Washington State Poised to Take its Place as Hot Rod Nirvana

SEMA Model Street Rod and Custom Bill Passes in Washington State Senate
Unfortunately, in some places, it remains extremely difficult to title and register homebuilt vehicles like customs, street rods, hot rods, and kit cars. Thankfully, SAN is on the case and actively promoting legislation that will alleviate that problem for the enthusiast community by streamlining the process. Its model language gets these rides out of the garage and onto the road — where they belong!

The most recent example of this legislation is right here in Washington. State  This year, Senate Bill 5585 was sponsored by State Senator Mike Carrell, a car guy himself. This much-needed piece of legislation would create a vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles. Lawmakers in Olympia understand the need for SB5585 and the State Senate recently passed the bill in a unanimous 48 to 0 vote. The bill is now pending consideration in the State House of Representatives. As Senator Carrell said, “These folks have a passion for restoring old cars or building something new and one-of-a-kind out of parts gathered from a dozen different cars. This bill will establish constancy in state law and clarify previously unclear registration requirements.” Working with Senator Carrell and his staff, the SAN played a critical role in drafting amendments to the bill to accommodate Washington’s unique requirements.

SB5585 provides guidance for registering and titling street rods and customs, including kit cars and replicas. When enacted into law, Washington enthusiasts will no longer arrive at their local DMV office and denied a means of putting their creations on the road. Moreover, the bill acknowledges that original parts may have “dried up” and that technological advancements have created improved materials. SB5585 allows for the use of non-original components and creates a titling criterion that assigns these vehicles the same model year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble. Another important cornerstone of the bill is that it exempts street rods and customs from a range of standard equipment requirements and emissions inspections. Vehicles classified under this class will be held to standards applicable to the designated model year, not those of 2011 and beyond. Finally, SB5585 also permits the use of “blue dot” taillights, a favorite among restorers of classic automobiles.

“This type of legislation is a top priority for SAN on behalf of the nation’s enthusiasts,” said Mike Dingell, director of the SEMA Action Network (SAN). “We want enthusiasts to express themselves by building their dream cars and to share them and enjoy them on America’s streets,” he continued. Versions of our model bill have been successful in helping hobbyists title their rides in 21 states to date and we are working to add more to that list. This year, similar SAN model titling and registration legislation is also pending consideration in New York, Texas, and New Mexico.