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Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicle News

(As it pertains to Classic/Custom Builds)

We now have a contact person (Conrad LeLièvre P.Eng. CRSP) that is providing us with information from the Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicles regarding information about Classic/Custom builds or modifications. Below is the recent information that has been sent to us. We will continue to add more as it becomes available.

September 2nd, 2012 - MVA Updates

Click on the following link for the latest MVA updates - NSMotorVehicleAct-20120902.doc (MS Word format)

Class 56-Reconstructed Vehicles - Some questions were asked to clarify Conrad's role with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. as well as when a vehicle needs to be certified by an engineer. Click on the link below to see the answers. Class 56 Reconstructed Vehicles questions

April 11, 2012 - MVA Updates

I have had an update from the individual who tried to register the kit car here in Nova Scotia.
He contacted the Access Nova Scotia Minister and received a letter back from that person.

I have attached a section of that letter below.

The Registrar has periodically dealt with the registration and permitting of kit assembled vehicles which have required significant modifications to meet provincial and federal standards. He is considering a new class of vehicle for vehicles which are built as a replica of a former model. The requirements of this class of vehicle might allow for the relaxation of certain requirements. However, this would not be done at the expense of safety or the environment. This is a complex topic and the Registrar does not know when the study will be concluded.

The Registrar has instructed that a motor vehicle inspector be assigned to examine your vehicle in the near future and advise you whether or not any modifications are required. The inspector will also advise if an inspection by an engineer is required.

It is a positive move that the Registry will have another look at this vehicle. I will keep you informed of any developments on this topic.

Conrad LeLièvre P.Eng. CRSP

March 26, 2012 - Class 56 Reconstructed Vehicles Updates

I spoke with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles today and the entire Class 56-Reconstructed Vehicle process has not been suspended. It does not seem to be as bad as first thought.

The registration of vehicles that have existing VIN's does not seem to have been affected. The vehicles concerned seem to be the ones that do not as yet have a VIN assigned. (i.e. kit cars, fiberglass replicas, custom motorcycles) The problems with these vehicles (or the hassles with them) is that they are essentially a new vehicle. As an example a fiberglass 1934 Ford coupe body on a new custom chassis is not a 1934 car, is it? As such, it appears that the Registry is handling them as such and being more strict than in the past

Questions such as what should it be called on the permit have arisen, and I think it is these questions that have not as yet been decided by the Registry. Should a Cobra replica be called a "Factory 5 Roadster". The same is true of custom motorcycles that look like Harley Davidsons, but cannot be registered as a Harley. Things have changed for sure, but not the entire system.

It would appear that modifications to existing vehicles that carry VIN's can still proceed.

I am trying to get some additional clarification from the Registry as to what has actually changed and hope to pass that on once I get it.

The only caution I would pass on is that before starting a kit contact the Registry to get some guidance.

Conrad LeLièvre P.Eng. CRSP

March 22, 2012 - Moratorium on Kit Car, Street Rod Approvals

I was recently told that the Registry of Motor Vehicles has put on hold the system by which newly-built street rods and kit cars get approved for licensing. The system is known as Class 56-Reconstructed Vehicles. This is the only existing system under which a new owner-built motor vehicle can get registered, at least to my knowledge.

The person concerned, submitted an application for registration of a kit car and was told that everything is on hold till the MVA review is completed. Based on my understanding, that could take up to a year or more to get completed.

Feb 17, 2012 - Updates to Motor Vehicle Act -Status report

Please find attached, a status report on the Motor Vehicle Act updates following a recent meeting with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. I'd appreciate hearing any comments that you or your club might care to make.

Motor Vehicle Act Update (Classic Builds)

The purpose of the meeting was to get an update on behalf of Engineers Nova Scotia of any progress on the amendments to the MVA and also get some feedback on the submission made in late 2011 regarding the issue of modified vehicles.

The requested agenda for the meeting contained the following points for discussion.

- Update on excessively raised vehicles discussion paper
- Update on antique vehicle discussion paper
- Feedback on modified vehicles submission from 2011
- Possible topic of antique motorcycles

Conrad LeLièvre P.Eng. CRSP

Summer, 2011 - Updates to Motor Vehicle Act -Status report

Excessively Raised Vehicles:

A face to face meeting was held on May 31 with the Registry of Motor Vehicles staff and several key stakeholders. Although it was only preliminary, I think you need to be aware of what was discussed.
All of these points are in draft form at this time and are by no means the final wording of the changes foreseen. Approval of such raised vehicles will probably take two paths, which are somewhat connected.

