Own A Dune Buggy In Texas? Get Ready To Surrender Your Title And Plates!

Own A Dune Buggy In Texas? Get Ready To Surrender Your Title And Plates!

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.

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22 thoughts on “Own A Dune Buggy In Texas? Get Ready To Surrender Your Title And Plates!

  1. john

    You can supply a small army with assault weapons but you can’t drive a dune buggy…way to go Texas!

      1. Brendan M

        Assault is a behavior, not a device. “Assault Weapon” is just a buzzword the media and stupid politicians like to use to scare people who aren’t familiar with firearms.

      2. Dave haslam

        How can something like a sand rail with its own roll cage that\’s got harnesses better suspension better brakes on and off road tyres improved lighting be unsafe to drive on a road … if the answers no bodywork simply put body panels on it I drive a chenowth as a daily driver in the uk it\’s cost over 30,000 to build to the quality of Finnish it\’s at I\’d rather be in this than any modern small car if I was in a road traffic accident

    1. Buddy

      Their is no right to own/operate a motor vehicle, it\’s a privilege. \”The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed\” is in the constitution because self defense is a right given by God.

  2. Loren

    “Because many of these vehicles do not have key safety components”, also outlaw motorcycles, bicycles, horses (especially, because cowboys have been hurt) and being a pedestrian. Riding in boats of any type should come next. Someone in Texas government must be horrified now that these things have even been allowed to happen all these years, I guess the plan is for people to take down their cowboy pictures and just stay in their condos, pay taxes and watch Netflix.

    Outlawing people’s use of their own privately possessed vehicles after charging registration fees for years to drive on their own publicly-funded highways, because of a group of insane p***ys in a government department sounds incredibly un-Texas-like. If this is serious and not some kind of joke, it needs to be hit back with very hard.

  3. somedude

    Sounds like some of those Californian “knows whats best for you” safety nut jobbers have infested your government Texas… Be prepared for them to refute your logic with name calling.

        1. somedude

          i was referring to these type of big brother rules regarding safety are reminiscent of something that would come from a California politician… Not a Texan.

        2. David

          California already has legislation that stops most sport vehicles from being street driven. Been that way for decades.

      1. somedude

        What’s new indeed Raul…

        I took a quick look around the Internet to see if I could find any information on who had pushed for this change back in 2013(?). I came across their meeting audio,videos, agendas, and transcripts but haven’t had time to look through them for this particular rule.

        Here’s the link

        I read about California politicians passing laws and telling us all what is best for us more so than news from other states. I had also come across the following information after a brief search –

        DMV is headquartered in Austin Texas.
        Austin Texas has had a large influx of Californians for YEARS.
        Austin Texas is often labeled as a very Liberal city (and sold this way in the media).

        Maybe that has nothing to do with it. Or maybe it does. Have a good one Raul.

  4. Bob

    Key safety components? Really? They still have to be safer than a motorcycle and hopefully those are still legal.

  5. Gary351C

    How long until they tell us that driving our classic cars are not safe. Oh, we can own them, we just can’t drive them on public roads. Remember the movie Demolition Man from 1993? I don’t want to be one of “those” people but those days are coming.

  6. Nick Leone

    I remember reading a legislator back in the 50s(?) wanting to ban 2 piece wheels. Many \”mag\” wheels were steel rims with aluminum centers riveted together. Someone took him out to his new car and showed him the 2 piece
    wheels that were OEM.

  7. nada

    From Tbucketeers website, via HAMB:

    “The basis for this was the “off-road” nature of rails and buggies. I actually read through the Texas’s assembled vehicle manual after reading an article on this and actually found texas very clear and specific on the manner to license and title a hot rod type vehicle. The manual gives specifics and examples unlike many states. The manual is very clear the rails and buggies are not allowed to be titled. From my understanding this was not enforced very well in the past and they are cleaning it up. Based on the Texas document I read, I don’t think you guys with T’s have to worry- unless perhaps you have a Volks-Rod! I think this is a case of the story being blown out of proportion by folks who haven’t taken the time to read the Texas rules and statutes.”


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