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  • Custom Built Car Registration in Rhode Island

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    Custom-Built Car Registration in Rhode Island

    The folks at Rhode Island's Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) define a custom-built car as:

    • Any vehicle that has been modified from the manufacturer's original configuration.
    • Any vehicle that has been fashioned together from non-original materials.

    If your vehicle falls into the custom-built category, you must register it as such if its use will be restricted to occasional exhibitions, club gatherings, and parades. You will not be allowed to register it as custom-built if you plan on using it for everyday travel.

    On this page, you'll find a complete outline of the registration and titling process for your custom-built vehicle.

    Registration and Title Requirements

    SPECIAL NOTE: The RI DMV states that you can register your custom-built car, or just title the vehicle before you resell it. Keep in mind, you will be required to submit documents for every part you used to construct your custom-built vehicle. The DMV has an Enforcement Section that will make sure all of your documentation is valid.

    When you need to register and title your custom vehicle, you'll need to submit your application in person at the Cranston DMV headquarters location.

    Rhode Island's registration and titling requirements are as follows. You must:

    • Submit a completed Application for Registration and Title Certificate (Form TR-1).
    • Provide proof that the vehicle passed a safety inspection.
    • Show detailed evidence (e.g., receipts) that authenticates every single part you used to construct your custom vehicle. All of this documentation must be submitted to the Division of Motor Vehicles located in the DMV's Cranston location.
      • Once approved, you will be responsible for taking all your paperwork over to the Title Office, which is located in the same building.
    • Submit payment for the $51.50 title fee.

    Once all of your papers and forms are properly processed and deemed in order, you will be issued a special custom vehicle license plate. Since this plate will now be in your possession, your vehicle will then be exempt from annual inspections. You also will not be required to conform to special emission regulations in Rhode Island.

    NOTE: If you are in the process of trying to register and title a kit car, you may be required to show the following as well:

    • 4 color photos of the fully constructed vehicle.
    • A photocopy of the title signed in your name (for vehicles model year 2001 or newer).
    • An assigned vehicle identification number (VIN).

    Replacing a Lost Title for Your Custom-Vehicle

    After losing your vehicle title, you should submit a request through the Rhode Island DMV to get another copy of it. The cost for a replacement vehicle title in RI will be $51.50 .

    You'll need to submit a completed Application for Title (Form TR-2/TR-9), and then show proof of identity and residency. The RI DMV may also require you to show a lien release letter (if applicable).

    For complete details about what you will need to apply for a duplicate RI vehicle title, please read our page about Replacing a Lost Title in Rhode Island.

    Additional Questions

    After building your custom vehicle, there are lots of questions that can come up during the registration process. For more information and answers to your specific questions, you can contact the Enforcement Section of the Division of Motor Vehicles at (401) 462-5736.

    You can also visit their offices directly at the DMV headquarters in Cranston.