That is good to know and have updated my post to reflect that it is outdated thanks to California's overbearing laws. But will leave the info up there as a piece of history to show how it was done back then. I am forever grateful that I imported my HJ61 when I did - when I was in my early 20's cruising around in that unique vehicle, when it was an easy and relatively carefree process to register and not have to worry about your reg being revoked if you managed to. I can even remember back to 2012 when direct imports coming right into California from Japan were slipping through and getting registered, importer minitruckdealer rings a bell. We had Hiluxes, HiAces, Nissan patrols, Blizzards...all that 80's diesel cool stuff getting brought in and registered no prob. That was the true golden era for JDM diesels in California - old enough to conform to the 25-year exemption and still easy to register legally with California plates. Then they got busted. And things seemed to slowly go to hell after that.It sounds like you went through the process in 2014. The DMV/CARB have since closed the out-of-state loophole and they won't care if you title/reg in another state for 6 months, a year, or a decade prior to bringing your rig into CA. They consider any non-USDM vehicle a Direct Import, regardless of prior registration history. I managed to skate by this by the skin of my teeth in 2017, and it took 18 months.
I would strongly encourage anyone who wants to bring a JDM diesel truck into CA to just talk to someone knowledgeable at CARB (they exist, just takes some time to find them) to confirm the process. Based on a pretty intense back and forth with them (again, took 18 months) the process they follow now involves a mandatory visit to CEE in Santa Ana and a bunch of money, no exceptions.
I started hearing the horror stories of new owners trying to get their JDM diesel registered and being rejected and having to resell it right away outside of California. People getting their JDM diesels registered in California but then getting a letter in the mail about 4 months later from the DMV/CARB saying they'd have to make it emissions compliant. It made owning my HJ61 nerve-wracking...like I'd receive the dreaded letter revoking my registration any second. I couldn't afford that as a much younger person. Hell, I couldn't afford that now by any means. I ended up trying to sell it both on ih8mud and craigslsit but nobody really seemed to want it because of the drip rail rust it had. Nobody really seemed to want it despite the (what I considered) valuable California plates. I got fed up with it and consigned it to a sorta well-known pretty-sketchy importer who fixed it up to make it more desirable to sell. I feel he kinda gave me a low ball price considering what I've seen some of the other California registered ones go for since. But oh well, at least I had a damn unique vehicle for CA for a couple of years and didn't have my registration revoked like some.
Knowing that info you provided, it and helps to quench my hopes of ever someday bringing in another one to California. Maybe when I strike the lotto I'll get a Cali plated one. For now, if I want to, I'll just register one out of state in a place like Texas. I'd rather give my money to them instead of the corrupt California government with its dumb laws and air Gestapo anyways. Thank you!