My Texas Title Experiance

Mark B.

Supporter
Thanks very much to everyone who has been contributing to this thread (and James for recommendations on inspection shop!). I thought I'd update this post with the steps I just completed registering my SLC in Travis, County, TX. I live just outside Austin proper. The whole process seems to vary depending on who you happen to get for each step and which office you go to, so don't be surprised if your experience is different. I chose to go the Mercedes C9 replica route to avoid future annual inspections. As it turned out, they did NOT charge me state sales tax (see below).

A few key learnings:
  • Schedule way in advance. Of course, Covid scheduling processes / appointment wait times made the process much longer than it really needed to be. I thought I made all of my appointments far enough in advance, but got caught on the tax office appointment and had to reschedule.
  • Some have stated that the DMV only required a subset of the info I outlined below, but in my case they wanted everything which necessitated rescheduling a few things including the tax appointment. Hence, just get everything done before going to the DMV to be safe.
  • Stamp the RCR-issued MSO number on the chassis (I stamped mine on the square tube that extends behind the driver). Without that (and pictures of it), the Sherrif's and DMV appointments would have taken much longer or failed. They just used that number as the final VIN. Worst case, I would have gotten a stamped plate and installed it over my stamped MSO.
  • Should go without saying, but be respectful and patient at all steps. Most of the people I interacted with had never or rarely gone through this process so they were learning along with me. That +Covid +having to deal with Karens all day = potential shit storm if you're rude or impatient :)
The full process:
  1. Fill out your paperwork:
    1. Complete the New vehicle registration form (form 130-U)
    2. Complete the Rebuilt Vehicle statement (form VTR-61) , being fairly detailed on what you assembled, and the component parts/SN's, etc.
    3. Print out pictures of your car from front, rear, sides, engine, interior, and MSO # stamping. If you're going the replica route, print pictures of that car as well.
    4. Complete component bill of sale forms (VTR-63 for chassis, trans, engine) Chassis and trans for me was one form since I bought both from RCR. I put my name/signature under seller, since I didn't have access to them to get their signatures, but all of the inspectors were fine with that. Attach copies of paid Purchase receipts to each of those forms.
  2. Obtain Sherriff's inspection form (form VTR-68a). You can't download this one, they compete it and give it to you. Each county is different, but in Travis, I had to schedule mine 2 or 3 months in advance since they only conduct these every couple of months. Bring all of the above paperwork (they may or may not ask for any of it) and your license. The deputy was very cool about the process in my case and I was in and out in 15 mins. NOTE: these forms are only valid for 30 days so you have to get everything else ready for the DMV appointment quickly!
  3. Take everything under #1 (just to be safe) in to an ASE-certified mechanic to obtain:
    1. Texas Safety inspection form (form VTR-852 if you're going the replica route or VTR-64 if not). I had them complete both just in case since I wasn't sure if I'd get approved as a replica. This was pretty easy as well -- mostly just talked cars and they just checked the basic stuff, wheels, fuel lines, brakes, lights, wiper, etc.
    2. State inspection report (the same inspection you get for any car every year)
    3. A copy of the ASE-certified mechanic's license
  4. Obtain Certified weight receipt from any state-certified weigh station (CAT scale). This was pretty funny hauling the car to the truck stop, unloading it, then getting in line with the trucks, explaining to the remote operator that was weighing a car, not a rig.
  5. Registration approval from the DMV. Bring #1, 2, 3, 4, the RCR MSO, your driver license, and check book or $2 cash to the DMV. In Travis county, at least, they are partially open for walk-ins or you can schedule a slot online. They will review all the docs and give you a signed letter of approval and checklist of documentation that you'll need for the Tax/title office. In my case this review took 4 weeks because the one guy who does those reviews was out. I called them once a week to check. They will mail it back to you by default, or just let them know if you want to pick it up yourself.
  6. Title/registration. In Travis county, they are scheduling appointments 2 months out and even then it's hard to find one. Check on-line early mornings and you should be able to find something. Take the full packet from #5 along with your checkbook, ID, and proof of insurance to your appointment. In my case the guy was very nice but was unfamiliar with the process so had to ask for help (be patient). They had a question about the fact that RCR hadn't signed my MSO, but since I had the copy of the paid invoice, they said it was fine. They only charged me $104 total for new vehicle registration and plates -- no sales tax. They called over a guy with the tax code book who said since I purchased an 'incomplete kit' and assembled it myself, I was exempt from sales tax. As you've seen in the above thread, different people have had different outcomes here. Since I didn't go for custom plates, I walked out of the appointment with my plates, window sticker, and registration with Title arriving in 7-10 business days.
  7. DRIVE!!!
 
Nice job! I just drove mine to the local weighstation - in fact drove it 1,000 miles on the "30 day temp registration" so that was always an option in TX
 

Mark B.

Supporter
Nice job! I just drove mine to the local weighstation - in fact drove it 1,000 miles on the "30 day temp registration" so that was always an option in TX
After we talked, I asked about the 30-day temp registration and they acted like I was from Mars :) could just be the person I talked at the DMV was clueless.
 

