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Street registered 458 Challenge

Discussion in 'Challenge/GT Cars' started by Col. Kurtz, Feb 16, 2021.

  1. foresterguy

    foresterguy Rookie

    May 22, 2015
    34
    Full Name:
    Steve L.
    Driving a '96 and up Challenge car on the street is taking a big chance, as Ira and others here have said. They aren't legal on U.S. roads, period. There are loopholes in various states where some have been able to get a title and therefore a registration and plates...and even insurance in some cases, but that doesn't mean it's legal. I for one wouldn't want to be involved in an accident where someone was injured. I know in at least one case from several years back a forum member was threatened with a lawsuit from the state they had titled their 360C in after the state was notified by Ferrari (see below).

     
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  3. deimh

    deimh Karting

    Sep 4, 2016
    56
    Windsor, UK
    Full Name:
    David
    I suppose there is "legal" and legal ;)

    But there are ways of doing ot properly and almost anything can be made totally legal - if one wants to spend enough time, money and effort on it.

    Over the years there were plenty of people that would prefer a C-Type Jaguar to an XK120 to do a "spirited" weekend run to the local pub in the country - and my attitude to a Challenge car on the road is the same.

    But for those that think that a Challenge is too "sporty" for the road, how about this genuine Porsche 917 that is road-registered - now that must be a real beast!

    https://petrolicious.com/articles/catching-up-with-the-road-legal-917-in-monaco
     
  4. deimh

    deimh Karting

    Sep 4, 2016
    56
    Windsor, UK
    Full Name:
    David
    I am not in the US but have owned cars in the UK, EU and Australia and in all three cases a Challenge car can be legally registered and used on the road if one goes through the hoops.

    But trying to understand the case in the USA: if you have a Title, insurance, plates, etc. for a car based on that specific car's VIN - then why would it not be legal?

    There are plenty of "home-made specials" (some very publicly owned and used on the roads, like Jay Leno with his tank engined monster, etc.) that were never a production models which have been successfully and legally registered. And I'm pretty sure that someone like Jay with such a public profile (and all the cash to own whatever he wants) would not take the risk of running a non-legit car on the road.

    Just because Ferrari sold these Challenges as a non-road cars is irrelevant and I get the sense that people just repeat "it is not possible to legally road register a Challenge car in the USA" without really knowing exactly why...

    ... so instead of all the bold assertions being made, can someone instead please point all of us to an actual US statute / law that demonstrates why this is?
     
  5. deimh

    deimh Karting

    Sep 4, 2016
    56
    Windsor, UK
    Full Name:
    David
    #29 deimh, Mar 19, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
    Your quoted case actually demonstrates that you can register a Challenge car, because that post you allude to says "one way you can register it in AZ is to cover the VIN, bring receipts for motor, trans, seats, misc parts and tell them you built it as a kit car. they will assign a VIN and give you title, plates and registration. I have done this 4 times with similar vehicles"

    Hence it seems quite feasible to register a Challenge car in AZ, albeit as a kit car.

    The VIN myth also doesn't stack up as Challenge cars have the same number of digits as normal Ferrari's - they just have different sequences of numbers / letters.

    Here are some actual facts to demonstrate the case with F458's - the below VIN's come from publicly listed adverts on the web:

    2011 CH ZFF71NXX000180384
    2011 IT ZFF67NFA8B0180805
    2012 IT ZFF67NFA9C0184542
    2012 CH ZFF71NXX000185463
    2012 IT ZFF67NFA9C0186405
    2012 IT ZFF67NFA3C0186691
    2013 CH ZFF71NXX000195266 ...
    2013 CH ZFF71NXX000195268
    2013 IT ZFF67NFA1D0195410
    2013 IT ZFF67NFA5D0195510
    2014 CH ZFF71NXX000200145
    2014 CH ZFF1NXX000201323
    2014 IT ZFF68NHA5E0202421
    2014 IT ZFF67NFA5E0203025
    2015 CH ZFF71NXX000206990
    2015 IT ZFF67NFA9F0207564
    2015 IT ZFF68NHA8F0209378
    2015 CH ZFF71NXX000209763


    The IT are Italia's and the CH are Challenge cars - count the digits, all have 17!

    So the "Challenge cars have fewer digits in their VIN's" is busted - along with "Challenge cars don't have VIN's"

    PS please don't give me a hard time for listing these VIN's publically, as they are all still currently visible with a simple Google search in adverts for each of these cars - so the data is already "out there"...
     
  6. foresterguy

    foresterguy Rookie

    May 22, 2015
    34
    Full Name:
    Steve L.
    Hi David,

    They’re not legal to drive on U.S. roads because they were never imported into the U.S. as vehicles conforming to FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards), which all passenger-type vehicles must meet. That’s not to say you can’t legally buy/import a racing vehicle such as a Challenge car, you just can’t drive it on the roads under Federal law. The NHTSA specifically states:

    RESTRICTION FOR REGISTRATION AND LICENSING

    A racing vehicle may not be registered or licensed for on-road use. A vehicle allowed entry for racing purposes cannot subsequently be converted for use on public roads.

