The Maine Event
New Law a Knockout for Custom Cars
SEMA Action Network Driving Force, August 2005 Issue
A version of SEMA-model legislation to create a registration class for custom vehicles was signed into law by Maine Governor John Baldacci. Maine joins Montana, Illinois, Missouri and Rhode Island as states that have enacted the bill.
Sponsored by State Representative A. David Trahan, the new law defines custom vehicles as at least 30 years old and of a model year after 1948 or manufactured to resemble a vehicle from that era. The law also allows customs to have bodies constructed from non-original materials and assigns these vehicles the same model-year designations as the production vehicles they most closely resemble, allowing qualifying replicas and kit cars to be accommodated under this registration class.
“It took a long time and a lot of work by many people, but it appears that this legislation has finally happened,” said Representative Trahan. “Having custom vehicles is a wonderful economic-development initiative that should help boost our economy. I hope that someday Maine is a destination for custom-car enthusiasts!”
The measure requires the chief of the state police to convene a committee comprised of representatives from the custom-vehicle industry to provide advice and technical assistance regarding potential inspection standards and procedures. The new law is the product of months of
consultation with the state legislators, regulators and the local hobbyist community, including the Maine Custom Auto Association. The custom-vehicle registration class was added to the state’s existing street-rod-friendly registration laws.
“Backed by the hard work and perseverance of Representative Trahan, SEMA members and the state’s vehicle enthusiast community, we are extremely gratified that Maine will join the list of states that recognize customs as a distinct class of vehicles,” said SEMA Vice President, Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “The new law offers the benefit of also including qualifying replicas and kit cars in this specialty-vehicle registration classification.”
SEMA and the SEMA Action Network will continue to pursue the model legislation in states that either don’t have registration classifications for these vehicles or have laws that are lacking in some way.
Additional information on the street rods and custom vehicles can be found on page 3 of this issue of Driving Force or on the SAN website at