1990’s Nissan Skyline GTR, Lancia Delta Integrale Evo, the beautiful Lancia Strato, Land Rover Defender 130, Sierra RS Cosworth, Sierra RS Cosworth. Toyota Hilux; all cars you cannot have thanks to a stupid law. Fantastic drives, great racing pedigrees and some of the most imaginative cars ever made should be grey import eligible, but they are not.

Grey import vehicles are new or used motor vehicles that are legally imported from one country to another through channels other than the maker’s official distribution system. You’ll sometimes hear this referred to as parallel import. Obviously, car makers and dealers are likely to regard grey imports as a threat.

The Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988 ended import of grey-market vehicles to the USA. Similar to many laws, no evidence was presented that grey-import vehicles’ safety, efficiency or performance differed significantly from that of US models.

Nissan_Skyline_R33_GT-R_001
Dreams of a Skyline R33 running through your head? Too bad!

The Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act resulted in an almost blanket ban on importing all vehicles younger than twenty-five years old. The law boils down to basic protectionism, not protecting the environment or vehicle occupants, no this is about protecting manufacturers. In the 1980s fluctuations in currency exchange rates meant importers could reap nice profits importing vehicles in ways the manufacturer could not. Big businesses do not like it when little guys make money instead of them. So they used their money (i.e. lobbied the government) and some scare tactics, “grey market” sounds scary and dark after all, and they wrote themselves a nice little piece of legislation.

Can't have this 1995 Audi RS2 Avant either
Can’t have this 1995 Audi RS2 Avant either

So, lets say you really want that R34 you’ve been dreaming about and you have a shitload of cash burning a hole in your pocket. It is technically possible to get one. You have to have time, you have to have tons of money and you have to be willing and ready to cut through loads of red tape to federalize the car and make it legal for U.S. roads. Ah, the land of the fee.

2000-2001 Land Rover Defender 130 is safe enough for the harshest environments on earth but not the U.S.
2000-2001 Land Rover Defender 130 is safe enough for the harshest environments on earth but not the U.S where they’ll seize it.

It’s time to repeal a truly stupid law that does nothing for the people, I support the move from a twenty-five year limit to fifteen. The newest car you could import with such a change would be a 1999 instead of a 1989. Sign the petition HERE!