Friday, 10 April 2015

Importing my Japanese Sports Car...Step 4: Getting the car in my hands

After an agonizingly long 3 month wait my sports car (that I have been posting about for years) finally arrived in Australia.  Unfortunately I couldn't just drive the to the port and pick it up off the ship.  There were several steps the car had to go through before I could get it in my hot little hands.

If you have stumbled across this post and are wondering how to get a sports car into Australia (and why you may want to do so) I have written a series on my experience from buying the car, to getting it onto the ship and then getting it to Australia.  This is my final post in the series and will cover actually getting the car in my hands.

Getting the car compliant with Australian standards

After getting the car out of customs the first thing you need to do is to make sure that it is compliant with Australian standards.  There are a range of things that need to be done to a car to take it from compliant on Japanese roads and make them compliant for Australian roads and these are different for each car.  The cost is also different for each car.

For my V35 Skyline the cost was $2,000 to get it compliant with Australian standards.  I had already paid a $650 deposit when I appointed my compliance center (who were the same people that filled in my import approval paperwork).

I already knew that I had to put new tires on the car when it entered Australia.  I put on a set of cheap tires because I planned to replace the rims and I didn't know what size rims I was going to put on the car.  This turned out to be a mistake because when I finally saw the car I actually really like the stock rims the car comes with and now I have a set of cheap tires on them that I will need to replace at some point.  The set of tires I put on cost me $540.

In addition to this I also paid them to do a roadworthy (which you need before you can put it on the road in Victoria) and also to register the car myself.  I could have saved a couple of hundred dollars by registering the car myself but I would have had to take the day off work to do this and honestly the trade off was not worth it.

I also asked the compliance center to install an FM band expander which would enable the Japanese system to pick up Australian radio stations (which they can't ordinarily do).  The FM band expander cost me $165.

I had budgeted for all of these items...however there were some items that came up in the roadworthy that I hadn't budgeted for including:
  • Installing a new battery
  • Replacing bushes (which is a remarkably expensive process due to how time intensive the task is)
There were other small items which also needed to be done.  All up there were ~$1,000 worth of tasks (including the registration) which I had not budgeted for which needed to be done to the car.

The process to get the car compliant took several weeks but then I finally got the call...

And then...I finally picked up my Japanese sports car

Getting the Skyline in my hands after all that waiting was a great feeling.  The car drives like a dream and there is a reason that it came so highly recommended for a lot of people.  I have been driving the car quite aggressively which has been burning through the fuel...I may need to tone that back if I'm going to keep my costs under control.

Speaking of fuel...I had read that cars you import from overseas tend not to have a great deal of fuel in them when you pick them up.  I thought it would be better not to risk it and took it to the fuel station right around the corner from the compliance center.  The car had less than 500ml of fuel left in it!  

I have been driving the car for a couple of weeks now and I love it...however it is starting to hit my hip pocket already.  I already have to replace the motor for the electric window (a common problem with the car) and the paint job was in worse condition than I had originally thought which will cost me another $550 to get a good detail done on the car.

Would I do it again?

Honestly even though the process was so long and involved, the sheer affordability of cars in Japan means that it is something I would consider doing again.  The biggest con is the waiting time though.  If you are not a patient person this process would have been torture for you.  Having said that it was interesting to see the entire process and how involved it was.  

If you're interested I have inserted a table below on both my budget and what I ended up saving.  The biggest savings were on the wheels and tires because I didn't end up getting a new set of rim but the need to detail the car and other repairs that needed to be done meant that I ended up pretty much exactly where I hoped to be.

If you have any questions about the importing process or what I wish I had known or should have done send me an email or just ask it in the comments below - I'd love to help out.

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