The California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) recently published it’s new policy for Smog Check certification of “specially constructed vehicles.” SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Organization) says the legislation is aimed at “dispelsing rumors and misunderstandings regarding California’s vehicle registration and titling process so that specially constructed vehicles, including street rods, kit cars and replicas, can become properly registered, titled and emissions certified in the state.”
SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald stated, “For too long, misunderstanding of California’s complex vehicle registration laws has created confusion among state hobbyists. Certain hobbyist vehicles, including those that could be classified as specially constructed, may be erroneously titled or registered. Consequently, owners may have paid reduced registration fees and avoided emissions testing requirements. BAR’s documented policy for specially constructed vehicles should help clear the way for the many owners who fail to receive one of the 500 yearly Senate Bill 100 sequence numbers to properly title, register and smog check these vehicles.”
Under the provisions of the Specially Constructed Vehicle Emission Control Program (commonly known as CA Senate Bill 100), a smog test referee compares the vehicle to those of the era that the vehicle most closely resembles to determine its model year. The vehicle’s owner can then choose whether the inspector will certify the vehicle per the year of the body or the engine. If there is no close resemblance, the vehicle is classified as a 1960 model year. The Senate Bill 100 registration program is limited, however, to the first 500 applications for registrations of specially constructed vehicles submitted to DMV per year that meet the criteria. DMV doesn’t categorize the vehicles into SB100 or not; the applicant does that.
In the second case, for specially constructed vehicles without a Senate Bill 100 sequence number, the only emissions controls required are those used when the engine was originally manufactured. For example, a Cobra kit-car using a 1968 351C Ford V8 would require all emissions equipment originally required for that model year engine. A dune buggy upgraded with a ’91 L79 TPI GM V8 would require all emissions equipment used on that engine. More generally, if a configuration precedes 1966, no exhaust emissions controls would be required. If the configuration precedes 1961, no PCV system would be required. If a range of model years applies to any particular engine configuration, vehicle owners will have the option to select the model year of emissions controls to be used. Further, according to the BAR, new and rebuilt “crate” engines fall into this “range of model years” category. As an example in this category, the use of a Chevrolet 5.7L ZZ4 V8 engine in a replica of a ’32 Ford roadster would require emissions equipment used found on the first 5.7L engines used in ’67. Finally, and in some instances, vehicle owners may be required to provide engine information to aid in the identification and inspection process.
Apparantly the California Legislature will consider legislation to provide amnesty from prosecution to vehicle owners who have mistitled or misvalued their vehicles. In the meantime, SEMA has vowed to work with all relevant parties to consider alternative approaches to protect vehicle owners who voluntarily re-register their vehicles, pay appropriate fees and fulfill BAR emissions requirements.
FordMuscle, being based in California, is particularly bothered by this continued beaurocratization of the hobby. Are Cobra Kit cars really the source of acid rain and the dingy black cloud over Los Angeles? The few kit car owners I know have immaculately maintained engines which get driven about 500 miles per year. Why aren’t our representatives, and SEMA, focussing on the millions of miles logged each year on California highways by out of state diesel trucking companies? Seriously, SEMA, grow a pair of mufflers and take a real stance for California auto enthusiasts.