The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 20 of 137 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,294 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just called the DMV to ask about registering a 340R for road use here in VA, you know, just to see. I explained the entire car to her as best I could and how I did not believe it is road registrable, etc. but I wanted to check before I bought one, you know, just in case I was wrong... She put me on hold for about 10 mins and came back saying "no problem to register it for road use here." Then she proceeded to tell me how to go about the normal process of registering a car in VA and what documents I would need.

Was she smoking crack or is this really possible?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,793 Posts
I just called the DMV to ask about registering a 340R for road use here in VA, you know, just to see. I explained the entire car to her as best I could and how I did not believe it is road registrable, etc. but I wanted to check before I bought one, you know, just in case I was wrong... She put me on hold for about 10 mins and came back saying "no problem to register it for road use here." Then she proceeded to tell me how to go about the normal process of registering a car in VA and what documents I would need.

Was she smoking crack or is this really possible?
States have their own rules, but federal rules will still countermand them, so I guess you could, until the wrong person finds out?

Edit; get that in writing from her... get one, and get it registered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,601 Posts
Just remember that you need to comply with both state and federal regulations. I have seen states register cars that are not legal for on-road use. You run the risk of breaking federal law(s). I'm not saying that people don't do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,786 Posts
I think you should change the title to "Am I on crack?"... you actually believe what someone at DMV told you over the phone? -poke-

Seriously though... it sounds like you'd have a few other hoops to jump through, i.e. insurance and as Thomasio said, federal law...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,294 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I think you should change the title to "Am I on crack?"... you actually believe what someone at DMV told you over the phone? -poke-
Yeah. I was worried about that but I have dealt with this lady before and she's pretty much on top of things. She really was interested to find out for me and seemed genuinely interested in the car itself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,648 Posts
And then what? I can "track only" use it or does it then get crushed or deported?
Are you thinking about picking up one of WireWheels'?

If so, ask Hayes what would happen to the car in this circumstance. He buys/sells many track-only Lotus, he should have a fairly good idea of what would happen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,294 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
If the feds find out the can crush the car.
The car is ok to have here as a track only vehicle, but as soon as it is registered then it becomes crushable/deportable?

What if the registration is then yanked and it is converted back to a "track only" car? Perhaps sold to another person as a "track only/off road use" vehicle -- back to the original imported designation?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,294 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Are you thinking about picking up one of WireWheels'?

If so, ask Hayes what would happen to the car in this circumstance. He buys/sells many track-only Lotus, he should have a fairly good idea of what would happen.
I forgot that Hayes had 2. That means that currently 3/8 of the cars here in the US are for sale ;).

I'll have to give him a call and see what he knows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,623 Posts
Do what Steve Jobs does and keep the MSO for the car and drive it without title/plates. When you get a ticket hire a lawyer to fight it on constitutional grounds. :)

Honestly, I don't think you will get the car past US Customs. They have a track-only exemption that requires a letter from the manufacturer stating the vehicle was not manufactured primarily for use on public roads. I guess people must be getting these for the S1 Elise, so it must be possible, but YMMV.

Information For Racing Vehicle Exclusion

In a worst-case scenario, I would register the car in some US state *before* importing it, then import it to Canada on a "temporary" basis bearing the US registration, then drive it over the US border stating to customs that you are simply returning from a visit to Canada and that is your car. This is patently illegal, but it will work as a last resort, and in my opinion, the law has to make itself respectable for me to respect the law. I don't think it's the government's business which car I'm driving.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,294 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Do what Steve Jobs does and keep the MSO for the car and drive it without title/plates. When you get a ticket hire a lawyer to fight it on constitutional grounds. :)

Honestly, I don't think you will get the car past US Customs. They have a track-only exemption that requires a letter from the manufacturer stating the vehicle was not manufactured primarily for use on public roads. I guess people must be getting these for the S1 Elise, so it must be possible, but YMMV.

Information For Racing Vehicle Exclusion

In a worst-case scenario, I would register the car in some US state *before* importing it, then import it to Canada on a "temporary" basis bearing the US registration, then drive it over the US border stating to customs that you are simply returning from a visit to Canada and that is your car. This is patently illegal, but it will work as a last resort, and in my opinion, the law has to make itself respectable for me to respect the law. I don't think it's the government's business which car I'm driving.
It is one of 8 that are already here in the US.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,623 Posts
By the way, if you manage to import the car as track-only and register it, it's always possible someone who knows the rules will call it in, but I sort of doubt it will ever happen. The worst case scenario is that they will force you to export it, I've never heard of them crushing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,623 Posts
It is one of 8 that are already here in the US.
In that case, you should just register it and enjoy it. You can always find a state to register just about anything, and if it's your home state, that's great. Have fun. I doubt you will have any serious problems. Insurance will be your biggest hurdle, and it shouldn't be a big one.

