Nobody likes the bureaucracy that comes with building your own car or importing one from a different country, but in life, we can only expect death, taxes, and unnecessarily complex rules surrounding the legalities of specialized turnkey cars. The good news is that last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finalized new regulations that will allow for the sale of turnkey replicas of cars at least 25 years of age.
The law was passed back in 2015 under the Obama administration, but as can be expected, its implementation was delayed due to do mountains of red tape over at the NHTSA.
The new regulations will allow small-scale manufacturers who build less than 5,000 cars per year to assemble 325 replica cars on an annual basis. The car has to be at least 25 years old. This comes as great news for niche manufacturers, who in the past have had to pay the same regulatory fees charged to large manufacturers. To circumvent this, these companies usually sold their cars in kit form, meaning all the parts to build the car would come separately packaged, and would need assembly, almost like a lego set. Powertrain options would also be sold separately. There will still be some serious hoops to jump through, but the process has been drastically simplified.
The new regulations stipulate that replica cars will still need the proper certification from NHTSA and the Environmental Protection Agency (including a passing score on federal emissions rules), but can luckily skip all those boring safety standards and individual state pollution tests. The new regulation will open up many opportunities for kit car manufacturers such as Factory Five which produces a Shelby Cobra replica, and Cape Advanced Vehicles with their Ford GT replica.