Howard Jones

Supporter
Something to consider and be sure of.

When I did my SLC in California I discovered that the long RCR chassis identification number is not comprised of the VIN specified sequence and does not provide the normal vehicle information that a VIN number is designed to provide. It looks like a VIN number at first glance but will not come up in the national database because it is not a VIN number.

Only Motor Vehicle manufacturers, Ford, GM, Toyota, Audi etc. can assign a VIN number to a complete motor vehicle. It costs them a lot of money to comply with the national regulations and be allowed to sell complete and compliant motor vehicles in the US and thus are licensed to do so.

Be sure to tell anyone who asks, DMV clerk, Sheriff, or the inspector that it is the chassis identification number assigned by RCR and then reassigned to your car as the state ID number during the registration process for your home-built kit car, but it is not a VIN number as such. This can save you a lot of misunderstanding when someone tries to look up the RCR number and it comes up invalid as a VIN number in that database.

This is not a bad thing, in fact, it's just what it should be. RCR is not a licensed vehicle manufacture and neither are any of the other kit car manufactures. They simply don't fit into that category.

Good to know, The clerks at the DMV are going their best to help you, and something like this can confuse them and delay your progress while they try and figure it out. My clerk in California thought it was a mistyped VIN # and after a delay called RCR to confirm the number. He believed it was a transposition error. RCR set him straight and all was well but it took a couple of days and a return trip to the DMV.


 
Last edited:

HCF - John

Gearbox / Brake Systems
GT40s Sponsor
Welcome to Tejas!!


Thanks very much to everyone who has been contributing to this thread (and James for recommendations on inspection shop!). I thought I'd update this post with the steps I just completed registering my SLC in Travis, County, TX. I live just outside Austin proper. The whole process seems to vary depending on who you happen to get for each step and which office you go to, so don't be surprised if your experience is different. I chose to go the Mercedes C9 replica route to avoid future annual inspections. As it turned out, they did NOT charge me state sales tax (see below).

A few key learnings:
  • Schedule way in advance. Of course, Covid scheduling processes / appointment wait times made the process much longer than it really needed to be. I thought I made all of my appointments far enough in advance, but got caught on the tax office appointment and had to reschedule.
  • Some have stated that the DMV only required a subset of the info I outlined below, but in my case they wanted everything which necessitated rescheduling a few things including the tax appointment. Hence, just get everything done before going to the DMV to be safe.
  • Stamp the RCR-issued MSO number on the chassis (I stamped mine on the square tube that extends behind the driver). Without that (and pictures of it), the Sherrif's and DMV appointments would have taken much longer or failed. They just used that number as the final VIN. Worst case, I would have gotten a stamped plate and installed it over my stamped MSO.
  • Should go without saying, but be respectful and patient at all steps. Most of the people I interacted with had never or rarely gone through this process so they were learning along with me. That +Covid +having to deal with Karens all day = potential shit storm if you're rude or impatient :)
The full process:
  1. Fill out your paperwork:
    1. Complete the New vehicle registration form (form 130-U)
    2. Complete the Rebuilt Vehicle statement (form VTR-61) , being fairly detailed on what you assembled, and the component parts/SN's, etc.
    3. Print out pictures of your car from front, rear, sides, engine, interior, and MSO # stamping. If you're going the replica route, print pictures of that car as well.
    4. Complete component bill of sale forms (VTR-63 for chassis, trans, engine) Chassis and trans for me was one form since I bought both from RCR. I put my name/signature under seller, since I didn't have access to them to get their signatures, but all of the inspectors were fine with that. Attach copies of paid Purchase receipts to each of those forms.
  2. Obtain Sherriff's inspection form (form VTR-68a). You can't download this one, they compete it and give it to you. Each county is different, but in Travis, I had to schedule mine 2 or 3 months in advance since they only conduct these every couple of months. Bring all of the above paperwork (they may or may not ask for any of it) and your license. The deputy was very cool about the process in my case and I was in and out in 15 mins. NOTE: these forms are only valid for 30 days so you have to get everything else ready for the DMV appointment quickly!
  3. Take everything under #1 (just to be safe) in to an ASE-certified mechanic to obtain:
    1. Texas Safety inspection form (form VTR-852 if you're going the replica route or VTR-64 if not). I had them complete both just in case since I wasn't sure if I'd get approved as a replica. This was pretty easy as well -- mostly just talked cars and they just checked the basic stuff, wheels, fuel lines, brakes, lights, wiper, etc.
    2. State inspection report (the same inspection you get for any car every year)
    3. A copy of the ASE-certified mechanic's license
  4. Obtain Certified weight receipt from any state-certified weigh station (CAT scale). This was pretty funny hauling the car to the truck stop, unloading it, then getting in line with the trucks, explaining to the remote operator that was weighing a car, not a rig.
  5. Registration approval from the DMV. Bring #1, 2, 3, 4, the RCR MSO, your driver license, and check book or $2 cash to the DMV. In Travis county, at least, they are partially open for walk-ins or you can schedule a slot online. They will review all the docs and give you a signed letter of approval and checklist of documentation that you'll need for the Tax/title office. In my case this review took 4 weeks because the one guy who does those reviews was out. I called them once a week to check. They will mail it back to you by default, or just let them know if you want to pick it up yourself.
  6. Title/registration. In Travis county, they are scheduling appointments 2 months out and even then it's hard to find one. Check on-line early mornings and you should be able to find something. Take the full packet from #5 along with your checkbook, ID, and proof of insurance to your appointment. In my case the guy was very nice but was unfamiliar with the process so had to ask for help (be patient). They had a question about the fact that RCR hadn't signed my MSO, but since I had the copy of the paid invoice, they said it was fine. They only charged me $104 total for new vehicle registration and plates -- no sales tax. They called over a guy with the tax code book who said since I purchased an 'incomplete kit' and assembled it myself, I was exempt from sales tax. As you've seen in the above thread, different people have had different outcomes here. Since I didn't go for custom plates, I walked out of the appointment with my plates, window sticker, and registration with Title arriving in 7-10 business days.
  7. DRIVE!!!
 
