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Hi all, and DMV odyssey

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  • Hi all, and DMV odyssey

    Hi all, Just wanted to introduce myself, and to recount my adventures with California DMV!

    About two months back I became the proud owner of a 1999 Caterham Zetec I purchased from Chris at Sevens and Elans. I've wanted one since about 8th grade, so after 27 years I finally broke down. ;-) The car HAD been registered in New York, and had all smog equipment on it. I spoke with three separate individuals at DMV that all swore up and down that I'd have no trouble re-registering it in CA if it had already been registered.

    The car showed up after the longest two week wait of my life. 1st visit to DMV provided lots of head scratching. They punched everything into the computer and said... "Ok.. just go get it smogged and you're done!" Great! So went to get it smogged the next day and could not find a place that would touch it. Here's the rub... no emissions sticker. "Go see the referee to get a sticker" Great, off to the referee. Referee curtly tells me I am out of luck, and my ONLY option is SB-100. Back to DMV. DMV does not believe me that a Caterham qualifies for SB-100. Sigh. Two weeks of digging for papers. A HUGE thanks to Chris at Sevens and Elans, and to Jeff at British Auto Specialists, who turned out to be the original importer. Jeff was kind enough to run across town, and dig through a warehouse of old paperwork to come up with the original MSO for my car. Without Jeff's help (or Chris' good memory) I may still be languishing at the DMV.

    Miraculously, and here is the important part, SB-100 numbers are still available now in mid may! After all the horror stories I'd read, I didn't think it was a possibility, but regardless, I was around #250 for the year.

    After 15 HOURS standing in the DMV, 3 CHP inspections and 4 Referee inspections, I finally have plates. They Ref up in Santa Rosa was the nicest guy ever. The car is now in the DMV computer as a SPCNS 1960 Lotus Super Seven, and I don't have to worry about smog.

    If anybody is thinking of buying an out of state car, I'd give the following advice:

    1) DO NOT fear SB-100. If you have a few important documents, and don't mind waiting for the DMV manager to figure out how SB-100 works, it's not difficult, just time consuming

    2) DO have the original Manufacturers Statement of Origin. I went so far as to contact Caterham in the UK, and was told my car was in an older accounting system. They could not lookup any information on my car. If the previous owner does not have a copy, you might want to find a car that does. Receipts for engine and transmission help, but probably aren't really necessary for a used (already assembled) car. The sale price will set the value, so they don't need to know component value.

    3) The paperwork isn't complicated, but DOUBLE CHECK EVERYTHING. I got as far at the referee before we realized that the CHP had fat-fingered my VIN number, and half the DMV documents were off by one digit.

    If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading. I'm enjoying the seven more than I thought possible. After dreaming of having a seven for so long, I'm surprised it's lived up to every one of my expectations. I've owned several Triumphs. MGs, BMWs and Porsches (including my current daily drive, a C4S) and the Caterham puts them to shame. I now refer to the 911 as "the bus".

    Lastly, any Seven owners in Northern California? I've only seen one on the road ever. Would LOVE to do some group drives n the weekend if anyone is interested.


    -Mark Flaming

  • #2

    Welcome to the group. There are Seven owners in N. Cal. Check with Pierats and Sean to start. Perhaps some of the others will check in.

    You should not have had such grief at the DMV as there are provisions for registering a previously registered Specially Constructed Vehicle.

    DMV offices in California very widely in their abilities. In the old days I'd get different prices from different clerks on the same registration issues on different days.


    • #3
      Hi Mark! I am currently recovering from surgery, but would enjoy a group drive this summer. Santa Rosa is a good two hours of freeway driving from here, but maybe I can get Tom to go with me.

      edit -- ...or Rod! (or Rahul, or others)
      Last edited by Sean; May 26, 2011, 09:09 AM.
      | | Sean


      • #4
        It is about 2 hours for me as well. Let me know I would like to join you all


        Sunnyvale CA
        Rod Swanson


        • #5
          In Sunnyvale too - and I'm also in for a drive this summer.

          Welcome to the group and congrats on your purchase and successful registration!


          • #6
            A meetup in Sonoma/Napa might be a fun way to get everyone together! :)
            Tom "ELV15" Jones


            • #7

              I'm actually in Marin, so a meet up either to the north or south works fine for me.

              If anyone else is interested, I'm planning on taking the car to the Hayward Field Meet on June 11th. It's usually a fun low-key british car meet.