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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: May 1, 2017, 4:42 pm 
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Joined: June 10, 2010, 11:35 pm
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Location: Ridgefield, CT
Started my build about 7 years ago. Finally took it for inspection a few weeks ago. What an awful day. Two very grumpy inspectors and a police officer who charged me with a criminal offense for my trailer registered in another state (court threw it out - not a criminal offense...).

After finally getting out of there, I left with a list of things they want done to pass it. Most are not too big of an issue. However, they gave me a bunch of trouble regarding a home built frame. The officer decided that I need a Professional Engineer to sign off on the frame for them to allow it. Not really sure where to go from here. This is what the supervisor of the only inspection station in CT (for composite vehicles) said.

Anyone have any suggestions or know a PE who could take a look at it?


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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 11:05 am 
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Joined: February 8, 2014, 10:47 pm
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Location: Cornholio OR "Where the magic happens"
Are any of the pre-designed (plans built) chassis certified?

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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 11:45 am 
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Wow that's pretty ridiculous, sounds like they just made that job title up. Could you find x junk car and pull it's vin info/title, scrap it then say your car is the x junk car but hotrod-ed? Do something like double side tape it's badges on? Maybe the same kind of car your motor came from?

(I haven't gotten too far yet myself but if you need an address in Ohio to help get out of state plates I would be happy to try and help.)


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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 11:54 am 
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Professional Engineer is a real title.

I'd find another inspection place.

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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 12:04 pm 
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jere wrote:
Wow that's pretty ridiculous, sounds like they just made that job title up. Could you find x junk car and pull it's vin info/title, scrap it then say your car is the x junk car but hotrod-ed? Do something like double side tape it's badges on? Maybe the same kind of car your motor came from?

(I haven't gotten too far yet myself but if you need an address in Ohio to help get out of state plates I would be happy to try and help.)


A Professional Engineer is certainly not a made up title. It is a tough certification status by the state. Not something taken lightly.

Further, It is a federal offense to take a VIN from one car and place it on another. I would not suggest that in a public forum like this. In most states, I don't know about CT, it is no longer a simple thing to "hot-rod" any car and stay legal. I recommend you follow your state's laws as they do vary from one to another. Know the hoops you need to go thru BEFORE starting your build is the best advice I can give.

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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 12:14 pm 
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They "decided" that you need a PE sign-off? On what grounds? Are they saying that if it was a kit frame of unknown design provenance, or an original 60 year old Lotus 7 frame, that it would be acceptable?

I agree with Jon. They would need to cite documented acceptance/rejection criteria for their request to even be possible. I would contact them directly, although don't offer up any ideas (chassis strength, weld quality, etc) for them to have you go chasing down specs and PE inspection approvals on. Simply make sure they understand that there needs to be a specific part of the code that the PE would be inspecting your car to meet, and that you need them to provide you that information so that you can provide it to a PE.

If they can, fine. If not though, walk them through the fact that there really isn't any legal standard to which any kit car or replica
car frames are required to meet, even if most are actually stronger designed and built than the originals. In fact, there really isn't any structural standards that many of the originals were designed and built to either. So there is no way for them to prove than any random kit car frame, or even an original Lotus 7 frame, is any safer than a frame you built. In fact, there is a good chance yours is already safer than the spindly frame of any original Lotus 7 registered in CT. The basic Locost design has been tested in practice over multiple decades and used worldwide on hundreds road-registered (and dedicated race) cars without issue.

If all else fails, as a last resort maybe explain (and provide documentation?) about the history behind the 'aussie mods' and offer to incorporate those if it would guarantee their acceptance over these particular concerns of theirs.

These people sound like the only game in town, so to speak. So you'll probably get further by trying to stay on their good side. Try to work with them to find a realistic and mutually agreeable solution, rather than simply resisting against their demands. Phrase everything in a way that is a much as possible about being helpful, understanding, and sympathetic to their cause. And make sure to get everything in writing.

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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 12:23 pm 
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You'll need to research the state vehicle code to determine exactly what the PE needs to certify. Is it a strength test like required in Australia or a weld inspection?

The engineer needs something to review against. If the vehicle code doesn't specifically address certification requirements, no PE will sign. In that case, go to another state office that may be more accommodating.

I'm a retired engr. My PE licenses in 5 states have expired.


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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 12:56 pm 
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Joined: June 10, 2010, 11:35 pm
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Location: Ridgefield, CT
Unfortunately there is only one inspection location for vehicles of this type (called "composite" vehicles in CT). So I can't just go somewhere else in CT. CT has a document regarding requirements for a composite vehicle. I've read it a hundred times just to be sure I was was meeting the requirements before I went. When I was there they made up several things they wanted, saying everything was up to their discretion and everything that is required is not listed in the requirements document... very frustrating experience. They asked me where the frame came from and when I told them I built it they laughed at me and told me there was no way they could pass it. When I insisted there had to be a way and spoke to the supervisor, a PE signing off on it is what they said.

