” added Tavares. “Nissan LEAF owners are fully embracing this new world of zero emission technology. We believe the same potential exists in the motorsports world as well, with Nissan proud to be first on the starting grid.”

About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 and 2011 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information about Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and

About Nissan
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second largest Japanese automotive company by volume, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan and is an integral pillar of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 150,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4 million vehicles in 2010.

With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award.

For more information on our products, services and commitment to Sustainable Mobility, visit our website at

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nissan GT-R R35 Brake Hats - Front and Rear - Grab a spare set

If you run your GT-R hard at the track, you might want to bring a spare set of brake rotors. 4000 lbs, 480 hp puts some heat into the rotors, and they should be monitored. If you want to save some time at the next brake rotor swap, or be like me, and prepared, pick these up. The bid's are starting at $0.99 and no reserve.

They will go perfect with a set of STILLEN/AP curved vane rotor upgrades in either slotted or j-hook.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

1995 Nissan Skyline R33 GTR - MotoRex Car For Sale

There are always people out there looking for MotoRex legal Nissan Skyline GT-R's, and here is one example.  I don't think it mentions it in the auction but I think this car was originally a California car.

If you have ever wondered why the Skyline GTR is illegal for the US, check out this blog post. Its got more to do with Mercedes Benz, than Nissan.

Cars and Coffee : Irvine 4-2-11

I don't go to a lot of Cars and Coffee events, too early on a Saturday morning if I have an off weekend, but every time I do, there are always a ton of very cool cars.  Here are some of my pictures of the cars I liked.

Porsche 917 with a California license plate
This is as about as hardcore of something that you might find on the street.  Porsche 917.  All the original 917's were race cars, but there have been some high quality replicas produced. I didn't look at the car close enough to see if it was a real car, but it looked very real.

AP Racing brakes