How seriously does America take its ban on importing cars that are younger than 25 years old? Ask Kendall Noble of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. For importing a 2001 Nissan Silvia into the U.S., he faced up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Noble got off relatively light compared to that maximum sentence and fine, however. According to court documents, he pleaded guilty to a charge of smuggling goods into the U.S. and was sentenced on Jan. 30 to 36 months probation and a fine of a little over $18,000. His plea got the other federal charges — four counts of wire fraud — dismissed. Noble was indicted last year.
The Sun Herald newspaper reports Noble, 31, knew the right-hand drive Silvia did not meet Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency standards when he imported it; i.e., he knew it wasn't of the legal age to be brought here. That generation of Silvia, the S15, was never brought to the U.S.
But the case goes a little further than just an enthusiast wanting to drive his dream car, the law be damned. The newspaper also says Noble made fraudulent claims and wire transfers in an attempt to sell the car to a man in South Carolina, despite federal agents telling him not to. (Noble's attorney hasn't yet answered a call for comment.)
See, this is why you just do an S15 front end swap instead, like everyone else does.