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Old 09-16-2021, 04:14 PM
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Default AZ emissions testing for Cobras

I'm a long time Cobra owner looking to move to Arizona. In researching the Tucson area, I just became aware of emissions testing that appears to be applicable and common to both the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas. My question to you Cobra guys is if and how this testing is applied to home built cars like the Cobra.

Do you have to have your cars tested for license renewals or is there an exemption that applies to what are generally known as specially constructed vehicles?

How is it handled for new specially constructed vehicles (1st time registration)?

How handled for vehicles like my already registered Cobra being transferred from another state?
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Old 09-17-2021, 05:19 AM
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AZ DPS inspects and titles new kits which will be titled as SPEC CON 1965 Cobra replica. As those are titled 1965, no inspection required. Bonus, if your vehicle is 17+ years old, you pay the minimum registration fee.
However, your car is already titled. If it is titled as 1965 no worries. If it is newer, I'd contact one of the inspection sites, at a select few DMVs, to if you can get it inspected. A certificate of origin and receipts may be required, if they will do it.
Good luck and welcome to AZ
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Old 09-17-2021, 10:07 AM
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So my Cobra was first registered in mid-90s and so that's the model year currently on the title. It is exempted from emissions testing in CA but shows the newer model year so CA could maximize the license fees collected. I also have a home built 1962 Ferrari tribute car that was first titled in 2000s so I've got to get this figured out as it isn't a single car issue for me.

It would be great if someone had transferred title for their Cobra into AZ and can speak to how it worked for them. If so, I'd really appreciate the insight.
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Old 09-17-2021, 10:58 AM
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I live in the Green Valley area, south of Tucson and there was no inspection. Can't say what applies to to other communities that surround metro Tucson.

Dave and SNAKE65
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Old 09-17-2021, 11:22 AM
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This is the emissions map I found for Arizona. For a vehicle registered within the purple zones -- testing is required: https://mygis.azdeq.gov/arcgis/veiareas/

So it's clear to me what areas require testing. What isn't clear is how already titled specially constructed vehicles being brought in from another state are designated for exemption from testing or not.

I just called the Arizona MVD and the level 2 customer service rep told me something that doesn't sound right. They said MVD takes the "classic car" designation from the insurance company and don't make the determination at MVD. She directed me to talk with my insurance company for further information. Is this correct? Again it would be great to hear from someone who's already done a similar out of state title transfer for a specially constructed vehicle to see what they had to do.
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Old 09-17-2021, 12:20 PM
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I purchased my cobra replica 12/2020 in AZ however it was then titled in CO and had sat in an AZ garage for the three previous years.

Built/titled in CO in 2006. Shows as 1968 cobra replica (AC 427 roadster).

To (born raised in CA - escaped 2003) the registration/title process in AZ was delightfully simple. Had to get an emissions test however as noted in an earlier response in this thread it was a very minimal process - and - the registration fee based on age was less than $30 if I recall correctly.

Possibly the best DMV interaction I have every had. Not complicated, easy to comply with and almost cost free. I was prepared for much worse having fought with CA DMV for 30 plus years.
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Old 09-17-2021, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by JTMCOBRA View Post
I purchased my cobra replica 12/2020 in AZ however it was then titled in CO and had sat in an AZ garage for the three previous years.

Built/titled in CO in 2006. Shows as 1968 cobra replica (AC 427 roadster).

To (born raised in CA - escaped 2003) the registration/title process in AZ was delightfully simple. Had to get an emissions test however as noted in an earlier response in this thread it was a very minimal process - and - the registration fee based on age was less than $30 if I recall correctly.

Possibly the best DMV interaction I have every had. Not complicated, easy to comply with and almost cost free. I was prepared for much worse having fought with CA DMV for 30 plus years.
Thanks for the information, it's very helpful! Some follow up questions:

- Do you know if the emissions test was a one time thing or if it will be required for subsequent renewals?

- Do you know what sort of emissions levels were used to gauge pass/fail for the test? Were they for a 1968 vehicle since that was the year on the CO title? Or something else?

- Does the AZ title now show as specially constructed vehicle 1965 or did the year from CO title get used?

Both my specially constructed vehicles are EFI (complete with O2 sensors), they've been dyno tuned to dial-in the A/F mixtures and I think run clean. The exhaust doesn't have any unburnt gasoline smell like a carbureted engine might. My concern is probably fear of the unknown here but I'd hate to buy a home and move only to find out I've got a can of worms to unravel.

