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Old 08-12-2010, 12:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Importing a vehicle into the US

Has anyone done this ?

I'm going to bring over my toys from the UK one way or another even if I'm never able to register them to drive the streets as they'll probably never be legal anyway.

But

What if I wanted to bring over something just a little different ?
Like a genuine 2003 Long wheel base 1.9i Turbo Diesel Samurai that I can get for about $8,000............ see advert below

http://www.standpt.com/standpt/consulta.php?numm=114250

I guess a Jimny would be harder as they were never over here
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i would imagine you could doit. a samurai isnt exactly a skyline. I would call the city hall where your moving to and ask. Unless its california, then you may have to jump thru some crazy hoops to get it emission approved
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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its got to meet emission and saftey regulations for the state youre in to get off the boat.call us costoms
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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import them to wyoming our safety and emissions rules are the most lenient in the us to have a car be street legal it has to have wipers if you have a windshield and safety belts if it came with them originally. As for emissions laws the only one i've heard of is it has to have a functioning muffler in cities. Their tons of the suzuki, subaru, nissan, ect japanese mini trucks running around that are licensed. Alot of ranchers here buy their trucks in canada and license them here.
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Try this link, lot of good info here for the importation of non-US vehicles into the states. Yes I know it is a site from USAREUR, but it should be relevant to your question.

http://www.hqusareur.army.mil/opm/cars.htm

Good luck
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Old 08-14-2010, 06:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You may be able to get one in the country and registered but it still ain't legal. If it is under 20 or 25 years old, can't remember which one, its not allowed by the EPA. You can thank all of the guys for bringing in illegal Skylines to Florida or registering them as custom cars for fucking things up. A Sami is probably not on anyones radar but still ain't legal. You may be able to get through a loophole though.

If a vehicle is being imported that is similar to one in the us, ie. Double cab Hilux or Jimny, you can file some paperwork with the DOT and get it in. Granted you put proper turn signals, unleaded fuel restrictor plate if applicable, MPH speedo, etc. As far as EPA is concerned, most states won't care because it's a diesel or non-OBDII but federally still illegal. You probably won't catch any shit because it ain't a RHD Skyline.

Another thing you could do is import it for off road use only and swap tags with a US spec Sami. Super illegal but so is smoking pot on most states
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks guys.

I think my Sammi pickup with a Rover V8 won't cut it nor will my LJ with 1.6 sidekick motor so Pietros idea is probably the best.

For the factory diesel sammi I'll look up the links
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabid Rhino View Post
Has anyone done this ?
....
Hi Rabid,

yes, it has been done. Prepare for a lot of reading and some disappointment.

If I remember correctly customs enforces that you stick to EPA and NHTSA rules; click the links below to get an overview.

I ran into a lot of people who had good intentions and advice but little experience. So here is a run down of my first hand experience:

- Importing a vehicle permanently is pretty pricey and impossible for your trucks as everything has to be stock / OEM, all cats need to be changed etc.. There are exemptions for special hardship which you will not be able to meet if you are not disabled are have no money etc.

- Importing a vehicle for up to 12 months is way easier as US government grants a temporary exemptions. You are treated as if you were on vacation in the US and brought your foreign vehicle. You even can get an insurance for on-road driving. You only need to find an insurance agent who is fit enough to get the European VIN / frame number into the system without the encoded model year.
However you will need to get the vehicle out of the US after 12 months. Getting it back into the US e.g. by just crossing the boarder to Canada means applying for a second exemptions which is pretty hopeless.
If you plan on staying in the US for a couple of years -as is normal for work visas- you could try to convince customs after these 12 months to ignore your vehicle until you leave the US. Of course your are taking a certain risk regarding your immigration.

- Qualifying your vehicle for off-road use only or as a race car or sports equipment seems impossible too unless you can talk a customs officer into it. I had no luck.

- Of course there are exemptions to every rule. The difficult part is persuading government officers before you actually have entered the country and can negotiate with them.

- Link to EPA rules re importing vehicles: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/factmtop.htm

- Link to NHTSA: http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/

It is hard to believe that importing vehicles in any European country is way easier than in the US; at the same time you see most extreme ghetto fab AKA ticking time bombs on American highways not meeting any of the EPA etc. rules and still being legal.

After all this negativity: Yes, you can bring your vehicle. It will not be easy. Regarding the fun you will have off-road with your vehicle: It is definitely worth the effort.
Alternatively you can start a new build any bring it (if you plan on doing so) back to the UK eventually. I decided not to start from scratch and bring my car into the US and return it to Europe.

Good luck + best regards,

Norbert
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You might want to check with the Land Rover guys who try to do stuff like this all the time...

short verson: it has to meet EPA and DOT regulations...

the summary of this would be that if it's titled as a vehicle currently available in the U.S. then you're _probably_ good to go, or if it's more than 25 years old you're also probably going to be okay...

otherwise really risky...
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If your LJ is older than 25 years than that might by your ticket.
I forgot one option: In case of the Sami you could try to get the title of a vehicle that has been imported from the US to the UK or somewhere else in Europe. These vehicles can be re-imported to the US...
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