Car Registration & Titling Bill Signed Into Law in Massachusetts

Nov 12, 2010

Massachusetts recently became the 21st state to enact into law a version of SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods, custom vehicles, replicas and specially constructed vehicles.

“After five years of working with the legislature on various iterations of this bill, we are extremely grateful to State Representative Carolyn Dykema, in addition to Representative Brian Dempsey, Representative Joseph Wagner, Representative Charles Murphy and Senator Steven Baddour and their staffs for taking it over the last hurdle,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald.

The new law defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948.

Replica vehicles are defined as being assembled by a non-manufacturer from new or used parts that replicate an earlier year, make and model vehicle.

Specially constructed vehicles are those reconstructed or assembled by a non-manufacturer from new or used parts that have an exterior that does not replicate or resemble any other manufactured vehicle.

Replica vehicles will be assigned a certificate of title bearing both the year in which the vehicle was built and the make, model and year of the vehicle intended to be replicated.

Under the new law, street rods and custom vehicles are exempted from emissions inspection requirements.

In a compromise made with the state air-quality regulators, the measure also provides that specially constructed and replica vehicles which are registered on or before April 30, 2012, will be exempted from emissions inspection requirements.

Specially constructed and replica vehicles registered after April 30, 2012, will be subject to emissions-control requirements based on the model year and configuration of the engine installed, whether the engine is an original equipment manufacturer’s production engine, rebuilt engine or crate engine.

Former Methuen City Councilman Joe Leone worked to educate lawmakers and regulators on the positive benefits that this bill would have on the enthusiast community.

“We are deeply indebted to Joe for his determined efforts to get the bill through the legislature,” said McDonald. “He helped to ensure that this pro-hobby bill would receive attention from lawmakers. Special thanks are also due to Factory Five Racing, Chop-Shop Customs, Dominators Car Club and Mass Cruisers Car Club.”

“This new law simply recognizes the immeasurable amount of time, money and attention automotive hobbyists invest in their cars,” said McDonald. “For many vehicle enthusiasts in Massachusetts and throughout America, building, maintaining and enjoying their vehicles is a favorite pastime. This new law represents an opportunity to acknowledge their commitment to the hobby and to protect it for future generations.”

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