New Zealand is all about sports cars. You really don't see the pickup trucks and SUVs that we have over here, at least not in the volume you do here. It's a farming country, so pickups are farm tools. What New Zealand is really into is small fast cars, examples being the Subaru Impreza, the Mitsubishi Evo (Lancer Evolution), and Nissan Skyline. Some info on the Skyline:
In 1989 Nissan debuted the GT-R to compete in the JTC (Japan Touring Car) Group A racing series. The GT-R was undefeated in its first season. 4 years running the GT-R won the championship in the JTC Group A series, a record of 29 wins out of 29 races.
Because of its dominance, the Skyline was given its own series in 1994 the JGTC, (Japan GT car) series.
In 1991 Nurburgring 24 hour endurance race (First participation) Skyline GT-R won the Group N class. At the Spa Francorchamps 24 hour endurance race 1991 the GT-R won overall beating Group A, and Group N1 cars. From 1991 -1997 the Skyline was undefeated in N1 endurance racing in Japan, winning 50 times.
Nissan never produced a Skyline GT-R to comply with the United States standards.
I saw one last night, on Weston Road driving towards Keele. I almost wet my pants. The above article is taken from Motorex, which claims to be importing them, making modifications to make them legal, and then selling them.
A little digging in Wikipedia turns up:
In 2000, a California company, Motorex, sacrificed a small number of R33 GTS25s for the purpose of crash testing. They submitted their information to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and petitioned them to allow 1990-1999 GT-Rs and GTSs to be imported, at the condition that they were modified to meet federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Many Skylines were subsequently imported through Motorex. This lasted until late 2005, when the NHTSA became informed that not all 1990 through 1999 Skyline models would perform identically in crash testing. Motorex had submitted information for only the R33, and told the NHTSA that it was sufficient for all R32, R33, and R34 models. According the further review by the NHTSA, only 1996-1998 R33 models have been demonstrated as capable of being modified to meet the federal motor vehicle safety standards. After that, only these 1996-1998 models are eligible for importation. In March of 2006, Motorex ceased all imports and Motorex principal Hiroaki "Hiro" Nanahoshi was arrested and held on $1 million bail on financial, kidnapping, and assault charges.
According to unconfirmed stories floating around the net and various forums, Nanahoshi was allegedly involved in an assault of a disgruntled would be GT-R owner that absconded with $100,000 of Nanahoshi's money. In addition, Nanahoshi is facing civil lawsuits from GT-R and would-be GT-R owners and jail time over unrelated charges not associated with Motorex. Motorex is reportedly an empty space with a lone wrecked GT-R shell on site.
But luckily for us:
In Canada, GT-R enthusiasts are importing them somewhat more easily. Canadian law allows for vehicles over 15 years old to be imported freely, without extensive modification. The first R32 GT-R made its way into Canada in August 2004 (as the first R32 GT-R was made in August 1989). Since then, private buyers have been able to import 1990 models, as well as 1991 models now in 2006. This law has also yielded entry to other JDM models, such as the Nissan Silvia, Mazda RX-7, Mazda Cosmo, Keicars and other desirable (and otherwise unattainable) vehicles.
So who knows? Maybe I'll get lucky and somehow find myself sitting in one, one day. Then I can race Steve Hollema who just got himself a Subaru Impreza WRX STI.