Law & Order

CARB Proposes Engine Certification Program for Specially Constructed Vehicles

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is considering a proposed rule that would allow OEM engines from previously certified, on-road vehicles to be installed in “specially constructed vehicles” (SCVs). Under the proposal, CARB officials would also create a program for certifying engines that are not from certified vehicles (e.g., crate engines).

California defines an SCV as a vehicle that has been built by an individual rather than a company from a kit, a combination of new and used parts, or a dismantled vehicle which, when reconstructed, does not resemble the original make. In a workshop held to discuss the proposal, CARB officials restated that the program would not override current California law that allows for the first 500 SCVs for which registration is sought each year to be inspected at the owner’s option based on the engine model year used in the vehicle or the vehicle model year, and the emissions-control system application.

In determining the vehicle model year, a referee station compares the vehicle to vehicles of the era that the vehicle most closely resembles. The referee then only requires those emissions-control systems that are applicable to the established model year and that the vehicle reasonably accommodates in its present form.

According to CARB, the new program is only intended to make it easier for California enthusiasts to construct and register a SCV that meets California emissions standards when the 500-vehicle limit has been met. The SCV engine package choices would cover ’12 and subsequent model years.

For details, contact Steve McDonald at