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SB100 Registration in California

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  • SB100 Registration in California

    I started the registration process today and, okay, I'm confused. I am, however, better informed than the clerk who processed my paperwork at the DMV :shock: . Here are a few questions - if anyone can shed some light, please help!
    (1) From the DMV website, I understand that I should expect to receive an SPCNS certificate with a sequence number in 7 to 10 days. I'm worried that the less-than-enlightened DMV clerk :shock: , who had never heard of SB100, handed back my Application for Registration along with a receipt for the application fee that I paid. If I should have received a certificate at the DMV, or if DMV should have kept the Application for processing, I'm already hosed.

    (2) Is the sole purpose of the CHP vehicle verification to determine that the chassis number matches the number I wrote in the DMV Application for Registration? Does CHP do any other kind of check on the car?

    (3) At what point in the process does someone with appropriate authority decide what my car is? The DMV clerk didn't know, didn't care, said someone else will work it out. The website suggests that a "BAR referee" will decide. Is that the guy at the smog station? Do I simply tell the guy that "this little yellow car should be classified as a 1960 Lotus Seven" and expect him to agree? What's to stop him/her from classifying it as some obscure piece of military hardware? Specifically, what evidence do I need to support the classification, other than my natural charm and good looks?

    (4) Apart from the brake light inspection, is there any point in this process when someone who hates people with little yellow cars will crawl over mine and check for general roadworthiness - e.g. compliance of seatbelts with DOT, etc? Or does the DMV simply rely on my certification (in the Rego Application form) that everything is compliant? Where I come from it would be impossible to register a car without a thorough inspection.

    Again, any help here would be much appreciated.

  • #2

    The Certificate of Sequence comes to you in the mail from DMV, not at the counter when you file the application. If you're not sure that the process worked you might want to go back to the DMV and recheck.

    Rich H.


    • #3

      Surf to to download my step-by-step instructions for the registration.

      Answers to your questions:
      (1) You will get your certificate from Sacramento.

      (2) No. Since the VIN is not visible from the outside, they will affix a "replacement VIN" tag just behind your windshield. I asked nicely and got the same replacement VIN as my real VIN. I removed the screws holding the windshield so that I could flip it forward in order to let the CHP officer affix the replacement VIN tag.

      (3) The smog guy decides it. Tell him that you want your car to be a 1965 car. Bring your smog exemption certificate. Or actually bring all the paperwork you have.

      (4) Nope. Make sure that all your lights are functional, including the reverse and license plate bulbs. Make sure that the high beam blue indicator on your dash board is functional. You may run into trouble adjusting your lights since the Caterham lenses does not have the little glass bumps on them that lets the adjuster synch up his equipment. Call them first and check that this is OK.

      Over all, the DMV and CHP are remarkably accepting when it comes to specially constructed vehicles.

      Mail me at [email protected] if you think I can help you further.

      /Magnus F.


      • #4
        I forgot to add that a main purpose of the CHP stop is a check - that you may not be aware has happened - to see that the vehicle is not stolen, or illegal in any other way that CHP monitors. Its a bit of a misnomer to call it a VIN "verification". The key feature of the number that the CHP affixes is the official seal that is applied to it as the last step.

        Rich H.


        • #5
          I just got back from the DMV this morning. Because I didn't have a certificate of origin - I've asked why not from the dealer - they are making me post a motor vehicle bond = to the price of the car. They've also asked for a receipt for the transmission(?) which I'll need to provide. None of that was mentioned in any documentation I've read.

          The DMV clerk was very knowledgable - she'd done several before - and did what Magnus' doc said. Namely, called Sacramento for the sequence number. She told me that once the call is made the number is assigned in Sac. and they will mail out the paperwork to the applicant. I'm 2004-323 according to my the number the DMV wrote on my application for title & reg.

          They also issued me a temp operating numbered red paper thing so I can drive the car to all the appropriate locations - CHP, Smog ref. et. al., just like Magnus said in his paperwork.

          Perhaps most interesting in all of this is that the Caterham Issued VIN did not pass 'VIN check' according to the clerk. Iow, the number isn't legal here. Odd, that. Even more odd is the fact that she then used it on the temp reg paperwork.

          I hope they called Sacramento on your visit. If not, go back. The numbers are flying away. Pity the people who get cars later this year, eh?

          Has anyone out there done a car w/out a windscreen? Mine's a Superlight w/ only the deflector and I'm wondering if the CHP will require a proper windscreen. Also, I wonder if the Brooklands windscreen screen work w/ the CHiPies?

          Arcane it is but I think it's just a matter of multiple visits now. Oh, and completing the car too... anybody out there got a battery?
          A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted


          • #6
            Your dealer should have received a certificate of origin from Caterham UK. If he doesn't have it, ask the UK guys to post a new copy to you. The receipt of transmission is, if I may give it a guess, your receipt from the dealer, proving that you have purchased the kit. You will also need a receipt for the engine that must come from a different company than the dealer, as engine and kit must be sourced from different places.