    So that’s how simplistically the Feds see things. Even conversion is ruled out. However, the individual states control their own rules and regulations for vehicles on their roads and they decide (sometimes ignorantly) what is allowed. This is why you have various loopholes (such as the kit car method in AZ). There are indeed Challenge cars being driven on U.S. roads in different states and the BMV employees in those states may not care or more likely, are ignorant of Federal law. I know personally that my attempt to purchase an F430C several years ago was thwarted by my state’s BMV who told me ‘you cannot drive that car on the roads in this state and we cannot issue you a title/registration’. Those who have converted their bill of sale to an actual title are lucky individuals, possibly. Insurance/liability is another issue but since this is about legality I’ll leave that out. Yes it would be great to be able to legally, at least under federal law, drive a Challenge car on the roads like you can in the UK (or the EU or Australia) but it could be worse I suppose. The Feds (EPA) have been trying to pass regulation that would essentially make aftermarket performance parts (tuning chips, exhausts, superchargers, etc.) illegal, but that’s for another thread.
     
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  8. deimh

    deimh Karting

    Sep 4, 2016
    56
    Windsor, UK
    Full Name:
    David
    Thanks for all that insight - I really appreciate the details :)

    :)
     
  9. TangoUniform

    TangoUniform Rookie

    Feb 12, 2021
    6
    Full Name:
    Norman R
    So out of curiosity, does that mean every car allowed to race on a track day or autocross is immediately revoking its ability to be used on public roads?
     
  10. foresterguy

    foresterguy Rookie

    May 22, 2015
    34
    Full Name:
    Steve L.
    Not at all. The above Federal rule only applies to vehicles originally manufactured as race vehicles and brought into the U.S. as such, such as later model Challenge cars. With that being said any vehicle driven on U.S. public roads and used at the track or autocross events still needs to meet applicable U.S. and state safety standards.
     
  11. AlexH

    AlexH Rookie

    Apr 11, 2021
    4
    #34 AlexH, Apr 11, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
    I actually work for the NHTSA in Washington, DC in a reasonably senior role and you guys are missing the mark here totally.

    The quoted statement above is meant for the likes of "proper" race cars (e.g. IndyCars). And so long as a vehicle can: a) be made road-legal and brought into compliance and b) is substantially similar to a type/model of vehicle that is officially licensed for road use - then it can be legally titled for road use.

    In the case of Challenge cars, they are sufficiently similar to their road going counterparts that they fulfil part b) above. Hence they just need bringing into compliance to fulfil part a) above. By contrast a real race car, say the likes of an IndyCar, has no substantially similar counter-part that is officially licensed for road use and hence the above quoted statement is applicable.

    The simplest way to legally get a Challenge fully road-legal would be to just route the car via Canada and "import" it again:

    Under one of the exceptions to this prohibition, found in 49 U.S.C. § 30141, a motor vehicle that was not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable FMVSS can be lawfully imported into the United States, provided it is determined eligible for importation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and is imported by a registered importer, or by a person who has a contract with a registered importer to bring the vehicle into compliance with all applicable FMVSS following importation. Import eligibility decisions can be made either on the initiative of the Administrator of NHTSA or on the petition of a manufacturer or registered importer. One basis for determining a motor vehicle eligible for importation is that it 1) is substantially similar to a motor vehicle of the same model year that was manufactured for sale in the United States and certified by its manufacturer as complying with all applicable FMVSS and 2) is capable of being readily altered to comply with all applicable FMVSS. See 49 U.S.C. § 30141(a)(1)(A). Where there is no substantially similar U.S.-certified motor vehicle of the same model year, a vehicle can only be determined eligible for importation if its safety features comply with, or are capable of being altered to comply, with all applicable FMVSS based on destructive test information or other evidence NHTSA decides is adequate. See 49 U.S.C. § 30141(a)(1)(B).

    Given my official capacity I cannot answer any specific queries in this regard, but I think it was my duty to dispel some of the inaccurate statements made here, hence my reason for moving from "lurker" ....
     
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  13. deimh

    deimh Karting

    Sep 4, 2016
    56
    Windsor, UK
    Full Name:
    David
    Great to hear from someone who actually knows, as there has been too much "misinformation" about Challenge cars not having VIN's, or VIN's with digits missing, etc., etc.And that has all been shown to be false.

    Now the claim that later Challenge cars "simply in any circumstances can't be titled and registered for the road" has also shown to be false.

