There's A New VIN Law That Car Restorers Are Going To Love

Classic Cars / 2 Comments

No more VIN removal headaches.

The kind folks at Barrett-Jackson deserve the automotive heroes of the week award. Thanks to their efforts, a new Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) law came into effect last week.

Removing the VIN during a restoration project and putting it back once the work is done is no longer illegal, which means owners of restored cars will no longer have to battle through a million miles of red tape to get a vehicle registered.

Barrett-Jackson lobbied the Arizona House of Representatives and Arizona State Senate, resulting in Governor Doug Ducey signing a new bill that allows owners and restorers of pre-1981 vehicles to remove and replace a VIN during the restoration process.


In an interview with ClassicCars, Barrett-Jackson's president, Steve Davis, said the legislation is significant and beneficial because restorers often remove the VIN, not knowing that it's illegal. "Our motivation to do this was primarily for our hobby's health and future to keep the collector car universe alive and well and keep those restorations coming," said Davis.

This change in legislation has been a long time coming, and the inspiration likely comes from a 2017 case. A man purchased a restored 1959 Chevrolet Corvette in Kansas, but the car was confiscated when he tried to register it in Indiana. Kansas law required the vehicle to be crushed, but Governor Lauren Kelly came to the rescue in March 2022, signing a bill that allowed for the temporary removal of the VIN plate.

“This is a precedent-setting moment that people will look at and then want to emulate this legislation in their states."

Barrett-Jackson went to work in Arizona in 2021. "We were aware of the archaic statute making it a crime to remove a VIN, and finally, we said something needed to be done," said Davis.

According to Barrett-Jackson, VIN laws in other states date back to the 1940s and 1950s, when lawmakers couldn't possibly comprehend that cars made in that era would one day be restored. The laws were also aimed at car thieves and not car lovers who spent a lot of money and time building something special.

The 1981 cut-off date is not random, but rather because vehicles produced after '81 were made using a more standardized VIN system. The law will have to be amended at some point, as cars from that era become more desirable.

This is a solid victory for car enthusiasts, but only Kansas and Arizona have made changes at the time of writing.

"This is a precedent-setting moment that people will look at and then want to emulate this legislation in their states," said Davis.

Source Credits: ClassicCars

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