This is bittersweet. You finally got your car! But now you have to figure out if it’s in good shape. If you’re mechanically inclined this is something you can do yourself, however, I suggest you take it to a reputable shop. Having one pair of eyes on your car is good, but having a bunch of highly trained eyes on your car is great. Usually an all around diagnosis will run you roughly $100, and it can save you a whole lot more.
If the shop you use is used to imported cars (as many are becoming this way lately), you’re in luck. If not, here are a few things you should have them check especially well.
You’re in the final stretch. Even though your car is still under government control, but this is where things get easier. There are still some common misconceptions about picking up a car at a port, and you need to understand how this goes so you save money and stress.
So we have an idea of how your car gets to America physically, but what about customs? This is the part everyone is afraid of, but thankfully you don’t have to do it alone. Your Japanese exporter will take care of their side, and a customs broker will take care of your side, but here’s what you need to know.
So you took my awesome advice, bought your car through the Japanese auctions, and now it’s ready to head overseas. There are a few misconceptions when it comes to the international shipping of vehicles. On one hand, most people think cars are loaded into containers and transported on a huge ship. While this is possible, it’s unlikely. Most cars are transported via RORO shipping. I’ll show you why, and what’s involved with the process.
Now you’re ready to look for a company. So, what kind of company do you want to deal with? I’ve already addressed the issues involved with companies with stock vehicles, and I’ve mentioned that Integrity Exports deals in the Japanese vehicle auctions, but why the auctions?
Finding a connection in Japan is crucial, and is arguably the most important part of the process. It took me over a month of purely emailing and calling until I found the perfect connection. The more I reached out to people in Japan the pickier I became. This seems counter intuitive. One would think I would slowly become less strict, but I had no idea how many red flags there are when you’re dealing in this kind of business. I’ve listed what I think are the biggest warnings I’ve come upon, and why they’re so important.
Update: February 6th -- She's Finally Legal!
Can you believe it? It's finally happened. Our first import is finally legal to drive in the streets in America. It's been 6 long months, and a whole lot of efforts, but all of that has paid off. Now that she has a plate and we get to drive her around town, it's time to find her a new owner.
This car is simply amazing. She's been through a lot, but this 300zx is a true testament to the Nissan name. Her next owner will be able to own a true piece of Japanese history.
It's tentative, but we thought we'd share a little of what we're working on. He's some of our prologue to our book "So You Want to Import a Car from Japan".
It's not too long, we promise!
While we wait for paperwork and other fun things, we're tinkering around with the old pieces from the 300zx! We just couldn't watch those parts go in the trash, and now even they get another life.
Remember Dane's awesome VR-4 that we featured? It's for sale! This is one great opportunity for some lucky buyer to own their dream. These 90's dominators are getting harder to find every year, and Dane has loved it ever since he bought it. You can check out our feature to get an idea of what we love about it, or check out Dane's post to get the details!
Guess who has her clean American title? That's right! Our very own slice of Toyota Japanese goodness. Our G-Limited MR2 is now recognized as a completely legal vehicle in the state of North Carolina! The process was actually smoother than expected (thank you NC DMV), and we're glad to be able to drive her around real roads to make sure everything's smooth. The new owner will definitely have one special car.
She's alive! It felt like the day would never come, but she finally made it through the difficult process. With a lot of new parts, and a new chance at life, it's safe to say our 300zx is well on her way to roaming the US streets.
We haven't listed her for sale as of now, but it's not too soon to be interested. As soon as she's registered and ready to drive, everyone will know, and one lucky owner will be in the driver seat.
We can't thank the talented Patrick Tyler Moore over at National Speed enough for his wonderful photos of our special car!
Since we've been through this process once before, we were able to cut out a lot of unneeded waiting this time around.
Arriving sooner than expected, and in full running condition, our MR2 is in the process of being thoroughly examined by National Speed to make sure there's nothing that needs fixing. While the exterior is also going to be worked on over the next couple of weeks, we're glad to here her start up.
We'll continue to update the process of both our 300 and MR2, so stay tuned for more Japanese goodness!
There's no way to improve without taking risks. When you deal with vehicles that are shipped overseas, no matter what you do, something can always go wrong. We knew this when we got into this business, and it just happened to effect our very first car. Regardless, like some kind of torturous test of will power and optimism we're doing everything in our power to restore our 300zx to its former glory.
Thankfully, nothing about the exterior or interior of the car has been effected. We'll never completely know what happened to our car while it was shipped, but it was no longer running when it arrived stateside. It needed a replacement engine (pictured below, but don't worry, it's still a VG30DETT!), replacement clutch and flywheel, and we we're going ahead and having the important parts replaced while the engine is out.
Transparency is important to us. When we have the choice of putting the burden on us or our customers, the choice is simple. We may not make money off of every car, but we'll always be confident when we finally sign a car over to its new owner.
We've grown a lot over the past few months, and with growth comes change. This particular change is a revamp, and republishing, of previous Dreams posts.
Another great turnout, with some special guests, at this month's Cars and Coffee!
This month's C&C cover photo is different, and that's because we think this is possibly a perfect photo for what Cars and Coffee is all about; different styles with the same passion.
A surprising, yet satisfying turn out at this years Super Meet in Myrtle!
A hot, sunny, unforgiving day.
A perfect day for rallycross at MCAS New River!
A patriotic day full of beautiful cars and a love for this fine country.
If the blueberries aren't enough for you, the cars will be! This years Blueberry Festival in Burgaw, NC had a great turnout.
One more month, and another great turnout for Wilmington. There were a lot of the amazing regulars with some fresh new faces in the mix!
This year's Rims on the River in Wilmington, North Carolina had an amazing turnout, and received the crowd it deserved.