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Show or Display Exemption : How To Import A Show Car

Sean Morris Posted on May 18, 2020

Show or Display Legal Nissan Skyline GT-R Midnight Purple


The Midnight Purple II Vspec R34 GT-R is one of several Nissan Skyline GT-R that are/were allowed to be imported to the US under the Show or Display regulations. Show or Display is a NHTSA, or safety standard exemption for only certain special vehicles.  Not every car can be imported under Show or Display. You must get vehicle type approval, and then you must get individual approval for each and every single vehicle imported to the USA under the Show or Display regulations.  Show or Display exemption is not a vehicle title. Show or Display is not vehicle registration. Show or Display is not an EPA exemption. If a vehicle is under 21 years old, it must meet EPA regulations, or get an exemption from the EPA to be eligible for import under Show or Display. 

Under 49 U.S.C. § 30112(a), a person may not permanently import into the United States a motor vehicle manufactured after the date that an applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) takes effect unless the vehicle complies with the standard and is so certified by its original manufacturer. This prohibition applies to both new and used motor vehicles, but does not apply to motor vehicles that are at least 25 years old (based on the month and year of manufacture).

There is a list of vehicles that eligible, and not eligible for Show or Display at the NHTSA website. 

The general guidelines to apply for an get NHTSA approval for a Show or Display exemption are:

In determining whether a vehicle is eligible for importation for show or display, NHTSA will consider the following factors, among others:
1. Whether a vehicle of the same make, model, and model year was manufactured and certified for sale in the United States.
2. Whether a vehicle of the same make, model, and model year has been determined eligible for importation pursuant to 49 CFR Part 593.
3. Whether the vehicle is currently in production.
4. Whether more than 500 of the vehicles were produced.
5. Whether the vehicle is a kit car, replica, or special construction vehicle.

If the answer to any of the above is affirmative, you should not expect NHTSA to grant permission for importation. If the answer to item 4 is affirmative, the applicant must establish that the vehicle is of exceptional technological and/or historical significance.

2004 Porsche Show or Display



A vehicle eligible for Show or Display may receive NHTSA approval to be driven on the highway. The odometer must not register more than 2,500 miles in a 12-month period. NHTSA approval of limited on-road use is to allow the vehicle to be driven to and from nearby displays of similar automobiles. Another reason permission is granted is to maintain the vehicle’s engine, braking, lighting, and other dynamic systems in good working order. The vehicle is still required to meet EPA requirements. If the original engine in the vehicle will be replaced with a non-original engine to meet EPA requirements, it must be identified in your application since it may impact on the technological or historical significance of the vehicle.

Subaru WRX 22B approved for Show or Display

The Subaru WRX 22B is also approved for the Show or Display exemption.


More information about Show or Display, along with the reasoning behind some approvals and denials is available at Show or Display.com


2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R Mspec Nur also Show or Display eligible

2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R Mspec Nur also Show or Display eligible



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