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Registering an out-of-state Caterham in Californina

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  • Registering an out-of-state Caterham in Californina

    As my search for the right Caterham continues I have occasionally considered cars for sale in other states. I have, for the most part, avoided those as I worry that I might have trouble getting an out-of-state Caterham registered here in California. Does anyone have any experience, or other knowledge, they could share on the subject? How much, if any, does it help if the car has already been registered in its home state?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    I've not done it myself but several others have.

    I don't believe anyone has had an unsolvable problem. California passed additional legislation just to cover the specially constructed cars from other states.

    Depending on how it's reqistered you may or may not need one of the 500 numbers.

    Someone with direct experience of doing this will be along.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have experience registering an out-of-state Locost. Not quite a Caterham but it will do for your purposes. Registration transferred from Alabama to California. Switch was performed at the local AAA office. The car was registered as a 1972 Lotus Seven in Alabama and transferred over as the same. The clerk at AAA noted the 1 VIN # (that's all the car had) and filled out the proper DMV form, license plates were in hand after 20 minutes.

      If necessary, you can obtain an SPCNS registration number but this will require CHP, BAR, and Brake and Light inspections.
      Aaron

      2001 CMC Locost Frame/2003 Yamaha R1 w/6spd sequential

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      • #4
        I went to the DMV today and talked to clerk there. She said if the car is properly registered in another state then all I would have to do is bring in the signed-over title to start the registration process. No SB100 hassle involved given the car has been registered elsewhere. It would, however, have to pass California emissions. While the car in question has a catalytic converter, I have no way of knowing if it would pass at this point.

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        • #5
          If it was registered as a modern car (after 72 or so) then I don't think you can just register normally. Smog checks would be a real hassle as Caterham is not in their books... then it goes to what car the motor came out of; more hassle.
          Mopho will probably be on here soon to tell you how he did it but I think it still was SB100

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          • #6
            I've looked at a couple of out-of-state cars that are registered in the mid 2000s range.

            As I said earlier, both cars have a catalytic converter but I have no way of knowing if either has all the necessary emissions gear in place or if they would pass a smog check.

            I brought up SB100 with the clerk at the DMV and she said, not necessary since the car was already assembled, titled and licensed in another state. She said bring the car in so they can verify the vehicle is real and conforms with the title and then get it smogged and that's it. She made it sound so simple that I fear it can't be right. Of course, if it did get somehow successfully pass the smog check then I'll have to have it done every two years rather than being smog exempt like I hear some other SB100 cars are.

            I mean, how do all these other kit car and street rod guys do it here in California? Most I see have engines that are nowhere near being Calif. emissions legal.

            By the way, she said currently the SB100 certificates for 2012 are in the low four hundreds and are pretty much stalled. She last last year they never got out of the three hundred range.
            Last edited by Nick O'Teen; April 16, 2012, 07:20 PM.

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            • #7
              The advantages of an SB 100 car are too great to register the car any other way, in my opinion. An CA car should come along pretty soon if you are patient. Worth the wait to avoid smog/DMV for the life of the car.

              Potentially, you could be forced to use the original donor motor gas tank and exhaust system on your 7, which will never work. A large can of syphlitic foul tasting worms.

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              • #8
                My understanding is that if the car was registered in another state as say a 1968 Lotus you should be good. As long as it has a pollution control valve.

                The DVM also has a system for dealing with Kit Cars previously registered. It was SB1578 or something when they passed it. You can't really look it up by the numbers as they get reused.

                Continue doing your research on this and other forums. Also check the DMV website for information on specially constructed vehicles.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Check our for sale section, there are two or three cars listed there. I think all from out of state. You'll need to go back two months.

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                  • #10
                    I registered my out of state 04 Caterham and it was no problem. While I don't remember all the details now, it was in fact a bit easier ( at least it was 4 years ago) than doing one that was freshly built here. What you need to get is an SB1578 which is a variation on the SB100.

                    If the car you are looking at is previously registered in another state as a +/- 1960 era Lotus 7 you can probably get away with a normal registration process, but if it is registered as late model Caterham, a specialty construction vehicle, or recreation, etc, you will have to go through the SB100/SB1578 process

                    The problem isn't really whether the car has a catalytic converter or not, it is more to do with the fact that the car doesn't have all the rest of the emission and safety systems that the computer is looking for. When they hook up the computer (if the car even has an OBDII, which mine didn't), your ECU needs to show the correct codes for the vapor recovery systems, airbags, etc, etc,.....
                    www.morgansegal.com

                    The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

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                    • #11
                      A quick search turned up this thread from 2009 on the subject. There were a few others as well.
                      | | Sean

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                      • #12
                        I don't know why everyone thinks the SB100 process is so difficult. I didn't have any difficulty what so ever. The only issue in recent years was actually getting a number. This hasn't been the case for either of the last couple of years. I had to get it smogged (so will you), I had to see the CHP about the VIN (you won't) which was no big deal, and I had to do the B&L (you won't), which was laughable. Oh, and I had to go get my license, which was very rewarding. :-D

                        Build a car sez I. It's the way to do it.
                        Chris
                        ------------
                        A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mopho View Post
                          If the car you are looking at is previously registered in another state as a +/- 1960 era Lotus 7 you can probably get away with a normal registration process, but if it is registered as late model Caterham, a specialty construction vehicle, or recreation, etc, you will have to go through the SB100/SB1578 process
                          I kind of doubt a 'normal registration' would work, they will verify the VIN when bring a car in from another state. A Caterham VIN will not match any Lotus 60's VIN. They would probably defer the verification to CHP. This could get sticky depending on the VIN and documents you have. I would think you would end up as a SPCNS registration regardless. Better to have it correctly registered. CA DMV/CHP seem to have this correct where some states are a bit lax.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by robolt7 View Post
                            I kind of doubt a 'normal registration' would work, they will verify the VIN when bring a car in from another state. A Caterham VIN will not match any Lotus 60's VIN. They would probably defer the verification to CHP. This could get sticky depending on the VIN and documents you have. I would think you would end up as a SPCNS registration regardless. Better to have it correctly registered. CA DMV/CHP seem to have this correct where some states are a bit lax.
                            I may be wrong, but I believe people have done it. When I moved to California I brought with me a 1967 Lotus Elan, they didn't even check the VIN, it was the easiest registration I've ever done. They don't have any database for a 60's Lotus VIN#, so they have nothing to compare to. If you showed up claiming to have a 60's Lotus and it was previously documented as such in another state, it is doubtful they will question it.
                            Last edited by mopho; September 14, 2012, 11:55 PM.
                            www.morgansegal.com

                            The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Went through it earlier this year 2012, moved back to CA after a 10+ year absence. They did verify the VIN's on all my cars (they inspected each car).
                              I got pretty familiar with my DMV after 5 cars, they were always courteous, knowledgeable and helpful.
                              They did not have a database per se for the older and unique cars, but had documents on where and what they should look like.
                              They knew what the format of the VIN of the Lotus should look like, For any VIN questions they would defer to the CHP.
                              If the car is what is it there would be no issues.
                              For the Caterham, the option I had was SPCNS and that is what I did (CHP,SPCNS, BAR, B&L).
                              Maybe things have changed, or I had a different experience. Regardless it worked fine for me.

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