New law paves way for more replica vintage cars

The recently-passed $305-billion highway bill will make it much easier for replicas of vintage cars to rumble down the road. Under part of the new law, companies can sell up to 325 reproductions with a full powertrain annually of a model that's at least 25 years old. After certification from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency, these vehicles don't have to meet crash safety standards or state pollution tests, but they do need to pass current federal emissions rules.

Customers previously had to install their own powertrain into a replica to fit within the law, and makers like Superformance already welcome the updated rules. The business promises to offer licensed turnkey versions of its Shelby Cobra, Ford GT40, and Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport. "Now that we will be recognized by the government as a low volume manufacturer, customers can walk in, buy a car and drive away just like any other new vehicle purchase, which will also streamline financing, registration, and insurance options," company CEO Lance Stander said in a statement.

Factory Five president Dave Smith helped shape the legislation and told Autoblog the law could be "exciting for export." Because these vehicles now have government certification, countries that follow our rules can accept owners registering these vehicles. After ramping up in the next 12 to 18 months, Factory Five could ship its Cobra or 1933 Hot Rod (pictured above) to a customer in a place like Bahrain, according to Smith.

While 325 examples seems low, Smith said these replicas often come from cottage manufacturers that make five or 10 of them a year. He expects only firms like Factory Five and Superformance have enough volume to reach that limit. The models can't hit the street immediately because NHTSA and the EPA have 12 months to enact the rules. These vehicles are also still subject to intellectual property laws, so a design must be in the public domain or the maker needs a license to build it.
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07/12/15 from SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association)

Washington, DC (December 7, 2015) – It's a new era for the kit car industry. President Obama signed into law legislation that will permit low volume car manufacturers to produce turn-key replica vehicles for customers nationwide. The SEMA-supported provision is part of a larger highway construction bill. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) introduced the "Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015" in June, legislation that SEMA has pursued since 2011. It received strong bi-partisan support and was inserted into the highway bill.

"With this new law, Congress has demonstrated that it understands the importance of enabling U.S. companies to produce classic-themed vehicles that are virtually impossible to build under the current one-size-fits-all regulatory framework," said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. "This program will create auto sector jobs and meet consumer demand for cars that help preserve our American heritage."

The low volume provision allows small automakers to construct up to 325 such replica cars a year subject to federal regulatory oversight. Replica cars resemble production vehicles manufactured at least 25 years ago. The U.S. currently has just one system for regulating automobiles, which was established in the 1960s and designed for companies that mass-produce millions of vehicles. The law recognizes the unique challenges faced by companies that produce a small number of custom cars.

The measure establishes a separate regulatory structure within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for replica car manufacturers. The companies are required to register with NHTSA and EPA and submit annual reports on the vehicles they produce. The vehicles are required to meet current model year emissions standards, although companies are permitted to install engines from other EPA-certified vehicles to help achieve that requirement.

"This law gives enthusiasts the opportunity to buy turn-key replica cars while preserving their option to build one from a kit," said SEMA Chairman of the Board Doug Evans. "It recognizes the unique circumstances associated with limited production replica vehicles, such as the '32 Roadster and '65 Cobra, which are primarily used in exhibitions, parades and occasional transportation. With enactment of this new law, kit car companies and SEMA member companies that supply equipment and components can take advantage of this unique opportunity."

About SEMA
SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, represents the $36 billion specialty automotive industry of 6,814 member-companies. It is the authoritative source for research, data, trends and market growth information for the specialty auto parts industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles. For more information, contact SEMA at 1575 S. Valley Vista Dr., Diamond Bar, CA 91765, tel: 909-610-2030, or visit

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Key Points for Media

H.R. 22, the "Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act"


NHTSA Provisions


• The Motor Vehicle Safety Act is amended to add an exemption for low volume manufacturers [49 U.S.C. § 30114]

• A "low volume manufacturer" is a motor vehicle manufacturer whose annual worldwide production (including by a parent or subsidiary of the manufacturer) is not more than 5,000 motor vehicles each year.

• A low volume manufacturer may construct and sell up to 325 replica vehicles in the U.S. each year.

• A replica vehicle is a vehicle that resembles the body of another motor vehicle produced at least 25 years ago. The vehicle is subject to a license agreement for the intellectual property rights for the replicated vehicle from the original manufacturer, its successor/assignee or the current owner of the replicated vehicle's intellectual property rights.

• Replica vehicles will be treated as an assemblage of automobile equipment and subject to any current motor vehicle equipment safety standards (lighting, tires, windshields, brake hoses, etc.). They are exempt from safety standards that apply to motor vehicles (roof crush, side impact, bumper standard, etc.). The exemption recognizes that it is impractical to apply current model year standards to vehicles designed decades ago (ex: 1930's roadster) or crash a vehicle when only a few are being produced.

• Replica vehicles are exempt from the country of original labeling requirement, fuel economy ratings and the Monroney label requirement.

