Has the thought of assembling a replica vehicle turned you off of buying one? Thanks to Congress, you will soon be able to buy a factory-direct turnkey model.
The recently-passed $305-billion highway bill, Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act 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.
First they must receive certification from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency and they do need to pass current federal emissions rules, but these vehicles don’t have to meet crash safety standards or state pollution tests.
Kit car customers previously had to install their own powertrain into a replica to stay within legal parameters. Companies like Superformance plan 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.
The news gets even more exciting for manufacturers, because they would be able to export as well. These vehicles will now have government certification. So countries that follow our rules can allow owners registering these vehicles.
Now 325 vehicles may sound like a low number, but most of these replicas come from very small manufacturers building only five to ten per year. Only larger firms like Factory Five or Superformance have enough volume to reach that limit.
These vehicles are still subject to intellectual property laws, so a design must be in the public domain or the maker needs a license to build it.
This program is also great for the economy, creating jobs in the automotive sector and meeting consumer demand for cars that protect our heritage. It is indeed the beginning of a new era for the kit car industry.