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  • Custom Built Car Registration in New Hampshire

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    Custom-built cars are very popular in New Hampshire. In a state where good old Yankee ingenuity runs free, we see many home-made, custom-built cars and street rods.

    The Department of Safety (DOS) appreciates the interest and enjoyment people get from these vehicles but remains committed to safety of all vehicles on NH highways and roads.

    Titling a Custom-Built Vehicle

    The basis of your custom-built car is probably the chassis. Whether you have rebuilt an old car or completely created a new one, the chassis is usually the primary Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the vehicle―look for a stamped number on the frame.

    You may have other major components that have identification numbers, and in the absence of a frame VIN, you can use the engine, transmission, or one established by the state police when you apply for a Verification of Vehicle Identification at a VIN issuance location. The verification form is available online using the free Adobe Reader.

    When building a custom-built car, it's always a good idea to hang on to all receipts for parts and labor, too.

    Registering a Custom-Built Vehicle

    Registering a custom car is like most other car registrations in that you need proof of ownership and a Bill of Sale.

    Because you, or someone else, made the car you don't have any original paperwork from the manufacturer. Without an assigned title, original title in your name, or a title application completed by a dealer, you will need to prove ownership another way. Use the completed Verification of Vehicle Identification to prove ownership.

    The town clerk will file for a title and the Title Bureau will mail the new title to you. The vehicle will be classified as rebuilt using the VIN you provided.

    Some municipal town clerks can issue license plates. If yours isn't authorized to issue plates, take your registration to a DMV substation for your license plates. You'll also need to pay the state portion of your vehicle registration.

    Inspection of a Custom-Built Vehicle

    Before you submit your custom-built car for inspection be sure the official inspection station is familiar with rules specific to custom-built cars.

    Other safety sensitive criteria remain the same as modern manufacturer cars: horns, brakes, transmissions. The exhaust requirements are slightly different because exhaust systems can be creative on custom-built cars. Bottom line―they must exhaust safely outside the vehicle and they can't be overly loud.

    Emissions compliance is also required, though without an On-Board Diagnostics System the inspection may be visual only.

    Custom-built vehicles, if designed and assembled carefully, can be safe for New Hampshire highways. If you have any questions about inspecting, titling, or registering your custom-built car, check with your town clerk first. Many of the forms you'll need are available at your local town office.