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There are certain cars that have had crash tests done in their home country but have not imported to the U.S. The 1997 GTV Spider was not one of those. Think about this, Bill Gates, you know the MicroSoft guy had a Porsche 959 sitting in customs, then his warehouse for a dozen years because of no crash test documentation. Don't you think Bill Gates and his small stash of change could have found a way to drive his car on U.S. roads. I'm sure ole Bill just was not dedicated enough to find a way and he got lazy :)
actually that's not true. Bill Gates drives his Porsche 959 to work...actually he had his 959 reposessed by the government a few years ago, because he was driving it MORE than the government said he could. They'd given him a certain mileage he could drive it, and he exceeded it! I guess that's what money got him, a limited ability to drive it. I have a cousin who lives near him, and has seen him driving it around many times.

BTW, 2 weeks ago, i saw a Porsche 959 sitting in the Porsche dealership here in NY. Turns out the owner has 2 of them!
 

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hmmm....that get new car titles website is pretty interesting.

are there people who've tried it with newer European cars? does anybody know of anyone who HAS succeeded?

Just last week, i saw a guy on VW Vortex who has a 2001 Audi S3 in Colorado. A car which was NEVER sold in the USA. He has registered its insurance as an S4.

ANYTHING is possible...it just takes alot of dedication to get it going...

Precisely my point. You could have not said it any better:D:D

P.S. to the guy from "Alfaville", I have some other vehicles besides Alfas
and a residence further up north of the state of CA....
 

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If you go to the DOT website you will see that a car can be imported as a show or display car and that would be how Gates did it. Car must have historical significance and or rarity. A 959 has that, a newer Alfa Spider would have a hard time qualifying. The Dot website also shows all the cars that are eligible and there are many that we never got over here, the newest Alfa's on the list are 1995.
 

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yeah that's how he did it....in fact he petitioned government to get that law passed! haha.

where are you looking on the DOT website? where do you see the last alfa as 1995?
 

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I don't get it...

Over here, i read The Rodders Journal. I love it, and the cars. Almost none of those cars will ever be road eligible in Europe, anywhere.
No fenders, home built, fabricated chassis. Things like that. or a poor four replaced by 900HP of blown big block on nitro.
Not crash tested, no emissions specs, no nothing. So no way....
I could import one, but never drive it...
So HOW in the name of Mary, mother of Christ, can you legally register something like that in the usa, but NOT a '97 spider?
Can't you mod the thing with all kinds of stuff, make it into what legally constitutes a hot rod, (say, it is a T ford that has been modded with a different body, interior, engine, wheels and suspension- just like any other hot rod?) and then change it back to stock AR spider again?
Does a totally reworked Willys with 600 cubes of blown Hemi not have to undergo any tests?
I really don't think I am getting the picture.....
Anyway, i think the 916 owner should get into contact with Hans subito!!!
 

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The issue is importation. When it comes to customs it needs to be EPA and or DOT approved. Whereas a 1927 T bucket though highly modified is already titled in the U.S. Now many states will not allow a big block blower car to run on the highway, they are OK for city driving and such. Also many states have age limits for cars (say 25 years and newer) that are tested and ones that are licensed as "Historic" get a pass on emmisions and visual inspections.
 

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Seems to me if it was as easy as some of you think, we'd see a lot of late model Euro/Asian cars all over the place.

IMHO the big kicker is that if you did get the car in here on the shakey legal grounds like the title thing and registering with your insurance as a different car (Audi S4 vs. S3), you are opening yourself up to every abulance chaser in the country. Imagine if someone hit you in your 'legal car', and was injured. The other party's lawyer/insurance co (as well as your own insurance co) is going to make life difficult for you even if it isn't your fault. Welcome to the USA - Land of Lawyers.
 

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IMHO the big kicker is that if you did get the car in here on the shakey legal grounds like the title thing and registering with your insurance as a different car (Audi S4 vs. S3), you are opening yourself up to every abulance chaser in the country. Imagine if someone hit you in your 'legal car', and was injured. The other party's lawyer/insurance co (as well as your own insurance co) is going to make life difficult for you even if it isn't your fault. Welcome to the USA - Land of Lawyers.
wow. you are a good predictor.

this just happened over the weekend at an Audi/VW GTG in Maryland. This is the S3 i was talking about....the owner got drunk, arrested, and now the car is probably gonna be destroyed!

