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URGENT LEGISLATIVE ALERT: New Law Enables Hobbyists to Purchase Turn-Key Replica Cars

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

URGENT LEGISLATIVE ALERT: New Law Enables Hobbyists to Purchase Turn-Key Replica Cars

SEMA Action Network
7 December 2015


Thanks to a new SAN-supported federal law, enthusiasts who want to own a replica car will soon have the option of purchasing a completed turn-key vehicle from the manufacturer. Hobbyists who want to install an engine in a kit car or build their own specialty constructed vehicle are still permitted to do so.

Thank you to all who participated in supporting this bill.

Details on the New Law

• Beginning in 2017, low volume manufacturers (up to 5,000 motor vehicles a year global production) will have the option of selling up to 325 completed replica vehicles in the U.S. each year.

• A replica is a vehicle that resembles the body of another motor vehicle produced at least 25 years ago (ex: ’32 Roadster, ’65 Cobra, etc.).

• Previously, companies were unable to sell turn-key cars since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulated these vehicles as if they were current model year vehicles, not vintage cars.

• The new law treats these replicas the same as kit cars, subject to certain equipment standards (lighting, tires, windshields, brake hoses, etc.), recalls and remedies but not vehicle standards (roof crush, side impact, etc.).

• Replica vehicles produced by the companies will have a current model year engine package certified by the EPA or California Air Resources Board and are exempt from emissions testing. (Enthusiasts building kits will still have the option of installing engines of their choice.)

• For information on how your home state regulates kit cars and replicas, please visit the SAN’s “Tag & Title Toolbox.”

• NHTSA and the EPA have one year to issue regulations to implement the new program. The SAN will work with these agencies to speed the process.

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