Originally Posted by rdoesit
am i able to import a rx7 from 1992-2002 to New Zealand from japan ill most probably import a series 7. would it be able to comply ?
Probably not but 'maybe'. Bear with me and I'll explain.
The 2 most important standards that have to be met to comply a car to be able to be legally driven on our roads are 'Frontal Impact' and 'Emissions'
People often mistakenly think there is a rolling 20 year rule whereby cars over 20 years old can be complied without meeting these standards. This is false. The '20 year rule' only applies to the frontal impact standard. The emissions standard is a different kettle of fish altogether.
Every Japanese vehicle has what's called an 'Industry Model Code' (IMC) on the Vehicle Identification Plate. This plate is where you'll also find the sub model (Type-R, RS etc...), trim codes, paint codes etc... On FD RX7's this 'plate' comes in the form of a sticker applied to the right b pillar just below the door striker (the bracket the latch locks on).
The format the IMC takes on the FD (and most other Japanese vehicles) is a letter followed by a dash then the model code - 'FD3S' in the RX7's case. The IMC for the 92-approx 98 RX7's is 'E-FD3S' and the IMC for the S8 (99-02) is 'GF-FD3S'.
Why is all this important? Because the letters 'E' and 'GF' denote the emissions standard the vehicle complies with.
Up until 1998 there was no real emissions standard in Japan. After 1998 all new model Japanese cars (the RX7 was still in FD3S guise at this time so would have been exempt - the RX8 wasn't) cars had to comply with what's called the '1998 Japan idle standard' which was what the 'GF' denotes. There were many different combinations of these 2 letter codes that vehicle manufacturers used. This standard was superceded by the '01-02 idle standard' which was then superceded by the '05 idle standard'.
These standards became standards for compliance over here in the early 2000's. Up until January 1st 2008 you could import any 'GF' RX7 (or other Japanese car) and get it complied so long as it also complied with the Frontal Impact Standard. After January 1st 2008 the 01-02 idle standard came into effect for compliance; ie no more 'GF' cars could be complied or RX7's for that matter (the 13b REW although in production until 2002, only complied up to the 98 idle standard even after 1998).
At the beginning of this year the 05 idle standard came into effect. Now only cars that are roughly year 2005+ can legally be complied. That means no (up to 2005/6) STI's, no GTR's, no Altezza's and no Evo 7's. In fact you'll never be able to comply an older STI, any Altezza or Evo 7 for use in NZ ever again. The '05 standard is easy to spot - it consists of any 3 letters at the beginning of the IMC (not 2 as used previously).
These ever increasingly stringent emissions standards are one of the reasons (probably the biggest) why Mazda currently has no model for sale that uses a rotary for the first time since they first started producing rotary powered vehicles. The RX8 ceased production last year. It was no longer allowed for sale in the European Union due to the Renesis engine no longer complying with their tightening emissions rules - the final nail in its coffin.
The 'maybe' part of my answer comes in the form of the 'Special Interest Vehicle' (SIV) exemption which you have to apply for to LTNZ. Turns out the guys who loved their TVR's etc... were a bit pissed off that they could no longer import these vehicles so these respective cars clubs lobbied LTNZ and the SIV was born.
An SIV basically exempts a vehicle from having to comply with frontal impact, emissions and lhd standards. The RX7 'may' fit into this category. There is a limit 500 SIV exemptions in total given out each year. Each standard a vehicle doesn't comply with counts as one SIV. So if you were to get an SIV for an American car that complies with none of the standards and is lhd, that would equal 3 SIV's (that 500 would go down to 497 SIV's left for that year)
To have a vehicle identified as a special interest vehicle, the NZTA must deem it to have historic value or it must meet three of the following four requirements:
- The vehicle (or its make, model and submodel) is identified as being a collector's item in one of the following magazines or their respective websites – Australian classic car, Car and driver (US), Automobile (US), Motor (Australia), Motor trend (US), New Zealand autocar, New Zealand classic car, Road and track (US), Top gear (UK), Top gear NZ, Unique cars (Australia) or Wheels (Australia).
- The vehicle's make and model has been (or was) manufactured in annual volumes of 20,000 units or less.
- The vehicle is, and was manufactured as, a two-door coupe or a convertible.
- The vehicle is, and was manufactured as, a high-performance vehicle.
You will also have to have another car registered in your name (basically proof of a daily driver - SIV exemptions are intended for cars that get driven on a sunny weekend day not every day) and you wont be able to sell the vehicle for 5 years.
You'll probably have a hard time finding the FD in any of the magazines listed as part of the requirements at this time but it is and was manufactured as a 'two door coupe' and a 'high-performance vehicle' so that's 2 out of the 3 needed. Whether it was 'manufactured in annual volumes of 20,000 units or less I don't know but you'd net to get proof from Mazda themselves for this.
The 2 biggest problems with the SIV process regarding RX7's even if it does meet the above requirements are:
1. An SIV is granted only at LTNZ's discretion - they decide at the end of the day and can decline and give no reason for doing so. A Mustang or TVR would have a better chance probably than an RX7 (apart from maybe a Spirit R that they know wont be modified to hell or driven every day in order to retain its value) due to the 'boy racer' stigma attached to Japanese performance cars.
2. You have to supply proof of ownership as part of the application (this will be in the form of a Japanese Dereg. Certificate). In other words you have to buy the car then apply - you can't apply to see if they grant it then buy the car. Pretty big risk if you ask me.
I do know of a few Skyline GTR's that have come in under the SIV scheme though so it seems not all Japanese cars are tarred with the same brush.
The only other option to avoid all these headaches if your heart is set on importing a rotary is to import any pre-1990 RX7 such as an FC3S (S4-5). Any vehicle first registered in Japan prior to January 1st 1990 is exempt from both frontal impact and emissions rules. You don't even need an SIV. They are rare but I've seen a few excellent condition, unmolested, low mileage FC3S 7's imported by people that know the rules so they are out there.