When the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Act of 2015 passed, there was a wave of celebration in the automotive aftermarket community. The basic rules were simple and easy to follow: 325 vehicles a year, based on a vehicle that is 25 years old or older, running an engine that meets current-year regulations. That’s easy enough, right? That means that Superformance or Factory Five could sell you a Coyote-powered Cobra kit. It means that the Texas-based DeLorean could whip up a DMC-12 that is powered by anything other than that PRV V6. And so on, and so forth. Some NHTSA safety gear has to be added, but crash testing won’t be necessary and neither will be the time you as the customer would otherwise need to spend cramming in an engine into an otherwise road-ready kit car.
When the act passed in 2015, the EPA and NHTSA were allocated twelve months to issue regulations that were needed to implement the act. It’s been thirty-six months, and currently, the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have laid out plans that SEMA have reviewed and have accepted. NHTSA, however, has not provided any kind of paperwork, draft or even a thirty-second blurb regarding their end of the deal. Reportedly, NHTSA has their hands full regarding airbag recalls and all of the drama regarding driverless vehicles that just might hit the random pedestrian.
According to a report by Hemmings, SEMA is expected to take action as soon as the December 2018 unless NHTSA provides a “positive response”. Considering that SEMA has offered up suggestions for the NHTSA to uphold their end of the act, there really is no reason why the agency is dragging their feet in their eyes.