I've decided to Title my car.

So I was researching Mark B's not paying tax in Texas. THIS IS CORRECT! I also noticed that it looks like you should not have to pay for custom plates for a "Custom Vehicle" though this is contrary to what the DMV paperwork says they are doing ($40/yr).

** On Taxes **

There are some stipulations on when it applies but those are pretty clear and most of us will fall into the No Tax bucket. It would appear from the info quoted below that this would apply regardless of going the Assembled Vehicle or Custom Vehicle (Replica) route. And yes, Custom Vehicle gets you out of state inspections.

From:
Motor Vehicle Tax Manual published by Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts • Audit Division

Accessories Purchased to Combine into a Motor Vehicle

A motor vehicle built from parts is commonly called a “homemade” or “shop-made” motor vehicle. The taxpayer must pay limited sales and use tax on each part, accessory, or incomplete kit ordered to build the vehicle. When parts and accessories are purchased to be combined into a motor vehicle and no single part or accessory is a motor vehicle by itself, motor vehicle tax is not due when the builder initially titles the motor vehicle.

Motor vehicle tax is due from the person who customer-orders a motor vehicle to be built because a retail sale has occurred. No motor vehicle tax is due when an individual purchases component parts and hires another person to assemble them into a motor vehicle.

Note:

The only time motor vehicle tax is not due on a “homemade” or “shop made” motor vehicle is when the vehicle is initially titled by the person who actually built it. Once a vehicle has been titled or registered by the person who built it, motor vehicle tax is due on all subsequent sales.

** On Custom Plates **

Form VTR-852 says "If you would like to personalize your specialty plate, there will be a $40.00 fee per year in addition to the annual registration and other applicable fees."

However, Texas Transportation Code Section 504.501 CLASSIC MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAVEL TRAILERS; CUSTOM VEHICLES; STREET RODS says "(c) There is no fee for issuance or approval of license plates under this section"

I find nothing to contradict "(c)". But, I'm not going to Piss Off a person at the DMV by bringing this up when I'm going through the initial process.
 
Good to know, The clerks at the DMV are going their best to help you, and something like this can confuse them and delay your progress while they try and figure it out. My clerk in California thought it was a mistyped VIN # and after a delay called RCR to confirm the number. He believed it was a transposition error. RCR set him straight and all was well but it took a couple of days and a return trip to the DMV.
25 years ago, I tried to register a European built Ford in the US. I ran into a problem because two characters in the VIN didn't match the expected pattern. To resolve this, I had to arrange to meet with a state police officer who looked at the VIN on the car in two different places and verified that the VIN on the paper work was correct. I spent more time chatting with him about the car, than getting the VIN verified. Now that I think about it, I had to do this a second time when trying to transfer the registration to a different state.
 

Neil

Supporter
When I registered my Ferrari back in 1968 in Virginia, the clerk asked a series of the usual questions, Make, Model, Year, Number of Cylinders? I replied to the last one "Twelve". She knew that I was lying because she knew that no car ever had more than 8 cylinders!
 
I'm currently in process in Pa. of tilting my car. I'm running into difficulty because I bought an incomplete car from a gentleman in NY. The certificate of origin was not signed or transferred into his name by RCR. I contacted my State Representative and subsequently have spoken to a dept of transportation person. Pa dept of trans wants to see an uninterrupted ownership history which technically I can provide through bills of sale from RCR to the original owner and then to me. I'm patiently waiting for a call back from them to get this done. Originally they suggested the first owner title the car in NY and transfer it to me. The problem with that is he did not have a complete car to present for inspection and it would cost over $4000 additional to what I will be spending. Any wisdom (Neil...! ) would be appreciated.
 

Neil

Supporter
Move to Arizona or Texas. :rolleyes:

Seriously, East Coast states are not easy to deal with and tend to be unfriendly to requests such as yours. Since I don't live there now, I can't think of a good approach to your problem. Good luck!
 

Mark B.

Supporter
Frank, thanks for the research! I have to admit I was a little worried that I'd get a letter back saying "you owe us $7K". You're also correct about custom plates not being required. I didn't want them so wasn't charged for them.
 
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