How to register a kit car in California

wearymicrobe Reader1/4/10 2:18 p.m.If you head over to you will find a forum dedicated just to the SB100 process its that big of a pain in the butt.Be extremely caref

How to register a kit car in California

wearymicrobe Reader
1/4/10 2:18 p.m.

If you head over to you will find a forum dedicated just to the SB100 process its that big of a pain in the butt.

Be extremely careful buying a unfinished/finished kit without a SB100 number or a MSO documentation that you will need to get it registered. Most specialty construction titles are good on VW pan built cars but not much else.

The DMV does not take lightly you trying to get around the system and the cops that are CARB trained are on the lookout for kits.

I will tell you that I have been in the line first day at the DMW with a 11:00 appointment and not gotten a build slot. 500 sounds like a lot of cars but its the equivalent of giving one car a year out is some states based on the population numbers. Every kit build and every fiberglass rod has to go through this and there are a ton of people building these things.

Capt Slow

Capt Slow HalfDork
1/4/10 8:10 p.m.

I stand corrected, sorta

DMV said: Specially Constructed Vehicles- Emission Control What is the Specially Constructed Vehicle Emission Control Program? Existing law requires most 1976 and newer model year vehicles to pass an emissions control inspection (smog check) prior to original registration, transfer of ownership, and every second annual renewal. Since Specially Constructed Vehicles (SPCNS) are homemade and do not have a manufacturer-assigned model year, they must be taken to a Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Referee Station for the original inspection. Upon completion of the inspection, the referee will affix a tamper-resistant label to the vehicle and issue a certificate that establishes the model-year for future inspection purposes. Per California Vehicle Code §4750.1, the first 500 program applicants in each calendar year may choose whether the inspection is based on the model-year of the engine used in the vehicle or the vehicle model-year. If the engine or the vehicle does not sufficiently resemble one previously manufactured, the referee will assign 1960 as the model-year. After the first 500 vehicles have been registered in any calendar year, all others will be assigned the same model-year as the calendar year in which the application is submitted. Previously registered vehicles may be included as one of the first 500 applicants in a calendar year and apply for a different model-year determination. What is an SPCNS Certificate of Sequence? An SPCNS Certificate of Sequence identifies a vehicle as one for which the owner may choose emission control inspection based on the model-year of the engine used in the vehicle or the vehicle model-year. The certificate is issued by DMV Headquarters and will be mailed 7-10 working days after the application is accepted by your local DMV. The certificate must be presented to the BAR Referee Station at the time of inspection. Per statute, only 500 certificates can be issued in a calendar year. Once the yearly allotment has been issued, applicants must wait until the following year to apply for a certificate. SPCNS Certificates of Sequence cannot be transferred to a different vehicle or reissued in someone else's name. The seller of a vehicle must provide the buyer with the SPCNS Certificate of Sequence along with the bill of sale and any additional registration documents. In addition, fees deposited in one year cannot be held over for the next year's allocation of certificates. Note: Due to the limited number of SPCNS Certificates of Sequence available, you may wish to submit your application for registration in person at a local DMV office.

Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/4/10 10:26 p.m.

An SB100 car is essentially smog-exempt, really. 1960 smog is really easy to deal with

And while it might seem nasty, not every state offers such a clear path to registration. Until a couple of years ago, newly minted kit cars in Colorado had to meet the emissions rules of the year in which they were registered. Yup, you'd have to make your Caterham with a crossflow somehow meet 2008 emissions regs. An SB100 is a much easier thing to deal with.

As I mentioned, I've heard lots and lots of horror stories about how hard it is to get one. But with the exception of wearymicrobe, every single person that I know of who has attempted to get one has succeeded. It's about being prepared. The four guys on the Locost forum who tried to get one this year all pulled it off, saying they got issued permit #156 at around 8:30 or so.

I've heard rumors that it was actually a couple of months before they all got allocated last year. I haven't been able to verify that, so I suspect it's just a rumor. Some GT40 builders have reported far fewer people in line this year than the past as well. It stands to reason that they'll be easier to get when money's a bit tight.


6/6/10 2:28 a.m.

In reply to Keith: I heard of a horror story from a man who's friend's Jaguar ss100 did not even make it to the smog stage and got rejected. He did not ground all his lights, tail lights, etc. And DMV failed him on that. After spending close to $37,000 the unfinished ss100 sits in his garage. Now his cat and dog live in it. I personally have a Jaguar ss100 myself. But I bought it from a dealer in California. They passed smog for me before they sold it to me. They failed smog once and fixed the leaking gas fume area, then it passed and sold it to me. The smartest thing to do is locate a dealer inside California which sells kit cars, buy from the dealer. Maybe you will spend 2 thousand extra. But trust me, no headache. Because you know your car is at least legal. Plus finding insurance for your kit car is also another red tape. Not all insurer covers kit cars. Hagerty insurance told me I need to have another car that's 5 years or newer in order for them to insure my kit car. That's their policy, and they specialize in kit car policies.

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