            I read through the vehicle code from DMV CA about two years ago, and it stated that if the vehicle was delivered with a windshield, it cannot be removed. If you get stopped by the police, just tell them that the car was delivered with the deflector, and you should be fine. Search for the relevant paragraph.

            Sorry. No battery. I purchased a lawn mower battery and installed it instead.

            /Magnus F.


            • #7

              I have a few questions on this thread:

              1. What is the "light and brake" check. This is the first I have heard of it. What do they check and is this a new test? Has anyone else in the bay area had to go through this test?

              2. Does the BAR station test for sound levels or anything other than emisssions?

              3. There seems to be some different responses from the CHP as far as the VIN number. Some folks have had their chassis number pass, others have had numbers assigned and placed in different locations (on top of the scuttle, under the scuttle over the pedals). I'd be happy with the latter location, but not the former. I'd be interested to hear what experiences folks had...I'll be going through this in a week or so.


              Tom "ELV15" Jones


              • #8
                After you go through the checks let us know what you learned and what might be important for the rest of us to know in the future.


                • #9

                  If you haven't read it already, take a look at
        , which contains complete instructions for how to register a kit car.

                  Your questions:

                  1. They will inspect your ligthing and check that all the requirements are met.
                  Verify that your high/low beam, brake lights, high beam indicator, blinkers, and license plate light are working.

                  If you haven't done it already, you may probably take the opportunity to have your beams adjusted. This meant some trouble for me since my headlight lenses did not have the little glass bumps that the alignment equiment use to line things up.

                  The brake inspection is, (or was for me anyway), just a quick drive down the road to see that the brakes were OK.

                  You will get two postcard sized certificates from the inspector. Bring these to the DMV to show them that you have been a good citizen and had the inspections done.

                  2. No. Just emissions, and if you have a smog excempt certificate, you can produce pretty much anything you want from the tailpipe.

                  3. This is my experience on the VIN subject.
                  A replacement VIN must be associated with a Caterham since the original VIN is not visible from the outside. I managed to have them assign a replacement VIN that was equal to the original one.
                  The little plate with the replacement VIN was riveted to the scuttle as far to the left as possible, where it hasen't bothered me since.
                  The location over the pedals seems to defy the purpose of external visibility.

                  /Magnus F.


                  • #10
                    SB100 Registration in California

                    The registration process: First, try an IRS audit to set your expectations how this will go…

                    I started this at the DMV, paid my fees based on the bill of sale for the car and engine. I was given a check list of what I needed to get the car registered: I needed a brake check, a Light check, photos of the car, and a VIN number placed on the car by the CHP, a sequence number and a smog referee inspection.

                    The next step was to get the CHP to give me a VIN number. First I called the CHP, I was told “just come on down anytime.â€‌ This seemed too easy, and I was skeptical, so I drove to the CHP office and asked about this. I was told that no way can you just drop in, they were booked up, and the wait would be six weeks. I booked an appointment. Six weeks later I brought the car to the CHP office on a trailer.

                    I went inside and was told, “We do not do VIN numbers on Friday!â€‌ and “We have no record of you appointment!â€‌ I did my best sorrowful look and explained that I did have an appointment and that the cost of returning and renting a trailer and taking a day off of work would be a hardship. One of the guys said that they would try to page the VIN number guy. My friend and I waited in the CHP drive way. I took the hood off of the car and while I waited explained what a Caterham was to quite a few CHP officers. They seemed very interested and we swapped all kinds of high speed stories. Hours later I was told that they could not find the VIN number guy. One of the officers said that he would at least try. But instead he did a different form that confirmed the Caterham VIN number plate, to the numbers stamped on the chassis.

                    Now back at the DMV I submitted the VIN number verification form and the photos they asked me for. I was told the photos were wrong. They should have been of the car before I assembled it. Does anyone have a time machine? She retuned to me a new check list minus the VIN number requirement. I now had to wait for my sequence number. I waited….

                    I watched the sequence numbers drop on the DMV web site. 400 left, 300 left, 200… I decided that someone messed up my application. I went to the DMV office and waited in line for 1.5 hours. I got to the front and explained that I needed the sequence number to proceed. The person behind the counter did not have a clue of the correct process, and told me that I did not need a sequence number. I repeated what the law said, and she repeated her ignorant speech about how I did not need a sequence number. We repeated this dance for about fifteen minutes, until she got a supervisor. Note: never raise your voice, it only makes them mad.

