Illinois rod and custom car hobbyists scored a major victory when SEMA model legislation to create titling and registration classes for street rods and custom vehicles was signed into law by Illinois Governor George Ryan in late July.
This new law provides for special license plates and exempts rods and customs from periodic inspections and emissions tests. It also allows for the use of non-original materials and creates a titling criterion that assigns these vehicles the same model year designation as the production vehicle it most closely resembles. The Illinois law stipulates that vehicles titled and registered as street rods and custom vehicles may be used for occasional transportation, exhibitions, club activities, parades, tours, etc., but not for general daily transportation.
This new law is the product of months of consultation between SEMA, the Illinois State Police, local police departments, the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State and the Illinois hobbyist community. "We are extremely gratified that Illinois will join the growing list of states that recognize street rods and customs as distinct classes of vehicles," said SEMA Director of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. "The Illinois law offers the added benefit of including qualifying replicas and kit cars in the rod and custom and registration classifications."
SEMA Director of Public Affairs Brian Caudill emphasized the role hobbyists played in the legislative process: “SEMA is deeply indebted to Illinois SEMA Action Network clubs and individual hot rodders who worked so hard to change Illinois law for the better. Without Mr. Frank Manzullo’s (Unique Street Rod Club - Rockford, Illinois) public relations efforts, Mr. Charles Yapp’s (Secrets of Speed Society – Chicagoland) political connections and, most importantly Mr. Gary Bohlen’s (Committee to Upgrade Street Rod Laws in Illinois - Peoria) overall leadership and technical expertise, this effort would have been dead in the water.” On behalf of SEMA, Caudill presented an award of recognition to Mr. Bohlen at the River City Street Rod Club’s (Peoria, IL) summer rod show on July 14th.
SEMA is hopeful hobbyists in other states that don’t have proper registration classifications for street rods and custom vehicles will push this model legislation. Similar initiatives are ongoing in Rhode Island and New York and we hope to add others to that list in the coming legislative sessions.
To find out more about SEMA’s Model Street Rod/Custom Legislation, contact Steve McDonald at 202/783-6007 (firstname.lastname@example.org).