California Opens Specially Constructed Class To Previously Registered Vehicles - 2002
A new California law makes previously registered kit cars and replicas eligible for the "specially constructed" designation. The law expands a California law enacted last year to provide a more accurate model year designation and emissions-system certification for these specially constructed vehicles. Last year’s bill enabled only those vehicles that had never before been registered to take advantage of this classification.
SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, supported the bill sponsored in the legislature by State Senator Maurice Johannessen (R-District 4).
Under California’s law, a smog test referee compares the vehicle to those of the era that the vehicle most closely resembles to determine the model year of a specially constructed vehicle. The vehicle’s owner can choose whether the inspector will certify the vehicle model year or the engine model year. If there is no close match, it is classified as a 1960 vehicle. Only those emission controls applicable to the model year and that can be reasonably accommodated by the vehicle are required. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) registration program is limited to the first 500 specially constructed vehicles per year that meet the criteria.
"In years past, California kit cars and replica vehicles were assigned the current model-year for smog inspection purposes," said Steve McDonald, SEMA director of government and technical affairs. "This policy unfairly subjected kit cars and other specially constructed vehicles to more stringent smog inspection requirements. Thanks to this measure, engines and vehicles will be held to the standards of the model year they represent rather than the more sophisticated vehicles of today. In addition, car owners won’t be penalized for having previously registered their specially constructed vehicle."
California exempts pre-1974 vehicles from the biennial and change-of-ownership smog check requirements. Under the new law, specially constructed vehicles designated with a pre-1974 model year will be exempted from the test. Beginning in the year 2003, all vehicles 30-years old and older will be exempted.