More classic cars coming soon!


There could be more classic cars hitting the road soon – cars that look like classics, that is.

The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 was passed last December by Congress as part of The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015. This act allows small companies to produce and sell replicas of classic cars without subjecting them to the expensive safety and emissions tests the major automakers’ vehicles must undergo. Under the new law, registered companies would be allowed to produce and sell up to 325 finished cars in the U.S. each year. Each vehicle would be issued a federal Vehicle Identification Number.

The bill, technically referred to as H.R. 2675, was co-sponsored by Reps. Gene Green (D-Texas) and Mark Mullin (R-Okla.) and is supported by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). SEMA is a non-profit organization that represents the interests of the aftermarket parts and kit car industries.

H.R. 2675 requires that the engines being installed in new replica and kit cars be modern engines that have already been certified by their manufacturers to meet current emissions standards. They also must meet many other federal safety regulations applicable to automobile manufacturing.

A curious part of the bill requires the vehicles to be exact visual replicas of existing classic vehicles that are at least 25 years old. In other words, they cannot be unique, modern car designs. Stuart Gosswein, SEMA’s senior director of government affairs, said previous attempts to create a broader definition of car designs faced opposition from some of the major automakers. They insisted that the bill only allow car designs from the past.

According to SEMA, H.R. 2675 establishes a separate regulatory structure within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for replica car manufacturers. Replicar 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.

Gosswein predicts the impact on the auto industry will initially be small, eventually accounting for only about 1,500 cars a year, but even that number could create hundreds of jobs nationwide. Long term, of course, this bill should help catalyze hundreds of other small start-up companies and thousands of jobs nationwide.

Article Courtesy of: Len Stoler Dodge Chrysler


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