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It’s a reality for many car enthusiasts across the United States: watching movies, YouTube channels, and classic Top Gear while pining after the forbidden fruit of the European and Japanese markets. Don’t even get us started on the muscle-bound good-time machines of Australia. Well, thanks to Dick Merritt and the 25-year import rule, you could finally get that R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R you’ve been drooling over since “2 Fast 2 Furious.”

The R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R is forbidden no more

A 1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R shows off its profile.
1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R | National Motor Museum, Heritage Images via Getty Images

As of 2024, cars built in 1999 or later are no longer subject to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) that prevented importation. That magic number admits an even more magical bit of JDM that enthusiasts covet: the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R. 

The commendable culprit is Dick Merritt, a crafty compliance officer at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The acronym carries the same number of letters as the Devil himself, and to some car enthusiasts, it might as well be. 

You see, the NHTSA is responsible for the FMVSSs that keep some fabulous import cars out of the hands of American car enthusiasts. However, Merritt, a classic Ferrari fan, penned a rule that allowed classic cars to escape the stranglehold of bureaucratic legalese. And in 2024, the coveted R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R crosses the threshold into attainable territory. 

Like many sought-after import cars, you’ll have to pay to play

Unfortunately, an R34 still isn’t cheap. If you want to find an R34 GT-R for import, you’re looking at prices that routinely eclipse the six-figure mark. On top of that, the average import cost for a passenger car from mainland Japan to the United States is $1,500 to $5,000, per JDM BuySell.

Of course, you’ll be glad you did. With a 2.6L twin-turbocharged RB26 inline six-cylinder engine, the angular JDM car sings as it revs. The mill is rated at 280 horsepower, hardly “Godzilla” numbers. However, many fans have enjoyed dyno figures that suggest over 300 horsepower in the stock powerplant.

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