 

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wow. you are a good predictor.

this just happened over the weekend at an Audi/VW GTG in Maryland. This is the S3 i was talking about....the owner got drunk, arrested, and now the car is probably gonna be destroyed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb9X-0aXj0I&NR=1
The federal gov, and the state gov do not talk to each other, so if this car has state registration, they will not be inspecting it for the epa tag or fed tag. Unless someone call the DOT, this car will go back to the owner.
 

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The issue is importation. When it comes to customs it needs to be EPA and or DOT approved. Whereas a 1927 T bucket though highly modified is already titled in the U.S. Now many states will not allow a big block blower car to run on the highway, they are OK for city driving and such. Also many states have age limits for cars (say 25 years and newer) that are tested and ones that are licensed as "Historic" get a pass on emmisions and visual inspections.
Dont you people realize its not about safety or the environment, its all about the auto industry and market share. Once the car is 25 or older, its historic and safety and emmisions dont matter?? its all about protecting the auto sales industry and keeping manufacturing cost low for the US cars.
 

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Of course we realize what is going on!!!! We don't make legislation! I'm just informing people who have asked questions about importing a car and imparting the facts as they stand. The laws are what they are, I didn't make them!
 

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The federal gov, and the state gov do not talk to each other, so if this car has state registration, they will not be inspecting it for the epa tag or fed tag. Unless someone call the DOT, this car will go back to the owner.
This car has never had any state registration! It has to come in through U.S. customs. According to the current owner, the last owner did some shinanigans with with the plates and the car was impounded and auctioned.
 

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This car has never had any state registration! It has to come in through U.S. customs. According to the current owner, the last owner did some shinanigans with with the plates and the car was impounded and auctioned.
The city, state, and federal goverment do not work together. There is no national VIN database kept by DOT. Each state handles the VIN's , titles, and registrations differently. The Alfa posted was purchased at a police auction, with title transfer papers filled out.

If he got his car impounded by local govermnet, he can get back. If you get your car impounded, and it is not registered and you have a title, you can get the car out of impound with a trailer (at least here in california).
Cant drive it out with current reg.

I dont mind waiting 14 years to drive :)
 

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^^^why don't you at least register it as a "track car"?? at least that way you CAN drive it. Sign up for some open track days....drive it around!
 

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... I dont mind waiting 14 years to drive :)
Perhaps you don't have to wait that long... I'm going to assume that this the Spider that was sold to you, after it was bought at the auction... (The pilot brought it over under the law that allows one to drive it for a specific period and then remove it from the country, but he didn't, and eventually got caught driving it, so it was impounded...) This is somewhat similar to the situation when AutoDelta-USA (not affiliated to the original Auto-Delta) got caught with non-compliant cars and all vehicles transacted through them were affected.

Perhaps the simplest solution is to register it as a "show and display" vehicle, although this will limit its use severely. (This was what was done with one of the AutoDelta-USA cars.) Another idea is to see if it qualifies as a kit car. One can remove the engine from a new production European car and then import the body and engine, and it will be documented as such, so it is possible to use these components to create a kit car. However, it will never be an Alfa again. (I do know of cars that have been imported this way, but I have no idea if the fact that this car is already here, and its origin documented, has any impact on disqualifying its components.)

