The Nissan R34 GT-R is one of the most coveted cars in the world, especially among JDM enthusiasts. Produced between 1999 and 2002, the R34 GT-R was the ultimate JDM halo car. Nissan never saw fit to sell the R34 or any of its previous generations in the U.S., but thanks to games like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport, enthusiasts in America were still well versed in the GT-R and its history.
We’re sure Nissan received countless passionate letters and emails begging them to sell the R34 in America, but the company refused. It seemed that it would be impossible for anyone on American soil to own an R34 GT-R. That is when the import business saw a massive surge.
Motorex was the first importer to attempt to import the R34 GT-R and federalize it to make the car legal for sale and to drive in the United States. Motorex imported many vehicles, but it eventually came to light that the importer was not playing by the rules, and only a handful of the cars they sold were actually legal.
The late actor and Fast and Furious star Paul Walker was one of the buyers, and Craig Lieberman who served as the technical adviser on the first two Fast films. After Motorex went under, several other importers popped up, but most of them ended up shutting down due to shady business practices.
Despite that, there are still many R34 GT-Rs in America that are state-registered but not federally legal. According to a new video from Lieberman, federal agents are on the hunt for those cars.
The federal government is coming after the R34 GT-R
Since the end of the Motorex scandal, the FBI has always been ready, willing, and able to seize any black market Nissan R34 GT-R’s it came across. The seizure campaign for the JDM sports cars was at a fever pitch in the early 2000s but calmed a bit. Recently, it seems like the feds are back on the hunt.
Recently a lot of black market JDM cars, including an R34 GT-R or two, became available in a federal auction. The vehicles were seized from a black market importer and posted for sale. Craig estimates that the street value of the cars featured in the auction was somewhere around $800,000. There was only one catch.
Since the cars were black market imports, whoever purchased the vehicles cannot register any of them, cannot keep them in the United States for longer than 60 days, and can only sell them to noncontiguous countries. That means they could not be sold to anyone in Mexico or Canada, only overseas.
A single buyer purchased the entire lot for about $148,000, which is a massive bargain considering that there were a few JDM gems in the lot. A Nissan S15 Silvia and a Honda Accord Euro R were a part of the lot. Though, all the cars were in some state of disrepair, with their bodies separated from their engines. But with some wrench time, every one of those vehicles could be up and running quite easily.
A new warning to R34 GT-R owners
In the meantime, Lieberman says he learned from an anonymous source that the federal government is coming after as many R34 GT-Rs that they can find. Chances are, if you see an R34 GT-R on the road or at a car show now, it likely has a Florida license plate and title. Florida is one of the easiest states to get a car titled, so many black-market GT-Rs get their paperwork from the Sunshine State.
However, according to Craig’s source, many of those GT-R owners have received letters from the Florida Highway Patrol informing them that the titles on their cars will soon be voided and that they must surrender their vehicles. It is unclear how many R34 GT-R owners have already got the letter, but the source claims that more than 300 illegally titled R34 GT-R’s have been identified by the government and targeted for seizure.
If you happen to own an R34 GT-R that was not from Motorex and is not one of the three ultra-rare R34’s that qualify for “show and display,” then you might want to get a hold of your lawyer.
The rest of us will have to wait until 2024, when the R34 GT-R can legally be imported into the States. Considering the alternative, a two-year wait doesn’t seem so bad, does it?