Washington State Poised to Take Its Place as Hot Rod Nirvana Washington Governor to Sign Street Rod and Custom Vehicle Bill Into Law on April 18, 2011 Anyone who has ever tried to license a homebuilt car knows how difficult it can be to title and register it. Not only is the process lengthy, it's frustratingly arduous. But all that is about to change. On Monday, April 18, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire will sign into law Senate Bill 5585, which will enact new classifications for custom vehicles, street rods, hot rods, kit cars, replicas, etc. According to State Senator Michael Carrell, sponsor of the bill (and collector, restorer, and avid car enthusiast in his own right), the new classifications will help streamline the registering and titling process, making it faster and a whole lot easier to take that creation of yours to the street. "If someone puts a 2009 Ford engine in the body of a 1949 Ford Coupe," says Senator Carrell in a written press release, "there shouldn't be any confusion about how to legally license the vehicle. Moreover, if someone builds a car from the ground up from scrap parts, aftermarket items or custom-manufactured pieces, it could be classified any number of different ways. The new law will establish constancy, and clarify previously unclear registration requirements." Classifications will break down as follows: Altered vehicles manufactured before 1949 will be categorized as street rods, and altered vehicles at least 30 years old and manufactured after 1948 will be categorized as customs. Kit cars and replica vehicles will be assigned certificates of title bearing the same model years as the production vehicles they most closely resemble. The law will also acknowledge that original parts may no longer be available, and that technological advancements have created improved materials. It will allow for the use of non-original components and will create a titling criterion that assigns these vehicles the same model year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble. Further, the law will exempt street rods and customs from a range of standard equipment requirements and emissions inspections; vehicles in this class will be held to standards applicable to the designated model year. Finally, the use of "blue dot" taillights will be permitted, a favorite among restorers of classic automobiles. Mike Dingell, director of the SEMA Action Network (SAN), who worked closely with Senator Carrell to draft the original bill, expressed great satisfaction with the new law. "This type of legislation is a top priority for SAN," he says. "We want enthusiasts to express themselves by building their dream cars and to share them and enjoy them on America's streets." Similar laws have been successful in helping hobbyists title their rides in 21 other states, and SAN is working to add more to that list. Larry Johnson of Corvette & High Performance and producer of a yearly swap meet in Puyallup, was a great proponent of the bill. "I urged my legislators to vote in favor of it," he says. "It offers a much more rational approach to vehicle equipment requirements for hot rods, customs and kit or replica cars. We owe a big thank you to Mike Carrell for sponsoring the bill, and to all of those in the hobby and industry who took action to let their legislators know of their interests. It definitely made a difference." To say thanks to Senator Carrell, send your message to him in care of Michelle.Lewis@leg.wa.gov. Anyone wishing to attend the bill signing ceremony in the Governor's Conference Room in Olympia as a guest of Senator Carrell's should contact Michelle Lewis at (360) 786-7654 or by e-mail at Michelle.Lewis@leg.wa.gov. To say thanks for the help from SEMA/SAN, you can contact Mike Dingell by email at email@example.com.