This story in today's Hemmmings on line caught my eye. Texas is revoking titled dune buggies to force them off the road or out of state because they are re-bodied autos, saying re-bodied autos are unsafe and the owners of the autos receive no State money for their loss. If this can happen in Texas, just think what can happen in California, where I live, and where the politicians must control all things. No more: Model T speedsters, depot hacks, etc, maybe no more Model T's, and you just loose your investment or move to another State if you can find a free one ! Here is a link to the Hemmings story, https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2017/11/06/texas-begins-revoking-titles-for-dune-b uggies-and-other-kit-cars/#comments-block
Make sure to go to Hemmmings. The link I posted goes to a older story that says "new registrations" but the Hemmmings story today says all registrations including old ones.
I live in Texas and hopefully it wont happen BUT knowing the climate about cars, safety and speed it wouldn't surprise me if banning old and less safe vehicles from major highways happened.
NO worries. Self driving cars will keep us all safe.
Doesn't Texas have no motorcycle helmet laws? Seems to me that 'safety' is an odd banner to fly over this dune buggy ban.
Here's the gofundme page they've set up to help cover legal fees:
I've never given through that site before and I'll never own a dune buggy in Texas, but I don't think this is a precedent that anyone wants. If I'm not mistaken, the legislation as written is for vehicles that have anything other than their original bodies so our Texan speedster owners are going to be in trouble here too.
The key words, as I see it, are Dune Buggies. The most popular Dune Buggies were those 1960's type made with a fiberglass body mounted on a VW Bug chassis. That to me is a "rebodied" type of car. To me, changing the body of a car that doesn't drastically change the appearance from new, is not 'rebodied'. In other words, any factory body of one manufacture can be mounted on another chassis of the same manufacture as long as it looks original. Ford sold car and truck chassis, bare for different types of bodies to be installed on them. Volkswagen never sold a bare "Bug" chassis to have another body installed on it. I do think, and hope, that this is in the interest of safety and will not be applies to all types of vehicles in my state.
From the Texas administrative code:
"(6) Not Eligible for Title. The following are not eligible for a Texas title regardless of the vehicle’s previous title and/or registration in this or any other jurisdiction:
(A) vehicles that are missing or are stripped of their motor, frame, or body, to the extent that it materially alters the manufacturer’s original design or makes the vehicle unsafe for on-road operation as determined by the department;
(B) vehicles designed or determined by the department to be a dune buggy;
(C) vehicles designed or determined by the department to be for on-track racing, unless such vehicles meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for on-road use and are reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;"
You can try and apply your own rationale to it any way you like but there are now some very harmless Meyers Maxes and the like being forcefully de-registered. We're talking cars that are treated like any other classic car, just like we treat our Ts. That bit about modified engines can rule out OHV heads on Ts, significant changes to the body can rule out home made roadster pickups as well as depot hacks and speedsters, and the last part about looking like it might be a race car can easily be applied to an awful lot of speedsters.
I think the dune buggy guys got caught up in the unfortunate consequences of companies calling their cheap off road go karts dune buggies to sound more exciting. They don't want to see this stuff on the highways:
...but then someone in charge got too literal.
What experience I have trying to interpret laws that could very well be applied to a T or other car as well as the dune buggies.
"materially alters the manufacturer’s original design "
No fenders,that is altering.
Wood cab and bed instead of a factory steel body or Factory built wood body, that is altering.
I would say there is legit reason for concern here.
I am surprised it is in Texas instead of california though.
You have to keep in mind,government has wanted older cars off the road for a long time.Altering the fuels didn't work,raising taxes didn't work,so gee,let's just untitle them and make them illegal to use on the highway,that will fix it.
2 cents worth. I don't see anything about revoking titles, It looks like it only applies to vehicles being sold to a new owner that have applied for a new title, and there are a lot of cars on the road that have never had titles transferred to the new owners. and seem to be able to continue to get tag registration. Also it raises a big question about T bucket's & Hot Rods that almost everything is different than when it left the factory. also the Shay and Glassic Reproductions could be called into question, Shay might skate rules since they were sanctioned and sold by Ford dealers, Glassic ? But this is a law that needs to get the roach treatment step on it hard, I don't know the numbers but I guess there are many State lawmakers who own antique and specialty cars who would be affected, is this a State law or a DMV ruling ? this will most likely wake up the after market suppliers of, engines, bodies, frames, Front ends, and the like, a Big potential economic Hit to the manufactures, who then hire lobbyist to change the rules.
Jim, dune buggy owners in Texas have recently started receiving letters from the DMV revoking their registrations. I did a little more digging and apparently the real issue is a different part of the legislation which enables each DMV office to apply the rules as they see fit, whatever their interpretation is. If I were a Texan who had a couple interesting cars I'd be even more worried about that.
I'm from east Texas andcwhen I think of a dune buggy, I think of some off road vehicle based on a Volkswagen Beetle. Lots of people had them. I never see those anymore but everywhere around here anyways people drive on roads in those utility vehicles. Kawasaki Mule, John Deere Gator etc. also those "side by side" ATVs. I can see how you could label those dune buggies. I know why they are a danger on the roads. They are going right down the road and a Model T is going faster than them. They are meant for the pasture. A texting teenager flys up behind one doing 60 and it's bad. I never see Model T's on the road but I bet more Mules and Gators go by my house than cars on weekends.
The big problem is that not only is the vehicle registration being revoked but the vehicle title is being revoked. After which you have a vehicle that once had a valid Texas title that now has no valid title. Resale of the vehicle out of state could now have many problems if the seller has a Texas address. At least if they tried this in California, as California law currently is, you could get a off road only registration and keep your California title. I think that the Myers Max type V W dune buggies will have to claim that they are street-rods, for which Texas has a special registration classification, but I didn't check out all the Texas rules on street-rods.
One of the huge events here in the Houston area every year is the "art car parade" where folks drastically modify their cars to look like anything under the sun. Many no longer have original bodies after they are jazzed up so I wonder if they will be titled under a new law?
A well built dune buggy, or VW floorpan with a fibreglass body is perfectly safe.
Without getting too political, I think this is relevant here...
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
I'm not sure my voice will help in Texas (other than a few distant relatives I could stir up) but it does seem to stomp all over the "right to pursue happiness" so if it makes you happy to own a dune buggy so long as you do not operate it in a dangerous or threatening fashion Why should the state say you cannot have one?
Derek's quote is right. We need to be careful what laws are passed. Before you know it. They will be coming after the old cars. This could be a very slippery slope.
Yep,and at the end of that slope is a big swamp of quicksand you can't get out of. Once done,it's done.
Texans need to be on their feet fighting this.Looks to me like it is cutting into gas tax,property tax,licensing fees and so on that is actually cutting the governments funding to operate. Who woulda thunk they would do that? Especially in the name of "safety".
Maybe the Texas owners of currently licensed and titled Myers Max type VW based dune buggies should just tell the State to, "Come and get it ",!
I wonder if any of the current Texas politicians and DMV rulers know your Texas history!