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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

When Does the 25 Year Law Go Into Effect ? : Vehicle Import : FMVSS Exempt


When does the 25 year law go into effect?

A. Sept. 29, 1989

This is something else I see repeated fairly often about the 25 year old NHTSA exemption rule.  Vehicles over 25 years old, by month/year, are NHTSA exempt from Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).  The regulation that allows vehicles over 25 years old to be legally imported, is nearly 25 years old itself.

In the CFR(Code of Federal Regulations), vehicle import is covered under section 49 Part 591.5. The specific section of 591.5 is (i), which allows vehicles over 25 years old to be imported to the US exempt from FMVSS.  Most of 591.5 was published in the Federal Register September 29, 1989. So when people say "25 year law going into effect", I cringe a bit. They are normally referring to the 1989 R32 GT-R, which turns 25 years old starting in August 2014. 
[54 FR 40078, Sept. 29, 1989, as amended at 55
FR 3747, Feb. 5, 1990; 55 FR 11378, Mar. 28,
1990; 55 FR 17439, Apr. 25, 1990; 57 FR 2047,
Jan. 17, 1992; 57 FR 44703, Sept. 29, 1992; 59 FR
31560, June 20, 1994; 64 FR 37882, July 14, 1999]
Great book. Itty bitty type. 
On the HS7, or NHTSA document, required when you legally import a vehicle into the US, a vehicle over 25 years old, may enter under BOX 1.
A motor vehicle that is at least 25 years old can be lawfully imported into the U.S. without regard to whether it complies with all applicable FMVSS. Such a vehicle would be entered under Box 1 on the HS-7 Declaration form to be given to Customs at the time of importation. http://www.importavehicle.info/2011/01/hs7-form-importation-of-motor-vehicles.html . You should note that the 25 year period runs from the date of the vehicle's manufacture. If the date of manufacture is not identified on a label permanently affixed to the vehicle by its original manufacturer, to establish the age of the vehicle, you should have documentation available such as an invoice showing the date the vehicle was first sold or a registration document showing that the vehicle was registered at least 25 years ago. Absent such information, a statement from a recognized vehicle historical society identifying the age of the vehicle could be used.
Two of 500 Toyota Soarer Aerocabins


EPA is a whole other side of the exemption. NHTSA and EPA are two different agencies, and have two different sets of rules.

The EPA actually says vehicles over 21 years old are EPA exempt in original unmodified configuration.

If the vehicle is at least 21 years old, there are no EPA compliance requirements upon importation. The age of the vehicle is determined by subtracting the calendar year of manufacture from the calendar year of importation. If the calendar year of manufacture is unavailable, the importer may substitute the model year or year of first registration. For instance, to qualify in 2001, the vehicle must have been manufactured in 1980 or earlier. The vehicle must be in its original unmodified configuration. Vehicles at least 21 years old with replacement engines are not eligible for this exemption unless they contain equivalent or newer EPA certified engines.

No approval or Customs bond is required by EPA. The importer must also prove to Customs, as required, that the vehicle or engine was manufactured prior to EPA regulation. Documents such as a title, or letter from the original manufacturer may be used for this purpose.The importer must file with Customs, upon entry, an EPA Form 3520-1 and declare code "E" on that form.
1987 Toyota Crown Royal Saloon

More information:

MotoIQ : 25 Year Old Vehicle Importation Explained

Is My Imported Car Legal?

R32 GT-R Production Dates

California: Vehicles 1975 or Newer

Vehicles over 25 years old, for sale in the US.

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