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  • Custom Built Car Registration in New Mexico

    When driving around New Mexico you are bound to see plenty of custom or bespoke vehicles. You might not see them roaming about on the ritzy downtown roads of America's oldest capital city, Santa Fe; the "City Different," after all, is more prone to the upscale German cars rather than modified low-riders. But if you find yourself in places like Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Silver City, or even Carlsbad, you will eventually be exposed to the cultural craze.

    Of course, all you have to do is flip on the television and you will find a plethora of reality shows focusing on creating ultimate rides out of clunkers. Then there is the vault of iconic films glorifying the 1950s hot rods that sent generations of car aficionados into the garage. These vehicles are the epitome of cool and are as popular with old folks as with kids.

    If you have walked over to the cool side and built or customized a vehicle, you most likely will need to obtain a special registration certificate. This might apply to a host of hot rods, from lowriders with added hydraulics to a traditional flame-painted kit car constructed from scrap.

    There are two sorts of vehicles that fall into the state's "custom" class definition: specially-constructed vehicles and reconstructed vehicles. Each involves its own registration process.

    Specially-Constructed Vehicles

    This type of vehicle is built from scratch. There are two labels (or makes) assigned to vehicles that fall into this class that help ease the confusion when it is time for registration and titling.

    Homemade: This is a vehicle assembled from scrap, shop-built parts, or parts scavenged from other vehicles.

    Replica: This is essentially a kit car, where the parts and chassis were prefabricated and bought from a manufacturer.

    Both require the same documentation to be presented, along with the actual vehicle for VIN inspection, at a Motor Vehicle Division field office in order to receive a title and registration certificate. Assuming the vehicle doesn't have a VIN, one will be assigned. Here's what you need to do:

    • Fill out an Affirmation for Specially Constructed or Reconstructed Vehicle (Form MVD10015).
    • Complete a Vehicle Equipment Affirmation (Form MVD10053). This form allows you to disclose what parts were used to construct the vehicle. It is also the form that the MVD uses to assign your new creation its vehicle identification number (VIN).
    • Provide a bill of sale and any invoices for the parts used.
    • Supply a weight certificate.
    • You will need to bring a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin for the chassis. This is usually only available for replica vehicles, and even this is not always the case.

    Reconstructed Vehicles

    If you took an existing auto body or frame and created a master ride using factory parts, your vehicle will fall into the reconstructed category. The key to this type of vehicle for registration and titling purposes is the chassis.

    When you buy a chassis for the rebuild, it will carry a title―whether you bought it straight from the factory or from an authorized dismantler (or salvager). You will need to make sure this title has been correctly signed over to you before you head into the MVD expecting to transfer it into your name.

    When you register and title the vehicle, you will need to drive it to a local MVD to have its VIN inspected. You will also need to bring the following paperwork:

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