The other process is to import it legally, and again I don't know if the fact that it is here already disqualifies it altogether. I investigated this extensively in 2004, and contacted a legitimate registered importer of modern European vehicles. At that time, the process to import a modern Alfa, not on the list of vehicles previously imported, would have cost between $15k and $20k. (This does not include any expenses for the vehicle itself, or transport of such.) This cost is despite the fact that Alfa's vehicles are already in many ways compliant with U.S. regulations. The registered importer, by the way, no longer provides this service, in part because the process of dealing with DOT, EPA and U.S. regulations regarding conversion was too arduous for him, and while he did experience great satisfaction from some transactions, the majority were anything but fun, in spite of being financially profitable for him. I would suggest that you take a look at the U.S. web site: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/

At a very high level, and this is by no means intended to summarize the many pages of information on the U.S. government web site, here are some points that I investigated, and which you may find useful. The "Conversion" must be performed by a registered importer, i.e. one who is duly registered, with a legitimate place of business, and don't think that they will give you a license, no matter how pretty you garage may be.
Conversion process:
1) Remove and replace the speedometer
2) Install a warning light with the word "BRAKE" into the speedometer
3) Replace headlight assemblies with DOT certified lights
4) Install a high mounting, third brake light
5) Modify/Replace door locks with US certified door locks
6) Install a tire information label
7) Replace the passenger side mirror to reflect "OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR"
8) Install a seat belt & key warning buzzer
9) Install door beams into the doors to comply with side impact protection regulations (FMVSS-214)
10) Install a rollover valve
11) Install engraved VIN (vehicle identification number) plate
12) Install VIN location label
13) Install a certification label
14) Remove and document bumpers
15) If necessary, modify and reinforce bumpers to comply with US federal bumper standards (FMVSS-581)
16) Determine if there are any outstanding recalls on this vehicle
17) Remedy all outstanding recalls
18) Submit a compliance package to the DOT, documenting with photographs all the modifications performed to bring the vehicle into compliance with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

The EPA part of the conversion deals mainly with emissions of the vehicle. In general to certify the vehicle with the EPA, the catalytic converters are replaced along with the O2 sensors. Also a massive tune up might be necessary for older vehicles. After all the emission parts have been replaced, the vehicle goes into an EPA Certified Laboratory and gets tested. After the vehicle gets a passing result from the laboratory, the paperwork gets submitted to the EPA and the vehicle awaits a brief hold period, until cleared by the EPA.

The government also keeps a list of cars that have been approved by a prior import, and it is much easier to import a car if the model (and even better if it’s the same year) are already on the list.​

The laws have definitely been written to prevent people from importing any car that isn't like a U.S. car, so there is no easy way to go about this process. During the '80s, there was a flurry of vehicles from all marques that were imported, and Congress closed all the loopholes. (Yes, it was done to protect the U.S. auto industry, especially those affiliated with expensive marques, since buying and shipping a car from Europe was a heck of a lot cheaper than buying one from your friendly neighborhood dealer.) Basically, if you are going to be able to drive your car, you will need to learn the process so that you can follow it properly, and it will take a lot of patience, and perseverance, and of course it won't be inexpensive.

Best regards,
 

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At a very high level, and this is by no means intended to summarize the many pages of information on the U.S. government web site, here are some points that I investigated, and which you may find useful. The "Conversion" must be performed by a registered importer, i.e. one who is duly registered, with a legitimate place of business, and don't think that they will give you a license, no matter how pretty you garage may be.
Conversion process:
.....
Best regards,​


You listed all the do-able stuff, but you missed the one item that keeps you from importing EU cars, crash test results. Without smashing a couple of these and presenting the data to NHTSA, its a no go. It is do-able, one RI did with nissans and got them on the approved list. Heard they only need to smash two cars.​
 

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You listed all the do-able stuff, but you missed the one item that keeps you from importing EU cars, crash test results. Without smashing a couple of these and presenting the data to NHTSA, its a no go. It is do-able, one RI did with nissans and got them on the approved list. Heard they only need to smash two cars.
I would suggest that you actually call and find out if that is the case, as it is not necessary to crash all cars. For example, there are 164s newer than 1995 that have been imported without crash tests, because they are similar enough to the previous models that had already been crash tested. Furthermore, there is a "phased-in schedule" for crash worthiness, so the vehicle year also comes into play. As I mentioned, it is best to read-up on all the info, and work with a registered importer. I called a few years back, and it does take patience, perseverance, tolerance, and a very, very polite attitude to get to the right and knowledgeable person, but then you will be working with the facts, and not what you may have heard...

Best regards,
 
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