Car hobbyists and related businesses scored another major victory when a version of SEMA model legislation to create a statutory titling and registration class for replica vehicles was passed by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Tim Kaine. The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2007. Virginia joins Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Montana and Rhode Island as states that have enacted similar bills into law.
The law defines a replica as a vehicle not fully constructed by a licensed manufacturer but either constructed or assembled from components. The measure allows these vehicles to be titled and registered under the model year of which the vehicle is a replica and only requires that they meet safety and emissions requirements as established for that model year. As a condition of the hobby-friendly emissions system and safety equipment requirements, replica vehicles titled under this law will be limited to no more than 5,000 miles per year as shown by the vehicle’s odometer.
The new law, which gained the bi-partisan support of the Virginia Legislature, is the product of months of consultation between SEMA, members of the Capital Area Cobra Club, state legislators and motor vehicle regulators. The measure was introduced by Virginia Delegate Tom Rust and Senator Martin Williams.
“Backed by the hard work and dedication of the Capitol Area Cobra Club, Virginia businessman Rick Pearce, Delegate Tom Rust, Senator Martin Williams and legislative staff, we are extremely gratified that Virginia will join the growing list of states that recognize replicas as distinct classes of vehicles,” said SEMA Vice President, Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “We are especially indebted to these individuals for their continued efforts in coordinating the support of enthusiasts, lawmakers and state and local vehicle administrators.”
“As a car enthusiast myself, I’m happy to have helped the replica owners, especially in my case the members of the Capitol Area Cobra Club, in getting legislation drafted and through the legislative process in Virginia,” said Delegate Tom Rust.
The new law recognizes the unique nature of these vehicles as hobbyist cars that are generally only used for occasional transportation, exhibitions, club activities, parades and tours. “For many vehicle enthusiasts in Virginia and throughout America, building, maintaining and enjoying their vehicles is a favorite pastime,” McDonald added. “This law represents an opportunity to acknowledge their commitment to the hobby and to protect it for future generations. These vehicles are the same crowd pleasers that participate in exhibitions and as parade vehicles, and whose owners regularly contribute to charities and civic events. These vehicles are pampered and coddled, buffed and shined and meticulously cared for. They are the pride and joy of those who own them.”
SEMA Action Network (SAN) efforts are ongoing this year to work with the state legislatures in Florida, New York, Massachusetts and Nevada on this initiative and to add others to that list in the coming legislative sessions.