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May 27, 2012

More BS with the Skyline GT-R : Wisconsin and Big Bird

More bullshit from local governments, and the Nissan Skyline GT-R.  Justin Beno had a couple of R33 GT-R's that he literally built up from nothing.  There is a lot to the full stories, and the stories will be eventually told, but here is what is currently happening with the cars.

Two cars, one purple, and one "Big Bird" were seized in 2010 by his local authorities in Wisconsin.  According to this article in the Green Bay Press Gazzette his cars are scheduled to be crushed.

A De Pere man has avoided a possible prison sentence by agreeing to the destruction of his two rare Japanese muscle cars, one of which appeared in the movie "The Fast and the Furious."
Authorities seized Justin Beno's two Nissan Skylines in 2010 and intend to crush them this week after giving Beno a brief chance to collect a few personal belongings from them. The two cars together cost Beno about $75,000 and have a sales value of about $100,000, he said.
Beno, 32, faced several felony counts relating to conspiracy to commit fraud and possessing vehicles without vehicle identification numbers. In a plea deal, he accepted responsibility for three misdemeanor counts in exchange for giving up his cars.
"There's no doubt I broke some laws," said Beno, who claimed it's all due to a misunderstanding. "I have no problem accepting consequences on the charges that were fair … but this was taken to a degree that is just absurd."
Crushing the cars is going to do a lot of good for everyone.  At least if they had 1/2 a brain in their head, they would sell them at government auction for export only.  However, as with most typical government employees, they couldn't work in the private sector, because they could never figure out how to do anything that made any sense.

But he, like many other Skyline enthusiasts, remained convinced there were legal ways to do it. He sought advice from the state Department of Transportation and eventually got a state trooper to inspect the purple car and issue him a title for it.
That success led him to go through the same process in acquiring, restoring and registering the yellow car, but that's when his luck turned. In January 2010, he learned that the state erred in issuing a title to the purple car, that the title was being rescinded and that neither it nor Big Bird would ever be deemed street legal.
He also learned that the cars' firewall identification number tags had been removed illegally, and that it was against the law even to possess vehicles without those ID tags.
States handle titles. The Federal government handles importing. In the case of these cars, the blue identifier plate was not attached to the car, but the chassis number was still stamped into the firewall. The blue plate has information on the car color, the engine, the transmission, the options, and is held in place by plastic rivets. It is closer to a build sheet, or door label than the VIN number.  The actual VIN number/Chassis number of a GTR is stamped into the firewall.  It is called a chassis number, because they do not have VIN's in Japan. We are not allowed to assign VIN's to cars, because that would be illegal according to the DOT. We use the chassis number.

Justin got himself in trouble, when he offered them for sale, and an investigator called him to get information.

Beno crossed the line when he put the cars up for sale, Johnson said. A DOT investigator spotted the purple car on eBay and contacted Beno by email pretending to be an interested buyer from Milwaukee.
"He asks Beno if he has a title, can it be titled, could I get a (vehicle identification number)," Johnson said. "We'd expect Beno to say no, it can't be titled. He's got a letter, he's been told. But he responds that upon sale and payment, you can receive a Florida title and then go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and get a title transfer from Wisconsin. He's trying to circumvent, to get around the law."

However, the cars were still actually correct, having the chassis number still stamped into the firewall.  Justin even still had the data plates, he just never reattached them to the cars.

This other article, goes into information on 17 digit VIN's for cars. However, they don't seem to know, that cars prior to 1980 did not have 17 digit VIN's.  Just because all cars sold in the US since 1980 have them, it doesn't mean every car ever built has them.   They also say that import cars have to have 17 digit VIN's, which simply isn't true.

Import vehicles must have 17-digit manufacturer identification numbers affixed to the firewall and stamped on it. ID numbers with fewer than 17 digits aren’t deemed street legal in the US, and removal of the tag is illegal.

“If you don’t have a (vehicle identification number) on the vehicle and you purchase it with a title, how do you know it’s the right vehicle?” said Andrea O’Brien, a supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Division of Motor Vehicles.

The state sometimes issues its own vehicle identification numbers, but only in cases where the vehicle has been rebuilt or changed in such a manner that the manufacturer’s ID number no longer properly describes the vehicle attached to it, O’Brien said.

Here is the actual section from the Code of Federal Regulations, part 565 which speaks about the specific case of VIN assignment.

§ 565.14 Motor vehicles imported into the United States.
(a) Importers shall utilize the VIN assigned by the original manufacturer of the motor vehicle.
(b) All passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, low speed vehicles and trucks of 4536 kg or less GVWR certified by a Registered Importer under 49 CFR part 592 whose VINs do not comply with part 565.13 and 565.14 shall have a plate or label that contains the following statement, in characters that have a minimum height of 4 mm and the identification number assigned by the vehicle's original manufacturer inserted in the blank: SUBSTITUTE FOR U.S. VIN: _____ SEE 49 CFR PART 565. The plate or label shall conform to §565.13 (h) and (i). The plate or label shall be permanently affixed inside the passenger compartment. The plate or label shall be readable, without moving any part of the vehicle, through the vehicle glazing under daylight conditions by an observer having 20/20 vision (Snellen) whose eye-point is located outside the vehicle adjacent to the left windshield pillar. It shall be located in such a manner as not to cover, obscure, or overlay any part of any identification number affixed by the original manufacturer. Motor vehicles conforming to Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 115 are exempt from this paragraph. 

 Its a damn shame. Bullshit, because people can not figure out anything slightly outside the very narrow box they live in.  Welcome to big government. Welcome to your tax payer dollars hard at work.

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