The SL-C is designed as a track-capable street car. However, the responsibility for actually constructing the car, including selecting approved parts based on the local licensing jurisdiction, and getting it registered is that of the builder. The sections below address, in general terms, what is required for each of the geographic areas below, but laws and policies change, and the builder is responsible for understanding local law, and building the car accordingly.
In the end, there is no substitute for understanding ahead of time exactly what is needed to register a car in your jurisdiction.
There are typically three areas which a jurisdiction may focus on:
- Emissions: this is perhaps the trickiest area in many jurisdictions. In some cases, your new SL-C will need to meet the emissions rules in place for the year of the car, in other places, the year of the engine. In still others, you can get a waiver for life (see the SB100 program in California). And of course, in some areas and states, there are no emissions inspections at all.
- Safety: Ensure that you use Department of Transportation (DOT) approved parts where appropriate. Note that the kit ships with a DOT approved windshield, and head- and tail-lights. However, those sticky tires that you might be considering might not be DOT approved. Beyond registration, non-DOT parts might affect your insurance should you have an accident. Seat belts are another area where some kit cars have seen issues- many inspectors don't allow racing belts as they are not DOT-approved. In those cases, plan for a set of factory 3-point belts. You can install both and use the set that makes the most sense for any given use in most places.
- Theft: Many kit cars have a large number of donor parts and jurisdictions may have policies in place to prevent theft. In Massachusetts you must tow the car to a State Trooper inspection site and provide all receipts. The receipt for any part that came from a donor car must have the donor car's VIN. While the SL-C doesn't have many donor parts, you might have an engine block that came from a donor car, so keep those receipts, and make sure they have a donor car VIN. In North Carolina, for example, it's common to have to post a bond equal to the car's value for a year to mitigate the risk of parts theft. Every state is different, and you need to know what is the case for your jurisdiction. Best policy is to keep all receipts in case the inspection requires them.
This kit has been designed with the intention of the owner completing the vehicle in accordance with Individual Constructed Vehicle (ICV) legislation, which requirements must be met to register a road car in Australia.
The ICV process is controlled by the states. The process may be similar between states, but there can be significant differences in the requirements or processes as well. You should construct the vehicle to the requirements of the state approved engineer if possible, to avoid surprises later in the process. Several SL-Cs are licensed and running in Australia and they have had no difficulty passing the required beaming and other strength-related tests, with some small modifications to meet other rules, including, for example, a change in the way the doors are latched.
UK and Europe
Many car builders find it easier to register a car first in the UK where the requirements, though strict, are somewhat more relaxed than other countries. Once a car is registered in any EU country, it is normally a simpler matter to register it another.
The UK now uses a set of rules known as IVA which are quite detailed and still new enough that as of this writing are being interpreted differently in some testing situations.
While the SL-C is generally compliant with the IVA regulations from the design standpoint, builders working to this standard will need to understand the details of the IVA rules and build their car accordingly. For example, you may need to choose e-marked lighting for any required side or tail lights, and you will probably be required to use brake fluid level senders and lights. In the UK, you should order the street tail if you want to register the car- the race tails open rear exposes the tires in a way that doesn't meet IVA rules.
The SL-C has been designed to make it as easy as possible to register as a licensed road vehicle in the USA. All of the lighting for SL-Cs targeted to the US market is DOT-approved, as is the safety-glass windshield, making it simple to meet most state requirements for such equipment. Superlite Cars provides a Manufacturers Statement of Origin (MSO) which is accepted by all US states to begin the titling and registration process.
Registering a car for road use in the USA is relatively simple in most states, although there are exceptions. Recent work by SEMA (the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) has led to a large number of states adopting some variant of the SEMA model law which makes it simpler to register and license kit cars. You can check the SEMA website at http://www.semasan.com for more details about progress in this area, and your own state department of motor vehicles for detailed information. SEMA also maintains a web page that details the registration requirements for every state- here is a very useful link .
In some states, notably California, there are emissions implications in registering cars. In California, all cars must meet emissions requirements in place for California for the year for which the car is registered. However, at the time of this writing, the state offers an exemption for 500 cars per year under the SB100 program that permits a car to be licensed with no emissions requirements at all- if you are one of the 500 cars per year allowed under the program. In the early years of this program, all 500 slots were taken on the first day of availability, but recently, there have been available slots throughout the entire year. This is a great way to register an SL-C in that state.
Some states have no emissions requirements at all, while in others, certain areas of the state may require emissions standards to be met. Alternatively, component cars like the SL-C are sometimes exempted from emissions testing in some states that otherwise require all vehicle to meet certain emissions requirements. It is worth noting that recent trends in emissions testing in the USA have begun to depend less on dynamometer testing, and more on merely querying the OBD-II port as to the condition of the engine and emissions equipment. This bodes well for builders who choose to use late-model engines with catalytic converters and associated computer controls.
While the SL-C is designed to be compliant in every state, it is your responsibility to understand the requirements in your locality, and build the car accordingly. As an example, some states require the installation of a handbrake or parking brake, while others do not-- so you need to understand what is required in your state for registration, safety inspection (if applicable in your state) and emissions.
For builders in some states, the e-Rod program may be of help in emissions. Essentially, the program permits specific combinations of engines and related drivetrain parts that have been certified under the program to be installed in vehicles that would otherwise not be able to meet emissions rules. GM is the only participant in this so far, and the GM e-Rod LS series engine and related parts can be obtained from the usual sources. Before you purchase an e-Rod package, be sure that it is accepted in your state as an alternative, and that the engine and accessories you intend to use are acceptable to the regulatory authorities in your state. Some people think that those states that recognize the e-Rod program will require the transmissions certified with the engine. This interpretation makes the program moot for SL-C builders as those transmissions can't be used in the SL-C (which requires a transaxle, not a regular transmission).