• Replica vehicle manufacturers are required to register with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and file annual production reports. NHTSA has 90 days to approve or deny the registration application (and 30 more days if the application is incomplete). Once approved, a registration may be revoked if the company fails to comply with the program requirements or if NHTSA issues a finding of a safety-related defect which the company has not corrected.

• A permanent label is to be affixed to the vehicle identifying the standards from which the vehicle is exempt and designating the model year that the vehicle replicates. NHTSA may require that the manufacturer provide a written notice of the exemption(s) to the dealer and first purchaser.

• Aside from the provided exemptions, replica vehicle manufacturers will be treated as motor vehicle manufacturers subject to recordkeeping and defect/noncompliance notification and remedy requirements.

• Replica vehicles are subject to state titling and registration laws and regulations.

EPA Provisions


• Section 206(a) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7525(a)) is amended to allow the replica vehicle to be equipped with a motor vehicle engine (including all engine emissions control equipment) which is already covered by an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certificate of conformity for the current model year in which the replica vehicle is produced. The replica vehicle will then be deemed emissions compliant.

• The EPA will also deem the replica vehicle as being emissions compliant if the installed motor vehicle engine (including all engine emissions control equipment) has received an Executive Order from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for the model year in which the replica vehicle is produced.

• The replica vehicle manufacturer must install the engine in accordance with instructions provided by the engine manufacturer and self-certify the installation.

• The replica vehicle manufacturer must affix emission control labels to the vehicle and provide the customer with emission control warranty information from the engine manufacturer, including where warranty repairs can be made, along with the EPA certificate of conformity number for the vehicle in which the engine was originally intended or the applicable CARB Executive Order (EO) number.

• Replica vehicles are exempt from state-based emissions testing since the vehicles will have current model year engines.

• Replica vehicle manufacturers are required to register with EPA and file annual production reports that include a description of the engine installed and the applicable vehicle certificate of conformity number or CARB EO number.

• Except as otherwise provided, the replica vehicle manufacturer will be considered a vehicle manufacturer subject to applicable regulations, including being subject to civil penalties for compliance failures.

NHTSA and the EPA will have 12 months after enactment to issue any necessary regulations to implement the law.


With the passing of the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015, Superformance will offer turn-key versions of its highly sought-after sports cars, including the Shelby Licensed MkII and MkIII Roadsters, the Safir Licensed GT40, GM Licensed Corvette Grand Sport and Continuation Shelby Cobra and Shelby Daytona Coupe.

Irvine, Calif. (December 8, 2015) – For over a decade, Superformance has set the standard for replica and continuation cars with its line of factory built and assembled "Rolling Chassis" vehicles. Now, with the passage of the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015, Superformance will now be able to offer its officially-licensed Shelby, Ford, and Chevrolet continuation cars as well as its Superformance replica cars as complete ready-to-run vehicles, streamlining the purchase and registration process for its customers.

Factory-built replicas have quickly become the best way for fans of motorsport icons like the Shelby Cobra, Shelby Daytona Coupe, Ford GT40, and Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport to realize their dream of getting behind the wheel of one of these legendary automobiles. Offering quality, craftsmanship, fit and finish well beyond the run-of-the-mill "kit car," Superformance's vehicles bring together classic looks and modern build quality in a made-to-order package that is ready to accept whatever powertrain option the customer wants. Thanks to the efforts of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), Superformance will now be able to offer these vehicles as brand new, ready-to-run cars with a federally-assigned VIN tag and a compliant modern powertrain.

"After years of building the best continuation and replica cars in the world we are thrilled to finally offer our customers the option to buy a turn-key car right off the showroom floors of our dealers," said Lance Stander, CEO of Superformance, LLC. "Now that we will be recognized by the government as a low volume manufacturer, customers can walk in, buy a car and drive away just like any other new vehicle purchase, which will also streamline financing, registration and insurance options. I want to thank SEMA – and its Washington DC office in particular – for the valiant effort they have put forth in getting this invaluable piece of legislation passed."

After nearly five years of working with Congress, SEMA was able to get its "Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act" included with the highway funding bill, which was signed into law this past Friday, December 5th, 2015. This bill allows for manufacturers of replica vehicles, like Superformance, to build up to 325 vehicles per year under oversight of both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as long as they meet current model year emissions standards.

Details on the new turn-key Superformance models that comply with the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act will be released soon. For more information on the "Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015," visit For more information on Superformance and its line of replica and continuation vehicles, visit or call (800) 297-6253.


Superformance LLC is a distributor for complete, "Rolling Chassis" replica and continuation race cars of the 1960's. Superformance has distributed specially constructed cars in the United States for over 20 years. As one of the first players in the industry, Superformance has over 20 independent dealerships throughout the world. We have earned our reputation with our attention to detail, quality, craftsmanship, fit, finish and customer service. Superformance LLC has a long standing relationship and build contract with Hi-Tech Automotive who is the world's largest specialty car production facility. Together Superformance and Hi-Tech have produced and distributed more than 4000 rolling chassis worldwide.

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