Exemption Rule

Show or Display

July 7, 2003

A rule permitting entry of nonconforming motor vehicles for purposes of show or display became effective on August 13, 1999. If you wish to import a vehicle for show or display, you must apply to NHTSA for permission to do so and establish that the vehicle is of such historical or technological significance that it is in the public interest to show or display the vehicle in the United States even though it would be difficult or impossible to bring the vehicle into compliance with the Federal motor vehicle safety standards. This provision is intended to facilitate the importation of historically or technologically significant vehicles that were never certified by their manufacturer for sale in the United States.

If you would like to know before purchasing a foreign vehicle whether NHTSA would determine that it is eligible for importation for show or display, you should submit an Application for Determination That a Motor Vehicle is Eligible for Show or Display and provide the information set out below in item 6d of the section entitled How You May Apply for Permission to Import. If NHTSA decides the vehicle is eligible for importation, you may then purchase the vehicle and submit a formal application containing the other information required. You should also consult the approved/disapproved listing at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/ShowDisplay to learn which vehicles the agency has already determined eligible for show or display and which vehicles it has determined to be ineligible.

VEHICLE ELIGIBILITY

In determining whether a vehicle is eligible for importation for show or display, NHTSA will consider the following factors, among others:
1. Whether a vehicle of the same make, model, and model year was manufactured and certified for sale in the United States.
2. Whether a vehicle of the same make, model, and model year has been determined eligible for importation pursuant to 49 CFR Part 593.
3. Whether the vehicle is currently in production.
4. Whether more than 500 of the vehicles were produced.
5. Whether the vehicle is a kit car, replica, or special construction vehicle.

If the answer to any of the above is affirmative, you should not expect NHTSA to grant permission for importation. If the answer to item 4 is affirmative, the applicant must establish that the vehicle is of exceptional technological and/or historical significance.

ON-ROAD USE

A vehicle eligible for Show or Display may receive NHTSA approval to be driven on the highway. The odometer must not register more than 2,500 miles in a 12-month period. NHTSA approval of limited on-road use is to allow the vehicle to be driven to and from nearby displays of similar automobiles. Another reason permission is granted is to maintain the vehicle’s engine, braking, lighting, and other dynamic systems in good working order. The vehicle is still required to meet EPA requirements. If the original engine in the vehicle will be replaced with a non-original engine to meet EPA requirements, it must be identified in your application since it may impact on the technological or historical significance of the vehicle.

HOW YOU MAY APPLY FOR PERMISSION TO IMPORT

Your signed application must include, at a minimum:

1. Your name, address, phone number, and FAX number.
2. Vehicle identification – make, model, model year, VIN or chassis number, engine number, date of manufacture and mileage.
3. Location where you will store the vehicle in the United States.
4. Statement describing use on the public roads, if intended. If on-road use is requested, identify the Independent Commercial Importer (ICI) that will modify the vehicle to bring it into conformity with the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency.
5. Basis for the application.
6. Attachments:
1. Photographs – ¾ frontal, ¾ rear, interior, odometer reading and special features (if appropriate).
2. Document from manufacturer or recognized historical source, identifying total production (production verification).
3. Proof of insurance conditioned on limited on-road use (not more than 2,500 miles accumulated in any 12-month period).
4. Identification of vehicle’s:
1. Technological significance – You must identify (be specific) the technology, engineering, and construction features of the vehicle that are advanced and of an unusual nature not commonly found in motor vehicles manufactured in the same time period; or
2. Historical significance – You must identify the historical significance of the vehicle. If a person of historical significance owned the vehicle, you must submit proof that this person owned the vehicle. If the vehicle was the first or last vehicle of a particular model, you must establish this through the manufacturer’s documentation or, if this is not available, through a recognized historical source. If the vehicle was "one of a kind," you must establish this also.

Items of significance must be numerically listed followed by the reason why the item is of significance.

You may then mail the application to:


Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (NVS-223)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Room W45-205
Washington, DC 20590

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