First will be the "go/no-go" type of inspection will handle the majority of these vehicles and will go as per the document entitled "CCMTA Best Practice for Regulating Excessively-Raised Vehicles" dated December 2010.

This involves taking a single frame height reading mid-way between the axles. It should be noted that the CCMTA document suggested taking that dimension at the extremities of the frame, but it was felt that since these end sections often "kick-up" relative to the central portion of the frame rails, that was not a suitable measurement.

These proposed heights are as follows:

-28" for vehicles with GVW of 7501-10,000 lbs.
-26" for vehicles with GVW of 4501-7500 lbs.
-24" for vehicles with GVW of < 4500 lbs.
-22" for passenger cars

Body lift off the frame will be limited to 3" over stock height.
If the vehicles meet these criteria, they will be accepted as being in compliance.

It is assumed that the lift kits installed are pre-engineered from reputable manufacturers.
Also, the normal MVI checks such as the requirement for fender flares on wide tires and suitable u-joint/tie rod angle tolerances would be applied.

The second path comes into play if the vehicle exceeds the limits in the go/no-go analysis. The vehicle may be eligible for certification, but it would require an engineer's assessment and certification.
What that engineering assessment will (or should) contain is by no means clear at this point and requires further study and drafting of suitable guidelines. This is especially true in the area of roll-over stability and braking performance.

It should be noted here that there was little consensus in the submissions received on this discussion paper according to the feedback from the Registry.

As a final point, if you have not read the CCMTA paper and wish to do so, I can scan it and send it to you by e-mail.

Antique Vehicle Discussion Paper:

As you are aware, there was a discussion paper released on the subject of Antique Automobiles and feedback was requested for May 13, 2011.

There was only limited discussion on this topic at the May 31 meeting at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. It was not a topic for that meeting and only limited comments were made after the main meeting was over.

Recently, I have asked the Registry staff if there is a face-to face meeting planned on this topic, but I have not as yet received a reply to those questions.

In subsequent communication with the Registry of Motor Vehicle staff after the raised vehicle meeting, it was stated that there was a much greater degree of consensus in the Antique Auto discussion paper than was seen in the Excessively-Raised Vehicle discussion paper.

It was stated that the responses received identified a number of improvements which could be made to the regualtions. Many of those have been incorproated into the draft Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations.
At the time of that communciation, it was stated that the next opportunity to comment would be when the draft legislation is made public. That is expected to be within the next 12 months.

At this point, I do not know what suggested changes have been incorporated into the draft legislation.

From talking to a lot of interested parties that submitted responses to the discussion paper, the some things I heard were as follows:

- "recognized classic" was too vague a term
- Too much restriction on driving time for antique autos
- Concern that club executive might not be the best to determine compliance with originality requirements
and that licensed mechanics might be the best people
- Lack of guidance on what originality means and how original does it have to be (85%? 90%?)

Personally, I feel that if there is to be an originality quotient established to qualify for Antique Auto plates, then it needs to be written down and understood by all.

I have heard rumours that some antique cars owners are abandoning their "Antique" plates and moving to normal registration for their vehicles. The reason stated is that they hear that any modifications will be dis-allowed in the new regualtions. As stated above, I have no information to back that up at this time.

Modified Vehicles:

If there is one major thing that could possibly come out of any revised antique auto regulations, it is felt that it would involve the subject of modified vehicles.

I am going to be long-winded on this subject, but I think it deserves some detailed discussion.

To bring my points across, I'll use an example of 3 separate vehicles.

Vehicle #1 is a bone stock 1934 Ford 3-window coupe. It has a flathead V-8 engine, 3 speed manual transmission, no signal lights, one taillight and all original suspension and brakes. It has suicide doors with no bear-claw latches and no seat belts.

Vehicle #2 is a original steel 1934 Ford 3-window coupe that has had a Mustang-II front suspension installed, is now powered by a 289 Ford small-block, and has a C6 automatic trannsmission in it. It has a Ford 9" rear end installed. It has upgraded brakes, signal lights and has added bear-claw latches to the doors. It has seat belts installed.

