So I see a lot in various places people who see a sub-25 year imported car and say “Oh, pity it’ll get crushed” and things along those lines.
The truth about that is yes, an illegally imported car CAN get crushed. Does that mean it will? Hell no! In fact, it’s incredibly unlikely for that to happen. Almost all of the cars that have been crushed within the last 7 years have had alterations to the VIN number, or, in the case of the recent red R33, VIN fraud (originally registered on the R33 VIN as a 240SX). See: All the recent Mini and Land Rover seizures.
Modifying the VIN in ANY way is a surefire way to get your car seized or yourself screwed over in the end.
In the case of the California Skyline seizures and crushings, almost all of them were Kaizo cars. Kaizo claimed the R-chassis they brought in were kit cars to avoid EPA and NHTSA regulations, which, shockingly (/s), backfired. In the end, the owner of the company had some of his personal cars were seized and crushed (the blue Fast and Furious car and a red R34 drift car are two notable examples), and a couple of customer cars were taken.
That includes a white R34 GTR which was a showroom car for South Coast Mitsubishi at the time.
One more car that was “seized” (the owner was told to export it) was this yellow R34 GTR. The owner of the Focus Auto Sales R34 GTR (also a Kaizo car) was required to export the car. It ended up in Canada and is still there (and is believed to be the only Lightning Yellow R34 GTR up there). It is believed by some that this car’s feature in Sport Compact Car brought it too far into the limelight.
As for the rest of the Kaizo cars, the NHTSA is no longer actively searching for them. They haven’t been issued bond releases like the Motorex cars that weren’t legalized, but there’s also only a very small chance that they’ll get taken.
State titled cars:
Ah state titled cars, my favorite. Once again, I see everyone commenting about these cars “IT’LL GET TAKEN, OH NO.” Once again, the fact is, the car COULD be seized at any time. That doesn’t mean it WILL be. The other fact is, with the sheer volume of sub-25 imported cars in the US, it would be impossible to track them all down without an insane amount of money and resources. The sheer volume and diversity of state titled cars in the states is incredible. The cars that will be taken 100% of the time are sub-25 year cars brought in from Canada and Mexico straight through the border and sold in the US with Mexican papers or no papers at all. The border patrol takes note of the VIN of every imported car entering the US.
On for sale ads:
If a car is for sale and has been federalized, it will almost always be disclosed, at length, by the owner. If not, assume it hasn’t.
In the end:
It all comes down to if someone is willing to take a risk for the car. All I want to impart is that the risk is VERY low, far lower than most people would assume or make it out to be. And just remember, that’s the owner’s choice to make.