Custom Built Car Registration in New York
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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 form MV-272.1 (application for VIN). This last form, which you might not need, is not available online.
Request this package from the DMV's Technical Services Bureau by calling (518) 474-5282 or mailing a request to:
- NYSDMV Technical Services Bureau
- Vehicle Safety Services
- 6 Empire State Plaza
- Albany, NY 12228
The above phone number is also the one to call with questions about your homemade vehicle such as what equipment is required, what documents and receipts you should keep, and more.
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 Form VS-103, Notice of Registration Acceptability, and may proceed to apply for a VIN, if needed. Note that 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 Form MV-272.1 (Application for Vehicle Identification Number), which will be included in your packet, and send it along with a check or money order for $25 payable to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to:
- VIN Assignment
- Division of Field Investigation
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- 6 Empire State Plaza
- Albany, NY 12228
Be sure to wait until your vehicle has been approved by the Technical Services Bureau before you apply for a VIN, as the $25 VIN application fee is nonrefundable should your vehicle not be approved.
The next step is to have the vehicle safety inspected at an official inspection station. Take along 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:
- Form MV-82 (Vehicle Registration/Title Application)
- New York insurance identification card under your name for the vehicle
- Weight certificate or proof of ownership that indicates the completed vehicle weight
- Completed Form VS-103
- Original, validated copy of form MV-272.1 (if necessary)
- Proof of incorporation if registering the vehicle in the name of a corporation (instructions)
- Payment for sales tax, registration fees, vehicle plates ($25), and title certificate ($50.00)
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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