I think I am going to try contacting them and request they give me specific acceptance/rejection criteria for the frame. To which I'm certain they will not have any.


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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 3:12 pm 
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SEMA Action Network might have some resources, here is the (not very exhaustive) PDF for CT:

http://www.semasan.com/semaga/TagTitleToolbox_CT.pdf

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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 4:41 pm 
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kjcorley wrote:
...saying everything was up to their discretion and everything that is required is not listed in the requirements document... very frustrating experience.
No kidding. Sounds like they've taken it upon themselves to be the Gods of inspection. As far as I am aware, they should only be inspecting 3 things. That the major components meet the documented requirements to prove that you are the legal owner. That the vehicle is equipped to meet the required state laws. And that it is in good mechanical condition. I guess that my previously stated 'last resort' might be a second to last resort, as this could be something to eventually attempt take up the chain of command and/or to your elected representatives who are charged with maintaining these laws, as they cannot reasonably expect you to meet requirements that are not listed, let alone at the whim of whomever has been so ordained as to be a 'composite vehicle inspector'. If it reaches that point, also considering consulting with a lawyer.

Alternatively, do you have any out-of-state (favorably legislated) friends or relatives that you could sell the car to on the cheap, who might be inclined to let you store and maintain it in proper running and driving order? :wink:

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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 9:21 pm 
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rx7locost wrote:
A Professional Engineer is certainly not a made up title. It is a tough certification status by the state. Not something taken lightly.

Further, It is a federal offense to take a VIN from one car and place it on another. I would not suggest that in a public forum like this. In most states, I don't know about CT, it is no longer a simple thing to "hot-rod" any car and stay legal. I recommend you follow your state's laws as they do vary from one to another. Know the hoops you need to go thru BEFORE starting your build is the best advice I can give.


:BH: shoulda known the job title was real and at least one would turn up :lol: Every engineer title I've heard before now has a prefix relating to the specifics of the field like "mechanical" engineer or train engineer :P

But as far as the VIN switching I don't see how it applies. The car with the VIN is considered a car by the state while a car with no VIN ever issued isn't.... So how would it be considered switching in this situation?

How do vw beetles get dune buggied? Judging from the sema page why wouldn't (or couldn't the car be considered a "modified antique vehicle". Motors wear out, sheet metal and frames rust, and big heavy factory cars aren't as comfortable :twisted: or something like that


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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 9:54 pm 
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Joined: February 8, 2014, 10:47 pm
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Location: Cornholio OR "Where the magic happens"
Weird the time stamp on my post got hoarked....

Are any of the pre-designed (plans built) chassis certified?
If the frame in question matches a plans built that is certified maybe that certification can be transferred.
Documentation that the car was built with the proper engineering considerations.

What did you do to piss off the inspectors?

Or is the car less than well engineered? I have seen some scary stuff pictured in these pages!

Check with your local auto cross club for others who may have had to leap this hurdle.

Appeal to the inspectors vices, have a hot chick take the car in for inspection with a picnic basket and a cooler?

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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 10:28 pm 
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jere wrote:

:BH: shoulda known the job title was real and at least one would turn up :lol: Every engineer title I've heard before now has a prefix relating to the specifics of the field like "mechanical" engineer or train engineer :P

But as far as the VIN switching I don't see how it applies. The car with the VIN is considered a car by the state while a car with no VIN ever issued isn't.... So how would it be considered switching in this situation?

How do vw beetles get dune buggied? Judging from the sema page why wouldn't (or couldn't the car be considered a "modified antique vehicle". Motors wear out, sheet metal and frames rust, and big heavy factory cars aren't as comfortable :twisted: or something like that


Strangely, some states prohibit one from even having the word "Engineer" on a business card unless you have passed the PE test and have your license. Mechanical Engineer, Civil Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Process Engineer, any Engineer, it doesn't matter if you have a Diploma, only if you passed the state PE test. I worked for a company that abided by that restriction.

I prefer not to comment any further about the VIN switching. Only to say that what was common in the 70's is not so much today. In my state, there are ways to get Dune Buggys, and homemade seven replicas a state-assigned VIN, which does not require swapping VIN's. Oh, and I can't dispose of the shell of a donor car at the scrap dealer without a VIN attached AND a title. YMMV.

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“Any suspension will work if you don’t let it.” - Colin Chapman

My RX7 powered Locost is now for sale http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=18460

or visit my Cushman Truckster resurrection log: over HERE


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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 10:53 pm 
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Joined: February 8, 2014, 10:47 pm
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Location: Cornholio OR "Where the magic happens"
I am a certified Eyeball Engineer, will that suffice? 8)

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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 11:37 pm 
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rx7locost wrote:
Strangely, some states prohibit one from even having the word "Engineer" on a business card unless you have passed the PE test and have your license.
Strangely?...More like ridiculously. Of course, I've always laughed at the choice of calling the certification a Professional Engineer in the first place, as it's a humorously inaccurate use of the word "Professional" for a field that typically prides itself on accuracy.

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