Thanks again for all the good info!
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Old 09-17-2021, 02:58 PM
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Not sure if the emissions test will be required annually. Also not sure of the emissions level used for pass/fail - they used a sensing device that was inserted into each of the side pipes.

Deja vu.

The AZ registration shows vehicle year 2001 (think that is when build started in NE) and was licensed in CO in 2003.

The Vehicle ID is the number assigned in CO titled/registered in 2002 which AZ appears to have retained. Sequence is: ID556941COLO

No indication of "specialized construction" - I think the CO ID number provides DMV folks with some understanding this is other than normal construction however again AZ seem pretty reasonable. I got the impression at the emissions testing site that there was not much concern about passing. If you are running clean I would not think there would be an issue based on my experience.
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Old 09-17-2021, 03:01 PM
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Appears your experience depends on where to go and who you deal with. Long time ago (2000) but my new cobra simply had a cursory safety check. Lights, seat belts, brakes, etc. then asked me what it was. I said a 1965 Ford so that's what it still says on my registration. Annual fee is now $20.85 including postage. LOL

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Old 09-18-2021, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by C5GTO View Post
So my Cobra was first registered in mid-90s and so that's the model year currently on the title. It is exempted from emissions testing in CA but shows the newer model year so CA could maximize the license fees collected. I also have a home built 1962 Ferrari tribute car that was first titled in 2000s so I've got to get this figured out as it isn't a single car issue for me.

It would be great if someone had transferred title for their Cobra into AZ and can speak to how it worked for them. If so, I'd really appreciate the insight.

If you do a simple, $12 title document transfer from CA to Az, then yes, the model year on the California title will transfer over (because they are simply copying the information from one legal document over to another), and you will be subject to the same emissions laws for that model year in Arizona (Az emission laws vary county by county). However, there will be no inspections, and minimal hassle if you perform the simple document transfer.

If you want to change/revise the model year on the car's title, then your other legal option is to completely re-title the car in Arizona as a specialty/custom vehicle, after you have completely re-located here.

This process requires some very specific actions that you must take, and some specific legal language that you must use, and these are trade-secrets that I'm not going to divulge in a public forum. PM me if you need more details.

The process is time consuming (you will need to present the car for inspection), legal (you will have to write, sign and notarize a legal affidavit expressing your claim of ownership to the car) and expensive (you have to purchase a surety bond which indemnifies the state of Arizona from any liability for the car's new title); but once you do the bonded title process, Arizona will attach a new VIN tag to the car, and will title the car using this new VIN number, and will apply the "spcon" model designation (special construction) and will title it as the model year which it replicates (usually 1965 for Cobras), and voila! Your car will now only have to be compliant with 1965 or older emissions laws (meaning: no emissions test anywhere in the state of Az)

The bonded title route works best if you know that you are going to hang onto the car for a minimum of 3 years from the date that the bond is purchased. After 3 years have passed, the bond drops off the title, and the title becomes "clean"

You can still sell the car and transfer the title to a new owner during the 3 year bonded period, but the buyer has to be willing to accept the legal surety (validity) of the existing bond (unless they are out of state, in which case they won't even know that the bond exists; so it's really no big deal, to be honest)

I've titled (and re-titled) a lot of old, abandoned, unique, and custom cars in the state of Arizona over the past 30 years. I've seen all the ins and outs of the process. I can state (as a matter of fact) that the process is agonizingly painful, not fun, and very time consuming ( towing the car down for inspection, then running back and forth from the DMV office, to the Surety bond place, back to the DMV, etc...)

Yuck.
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Old 09-19-2021, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by moore_rb View Post
If you do a simple, $12 title document transfer from CA to Az, then yes, the model year on the California title will transfer over (because they are simply copying the information from one legal document over to another), and you will be subject to the same emissions laws for that model year in Arizona (Az emission laws vary county by county). However, there will be no inspections, and minimal hassle if you perform the simple document transfer.

If you want to change/revise the model year on the car's title, then your other legal option is to completely re-title the car in Arizona as a specialty/custom vehicle, after you have completely re-located here.

This process requires some very specific actions that you must take, and some specific legal language that you must use, and these are trade-secrets that I'm not going to divulge in a public forum. PM me if you need more details.

