New beginnings sometimes come to us in the most unexpected ways.
First, a quick rewind: I met Johnny because of Z cars. We found each other on Instagram, and I fell in love with his SR powered 240z. Over a few DMs, my boyfriend and I planned to meet up with him at a local In-n-Out, as one does these days. We immediately hit it off! It was so exciting to listen to him talk about his long history with the Z, the various setups, motors that he blew through, and chasing times at the track. The first time we met in person, he took me for a ride in the Z, and it's something I will never forget. It was so inspiring to me, and he was (and still is) one of the biggest sources of help and advice for my Z car needs. He even helped me search for my own Z for months until I found "the one." Over the course of the last couple of years, we've become close friends, and we often meet up to grab tea, hang out, and talk cars!
Unfortunately, his S30 had a run in with some large debris on the freeway several months ago. Because damage to the car was so substantial, Johnny struggled with his options. Buy back the totaled car and rebuild it, or start somewhere entirely new? He ultimately decided to part out the car. (I'm actually purchasing some parts from him, so pieces of his Z will live on in mine!)
With this obstacle in the road, Johnny slightly retracted himself from social car events. It was pretty sad to see him move on from the Z, but I know that one day he'll probably own another. In the meantime, he was also preparing for his wedding in May. With so much planning and life changes going on, it was stressful. Then, one day he messaged us with an idea: he wanted to either buy a new Lexus to daily drive, or go big and shell out to import an R32.
As you can see, he made the right choice...
Johnny made this purchase and imported the car through International Vehicle Importers, who was amazingly helpful during the entire process. They're true professionals who definitely know their stuff. To make things legitimate, Johnny went ahead and spent the extra cash to make the GTR entirely California legal. Yes, CARB compliant, State of California approved, 100% legal. It's as if the car has been here its whole life. This is actually pretty rare, as many people don't want to spend the money or take the time to make their import California legal. The whole process happened within a matter of months. The time to successfully import and legalize a vehicle can vary, but Johnny was pleasantly surprised when it took less than the expected six months.
We originally thought that the car would be ready to come home some time this summer. However, while we were at Bimmerfest during the last week of May, Johnny messaged us: "What are you guys doing this Sunday?"
The car was ready for pickup in SoCal! Without hesitation, Dustin and I made sure that we could be there for the pickup. Johnny and a few of his friends hauled down i5 early that Sunday morning, and we eventually met up in LA.
This R32, they told Johnny, was the first one to drive off of their lot. If a car isn't state legal, they don't allow you to drive it away. A trailer is required.
Johnny's GTR is an amazing, glorious machine. I'd never ridden in an R32 until the day we brought it home, but it's pretty close to what I thought it would be. The car is so smooth, and feels extremely solid. One particularly special part about this Skyline is that it's a TH1--which makes up around only 4% of R32 Skylines.
I have to say, riding across California in an R32 was pretty fun. It's not something I thought I'd ever do, so it's a memory I'll cherish for a long time (even if the speed sensor was pinging the whole way home!). We're so happy for Johnny and his newest addition to the automotive family. It's great to see him back in a car that he truly enjoys. Be sure to follow him on Instagram @TH1GTR to keep up with the build progress and other updates!