The film-famous Nissan Skyline R34 is legal to import to the United States now—like, right now. May 1 is the first day to register one legally, just don’t try to register the one you’ve been secretly keeping. The nuances of the 25-year import ban mean that most R34s are still illegal in the States—for now.
The renowned R34 generation of Nissan Skyline was the last to spawn a high-performance GT-R model before the nameplate was spun off into a standalone supercar that remains in production today. According to GT-R Registry, the R34 entered production in May 1998, with Nissan building 3,895 R34s of varying trims that month on its way to a total of 67,262 cars when production wrapped in August 2002. Just 10 months later, the R34 soared into the consciousness of American car enthusiasts in “2 Fast 2 Furious,” ingraining its place alongside the Toyota Supra Turbo as a Japanese classic most appreciated after its demise.
Nissan Skyline GTS-T (R34) photographed in the United States. James Gilboy
Film fans have been waiting almost 20 years for R34s to become legal, and as of today, they are. But only some of them.
The 25-year import ban doesn’t lift unilaterally when VIN No. 1 turns 25. Instead, cars become legal 25 years from their month of production. For now, only those first 3,895 R34s from May ’98 are legal in May 2023, and none of the GT-Rs are yet—they didn’t start until January 1999. More will become legal every month from now through August 2027.
That means it’ll be R34 GT-R open season as of New Year 2024, when they begin their legal creep into the States. (You may have already seen an R34 GT-R here because they’re eligible for show and display, though lesser R34s like the GTS-T above are of more dubious origin.)
They won’t be easy to afford as auction prices are already solidly into the six figures, according to Autocar NZ, which reported one sale of around $400,000. In other words, if you haven’t already had one in a storage unit in Hokkaido for years, you’ve already missed the boat.
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