Perfect example of why you shouldn't believe anything written on the internet. In this case, this writer, with little real knowledge of what it takes to legalize a car for the US, puts a statement like "Here's How A Guy Legally Registered A Mercedes A-Class in the US".
Talk about wrong information. We always want what we can't have, and in this case, it is an A-Class Mercedes. Granted Federal laws are confusing. So are state laws. However over all the laws and regulations, the gatekeepers are US Customs/DHS. Under them are NHTSA, and EPA. After you are clear of those hurdles, then the individual states handle title and registration.
So how did the car get into the country in the first place? The article says it was owned by the husband of a diplomat. That is a legal import, HOWEVER, there are stipulations to this import.
It was imported to the United States by the husband of a diplomat. When his wife left her consulate job, he had to let it go – along with a few bags of spare parts, a California title, and a strongly worded legal document stating that the buyer assumes all risk for getting it registered.
That makes sense. However, the diplomat missed something. They can not just sell that car. On the HS7 form, it says that if this car is imported for a diplomat, then it must leave with the diplomat. It can not be sold unless it is to another diplomat. It is box 6 on temporary importations.
DIPLOMAT OR MEMBER OF AN ORGANIZATION DESIGNATED UNDER THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IMMUNITIES ACT
A vehicle may be imported for personal use during the importer’s tour of duty. The vehicle must be registered with the Office of Foreign Missions of the State Department and a copy of the importer’s official orders must be attached to the HS-7 Declaration form. The vehicle must be exported at the end of the tour of duty unless it is sold to another person who is eligible to import a vehicle under this exception. Use Box 6 on the HS-7 Declaration form.This car should have been exported. Selling it was a violation of the temporary import guidelines. Even better, putting it on a site like Jalopnik, everyone at US Customs/DHS, and the NHTSA now know(trust me, they have told me they monitor these things). They have pictures, and the story.
Even further proof of the idiocy in this story. They tell of how even though he lives in California, he took it to Washington to register it.
Registering in California was out of the question, largely because California has its own import laws that are – surprise, surprise – stricter than federal regulations. Fortunately, Aaron's parents live in Washington, one of the many states that shares a border with Canada.
Yes, true. Registering a car in California is difficult. They would have popped this car as being a foreign car, and wouldn't have allowed it. So this guy looked for an "easier" place to register the car. California really doesn't like this idea. You live in California, you use the roads, and you aren't paying the registration fees associated with running the state. California even has a page to report "cheaters."
Headed home from work one night, he was caught by a California Highway Patrol officer doing 80-plus miles per hour in a 70 zone. Although he didn't mention it to me, Aaron must've been pretty scared: this would be the judgement day! If the officer believed the car was illegal, he could tow it – and it might never come back. But if he let it go, other officers probably wouldn't give it any more or less scrutiny, should a future traffic stop arise.
Someone thinks that one traffic stop, by CHP makes a car legal? The author really has no idea of the shit storm he is probably starting for this guy. Welcome to the real world, I hope you enjoy your stay. We don't have to like the laws, but we need to follow them. There is a real process to legally import cars. At 25 years old, you can importavehicle.com. There is the registered importer route, here is a list of vehicles less than 25 years old, legal to import to the US. And, if you don't like any of those options, you also have "Show or Display". Ignorance is bliss.
Source : Jalopnik