My California Registration story...

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My California Registration story...

Postby neckdeep » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:05 am

Yes, you can register an out of state Spyder in California and get those nifty new black plates…I did it and lived to tell the tale. It took 8 months and a lot of time. But it CAN be done. I hope I’m nopt repeating other posts…just wanted to share.

From the time I was first interested in getting a Spyder I have found this site to be a great resource, so I figured I would share what I can remember of my process and if anyone has any questions, feel free to drop me a line or reply. And remember, this is just MY experience. In reading other California registration posts on Spyderclub and posts on other message boards (Cobras, kit cars, etc) they vary wildly. 

July 13th 2015 - Car Bought

I live in San Francisco and bought the car via eBay from a guy outside of Reno, Nevada. I had never bought a car on eBay before but after looking all over California I found a Spyder with almost the exact specs I wanted. I ‘Made An Offer’ far under the starting bid and was surprised that it was accepted. Woah…I had a Spyder. The car was currently registered in Nevada as a ‘ASVE’ special vehicle. The owner had all the orignal paperwork from Beck and receipts for the small amount of work done (upgraded starter, oil, etc) since the build in 2004. 

I flew to Nevada and drove the car back to SF. 
(Sidenote: Nevada highways at 8:45am on a Monday are filled with logging trucks and the Spyder is a very low, fast car. Damn.)

Mid August 2015 - DMV - Visit 1, Inspection

Having dealt with out of state, older motorcycles getting registered in California I knew the drill. Make an appointment (ALWAYS make an appointment, make a few across a few weeks and cancel if you have to) and wait in line outside the DMV for an inspector to review the car. I was worred about : no windshield wipers (I’ve got the plexi windshield), no center rear view mirror (car just had right wing mirror) and well…just about everything else. The inspection took less than 3 minutes. I kept telling the inspector that it was NOT a Porsche and to look at the title. She ignored me…walked around the car twice, wrote it up as a 2004 Porsche and told me to go inside.

 When I got to the window inside many phone calls were placed and managers were talked to and I was able to get the car’s model changed from a Porsche to a SVB, Special Vehicle Build. I was then informed that my VIN was not standard, therefore I would have to visit the CHP to get a new VIN approval form. I was given a temporary registration that allowed me to drive the car for two months. It was to be taped in my rear window left side. Ummm, ok. From that point forward I would take all my paperwork in a clear binder folder, twice plastic wrapped in a courier bag on every drive. Just in case.

September 30th, 2015 - CHP, VIN Inspector’s Station

The first available appointment I could get was over a month from the time I called. I drove in light rain to the San Francisco VIN Inspector’s station. He was incredibly friendly and passed me on the VIN and praised the car. In fact, other troopers came out of the building just to check it out. He handed me back my signed and stamped paperwork and added, “you’ll need a break and light inspection…” and gave me names of three garages I could visit for the task and sent me on my way.

September 30th, 2015 - Brake and light inspection, Garage 1

After an hour it was clear this place had no idea what the hell was going on. But I was asked where my reverse light and my center brake light were located. I had never thought of that. I drove away to do some research… 

October, 2015 - Brake and light inspection, Garage 2

A friend of a friend had experience with Beck Spyders and owned a well respected garage. I needed to get the tranmission looked at so he took over the brake and light inspection needs as well. He worked with the inspector to get a brake light put on (and taken off) and had to re-route some brake lines. Three weeks later I had my approval forms.

November 13, 2015 - DMV - Visit 2

With my approved VIN number from the CHP and my brake and light inspections passed I returned to the DMV. As I moved from window to window a new screen appeared on the DMV monitors. Smog. I had known this would be an issue but no one would give me any information about solving it until this visit. From what I had read online I was looking for ‘Smog Except’ status. This would mean getting a SB100 number first. No one would even make the call to Sacramento until I had all the previous paperwork…and wouldn’t you know it, all the 2015 SB100 numbers had been taken. I got another extension to drive the car (they really didn’t want to give it to me and this one was for less than a monrh) and I left to make a DMV appointment for January 1st 2016.

January 3rd, 2016 - DMV - Visit 3

I was the first person to enter my local DMV in 2016. After going through all my paperwork a call was placed to the Sacramento DMV and I was given my 2016 SB100 number. It was writen on a piece of scrap paper and I was told to make an appointment at a Smog Check Referee station.

January 15 - Smog Check Referee Station - Visit 1

When I got to the station I was asked for my SB100 FORM. Form? I had my number. I was told the form would be mailed to me and to wait for that. In the meantime workers at the station took about a dozen digital photos of car to email to Sacramento to prove that my car was worthy of smog exemption status. They even gave me the phone number and email address of the department to contact if I didn’t get my form in the mail. I went home to wait. The form arrived a week or so later! The day after it arrived I got a call from the Smog Center informing me my car was approved by Sacramento. I had already made a follow up apointment for the Smog Check Center so I also added a DMV appointment later in that same day…

February 12th - Smog Check Referee Station - Visit 2

I now had my SB100 form along with all the rest and was issued a Smog Exempt decal which the attendant placed in the front trunk. He actually said, “this car is now recognized as a smog exempt vehicle in California…” as he stuck it on the car. He informed me that the exemption was automatically in the DMV database and I could go to any DMV and pick up my license plates.

February 12th - DMV - Visit 4

I got to the window and started to explain my oceans of paperwork as I would at ever yDMV appointment. I got about 15 seconds in and the girl held up her right hand to stop me and with her left hand he pulled license plates out of a drawer and slide them across the counter. I was in shock for a few seconds. “I’m done?”

“You’re done.”

I had my white plates in hand along with a registration that expired in August 2016 (when I started this ordeal) and my title was in the mail. Sure enough it arrived about a month later.

In California once you have the title in hand you can go online and order the retro license plates, which are then sent to you directly. I’ve ordered mine, it went smoothly and hope to have them in a few weeks.

See? Easy.

A few tips.

+ Make sure you have the original build paperwork for the Spyder. It was very important more than a few times, specifically the first DMV inspection and VIN inspection. It wasn’t super official looking, but it made a difference.

+ Appointments, Appointments, Appointment. Make many, make them often. You can always cancel, but they fill up so fast.

+ Be nice. When I got frustrated, things got slow. When I was super nice things sped up. People like cool cars. Be nice and tell them about your Spyder…it goes a long way

+ Get a binder and keep everything with you at every appointment and keep it organized. I feel like a few folks loosened up on me just seeing that I was trying to make their job easier by caring about the forms, etc.

Hope my pain and time spent this helps someone else. Go out and drive.

.: Chris

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Re: My California Registration story...

Postby BB73 » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:31 am

Nice looking Spyder. Congratulations!

What is the Beck number? I have 865.
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Re: My California Registration story...

Postby Larry Jowdy » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:57 am

I just put a copy of this post in the Tips, Tricks & Knowledge forum
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