Vehicle #3 is a fiberglass replica 1934 Ford 3-window coupe. The body is totally after-market and comes equipped with bear-claw latches on the doors and suitable seat belt mounting points. It has a custom frame under it with Mustang-II front suspension and a custom independent rear suspension. It is powered by a Chevy 454 big-block complete with a TH-400 transmission. It has a brand new disc brake system all-around and is equipped with seat/shoulder belts and all normal lighting.

Currently in this province, there are cars registered as antique autos that fit all 3 vehicles listed above.
Vehicle #1 is truly an antique. Does vehicle #2 meet the defintion of an antique? It is over 30 years old. But since we don't have any good definition of "how original" it has to be, it qualifies as an antique?
Vehicle #3 does not have anything on it that is original 1934 Ford. For discussion sake, it is a brand new car. But because it looks like a 1934 Ford, that is how it is registered and once titled as such, it qualifies under the antique auto regulations as they currently exist.

If the antique auto regulations should be changed by the Registry to require a better sort of definitive "originality assessment", then it is possible that either Vehicle #2 or both Vehicle #2 and Vehicle #3 might be excluded from being registered as an antique.

Going back and looking at Vehicle #2 and Vehicle #3, both would normally have to pass a certification under Class 56-Reconstructed Vehicle. Vehicle #2 might have previously been registered as an antique and since it does not have to pass an MVI, the modifications might have gone undetected.
Vehicle #3 for sure would have to, as it doesn't have a current VIN at the time of construction.

And if they had to pass a Class 56 certification, are they really antique?

The answer to most of the questions above is "I don't know", as these things are too fuzzy to decide, based on the existing regulations.

If Vehicle #2 and Vehicle #3 are excluded from being registered as an antique auto, the only currently available option is to be registered as a normal motor vehicle which includes undergoing a complete MVI every 2 years.

For those of you that are knowledgeable in the nuances of the MVI Manual, a lot of classic and antique autos may not pass this inspection as it is currently written. Things such as ball joint play on older cars and straight-through mufflers will not pass the current MVI. Also, do you need a defroster that operates on one speed in a T-Bucket roadster that is only driven in the summer?

In some cases, the financial implications of slight changes in an automobile might warrant consideration.
As an example, if a person had a 1950 Ford that came with a flathead V-8 and the engine dies and is unrepairable, does that person have to spend a fist-load of money to buy a new after-market flathead or risk having the car fall out of antique classification? Or could they simply install a 289/302 and continue running antique plates?

The solution to all these above questions is two fold. First, we need a better definition of originality for antique autos. We need to have some sort of guidelines as to how original they have to be. Secondly we need another (third) classification that covers modified vehicles such as Vehicle #2 and Vehicle #3.

What that third classification needs to be called is not important at this time, but can be decided over the next few months. It could be called a "Collector Plate" or it could be a "Street Rod" plate or something else.

If we get a third option for these modified vehicles, we then need guidelines as to what is required.

Engineers Nova Scotia has been advocating that a set of guidelines be created to cover Class 56-Reconstructed Vehicles. These are needed to provide both the engineers doing the certifications and the builders setting out to built custom vehicles with a defined set of requirements. We don't have that today.

Part of those required guidelines would include what inspection requirements need to be met and if these vehicles require any sort of periodic inspection. Based on the limited use of these vehicles and the good weather in which they are driven, it might not be necessary to have them inspected on a 2 year basis. Maybe 5 years would be better. And the current NAACC "National Member Club Safety Inspection Guidelines" document might be a good starting point for such guidelines.

This is only a starting point for this discussion.

Antique Motorcycles:

I have heard comments from some bikers that they expected to see "Antique motorcycle" plates available in this province. The big issue seems to be with hard-tails or ridgid rear suspensions. On older bikes, it was quite common. According to the comments received back from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, hard-tails have been outlawed for years under the current regulations. But in anticipation of a revised Motor Vehicle Act, they have not been pushing this point in inspections.

Another issue is the acceptance of "trikes" or 3-wheeled motorcycles.

I don't have much information on these 2 topics as yet.

Conrad LeLièvre P.Eng. CRSP

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