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      12-27-2019, 10:08 AM   #1
dinonz
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Anyone speak legalese?

I'm looking at importing a classic car from Switzerland, however the original owner lived on the border of France and Switzerland and knew he would be in France a lot, so had the car spec'd and delivered from the factory with French spec yellow headlamps.

I think this link is the federal regulations regarding headlamps, and it states they have to be white:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/571.108

This is the link to the Texas Public Law on headlamps required, but it does not state they have to be white. It specifies heights that differ from the federal regulations also:

https://texas.public.law/statutes/te...ection_547.321

Does that mean the Texas regulations supersede the federal ones? Or am I still going to have trouble with yellow headlights even though the car came from the factory that way?
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      12-27-2019, 10:19 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinonz View Post
I'm looking at importing a classic car from Switzerland, however the original owner lived on the border of France and Switzerland and knew he would be in France a lot, so had the car spec'd and delivered from the factory with French spec yellow headlamps.

I think this link is the federal regulations regarding headlamps, and it states they have to be white:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/571.108

This is the link to the Texas Public Law on headlamps required, but it does not state they have to be white. It specifies heights that differ from the federal regulations also:

https://texas.public.law/statutes/te...ection_547.321

Does that mean the Texas regulations supersede the federal ones? Or am I still going to have trouble with yellow headlights even though the car came from the factory that way?
Federal law will always trump state law when it comes to inaction - the reciprocal is true for action. If the federal law says you have to have "X" and state law says you don't - you do. If federal law is silent on if you have to have "X" and state law says you do - you do.

Depending on the age of the car, there are many different legal requirements regarding DOT regulations - best to have a broker handle the transaction. Getting it through customs is where the issue is going to be - as they may not release it. Once it's in your possession and registered and plated in TX, none of this really matters.
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      12-27-2019, 10:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinonz View Post
I'm looking at importing a classic car from Switzerland, however the original owner lived on the border of France and Switzerland and knew he would be in France a lot, so had the car spec'd and delivered from the factory with French spec yellow headlamps.

I think this link is the federal regulations regarding headlamps, and it states they have to be white:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/571.108

This is the link to the Texas Public Law on headlamps required, but it does not state they have to be white. It specifies heights that differ from the federal regulations also:

https://texas.public.law/statutes/te...ection_547.321

Does that mean the Texas regulations supersede the federal ones? Or am I still going to have trouble with yellow headlights even though the car came from the factory that way?
When you say "classic" car, I'm assuming you mean something from a model year perhaps 20-30 years back. Is that correct?

Don't assume that regulations that apply to current model year cars will also be applied to a classic car. There are tens thousands of '60s American muscle cars in Texas right now that couldn't even come close to passing current safety specs, yet they're perfectly legal to drive. Of course, if the car is subject to inspection it'll have to pass in order for you to maintain a current title and registration. Check with the authorities to see what that inspection will entail, for the particular car you're talking about.
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      12-27-2019, 10:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by pennsiveguy View Post
When you say "classic" car, I'm assuming you mean something from a model year perhaps 20-30 years back. Is that correct?

Don't assume that regulations that apply to current model year cars will also be applied to a classic car. There are tens thousands of '60s American muscle cars in Texas right now that couldn't even come close to passing current safety specs, yet they're perfectly legal to drive. Of course, if the car is subject to inspection it'll have to pass in order for you to maintain a current title and registration. Check with the authorities to see what that inspection will entail, for the particular car you're talking about.
You are right - for a car that is already registered and titled in TX. The problem for him, however, is the importation issue. There is a strong likelihood that it will be held up at customs for a multitude of reasons. Depending on the mood of the worker that day, he may never see the car again - importation requirements in this country are horrific.
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      12-27-2019, 10:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Run Silent View Post
You are right - for a car that is already registered and titled in TX. The problem for him, however, is the importation issue. There is a strong likelihood that it will be held up at customs for a multitude of reasons. Depending on the mood of the worker that day, he may never see the car again - importation requirements in this country are horrific.
Thanks for adding those clarifications. Like most folks here I've bought and sold a bunch of cars of varying model years, but it makes sense that importing something not built here is a whole different process. Sounds like quite a gamble.

Maybe if there was a $100 bill under the wiper, certain specs could be...relaxed a bit.
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      12-27-2019, 11:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Run Silent View Post
Federal law will always trump state law when it comes to inaction - the reciprocal is true for action. If the federal law says you have to have "X" and state law says you don't - you do. If federal law is silent on if you have to have "X" and state law says you do - you do.

Depending on the age of the car, there are many different legal requirements regarding DOT regulations - best to have a broker handle the transaction. Getting it through customs is where the issue is going to be - as they may not release it. Once it's in your possession and registered and plated in TX, none of this really matters.
I do have a broker handling it, I guess I'm just doing my own research. The car is about 34 years old - it's an 86. The thought of it not making it through customs is scary.

Getting it registered in Texas might be tricky if it can't pass the safety inspection, which includes the headlights.
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      12-27-2019, 11:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennsiveguy View Post
When you say "classic" car, I'm assuming you mean something from a model year perhaps 20-30 years back. Is that correct?