If I lived in VA though, I would license myself and register my vehicles out of state due to the new speeding ticket surcharge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,294 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
So if the car is reported to the feds can it just be placed back to the original import status of "off-road use only" by the current/next owner or does it really have to be exported?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,294 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
How friendly is VA to specialty vehicles or kit cars?

I wonder if you could get it registered as a "hobby vehicle" ...

Virginia DMV Registration for Custom Built, Kit Cars, & More - DMV Guide

I'm getting ready to do that in Arizona. Hobby vehicles here are exempt from emissions laws and are cheaper to register :shrug:
According to the lady I spoke with it can just be registered as a regular vehicle without any problem though maybe as a hobby car it would have less risk.

You know, if I ever did get a 340R, I'm not telling anyone so you don't report me to the feds -poke-.

Actually, I will never buy a 340R. This is just for general informational purposes and edification of my knowledge base only.










































:rolleyes:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
705 Posts
I'm going to rant for a minute, flame suit on.

First off, it's guys like you who make it hard for the rest of us to import race cars. Those cars were allowed into this country for OFF ROAD USE ONLY. I know, I bought two of the Lotus cars (Elise Sport 190, and Exige S1). I signed all kinds of docs when I bought mine and it was made clear to me that if the Feds caught me driving or registering the car it would be impounded and exported or destroyed.

In terms of the bad advice you are getting, it does not matter what the STATE allows you to do. That car does not meet FEDERAL DOT or EPA laws. If the Feds find out you are driving it on the street, you are done.

You can look into the "show and display" rules. I did not pursue that for my cars because I didn't care but I know some guys who did that for other European cars.

Good luck.
Roy

ps. I'll post some pics of my Exige S1 on a Georgia mountain drive a little later ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,623 Posts
From eastcoastrover.com:

Titles:
Remember that to get a "title" is easy, but having a title does not make a Rover road legal for the USA. A vehicle must be titled and should have DOT/EPA and NHTSA approval before you should even consider buying it, or you assume a massive liability and maybe even a vehicle that will not be able to get tags in your state once you get it home. It is very easy to obtain a title in a lot of states. The fact that a vehicle has a title in no way means that it automatically will pass EPA, your states emissions tests or your state inspection. A number of shops will import parts and create a new vehicle out of them. Then get a rebuild or other type of title through one of those easy states. The DOT however clearly states that a vehicle that is created must meet all the standards for the year in which it was most recently built. A lot of hobbyists take the risks and just focus on if a Rover has a title or not and if you are one of them we wish you well, but to the letter of the law it would also have to meet DOT standards. We are not stating you should live your life to the letter of the law, but if you are going to buy one of these vehicles you need to be aware of the ups and downs associated with them. Here again, the good news is that these built up cars are cheap, but when you go to sell they will not bring back what you likely spent.

We even know of a case where a Rover owner bought an illegal import that had a Utah title (and no DOT certification) and drove it around. Sometime later that vehicle had a bad accident where the driver was at fault. Under accident investigation it was found that the Rover was not DOT certified because the police officer investigating the accident could not find a 2001 Defender 110 in his crash estimating books. They also had issues because the Rover had a chassis # that indicated the vehicle was a 2001 Defender 110 (RHD, 300 Tdi) and a VIN that indicated it was a 1975 Series III 109 (LHD, 4 cyl) and the actual vehicle was a Defender 110 (LHD with an EFI V8). The Rover owner's insurance company refused to pay the claims against him. He lost his shirt because he was sued by the others involved in the accident, and he had incorrect insurance coverage, but that won't happen to you... right?

Make sure you have a VIN that matches the vehicle. Don't use the VIN from a 1986 Toyota Corolla. I've heard that at least in NYS, liability claims have to be paid out even if you lie to your insurer. Please try to find a way to insure the vehicle without lying to your insurer. I don't think this is a show stopper, but this should be your *primary* concern - not the government.

I cannot comment with any authority on what will happen if you are caught by US Customs violating the racing vehicle exclusion. I would google for the experience of someone who has had that happen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,635 Posts
The VIN can be "flagged" by the computers at the DMV as a federally non-road legal VIN. However, I have seen motorcycles that were clearly not federally road legal be registered and tagged for road use. I remember an Aprilia 250 two stroke with a non-US VIN being titled in Virginia a decade back.
 
1 - 20 of 137 Posts
Top