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Registering out-of-state vehicles as SPCNS

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  • Registering out-of-state vehicles as SPCNS


    There have been a few nice looking cars for sale recently that are registered outside of CA. There's lots of great information out there already on the SB100 process for when you build a car. I'm less clear on the best way to register a used car from out of state so that it is smog exempt.

    In short, if I buy a used seven from out of state, can I register it via the SPCNS process if it comes with all of the original documentation:
    • The manufacturers certificate of origin
    • Receipts for kit (or body and frame separate), engine, and transmission

    And does the out-of-state title year matter? Most out of state cars seem to be titled with recent years (probably their year of construction), but even if it's titled as a 1960, from what I've read it's still probably better to ignore that and go through the SPCNS process, if that's possible.

    Does anyone have any experience with this process?

    And a related question -- if a car in CA was NOT registered via SB100, does SB1578 allow one to re-register it as a smog-exempt SPCNS?


  • #2

    Hi, I went through this earlier this year. The MSO seemed to be the critical piece of information. If you have that, it doesn't really matter what the original cost of the components were, value will be set by what you paid for the car. The good news is that the sucky economy is making the SB100 allotment last considerably longer. I was #250 out of 500 slots, and that was in April! I was told they were lasting till almost the end of the year.

    If you have the MSO, you'll fill out the SB-100 form, have to get a CHP inspection, then go to a BAR referee to get a sticker. That's where they'll choose the smog year. After that, back to the DMV to turn in all the paperwork!

    Good luck!



    • #3
      1. Apparently the numbers are not given out in order. I've a friend that's helped register several cars and he'll get an earlier number later in the year than the one he did earlier.
      2. If the car was registered in another state as a '1965 Lotus Super Seven' you may be able to just register it in California as a 1965 Lotus Super Seven wihtout going thru the SPCN process. You want to be sure the year it is registered as in the other state is old enough to be smog exempt. If not use the 1578 route.
      3. If you cannot register it as in #2 you should be able to do it under 1578.
      4. In California you surrender the MSO when you register it and get the number and pink slip. The 1578 process has a way to deal with that. I've not done this but others have and may add their $0.02 worth.

      DMV no longer calls it SB100 or SB1578 as the numbers get reassigned in the next session.

      If any of the above is incorrect feel free to correct me.

      Go to DMV and ask questions, check the DMV website, it may be well documented on this or other websites.



      • #4
        Thanks, that's just what I was hoping to hear! If the MSO isn't available, are there any options?


        • #5
          There may be other options but I'd insist on either the MSO or the ownership certificate.

          Check with the DMV and have them show you in writing, don't rely on what some clerk tells you about other options.


          • #6
            I can't help with the SB100 question.

            But I can confirm what Doug says about registering as the same year from an out-of-state title.

            I bought a Locost that was registered as a 1972 Lotus Seven in Alabama. Brought the registration to my local AAA (Alabama does not issue title for pre-1975 vehicles) and in 20 minutes had my plates and registration. Had to fill out a form (DMV Reg343) and the AAA rep came out to inspect the VIN plate and check for any additional VIN plates (there were none). FWIW, the previous owner/builder had purchased a blank Lotus VIN plate from the UK, stamped it himself, and riveted the plate to the sheetmetal in the engine bay. It looked very official.

            Since it is 1972 model year, no smog. Which helps since it's a turbo Miata motor.


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