                    I explained what I needed to her supervisor. She seemed to understand. She took my paperwork and told me to sit down. She called me about fifteen minutes later, and asked for my driver’s license number, and to sit back down. I waited some more. Next she asked for my phone number, and to sit back down. After another wait she returned. She returned and told me that my sequence number was 413, and that I would get the paper work from the head office in a week. She accepted my photos of the car, and did not say anything about needing photos of the car before I assembled it. She also returned, the check list, minus the photo requirement and the brake and light check. Hey! Was this a mistake in my favor, or did she just feel sorry for me?

                    A week later my sequence number arrived, luck 413. Now I booked an appointment with my local referee smog inspection, at Evergreen College. The car was not finished, but they said that was OK as long as the motor ran and there were no vapor or fluid leaks. I got an appointment weeks later. I put the car on a trailer and took it down to the smog station. I was told they could not do the inspection if the brakes were not working. I told them they were, and when I pushed the car into their inspection bay, I made a point of pulling up the emergency brake. (The brakes were not hooked up and the emergency brake handle did not even have the cable attached). I was told that I had to have the hoses hooked up to the crank case and head vents. I did not think this was a requirement, but I hooked it up before I got there on a whim. My car failed miserably. The Maps in the ECU were not set up, and the richness of the fuel had not been set. However, once I was told I failed, they gave me a sheet of paper that I passed the 1960 smog laws. They put a sicker on the firewall that said I was exempt from smog inspections. I am starting to feel like this is worth the hassle.

                    Another trip to the DMV, I wanted to submit this in person and pick up my custom plates, “BCNU VIâ€‌. This took several hours. I did however, leave with my plates and my final registration. I was done with the legal part of the process.
                    Rod Swanson


                    • #11
                      VIN verification

                      I went to the CHP today (the one in San Jose) and went through the VIN verification process. I had all my paperwork from the DMV, one page of which is the VIN verification form. The officer was very nice and we chatted about the car, the kit, and the motor. He inspected the VIN number on the chassis in the engine compartment (stamped on the chassis on the pedal box). He then signed the paper work and told me to have a nice day! I was pleasantly suprised. I had expected to have a new VIN issued, but the chassis number was just fine! :-)

                      Next comes the emissions inspection. Stay tuned...

                      Tom "ELV15" Jones


                      • #12
                        My trip to the ref is next Tuesday, CHP 3/5. I've been asked by the Chips to provide a bill of sale for the tranny, just as the DMV did. Interesting, I guess.

                        I'm off to the DMV about the bond they say I should post. I've received the certificate of origin so I want them to remove the bond requirement before I visit w/ the fellows in tan.

                        I reckon Tom'll beat me to it, but only just.
                        A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted


                        • #13
                          We should have a little registration party/blat once Tom's and Chris' cars are street legal...

                          /Magnus F.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by moosetestbestanden
                            Has anyone out there done a car w/out a windscreen?
                            Yes, my WCM Ultralite S2K has just the low aero-screens and it was never questioned when I registered it last year in San Diego. It also has no backup or reverse gear light, but I was never told by DMV to go to a brake and light inspection either.

                            My experience in registering the car was totally painless, but lengthy (6-weeks). I went to DMV with the MSO and bill of sale, filled out the statement of facts and was issued a 90-day temporary reg along with my SPCN sequence number. The actual certificate came in the mail a week later. I made an appointment with the CHP for the VIN inspection and that was the biggest holdup. It took a month to get in to see them. They looked at it and liked that it had the MSO and there was a VIN plate visible on the outside, so they didn't reassign a VIN #, they used mine (WCM0018). No mention of equipment shortcomings whatsoever, and I was signed off and out the door within 30 minutes, with no charge.

                            I went to the same BAR referee as Brad at SCC, they put the sniffer on it, told me it was running rich, but it was exempt, so they printed out the smog cert and stuck it on the firewall. I had brought pictures of early series Lotus 7s, but they just asked what I wanted on the cert, so I said 1957 Lotus. It is registered, however, as a 2003 SPCN, the 1957 model designation is just for smog exemption purposes. No charge for the test and cert. No pictures or video taken.

                            Back to DMV and I was issued the plates with no problem. My insurance carrier wanted some pics, though, before underwriting it.

                            Tom Tweed
                            \'67 911S (been in my family since new)
                            \'73 911E (R Gruppe #232)
                            \'78 LeGrand Mk.18 DSR
                            WCM S2K Ultralite (SCCA Solo2 D-Mod car)
                            1991 Miata (SO\'s daily driver)
                            2001 F-250 PSD (work truck and tow vehicle)


                            • #15
                              has anyone obtained personalized plates?

                              I always thought personalized plates were for dweebs, but now I'm thinking of getting some. However I am only two weeks away from completing the SB100 registration process and the DMV website indicates that the waiting time for personalized plates is 8 -12 weeks. I don't want to do anything to screw up the registration process, so I'm wondering - has anyone obtained personalized plates in the course of the registration process? Any thoughts? (It's okay to comment on the dweebishness or otherwise of doing this. My wife thinks it is a total waste of money.)