Car hobbyists and related businesses scored another major victory when a version of SEMA model legislation to create a statutory titling and registration class for kit cars was passed by the Colorado State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Bill Owens. The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2007, includes the added benefit of exempting kit cars from Colorado’s emissions inspection program. Colorado joins Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Montana and Rhode Island as states that have enacted similar bills into law.
The law defines a “kit vehicle” as a passenger-type motor vehicle assembled by someone other than a licensed manufacturer, from a manufactured kit that includes a prefabricated body and chassis and is accompanied by a manufacturer’s statement of origin. The new law, which gained the bi-partisan support of the Legislature, is the product of months of consultation between SEMA, representatives of the Old Car Council of Colorado, the Mile Hi Cobra Club, state legislators and county motor vehicle regulators. The measure was introduced by Colorado State Representative Ann Ragsdale.
“Backed by the hard work and perseverance of the Old Car Council of Colorado, the Mile Hi Cobra Club and Representative Ragsdale, we are extremely gratified that Colorado will join the list of states that recognize kit cars as distinct classes of vehicles,” said SEMA Vice President, Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “We are especially indebted to the efforts of Keith Hall, Vice President of the Mile Hi Cobra Club, who spearheaded this effort on the ground by coordinating the support of state car clubs and enthusiasts and by working with state and local vehicle administrators.”
“I think that the most important lesson that we learned from our first legislative experience is that politics is all about compromise and cooperation,” commented Hall. “By taking the time to involve everyone who had a stake in our issue during the early decision process we won friends, mollified potential adversaries and discovered areas of shared interest with groups that we had never known existed. The respect gained and contacts made in our first legislative venture will serve our club well in the future.”
The new law recognizes the unique nature of these vehicles as hobbyist cars that are generally only used for occasional transportation, exhibitions, club activities, parades and tours. “For many vehicle enthusiasts in Colorado and throughout America, building, maintaining and enjoying their vehicles is a favorite pastime,” McDonald added. “This law represents an opportunity to acknowledge their commitment to the hobby and to protect it for future generations. These vehicles are the same crowd pleasers that participate in exhibitions and as parade vehicles, and whose owners regularly contribute to charities and civic events. These vehicles are pampered and coddled, buffed and shined and meticulously cared for. They are the pride and joy of those who own them.”
Several years ago, the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA), a SEMA Council, voted to expand its market scope to include custom vehicles, including kit cars and replicas. This action allowed this segment of the car hobby a strong united voice and a SEMA council in which their specific needs could be addressed. The SEMA model legislation was drafted to reflect HRIA’s expanded scope. The model bill will continue to be pursued by SEMA in states that either don’t have registration classifications for these vehicles or have laws that are lacking in some way. Efforts are ongoing this year to work with the state legislature in Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Virginia on this initiative and to add others to that list in the coming legislative sessions.