Dune buggies and kit car owners in Texas are currently facing the wrath of the DMV, and the situation isn’t looking good. According to Hemmings Motor News, the state of Texas has begun revoking titles and registrations for dune buggies, rebodied kit cars (think many of the Volkswagen-based setups out there) and the like. Currently, due to the adoption of Texas Administrative Rule 217.3 (6), any dune buggy, sandrail, or rebodied kit car is not allowed to be titled and plated as a roadworthy vehicle. This would put a Meyers Manx in the same category as a full-tilt race car, purpose-built off-roader, and flood-damaged vehicles as motor vehicles that cannot be legally titled.
Quoting the Hemmings article: “Adam Shaivitz, a spokesman for the Texas DMV, said the decision to ban dune buggies came about “because many of these vehicles do not have key safety components or do not have a body at all. These vehicles, as manufactured, were not designed for on-road use. These vehicles, as modified from previously manufactured vehicles, also do not keep their on-road qualities.'”
Considering that many of the “modified from previously manufactured vehicles” date back to the 1950s and 1960s, before seat belts were standard equipment, something doesn’t quite add up here. Is the Ariel Atom banned, even thought it is straight from the manufacturer as a tube-frame car? Is the Local Motors Rally Fighter, by legal definition a kit car (you are required to assist in some construction of the vehicle so that it can be legally titled as a kit car) suddenly not allowed to get license plates in the Lone Star state? This isn’t just new vehicles being denied, either…this bans vehicles that already have titles and plates that were grandfathered in under a previous law. So if you had been driving your VW rail, that’s a no-no now.
Enthusiasts and clubs have already started to take action against the Texas DMV and are working on hiring a lobbyist who was successful in getting the Polaris Slingshot approved for highway use. Hopefully, some common sense can prevail instead of the state simply pointing at a Meyers Manx and saying, “Not a vehicle.” With some owners already selling their machines out of state and others mothballing their vehicles, there is some serious concern swirling around and it will be interesting to see what comes of all of this.