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  • Custom Built Car Registration in New York

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    NY Custom Built Car Registration
    Page Overview

    The Basics

    Whether you just like to tinker or you're an automobile design aficionado who's created a special vehicle from scratch, all custom or modified motor vehicles, motorcycles, and trailers must be evaluated by the Department of Motor Vehicles before they can be registered and used on New York's public highways. Such vehicles include homemade or kit automobiles, trucks, or motorcycles as well as other vehicles with special construction, equipment, or characteristics.

    Registering a homemade or custom-built vehicle can be a little complicated, and not all applicants are successful: The vehicle needs to be examined and receipts submitted, the DMV might need to issue a vehicle identification number (VIN) for it, it will need a standard safety inspection, and more.

    To help you manage the process, the DMV will send you an application package by mail that contains complete information about homemade vehicles, a checklist of instructions, a list of required vehicle equipment, and an Application for Vehicle Identification Number (Form MV-272.1). This last form, which you might not need, is not available online.

    You can request this application package by contacting the DMV at the details listed on the Instructions for Registering a Homemade Vehicle.

    The Essentials

    The DMV may ask to examine the vehicle, and will almost certainly do so if it is assigning a VIN to it. You'll receive a notice in the mail indicating the date, time, and location of the inspection. You will need to bring all original proofs of purchase, sales receipts, or tax receipts for the vehicle itself or major parts used to make the vehicle; the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO) or any other manufacturer's statement; the title certificate and other proofs of ownership; and any other documents that show the source of the vehicle or its major parts.

    If your vehicle passes the examination, you will be sent a Notice of Registration Acceptability (Form VS-103), and may proceed to apply for a VIN, if needed. Note that the Notice of Registration Acceptability (Form VS-103) is not a registration certificate, just a document indicating that the vehicle passes muster and may now be further processed.

    If you need a vehicle identification number, complete Application for Vehicle Identification Number (Form MV-272.1), which will be included in your packet, and send it along with a check or money order for the fee payable to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to the appropriate address on the form.

    Be sure to wait until your vehicle has been approved by the Technical Services Bureau before you apply for a VIN, as the VIN application fee is non-refundable should your vehicle not be approved.

    The next step is to have the vehicle safety inspected at an official inspection station. Take along your Notice of Registration Acceptability (Form VS-103) so that the inspector can complete the form for you when the vehicle passes.

    Finally, you may register the vehicle for two years at a time. Take the following to a local DMV office:

    Further details are available on an information page provided by the DMV. You'll also find different instructions for registering a custom-built or homemade trailer.