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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

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.

News Source: The Clarion-Ledger