Beginning on July 1, kit/replica/component car buyers in Virginia will be able to title their vehicles in a different way. It seems the Virginia General Assembly has approved a new law allowing these vehicles to be registered as whatever model year the replica represents. The big advantage there lies in the fact that owners will be getting around those knuckle- and wallet-busting safety and emissions requirements for newly-built cars. This means Virginia will be joining Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Montana and Rhode Island as states with similar titling laws on the books.
But lest you think this gives you carte blanche to build your own backyard burner and terrorize the local citizenry, know that there are some restrictions. First of all, the law defines a replica as "a vehicle not fully constructed by a licensed manufacturer but either constructed or assembled from components." Secondly, as a gesture of good will between thankful hobbyists and concerned officials, "replica vehicles titled under this law will be limited to no more than 5,000 miles per year as shown by the vehicle's odometer." So it has to be a true kit car, not a tuner, and you have to keep your driving down to about 100 miles per weekend or 400 miles a month.
In particular this will help manufacturers of cars like the Shelby Cobra kits we see all over the place. In fact, the Cobra clubs in Virginia were instrumental in getting this bill passed. Being heavily involved in the industry, the Specialty Equipment Market Association ( SEMA) was also part of the process. SEMA has actually been at the forefront in encouraging states to pass this kind of legislation. They are also working on similar initiatives in Florida, Arkansas, New York, Massachusetts and Nevada.