In California, a “collector motor vehicle” is defined as a motor vehicle that is used primarily in shows, parades, charitable functions, and historical exhibitions for display, maintenance, and preservation, and is not used for primary transportation. With few exceptions, these collector cars that are model-year 1976 and newer require a Smog Check every two years for registration renewal, but some are eligible for an abbreviated inspection performed by a state Referee.
To qualify for an abbreviated inspection, a collector motor vehicle must be at least 35 years old and insured as a collector car. During an abbreviated inspection, the Referee will confirm the vehicle meets the criteria for a collector car, confirm proof of insurance as a collector car, and perform a Smog Check. The process will include a test of tailpipe emissions, a functional test of the fuel cap, and a visual check for liquid fuel leaks.