Automotive & Aftermarket News

NHTSA Officially Permits the Sale of Turn-Key Replica Cars from Low-Volume Auto Manufacturers

While you’ve always been able to build and title your own kit car, this new ruling means you’ll be able to buy a low-volume replica car that’s already assembled and ready for a license plate. (Image/SEMA)

Way back in 2015, Congress passed legislation that allowed low-volume motor vehicle manufacturers to start selling “replica” cars based on vehicles that were at least 25 years old—for example, a turn-key street car mimicking the Shelby Cobra, Ford Deuce Coupe, Mercedes SSK, or Porsche 356 Speedster.

Problem is, the law couldn’t be enacted until The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave its OK.


That. Just. Happened.

In what’s being called a huge win for the gearhead community, replica car businesses can now officially begin building and selling replica vehicles. SEMA president and CEO Christopher J. Kersting shared his thoughts as well. “Regulatory barriers have previously prevented small automakers from producing heritage cars for eager customers. The roadblocks have been eliminated. Companies will be able to hire workers, start making necessary parts and components, and produce and sell cars.”

Ever wanted an Allard J2 but didn’t have the cheddar to buy an original, or the capability to build your own? Then consider this article good news… (Image/SEMA)

These newly-adopted regulations apply to low-volume builders making up to 325 automobiles a year. Each vehicle must meet current model year emission standards.

You can read the full language of the NHTSA ruling here.

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  1. Pingback: NHTSA Officially Permits the Sale of Turn-Key Replica Cars from Low-Volume Auto Manufacturers

  2. John Lovins says:

    That emission standard kinda makes it hard to put a fire breathing 427 in a Cobra.

    • Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see if these low-volume builders are able to source emissions-legal engines from the OEs.

      A modern Ford Coyote (like the 460hp version in the base 2020 Mustang GT) stuffed in a Cobra clone could offer similar performance and be easier to live with day-in, day-out.

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