If you are like any one of the countless fan boys (or girls) across the nation that is obsessed with Skylines, than you, much like me, will one day find yourself in the position of searching for a way to get yourself one. That begs a lot of questions however, primarily how can I legally import such a magnificent heroic car into the States? Who can I turn to and trust with this sensitive situation? That is where Nostalgia Imports comes in. The guys here gave me an answer to every question I had. And now I am sitting here with the founder of NI to ask him some questions for you. Hopefully this will give you insight into what this company is all about especially since it is coming from the man himself, Jason Kaufman.
RW: So let’s start with the basics. When did you come up with the idea for NI?
JK: I came up with the idea when I owned my R34. When I researched the car laws in the USA I realized the R32 would be legal in 2014. That made me think about other cars that would become legal before that, that could be popular.
RW: Everyone goes bananas for R34s, tell me about yours. How did you get into it and what happened to it?
JK: Now thats a story. The world of finding an R34 in the States is a very hard place to be. A lot of people said they could do it, but could never deliver results until one day I found someone that had an R32 and had a good reputation on the internets. I said screw it and flew to him in Florida. When we met he had an R34 there and from that day on I was set. A month later it was mine. Me and two of my friends flew to Florida and drove the car from Florida all the way to New York. It was (and hopefully still is) gorgeous. It came with the stock RB25DET NEO motor and by the time it was sold the RB25 was in the garbage and it had a fully built and balanced RB26 and a GT4088 strapped to it. After a year of sitting it made about 600whp at only 1.2Bar. About a year and a half ago I sold it after 5 years of ownership, it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.
RW: Wow very impressive. Why did you sell it? Just time to move on?
JK: Two reasons; I did have the car for 5 years so it did seem like it was time to move on and to be honest things were getting pretty hot in the Skyline community as far as the law goes. A very close friend of mine had his R33 taken away by the government and needless to say I was worried.
RW: I see. So this guy from Florida, were you inspired by him to form Nostalgia Imports?
JK: Not that I would ever admit it to him, but I was inspired a bit by what he was doing. I mean he got to drive these amazing cars who would hate that?
RW: Fair enough! Ok so you did your research and found the R32 would be legal in 2014. What gave you the incentive to make a business out of importing high interest JDM cars?
JK: At first I was excited because I could import one for myself, but after a while of thinking it over it dawned on me that I could potentially turn it into something I could do as a living. Can’t beat that.
RW: When did you actually decide to go through with the idea? Also what was the first car you decided to import under NI?
According to Facebook, Nostalgia Imports started February 7th 2012. I would say it was a serious thought since January of that year. The first car we imported was the red
[Toyota] AE86 Levin, that was one Hell of a car.
RW: The AE86s seem to be a hot item with NI. Are they easier to come by, highly requested, or a little bit of both?
JK: You would be surprised, they are getting tougher to find these days as they are getting older and people are scooping them up left and right. They are a very requested car in the US and over the past year I can see why.
RW: Let’s talk about the team. How did you assemble the Avengers Sgt. Fury?
JK: Well first we have Siby; I’ve been friends with him since I was a kid. He has been there through the good and the bad and he’s smart, so he is definitely someone I want by my side doing this. EJ is next on the list, I haven’t known him forever but in the amount of time I have known him he has owned about 5 different cars so he definitely knows a thing or two about them. And last but not least Ryan; he is the newest member, but has a lot of potential in our tight knit team with his writing.
RW: Sounds like a good team. Now you can’t make a living off of just the AE86s, you already mentioned the R32 Skylines, what else is planned for the future?
JK: I have had inquiries ranging from the 1972 Nissan Skyline to a Honda City to a Nissan Y31. For the future so many cars will begin to become legal, cars that people recognize today such as the NSX, Silvia, and a lot more. And speaking of which the Timeline link on the menu [on our website] will show you all of the up coming cars.
RW: What do you want NI to be in terms of separating yourself from the competition?
JK: It’s pretty simple. Transparency. We want to make the customer feel at home with us and make them comfortable with us and what we do. What you see is what you get.
RW: Lastly, what do you want for NI besides obviously success.
JK: Besides success I want NI to maintain it’s values. When companies start to grow they sometimes forget the fans that stuck by you since the beginning. Without the fans and the supporters you have nothing. I want us to maintain that transparency.
So there you have it from the man who started this company. Here’s to the future. Until next time, keep the legends alive.