There is plenty of excitement in the US tuning community right now. If you don't already know, vehicles that are 25 years or older are exempt from US Federal safety and emission standards. This means that 1989 R32 Skyline, Silvia, 180SX, Laurel and Cefiro, etc. will become 100% legal to import with absolutely zero modification required. These vehicles can be imported by private buyers without requiring the assistance of an RI (Registered Importer) through what is commonly referred to as the "classic" or "historic" car rule. 

Until now, the 25 year rule has limited entry to only the older models like the R31 Skyline, S12 Silvia, AE86 Levin/Trueno and classics like the Kenmeri and Hakosuka Skylines. This all changes as many of Nissan's most sought after models debuted in 1989. Suddenly the option to import a federally legal R32 Skyline, S13 Silvia, 180SX, C33 Laurel or A31 Cefiro to the US has become a reality. We are very excited to be a part of such a significant milestone for the US tuning community. In only a few years even more models will qualify for the exemptions including the the FD3S RX-7, JZX80 Mark II and Chaser, Toyota Supra and more.

With a long history of involvement in the Japanese export industry and experience in exporting vehicles to the US that were titled and registered under the 25 year rule, we hope to become the trusted source for JDM performance vehicles in the US. Whether it is a high-power GT-R, drift-spec Laurel or an off-road prepped Land Cruiser, we can cater to both your tastes and your budget. In addition to being an experienced exporter, we are tuning enthusiasts ourselves and have very strong relationships with some of western Japan's top tuners including Power Craft and Works Hara. Not only can we find you the car you are looking for, but we can have them tuned to your exacting specifications utilizing new and/or used parts.

In the months that follow there will be "fly by night" exporters coming out of the woodwork trying to make a quick profit off the JDM enthusiast community without regard for the quality of the vehicles they export (or try to export) or their reputation down the road. We, like a handful of other exporters with an established history and a reliable reputation will be the ones who are still here after the craze has died down.

When can you buy a 1989 or 1990 high-performance Nissan from GTR Garage? Right now. 2014 and 2015 is just around the corner, and although demand is through the roof, we have still managed to locate 1989 and 1990 models for our customers. However, we are strongly against pressuring our customers into purchasing vehicles at inflated prices because they are hard to find. While other exporters have double or tripled their mark-ups on vehicles they locate, ours remain the industry standard and will never increase in an attempt to make extra profit off our customer's enthusiasm for a certain vehicle.


  • Vehicle Location
  • Free Short or Long-Term Storage
  • Export Preparation
  • Maintenance and Tuning
  • International Ocean Freight
  • Port Forwarding
  • Customs Clearance (Importation)
  • DOT/EPA Filing
  • Registration Assistance


An advantage of using GTR Garage to import a vehicle, especially a 1989 model is the fact that we offer our customers 100% free storage at our secure facility until it turns 25 years old and is eligible to import into the United States. What makes this advantageous is the fact that 25 year rule runs to both the year and month of manufacture (more about this below). Essentially this means that a November 1989 BNR32 GT-R would not be eligible to import until November 1st, 2014. However, if you were to wait until October to locate and purchase one, there is going to be a premium associate with one that is ready for immediate export.

If that same 11/89 GT-R was purchased in March of 2014, the demand associated with that vehicle would be much lower and by simply buying early you can save thousands of dollars. Often this is offset due to storage fees many exporters charge. However, we offer 100% free storage until your car is eligible for import. So by buying early you can potentially save thousands of dollars. In addition, that gives you time to visit us in Japan and take your car out to Hadashi Tengoku, our home circuit and see what it can do!


Without getting into the intricacies of US Federal Code, the 25 year rule is essentially a safety and emissions exemption. It allows for the importation of a vehicle that is at least 25 years old to the year and month of manufacture or original registration in the country of origin. This means that the vehicle does not have to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) or EPA emissions standards (the emission exemption is actually 21 years). There are two primary forms that are required for a vehicle to qualify for the exemptions and it is paramount that they are filed correctly.

NHTSA Form HS-7 (Importation of Motor Vehicles Subject to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety, Bumper and Theft Prevention Standards)
The HS-7 is the form that allows the importer to declare that a vehicle is exempt from safety standards. Although form HS-7 does not explicitly state the 25 year rule runs to the month, it is clearly defined in the associated code. While this leaves open a potential "loophole" we will under no circumstances export a vehicle until is 25 years to the month. To do so any sooner would be a improper importation and would result in unwanted consequences.

EPA Form 3520-1 (Importation of Motor Vehicles Subject to Federal Air Pollution Regulations)
The EPA exemption is actually 21 years. This means that vehicles as new as those manufactured in 1993 are currently exempt from EPA emissions standards. This form declares upon entry that the vehicle being imported is at least 21 years old and exempt from Federal emissions standards. 

Because of the importance of filing these forms correctly and ensuring that customs clearance/release does not occur before the vehicle is 25 years of age to the month, we highly recommend using a customs broker. They will do all the filing on your behalf and their fees are very reasonable.


While the 25 year rule isn't overly complicated there are some misconceptions that have been making the rounds. In preparing to start exporting vehicles to the US under the 25 year exemptions we put a great deal of effort into researching the regulations, including the retention of a lawyer, and reaching out to representatives of the CBP, EPA and DOT and NHTSA. They have been quite clear in stating that for a JDM vehicle to qualify for the Federal exemptions, it must have cleared customs (imported into the US) after it is 25 years old.

The 25 year exemption does not apply to vehicles that that have already been imported into the US improperly will not suddenly be Federally legal and exempt from safety and emissions standards. Simply put, vehicles imported utilizing loop holes (parts car or over the Canadian border) and registered at a state level will not be eligible for the exemptions when they reach 25 years of age.