Making Your Buggy Street Legal
A lot of people are surprised that you can actually drive sand rails on the highways. Well the process is going to vary from State to State. And some States are much easier than others.
For Starters you probably want to try to get this book:
This book is out of print, but you might be able to find a Kit-Car maker in your area to show it to you. There's only a couple pages on each State so it's not critical.
Try looking here for Info that is specific to your State: Street Legal
In Virginia, we have State Inspections so my first step was to make sure that I was willing to do everything necessary to pass the Inspection. I obtained an inspection manual and read it (several times). If you live in Virginia you can obtain one by writing to:
The manual was about $10, but to be on the safe side call them to find out. If you don't live in Virginia, then ask someone at the the local Inspection Station where you can buy a copy (TIP: The address is usually on the inside of the Manual.) When you get the manual read it carefully - very carefully. It might say something like "each door must be equipped with an inside handle". It doesn't say you need doors however.
You'll need the obvious things like:
This depends again on the State you live in, and what kind of chassis you have. It will usually boil down to something like this: If it's a "lot" like a VW, then it be titled as a VW. If it uses the original VW pan and suspension then it will be a "Reconstructed Vehicle." If it has a custom made Chassis then it will be a "Specially Constructed Vehicle."
Go to Department of Motor Vehicles in your State and tell them you need
the forms to obtain a VIN number and a new title. You'll probably need receipts
for the major componts or you'll have to sign an affidavit that states that you
did in fact buy the parts and/or the vehicle. Also you might need to write a
"Statement of Construction" that states the type of material the
vehicle is built from, what type of vehicle the major components came from,
etc. If the local branch office of your DMV gives you a blank stare, then
you'll have to call the main office and ask who handles "Kit-Car" or
"Specially Constructed Vehicle" registrations. Once you get all the
paperwork filled out and you have a VIN number, you'll probably have to make
arrangements with a State Inspection officer (or someone similar) who will
inspect that the VIN number is in place. They may also inspect the Vehicle. Once
you have your VIN number and Title you should be able to get your Tags (License
Plate). Don't forget to get a vanity plate with a cool message on it
(DUNE-BUG, BUGGY-1, etc..) If the plate relates to the buggy, then it will
help to keep the
First ask your insurance agent to add a new car. Explain that it's taged, titled, and will be inspected once you can drive to the inspection station. If your lucky you'll get it.
If you get turned down:
I got shot down the first time I tried to get insurance. Then I called the home office and talked to the insurance adjuster. I explained to him that this car is recognized by the state as a Department of Transportation approved vehicle, it passes state inspection and is fully licensed. (It's important for him/her to understand that it is a street vehicle NOT an off-road vehicle.) Furthermore I explained to him that it has a full roll cage and 4 point seat belt system similar to a race car, and a fire extinguisher. It only gets driven in fair weather a few hundred miles per year and certainly this VW powered vehicle was much safer than my Trans-AM that he insures or any other typical passenger car for that matter.
Don't plan on getting Collision insurance from a national company though. They don't know how to go about doing repairs on a hand-built car. However you should be able to find an Insurance company to give you straight Liability insurance.
Driving on the Street:
When you do get out on the road, please drive in a safe manner. Don't attract attention to yourself and you won't be harassed (hopefully) by the Police. In some States where there are not many street buggies, the Police will go out of their way to harass you no matter what you're doing. Pennsylvania is one that I can think of right off the bat. If you do get stopped (for doing nothing) be polite and explain that it is in fact perfectly legal. It will usually be a small town cop with nothing better to do than to show his perceived authority. TIP: Keep a disposable camera in your buggy and take a picture. Be sure to get your buggy, the policeman, and his car in it. If nothing else it'll be funny. Don't forget to send the picture to me though.
Good Luck, Have Fun, and Be Safe!!