Dmv reg. Checking engine


Waiting for delivery of my slc. I want to put a bigger cam in my ls3. Does CA DMV inspection just do a visual inspection on the engine? I

Howard Jones

Google California SB100 process and search this website for California SB100. Read everything. Lots of information is available and important to know.

Short version. The law says you get to pick either the year of the engine, the year of the body style OR, if the body style is not a replica of an automobile that has been manufactured and sold by a auto manufacture (Ford, GM, Toyota, etc.) then you get to select 1960 as the year for smog purposes. A kit car like the SLC is not a manufactured car and that is what this law is for. You will pick that choice and therefore it can have any engine you want in it.

However: the Smog ref will use 1966 and you will need to install a PCV valve for the 1-time inspection and smog test. After that, you will not need to get the car inspected again as long as you are the owner.

Where do you live in California? have a look at Club Cobra and find a DMV that is familiar with the SB100 process. If you are in the SF bay area then I know that the Pleasanton DMV is a good choice and they know what to do.

Start a file now and collect every part receipt you get while you build the car. Make sure you get a bill of sale for the engine, transaxle, and kit. Preferably with the serial number clearly stated on the receipt. Since it is a "kit" they will assume that the majority of the parts came with the kit. In the end, you will provide these receipts to the smog ref, DMV and highway patrol to prove that the parts were not stolen as well as to establish a cost basis for the car build.

The total of the parts receipts that you present as a package will determine the total value of the car for tax purposes. Anything that has already had sales taxes paid will not be charged twice. This is why it is important to keep receipts.

A last bit of advice. The state of California knows how much it generally takes to build an SLC. They have a database for that. Don't try and lowball them but select your receipts to reflect the fare amount you spent.

When I did mine the car was still in the jelcoat stage. I did not spend any money on paint. The jelcoat came with the "kit"...... get it. Also the intent of SB100 is to give HOMEBULILDRS a legal way to register their cars, They expect you to do the labor and don't expect to see large labor charges in your receipt package......get it.

I provided a spreadsheet for the package of parts reciepts. to make it easy on the DMV etc. Something like this: Remember this was 10+ years ago.

Complete SLC Kit 44,000
engine 6108
Transmission and drive line parts 13,062
Additional Elec parts 721
Tire and wheels 1508
Addition hardware and materials 662

Total 66061
California sales Taxes paid 331

You will need a brake and light test, start looking for a vendor that can work with you on that. The big oil change places will not have a clue what to do with your car. Again, Club Cobra can help on this as well.

If you need to talk to someone drop me a PM.


THANK YOU!! Ill register it as a 1960 year engine. Now I can put my ls3 together with the comp 459 cam. Appreciate the quick answer! Looking forward to talking to you all of you in the future .I'm in Napa CA . good to know Pleasanton DMV will know how to handle paper work when its time to register!
Howard - great explanation. Do you happen to know if say, you buy a chassis/body from somebody out of state, are they required to charge you the sales tax or is that when the State charges you when you go to start the SB100 process? How does that work? I know that most of the big vendors (Summit, etc.) definitely charge the tax at time of purchase but what about a private sale? thanks.

Chris Kouba

Not specifically sure about CA but I can tell you if you have already paid sales tax on it (save your receipts!), then you shouldn't be charged. If you don't have documentation, be prepared for CA to charge you for it.

Private sellers (used items, etc...) will not have collected or remitted sales tax. You will pay it for the amount the item cost you.
I used the SB100 process to register my Ferrari 250 GTO replica about 8 years ago. I also did it through the Pleasanton, CA DMV office and didn't have any issues getting it registered. It's a long tedious process but not rocket science.

A word of caution though, you will be writing a "big check" to the DMV during the registration process. They will add up your receipts (as Howard explained earlier) and you will be charge a "use tax" on the total. For me, they subtracted the sales tax amounts I had already paid but still included the sales price amounts in the total for use tax calculation. Their explanation was that they were removing the sales tax so I wouldn't be paying taxes on already charged taxes. I tried to convince them that the sales price for these items should be removed from the summation since I already paid taxes on them. Their response was that "use tax" and "sales tax" are two different things and they needed to collect use tax on the full summation of all the constituent parts for the homebuilt automobile.

Bottom line, you will write a big check to register your homebuilt car in CA. This is one of many reasons why I'm moving my domicile to another state.
Good info. I would have assumed CA would take every chance imaginable to screw us twice or 3 times if they can. Per their website:

What is subject to California use tax? The use tax generally applies to the storage, use, or other consumption in California of goods purchased from retailers in transactions not subject to the sales tax. Use tax may also apply to purchases shipped to a California consumer from another state, including purchases made by mail order, telephone, or Internet.

So I assume from this, if you buy a kit from a guy in say, Texas, and they charge you sales tax for the purchase in Texas, you still get charged by the State of CA for use tax which essentially = sales tax.

Not sure Howard how you avoided that one.

Howard Jones

I didn't, I was a resident of California when I bought my kit from RCR and registered my SLC in California. As far as a used kit goes. I think they will subtract any sales tax already paid in another state. But you will need a receipt to prove sales tax paid in that state by you. This is not normally done between private parties. If you bought a kit from a resale business then this might apply if they collected sales tax. It will not reduce the total value of the car, however. They do this so that from now on you will pay the full value/registration cost for annual registration purposes. Gotya!!!

All of this is why it is important to know your local DMV and be sure they are familiar with this process. Find out in advance who at that office handles these transactions and make an appointment with that person if possible.

At least until you everybody else. 75 bucks a year in Texas..........for ALL cars annual registration and personal use trucks, new and otherwise.