This is a work in process. Its mostly just an outline now. Slowly over time I will fill in some blanks , and make it a little more interesting to read.
The Motorex story, is that, a story. Interesting to some, not at all interesting to others. It has cars, women, crashes, attempted kidnapping, and plenty of other random non car related things included in it. I know about it, as I was a part of it from April 1999 until about April 2002. When I left the company , about 50 cars had been imported to the US. R32's R33's and R34's. Most of the cars were GT-R's with just a few GTS models.
Total in the US there are about 120 cars imported though
Motorex, and a few other RI's. There are also about another 30-50 cars
imported as kit cars, though Canada, or Florida, but that number is increasing every month
I have been interested in the Nissan Skyline GT-R since around 1991. In 1991 Car and Driver magazine ran an article about the GT-R, and it sounded like a cool car. At that time, my family was exporting a lot of exotic cars to Japan , and so we had a lot of contact with Japan. I went to Japan in 1991 for the first Tokyo Auto Auction. A customer of my parents business was selling a Porsche 550A that he had purchased in the US .
I saw a lot of GT-R's in Japan on that trip. A lot of other cool cars. I purchased a couple of videos , the R32 GT-R - gunmetal - made a big impression on me. I remember one video had an R32 GT-R vs a lot of other contemporary vehicles , and on Fuji - in about 10 laps , it lapped all the other cars.
Turbo magazine ran an article about a place trying to import GT-R's to the US - R.S. Akimoto. They were unsuccessful in the end , but I had called and asked about them then. I had heard about a few other places that "tried" to import them , but the cost of crash testing threw most everyone off.
I met Hiroaki Nanahosi - aka Hiro in 1997. He was a broker/ exporter. My parents company was building and exporting cars to Japan. Lots of Astrovans. A few other types of vehicles , but a lot of Astrovans.
At the SEMA show in 1997 , I went out with Hiro and we talked quiet a bit about the GT-R. He was talking then, about importing the car , and what it would take to import it. When I got back to LA , I did a little bit of research , looked up some info, talked with Hiro a little , then sort of forgot about it. all. Hiro went and lined up some capital , and started to find places to help out with the importing process. He brought in a few cars , let the press in , and hired another guy on to help out - Kurtis Isikawa. The company went though a few name changes . GT Motorcars , then Motorex. I'm not 100% on the timeline on the names , but it was Motorex by the time I ended up there.
At the SEMA show in Oct/Nov 1998 , Motorex had a booth with two R33 GT-R's at the show. Hiro had a white R33 outside, and he let me drive it around a little in the parking lot. This R33 would later become - Big Bird, one of the most seen , most used, most well known GT-R's in the US.
April 1999 , I was working for my parents , the Japanese bubble had popped. The demand for vans, and other cars was low. We were trying to export cars to Japan still , but things were not going great.I got sick of working for my father , and left one day. Needing a job , my sister talked to Hiro , and I started at Motorex. This was right before the first SEMA IAS show that Motorex attended. Around the same time, Nick Wongs R32 arrived from Hong Kong , a gunmetal R32 arrived for me , and a blue R34 arrived.
Kurtis was working at Motorex, but he had a couple issues , some problems with Hiro , and around the same time I started , he disappeared. He showed up a few more times , but never really saw him again.
The process of legalization was still going on. I started reading the CFR's - Code of Federal Regulations , and trying to understand all the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The CFR is a very complicated book to read.Its actually a very big set of books , but the relevant parts for us, were about three books/ part of books.
Crash testing. MGA labs in Wisconsin. Hiro and myself flew up to Chicago to watch the side impact testing. We stayed at Nicks place in Chicago , and Nick attended the crash testing with us. The test we were watching was the third test. The front and rear impacts had already been preformed.
Visting JK.Visting G&K . EPA certification . DOT certification , CARB certification. Selling cars. Going to shows.
Pikes Peak 1999.
UPRD. Rhys Millen . Rhys had driven a Toyota Supra in the HPSS class in the few years prior to 1999. Each year Rhys had won the two wheel drive class (?) ,but could not beat the twin turbo , awd Porsche up the hill.
Drag racing. Selling cars.
Fast and Furious.
Fast and Furious. We were still at the old office at Western when I first saw and heard of a new movie that was being worked on. The preliminary name was "Redline". It was about import cars, and a few of the companies that I knew were supplying parts for it. Victor called me and told me that there was going to be a vehicle casting at Universal. I just needed to get into contact with a guy named Craig Lieberman. At Motorex we had the white R33 GT-R, but it had a broken turbocharger on it. Nick had run it in the one lap of America, and had some issues. One of the 2530's had expired, and the car had come back on a trailer. I borrowed Signal Autos truck and trailer, and hauled the car down to Universal. Ken took an R32 GT-R as another car to show to them.
Sports Car Meet
Its always interesting to hear why they think Motorex was closed. "Illegal car imports ?" Nope. " Defrauding the EPA?" Nope. "Attempted kidnapping, and assault with a deadly weapon over some cars ?" Yep. In the end it was money, and cars, and Hiro using other peoples money. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. There was one guy got caught up in it. "Tom". This guy "Tom" supposedly "stole" 5 cars. I wonder if he stole them, or Hiro gave them to him, and then told the car owner that they were stolen.
By Marisa Navarro, mnavarro@VenturaCountyStar.com
Bond Releases - http://forums2.freshalloy.com/showthread.php?t=148161
Whats happening at Motorex December 2005 -
GT-R to the US 2009 -
Cars seized at government auction-
NHTSA final decision to partially rescind-
NHTSA rules on importing -
Fuel Imports Skyline Stuck-
The Hiro files -
I initiated an investigation into Gray Car, but discontinued it due to
a lack of interest/cooperation from other agencies. As far as I know,
no one is actively looking at them (him).