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Written by Nicole Ellan James

1963 CHEVROLET CORVETTE CUSTOM SPLIT-WINDOW COUPE

Picture this: A car that has been in your family for several generations is finally passed down to you. It has been fully restored and you can’t wait to drive it. But when you try to register the vehicle, the authorities tell you that during an inspection, the primary VIN has been removed and reattached, which could cause NUMEROUS ISSUES in getting the vehicle registered.

Arizona State Capitol

Thanks to efforts by Barrett-Jackson, removing and reattaching the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) during repairs or restoration is no longer against the law. Following unanimous passage by the Arizona House of Representatives and Arizona State Senate, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2480, which changes the current law to allow owners, restorers and repairers of pre-1981 vehicles to remove and reinstall a VIN for repair or restoration.

The statute will take effect on July 22, 2022.

According to Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis, the legislation is significant and beneficial because virtually anyone who has restored a car has had to remove and reattach the VIN, not realizing that doing so is against the law. “Our motivation to do this was primarily for our hobby’s health and future, to keep the collector car universe alive and well and keep those restorations coming.”

Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson, noted that many vehicle owners and restorers will often duplicate the factory’s process from when the automaker first built the vehicle. During such frame-off or rotisserie restorations, unaware of the statutes that exist in many states, restorers remove the vehicle’s components, including the primary VIN, which is often attached with screws and varies in placement from car to car, year to year.

Craig Jackson with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey

Recently, Kansas lawmakers sent similar legislation to the state’s governor after a 2017 incident, in which a Kansas man had purchased a restored 1959 Chevrolet Corvette in Indiana. When he attempted to register the car in his home state, the highway patrol determined that the VIN tag had been removed and reattached, which is against the law.

According to Kansas law at the time, the Corvette was seized and should have been destroyed. There was no exception for someone who purchased a vehicle not knowing about the VIN issue. In this case, the VIN had been removed years earlier during restoration and reattached. On March 22, 2022, Gov. Lauren Kelly approved the Kansas House Bill 2594, which allows for the temporary removal of the VIN during the full restoration of antique vehicles. Although it remains unclear when the owner of the Corvette will be reunited with his car, the bill is a step toward protecting the Kansas collector car community.

In 2021, Barrett-Jackson began working to change the law in Arizona. “We were aware of the archaic statute making it a crime to remove a VIN, and finally, we said something needed to be done,” Davis said.

“This is a precedent-setting moment that people will look at and then want to emulate this legislation in their states,” Davis said.

Steve Davis at the Arizona House of Representatives

According to Jackson, many states have similar VIN statutes that were enacted during the 1940s and ’50s, a time in which no one could conceive that decades later, such cars would be restored and worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.

The federal law on VINs, in comparison, allows a VIN to be removed for necessary repairs to a vehicle, which although not as draconian as many state laws on the subject, still allowed some sort of exception for repairing a vehicle.

Nonetheless, the language of Arizona’s statutes on VINs allowed for no such removal of a VIN for any reason. Such a reading, however, often overlooks the intent behind the statutes in the first place.

Jackson also noted the spirit of the VIN laws enacted decades ago were aimed at the fraudsters and crooks who were stealing vehicles — not the guy spending tens of thousands of dollars and hours to restore a car. The letter of the law, however, didn’t consider that.

A governmental official, like in the Kansas case, may simply read the statute in place and, regardless of any other facts, conclude that the vehicle needs to be seized because a VIN was removed and reinstalled. Amending Arizona’s current VIN statutes to allow for a VIN to be removed for restoration or repairs, however, allows for other factors to be considered.

“That was where we were stuck, and nobody understood or appreciated how significant that can be,” Davis said. “This new bill takes

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By: Barrett-Jackson
Title: VIN VICTORY: Driven By Barrett-Jackson, HB 2480 Goes Into Effect July 22, 2022
Sourced From: www.barrett-jackson.com/Media/Home/Reader/vin-victory-driven-by-barrett-jackson-hb-2480-goes-into-effect-july-22-2022/
Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 15:15:09 +0000

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