DHS launches crackdown against Nissan Skyline owners

(Justin Hyde)    The owner of one of the nation’s largest forums for Nissan Skyline fans got a call three weeks ago from his wife, telling him that Homeland Security agents were on their doorstep looking to seize his Skylines. Their goal? “To get them off the road.”

Since Nissan never legally sold the Skyline in the United States, those that are in the country had to pass a maze of federal standards for emissions and safety, including crash tests. Thanks to the failure of an importer who didn’t perform the proper test, only a small run of Skylines from 1996 to 1998 can be legally brought to the United States, and many that were originally OK’d for import later had their papers pulled. Those cars are contraband as far as the U.S. government cares — even if they were considered legal when their current owners bought them — and there’s nothing current owners can do to make them legal

The proprietor of the SkylineOwners USA says he was expecting the worst when he got home on Feb. 11, but found just two Immigrations and Customs agents. What was more confusing was the agent’s info:

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.

Feds launch new crackdown against Nissan Skyline ownersThe owner, known as Vandrel, had just two Skylines; one that’s old enough to be exempt from vehicle import rules, and another for which he had extensive paperwork. After their visit, the customs agents called Vandrel back to say his second Skyline had been deemed illicit, and they would return to seize it on Tuesday.

But when they came back, Vandrel had a surprise for them:

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 an export on the spot. With no car and no material items left in my possession that would cause me to worry about being questioned or investigated by the federal government any further, I now have nothing to lose by challenging them and I intend to do so to the fullest of my abilities and resources.

The move has motivated the Skyline community, but also raised the eternal question of whether such pursuits are the best use of government resources. We’ve left a message with Homeland Security, but the answer to why agents are tracking down every last Skyline may be the ages-old one: Because they can.


11 Responses to DHS launches crackdown against Nissan Skyline owners

  • Ok, I think I’ve officially crossed into the twilight zone! It really has come down to the fact that this government will do literally anything they want to, and then get away with it, for the most part! Even worse, they’ll end up parting these cars out, or auctioning them off for profit! These people are sick and criminal!

  • First off, know what your buying and from who. Second, I don’t really care how screwed these “owners” get. They bought a jap car, they get what they deserve

  • What an incredibly ignorant and racist thing to say Joe. Are you really so stupid as to fall victim to the divide and conquer tactics which created racism in the first place? What kind of person does it take to think someone deserves to be stolen from because they purchased a product which was made by Asian people. You probably don’t even realize that in stating this you also say that you support the criminal corporations running most governments today and causing all this chaos for their profit. The same take YOUR rights and steal YOUR money every time you make a purchase…

  • Whiner. This has nothing to do with a “police state”. If the car doesn’t meet U.S. requirements for importation, then you’ve broken the law. Period. You’re just feeling “picked on”, poor baby.

  • Bigtime car guy here, so I’ll wiegh in on this one.

    This has been going on for a while now. A good place to see some more info is the car enthusiast message board “The Car Lounge” from Vortex Media Group. Customs has a Jones on for the Skyline.

    It is an insane waste of money to go after these cars. Of course it’s a police state issue. Any sane government would allow for a smooth process to allow someone to drive these or any other cars that do not meet BS Federal standards. The liberty loving response to this issue is that you should be able to drive whatever you want, and accept the risks and consequences if something goes wrong.

    On a side issue, California has been “cracking down” on the import scene for the past few years. They have been rounding up cars with stolen engines and parts. That’s all well and good. But instead of either returning the engines and parts to their rightful owners, and selling off the rest to raise a little revenue, they just crush them. California is supposed to be broke, right? But sensible ideas are not part of the picture, because it’s all about control.

    And as far as the above comments about Japanese cars are concerned, coming from a one time die-hard American car guy, if the domestics hadn’t been building utter garbage for the past 40 years, then they wouldn’t have gotten themselves into the current predicament.

  • Funny you should say that Pepe. Cause I’m an American car guy. Own a 94 Firebird myself. However I’ll bet while your trying to talk tough, your the same guy driving a Civic to work. Here’s a tip: If you take off the giant homemade ricer wing and non-functional hood scoop, maybe you’ll be able to hit 90mph.

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