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but could it be that owners (and fans) of the 348 and 355 Challenge cars don't like that the 360 (and onward) Challenge cars are also street-able?!
     
    ewright likes this.
  14. foresterguy

    foresterguy Rookie

    May 22, 2015
    34
    Full Name:
    Steve L.
    AlexH,
    Thank you for adding significant context to the ‘Restriction for Registration and Licensing’ statement. So it would appear that if the Challenge car is already in the U.S., being used as a race car, the vehicle must be exported and then re-imported again (via Canada or other country) to a NHTSA registered facility to perform the FMVSS conversion…in lieu of going straight to a registered facility for FMVSS conversion (since it’s already here in the U.S.)? Is exporting and re-importing the only way? I’m wondering why the car couldn’t be sent directly to one of the NHTSA-approved importers to comply with FMVSS since it’s already here in the states.

    David, I don’t think that’s the concern at all. I think the issue/concern is whether these cars have actually gone through the conversion to meet the FMVSS and make them road legal.
     
  15. AlexH

    AlexH Rookie

    Apr 11, 2021
    4
    There are many ways to skin a cat...

    I suggested this as the simplest way, because for example you also have overlapping responsibilities between the likes of NHTSA and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for any imported car, and obviously all Ferrari's are imported. Hence to align NHTSA and CBP it is just simpler to "re-import" also this route provides a simpler and clearer entry point into the process.

    It is quite feasible to import a nonconforming vehicle that does not meet U.S. standards, so long as a DOT-registered importer is used to modify the vehicle and certify that it conforms to all applicable FMVSS. This is the case even for a vehicle that is NOT substantially similar to a motor vehicle of the same model year that was manufactured for sale in the United States (see my prior post). Given the Challenge meets this criteria (i.e. is substantially similar to a road-legal Modena) the NHTSA DOT Conformance is simplified and the DOT-registered importer will start with a mindset that fewer modifications are needed for conformance.

    Making a Challenge car road-legal is totally feasible, it is just whether one wants to jump through the hoops and bear the costs.
     
    92GTA likes this.
  16. foresterguy

    foresterguy Rookie

    May 22, 2015
    34
    Full Name:
    Steve L.
    Understood. I sincerely appreciate your insight/knowledge and recommendations (and time) for setting me (and the rest of us) straight on this topic. I guess the only remaining issues would be the cost, as you mentioned, and the insurance factor...whether an insurer would actually insure a converted car or substantially raise the insurance cost for such.
     
  17. Vespa67

    Vespa67 Rookie

    May 3, 2013
    17
    Zionsville, IN
    Full Name:
    Nick Vespa
    Good info, AlexH. How does the NHTSA requirements work in conjunction with the EPA regs? When I imported a couple Maserati GT4 race cars (which are substantially similar to the Granturismo) from Italy with the help of Maserati, I had to apply for a racing car exclusion under the EPA regulations at 40 CFR 85.1511 (e). From the EPA approval letter:

    "This racing vehicle exclusion covers only the subject vehicles(s) and only under full compliance with the enclosed Terms and Conditions. If you sell the subject vehicle(s), you must inform the buyer of this racing exclusion and the prohibition on registering or licensing the vehicle for street use. You must also inform EPA of the sale and provide us the name and address of the buyer. Because EPA maintains records of racing exclusions granted, failure to report sale of this vehicle could cause difficulties for you if the buyer improperly converts the vehicle for street use.

    A breach of any term or condition shall cause the exclusion granted pursuant to this approval to be void. Consequently, the introduction or delivery for introduction into commerce of the subject vehicle other than in strict conformity with all terms and conditions of this approval shall constitute a violation of section 203 (a)(1) of the Clean Air Act, and may render the importer liable for a civil penalty of up to $37,500 per violation under section 205 of the Act, as well as other penalties. In addition, noncompliance may result in the seizure of the vehicle by U.S. Customs and Border Protection."

    I would assume the Challenge cars were imported under the same rules.

    Nick

    Sent from my SM-G986U1 using Tapatalk
     
  18. AlexH

    AlexH Rookie

    Apr 11, 2021
    4
    #40 AlexH, Apr 14, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
    That is why I was suggesting a re-import (in name only would do in reality, as it is really about a paperwork trail) to void / settle such previous commitments made with CBP - and as I said before, thereby aligning NHTSA, EPA, CBP, etc. in the process of making said car road-legal..

    Most commitments made to CBP and EPA are nothing to do with whether a vehicle is road-legal and more about taxes and the like. The EPA allows nonconforming vehicles to be imported, if they are tested and certified by an Independent Commercial Importer (and modified if needed - but a Challenge car will not need modifying seeing it uses the standard Modena engine)

    I imagine there are other ways of working around prior commitments made with the CBP and getting around EPA requirements, but I am not an expert in that field - hence my simpler export / re-import suggestion.

    One final point, the EPA also relaxes rules for cars over 21 years old, which many 360 Challenge cars can now benefit from and which in the next 5 years or so will cover 430 Challenge cars too...
     
  19. AlexH

    AlexH Rookie

    Apr 11, 2021
    4
    Again, I am no expert on this field, but once a Challenge car has been imported by a registered importer and the vehicle brought into compliance with all applicable FMVSS following importation, then it becomes a normal vehicle on the road. Hence it should be no more difficult to insure than any other imported vehicle....
     

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