The process is time consuming (you will need to present the car for inspection), legal (you will have to write, sign and notarize a legal affidavit expressing your claim of ownership to the car) and expensive (you have to purchase a surety bond which indemnifies the state of Arizona from any liability for the car's new title); but once you do the bonded title process, Arizona will attach a new VIN tag to the car, and will title the car using this new VIN number, and will apply the "spcon" model designation (special construction) and will title it as the model year which it replicates (usually 1965 for Cobras), and voila! Your car will now only have to be compliant with 1965 or older emissions laws (meaning: no emissions test anywhere in the state of Az)

The bonded title route works best if you know that you are going to hang onto the car for a minimum of 3 years from the date that the bond is purchased. After 3 years have passed, the bond drops off the title, and the title becomes "clean"

You can still sell the car and transfer the title to a new owner during the 3 year bonded period, but the buyer has to be willing to accept the legal surety (validity) of the existing bond (unless they are out of state, in which case they won't even know that the bond exists; so it's really no big deal, to be honest)

I've titled (and re-titled) a lot of old, abandoned, unique, and custom cars in the state of Arizona over the past 30 years. I've seen all the ins and outs of the process. I can state (as a matter of fact) that the process is agonizingly painful, not fun, and very time consuming ( towing the car down for inspection, then running back and forth from the DMV office, to the Surety bond place, back to the DMV, etc...)

Yuck.
Robert: you nailed the answer. Thank you very much, it's help like this that makes this forum so valuable!

I do have a follow up question. Does AZ assess a "use tax" as part of the titling process for specially constructed vehicles? CA does and they go great lengths to say it's a "use tax" and not a sales tax. In CA, they require receipts for major car components (e.g. chassis, engine, drivetrain, body, wheels, etc.), the dollars on these receipts is summed (minus sales tax shown on receipts), and use tax calculated from this amount. For example, if receipts total $50K and use tax is 6.25% (which it was last time I did this), then $3,125 in use tax must be paid prior to title being issued.

Obviously, it would be painful to have already paid this in CA and have to pay again in AZ.
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Old 09-19-2021, 11:28 AM
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What Robert said. Even if he went to the dark side!
Gary
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Old 09-20-2021, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by C5GTO View Post
Robert: you nailed the answer. Thank you very much, it's help like this that makes this forum so valuable!

I do have a follow up question. Does AZ assess a "use tax" as part of the titling process for specially constructed vehicles? CA does and they go great lengths to say it's a "use tax" and not a sales tax. In CA, they require receipts for major car components (e.g. chassis, engine, drivetrain, body, wheels, etc.), the dollars on these receipts is summed (minus sales tax shown on receipts), and use tax calculated from this amount. For example, if receipts total $50K and use tax is 6.25% (which it was last time I did this), then $3,125 in use tax must be paid prior to title being issued.

Obviously, it would be painful to have already paid this in CA and have to pay again in AZ.
If transferring the existing title from CA to Az, then no- the entire transaction is usually $25-$45 (title change, registration and plates)


Also, I have re-titled several customs via the bonded title process, and the most expensive part of that process is the bond itself... I think the most expensive Surety bond I have had to purchase was around 500 bucks (AZDMV sets the bond amount via some back-office math-magic that they perform.


If you (as an Arizona resident) purchase a car from an out of state dealer, and if that dealer does not assess a sales tax on the invoice, I think that is the only scenario (I am aware of) where Arizona might hit you with a use tax before they will issue you a registration. Other guys who have applied for a new title from an MCO document can comment about whether they had to pay the use tax or not- I have never done the MCO process; and the only vehicle I have ever paid the use-tax on was a boat that I purchased out of state (from a dealer) and had towed back to Az. Az hit me with a 6% use tax on that transaction, because the dealer did not put a line-item on the invoice showing that any sales tax had been paid.

Conversely: When I traded one Cobra, for a different Cobra at a dealer in St Louis, the dealer actually knew all the tax laws for both states, and so they wrote my invoice to show that I had paid all the relevant sales taxes in Missouri... and so the Arizona process of doing the title transfer on the 2nd car was just the easy, one stop $25 document transfer.
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Old 09-20-2021, 07:02 AM
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What Robert said. Even if he went to the dark side!
Gary
C'mon Gary- The only difference between my car and yours is:

A) about 500 pounds,
B) rollup windows, and
C) 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 instead of 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 (or maybe 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8)


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Old 09-20-2021, 09:58 AM
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No A/C ?
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Old 09-22-2021, 07:29 AM
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No A/C ?
Not in my corvette... It's got nothing but 2-80 A/C
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