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Man Faces 20 Years, $250k Fine for Illegally Imported Nissan Silvia

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Nissan Silvia

Photo Credit: Fotosleuth via Flickr

A Mississippi man faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 maximum fine for smuggling a Nissan Silvia into the United States.

Federal regulations ban importing vehicles into the United States unless they are modified to meet NHTSA safety regulations or are older than 25 years. The S15 Nissan Silvia in question was manufactured from 1999 to 2002, so they can’t be imported legally until 2024, and they were never sold in the United States. The S15 was only sold in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

Nissan Silvia

Photo credit: Aatomotion via Flickr

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Why did he want this particular car so bad? Although the source doesn’t specify the specific trim, this sports coupe was available with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that put out 250 horsepower with rear-wheel drive. The Spec-R offered a six-speed transmission and a limited slip differential that made it perfect for drifting. He probably didn’t go through that much trouble to import a car illegally if he wasn’t getting the best car available, but who knows.

The current 25-year federal laws are a huge obstacle to auto enthusiasts in the United States, especially those that are fans of the great, affordable sports cars that Japanese auto manufacturers made in the 90s and don’t want to wait until the 2020s to have one. A company in California actually crash tested a few Nissan Skylines in 1999 to petition the government, which then allowed the company to import them until 2005.

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News Source: The Clarion-Ledger

  • Its a stupid law. Allowing a car to be legally imported only if its over 25 years old doesn’t make any sense. I guess cars mature at 25 and suddenly become more safe and road worthy. In reality an all original 25+ year car will probably need allot of its suspension components replaced just to keep it from being a completely dangerous death trap. What the law does accomplish is preventing people from economically importing cars and circumventing local car dealers and we all love used car dealers don’t we. In a country that allows teenagers to buy 200 mph crotch rockets its sort of a double standard to not let folks drive a car that might not have side airbags. I say if it can pass emissions (maybe add some parts) and a safety inspection then they should allow it to be registered.

  • “Why did he want this particular car so bad?” If you can’t write a grammatically correct sentence, hire an editor!

    • Kyle Johnson

      Hi Wes Welker,

      I am an editor. Let me see if I can help you.

      If I’m guessing, the focus of your comment has to do with the writer’s use of bad when they should have actually used badly. Correct? Good. Let’s address that.

      In this instance, badly would indeed be the correct word to use. Bad is an adjective and badly is an adverb, and we’re modifying the verb and not the subject here. Over time, this confusion of bad and badly has just become one of those odd things that just kind of happens in common use…it’s perhaps analogous to the infinitely more obnoxious use of “should of” in instances where one would say “should have.”

      Have a good night!