Although the love for the famed Nissan Skyline could be seen from almost any part in the world; including here in Malaysia, it is a complete opposite in the States; not from the enthusiasts, but from the authorities. And the latest victim that is scheduled to be put into the crusher is an R33 that had once made an appearance in the first Fast & Furious movie.
Dubbed as the “Big Bird” due to its bright yellow paintjob, Justin Beno also had to surrender his other sweetheart, a purple ’95 model, to be crushed by the authorities on the attempt of trying to sell gray-market vehicles. Apparently, Skylines are not so welcomed on the States as they do not meet American federal safety and emission standards. They were also deemed not road legal, especially those that are missing their vehicle identification number (VIN) tag.
The story begins where Beno tried to sell both of his Skylines, where he was approached by a potential buyer; which was apparently a Department of Transportation official. And when asked on whether it is possible to get the cars titled, Beno came out with a wrong answer (which was supposed to be a “No”) and immediately landed him in hot water.
And that is where the string of charges began to surface, which among them are two felony counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, one felony count of owning a vehicle without a VIN tag and two misdemeanors related to the missing VIN tags.
In his defense, Beno stated that he originally purchased the cars as bare shells without the VINs attached, and the seller would mail them over later. He also stated his passion and love towards the cars, where he had spent a huge sum of $75,000 in the restoration project. In trying not to get his immaculate creations crushed, he even asked the Wisconsin court to at least try selling his cars overseas, as they could worth up to $100,000 in the open market. But due to some legal restraints and limitations, there were no other alternatives for this case, at which they will end up in the crusher.
Both of Beno’s Skylines are scheduled to be crushed today (31st
May, 2012) and sold for scrap. I really could not imagine what is Beno going through right now, but it must have been totally devastating, especially after all the hard work and love poured into those two Skylines. This was totally not the ending that I have been expected for an icon that had once appeared in one of the most famous racing films that had taken the large screens. If you wish to find out more about Beno’s Big Bird, head up to his site here
Sources: http://www.autoblog.com/2012/05/29/wisconsin-man-avoids-jail-by-agreeing-to-have-his-nissan-skyline/ http://www.bigbirdskyline.com/BigBirdSkyLine/bigbird.html http://blog.cargurus.com/2012/05/30/which-would-you-choose-jail-time-or-having-your-dream-car-crushed http://jalopnik.com/5914204/big-bird-skyline-going-to-the-crusher