Jump to content

Cannot register in California!


Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I bought my first Caterham (310S) over the holidays from a friend in Seattle, who built it during lockdown last year. I drove it down to California, and started the registration process down here. I've paid sales taxes, done the brake and light inspection, got the VIN registered, and then I started down the path of getting the SB-100 smog exception.

 

All was going well, I submitted all the documents (including photos of my friend building the car!) and after an ominously long wait from the BAR I finally get this reply:

 

Quote

Your vehicle cannot be registered in the state, because the manufacturer Caterham is importing their vehicles without meeting USEPA or California emissions standards. These vehicles do not meet the definition of a specially constructed vehicle. These are made and sold by a small volume manufacturer and they are by passing customs, EPA, and CARB regulations by shipping the vehicle in parts.  Your case was reviewed by the California Air Resources Board and the Bureau of Automotive repair. If you have any questions, you can contact my supervisor <at this number>

 

Obviously this isn't the outcome I'm looking for...

 

Anyone have any advice apart from me just calling them up to tell them they are wrong? :)

 

-Tom

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 131
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Beautiful car. Surprised to hear Sb100 gave you a denial like that. This might have been recent? I've heard of other owners having luck

 

I'd recommend using the californiacaterhamclub forum to get ideas and suggestions. Forum isn't active but proper search will probably reveal a lot of good info on topic.

 

Worst case scenario you might have to go the Montana route at least to get car on the road while figuring things out. It's not ideal, or recommended but it might be a necessary means to an end while fighting bureaucracy.

 

This link should set you up with a pretty good sweep of their website for keyword of SB100. Again if something has changed within CA DMV these methods may no longer be relevant.  

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=california+caterham+club+sb100+site:www.californiacaterhamclub.com&rlz=1C1CHBD_enUS883US883&sxsrf=ALeKk0035Ojlwcv6OJQYTOshYltSw3cizw:1620673658565&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjxjtzt57_wAhXQElkFHX2ADwgQrQIoA3oECAUQBA&biw=1691&bih=786

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bureaucracy can be frustrating at the best of times, especially with DMVs.  

 

There are enough CA people on USA7s with se7ens registered in the state via SB100 that one will be along shortly to answer.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Was the car registered in Washington and can it meet the smog requirements, i.e. catalytic convertor and all of that stuff?  

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, toldfield said:

Was the car registered in Washington and can it meet the smog requirements, i.e. catalytic convertor and all of that stuff?  

 

Yeah, the car was registered in WA, but it didn't need any smog tests as far as I've been told. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I'm just saying the obvious, but the reply indicates they think Caterham is importing vehicles - they are importing kits not cars.  It sounds to me like the kit part of the equation has been left out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah. 

I do wonder if they've seen some of the 620Rs around that are sold by Hillbank etc fully built, and a quick Google search led them down the wrong path. In fact, I'm not sure how they get the 620Rs registered in CA, based on that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I registered mine under SB100 a few years ago in LA. It's kind of a "dog and pony" show but it all worked for me. Most everyone was actually pretty easy to deal with. Most problems arise from the fact that currently, they only do a couple of hundred a year and few DMV folks are familiar with the process. The best networking for the process is through the Cobra forums. I have been told that in SoCal, the office to go to is in Thousand Oaks. There is a Cobra builder over there and a woman in the DMV is very familiar with the process due to then number of applicants that come through her office. When I did it in the Culver City office, they had to make repeated calls to Sacramento for clarifications and explanations. It took a LOT of patience! The CHP guy was kind of grudging and dinged the sheetmetal while installing the VIN placard. Feel free to PM me if you want more info. I still have all the records and notes of the process.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just curious, did you attempt to register it as a 20xx Caterham or as a 196x Lotus?  I can see how it could be a big red flag to the bureaucrats at the DMV if you aren't registering it as a 196x Lotus clone.  If I have read the DMV rules correctly, any car, SB100 or not, that is registered as a 1976 or newer must meet all motor vehicle standards for the specified year of manufacture.  Of the folks that I know who have registered their Cats here in California, all of them are registered as a 196x Lotus.

 

Good luck moving forward and please let us know how it turns out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to all with experience on this in CA. Clearly, Caterham Sevens are delivered as kits, and have an assembly manual. Tom - you might be on to something with the pre-built Hillbank approach. I've always winced a bit, when they put together demonstrators like that.

 

Cheers,

-Bruce

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The analogy I have always used when arguing at DMVs is that a Caterham is no different to a Cobra replica and if a DMV thinks a Cobra replica presents no problems, then why are there issues with a Caterham?   

 

DMVs seem to have a sensitivity around Cobra replicas, probably because the high social media potential for negative publicity if they can no longer be registered.  Bureaucrats hate being exposed to career risk.  

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Tom,

You don't say where in CA you live, but as Orange max said there are two dealers in CA. Rich Kamp is an expert in registering these cars in CA. He sold my previous Caterham, on consignment, to someone in the Bay Area; the car was originally built back East. I took a while to get all the steps done correctly but I know he succeeded. Give him a call.

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'm in the Bay Area. I spoke to Rich, he was helpful.

 

Going to call them up this week after I gather a few more materials to see what they say... Wish me luck! Otherwise I fear I may have to BaT it :(

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

@TomSalter please keep us updated, I'm a CA resident in the market for a 7 as well. and based on your experiences, i may have to limit my search to cars that already have the SB100 exemption. i'm hoping that is not the case though!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...