Feds Seize 1996 Nissan R33 Skyline From South Carolina Importer
Someone’s JDM dreams are about to get crushed.
As we inch closer to the end of the decade, there's a growing number of amazing, foreign-market cars from the 1990s that are aging out of this country's 25-year import restriction. Everything from a rally-ready Ford Escort RS Cosworth to a BMW E34 M5 wagon are no longer cast in pure unobtanium for Americans with enough scratch to bring them over. Still not on the list—the Nissan R33 Skyline. That sure doesn't stop people from trying, though.
The Post and Courier out of South Carolina reports that federal agents seized a 1996 Nissan R33 Skyline bound for North Charleston import shop All JDM Motors LLC after a random inspection at the Port of Charleston uncovered the car hidden in a cargo container. Bubble-wrapped and packed away amidst a bunch of loose engines and transmissions, this Skyline was no half-assembled shell—the engine started right up "without any issues" after agents found the key and jumped the battery. It looks to be a set of doors and wheels away from being road-ready.
That doesn't square with the way All JDM Motors reportedly listed the car on their shipping documents, claiming it was a "used breakdown car" worth a little over $800. Say what you will about the wisdom of our country's import laws (I'll start: they're pretty nonsensical), but it's never a great idea to lie on an official customs form, and the feds are also accusing the company of undervaluing the batch of parts that came along with the Skyline by over $100,000.
Unfortunately, the R33 is likely headed to the crusher, and the troubles might not end there for the importer—The Post and Courier adds that the government believes they may have previously smuggled in at least the front half of another Skyline using the same trick. All JDM Motors could not be reached for comment.