Booster Masthead

November 2002 Issue Highlights

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California Changes Kit Car Regulations
Industry Firms File Chapter 7


A new California law will make it easier for customers who make kit cars and replicas to register their vehicles.

Under the 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.

Under the former system, kit cars would be assigned the model year that the car was completed, making it very difficult in some cases to pass emissions requirements. Replica cars in a 1920s model style were being required to add catalytic converters and similar "non-period" equipment.

"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."

SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, supported the bill sponsored in the legislature by State Senator Maurice Johannessen.

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.


BHMA Inc., doing business as Beverly Hills Motoring, has filed involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The automotive accessories retailer, headquartered at 200 South Robertson Blvd., in Beverly Hills, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Daily Tire & Automotive, also known as Daily Tire Retreads, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy earlier this year. The tire recapping and sales company, located on Rye Canyon Road in Valencia, listed assets of $65,094 and debts of $57,145 at the time of filing.

Originally published in the November 2002 issue of Automotive Booster of California.
Copyright 2002 by KAL Publications Inc.

Covering the California auto parts aftermarket since 1928.