Don't assume that regulations that apply to current model year cars will also be applied to a classic car. There are tens thousands of '60s American muscle cars in Texas right now that couldn't even come close to passing current safety specs, yet they're perfectly legal to drive. Of course, if the car is subject to inspection it'll have to pass in order for you to maintain a current title and registration. Check with the authorities to see what that inspection will entail, for the particular car you're talking about.
Yes - 34 years old. I know there are some exemptions, but most of my reading regarding headlights indicates the exemptions are mostly for vehicles much older.
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      12-27-2019, 12:17 PM   #8
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I mean if it's legal in france it should be legal in the US or at least canada. you might have to register it in canada. that's not too far of a drive?
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      12-27-2019, 12:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinonz View Post
The car is about 34 years old - it's an 86. .
944 turbo?
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      12-27-2019, 02:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upstatedoc View Post
I mean if it's legal in france it should be legal in the US or at least canada. you might have to register it in canada. that's not too far of a drive?
Canada might be a bit far from Austin TX.
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      12-27-2019, 02:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
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944 turbo?
Lamborghini Countach.
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      12-27-2019, 03:33 PM   #12
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I know it’s not apples to apples but it’s closest to factual.
I recently moved to Texas from Germany and brought 3 vehicles with me. (NA Spec vehicles)
Once we picked them up from the port, we had them “inspected” by our local sheriff’s office. They gave us a form that was required to register the vehicles in Texas.

I recommend contacting a vehicle shipping company and asking them directly about the process.
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      12-27-2019, 03:38 PM   #13
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      12-27-2019, 03:39 PM   #14
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Canada might be a bit far from Austin TX.
I'm retired, I'd drive it down for you...have badge, will travel!
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      12-27-2019, 03:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Violator View Post
I know it’s not apples to apples but it’s closest to factual.
I recently moved to Texas from Germany and brought 3 vehicles with me. (NA Spec vehicles)
Once we picked them up from the port, we had them “inspected” by our local sheriff’s office. They gave us a form that was required to register the vehicles in Texas.

I recommend contacting a vehicle shipping company and asking them directly about the process.
I have a broker who is facilitating the deal for me, but I am the one who has to get it registered in Texas. I know from my 86 Ferrari that this involves a safety inspection, and I have already been told by the shop that did the Ferrari that they would probably reject the Countach for the yellow lights unless I had something from TX DOT exempting it. The Ferrari however was already in the US (but is actually a Middle Eastern model) so I'm unsure what to expect.
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      12-27-2019, 03:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinonz View Post
Lamborghini Countach.
This will inevitably come off as a smart-assed question, but wouldn't it just be a lot easier to buy a US-spec one here in the US? Unless this is something really unique like the Max Bobnar cars, there are good Countachs available for sale regularly here. But hey, if you have a special "thing" for that particular car I totally understand.
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      12-27-2019, 03:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennsiveguy View Post
This will inevitably come off as a smart-assed question, but wouldn't it just be a lot easier to buy a US-spec one here in the US? Unless this is something really unique like the Max Bobnar cars, there are good Countachs available for sale regularly here. But hey, if you have a special "thing" for that particular car I totally understand.
I really want to get a Euro-spec Downdraft version with the 6 Webers.

Worst case I have to replace the headlights, which might just be tad expensive and difficult to find.
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      12-27-2019, 03:59 PM   #18
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I really want to get a Euro-spec Downdraft version with the 6 Webers.

Worst case I have to replace the headlights, which might just be tad expensive and difficult to find.
'Nuf said. If you've never heard the intake howl of a bunch of Weber IDAs, well...your "car guy" card should have "PROVISIONAL" stamped on it.
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      12-27-2019, 04:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
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I really want to get a Euro-spec Downdraft version with the 6 Webers.

Worst case I have to replace the headlights, which might just be tad expensive and difficult to find.
Kool, but if it becomes a nightmare get a US one and buy the Weber intake and carbs.....
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      12-27-2019, 04:29 PM   #20
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Kool, but if it becomes a nightmare get a US one and buy the Weber intake and carbs.....
Little more to it than that - the internals of the engine are different (different cams, pistons etc.) not to mention that the engine cover is different too. Besides - you're taking a not cheap classic and modifying it, which will be expensive and will reduce the value of the car. I'd really rather just get an original.
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      12-27-2019, 04:31 PM   #21
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Little more to it than that - the internals of the engine are different (different cams, pistons etc.) not to mention that the engine cover is different too. Besides - you're taking a not cheap classic and modifying it, which will be expensive and will reduce the value of the car. I'd really rather just get an original.
Yeah, this car isn't in a category where you're going to want to swap parts in and out - even if it weren't a huge hassle or expense, and this would probably be both.
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      12-27-2019, 04:36 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennsiveguy View Post
'Nuf said. If you've never heard the intake howl of a bunch of Weber IDAs, well...your "car guy" card should have "PROVISIONAL" stamped on it.
I'll accept the provisional stamp for now

Within 6 months I plan to have it removed and enjoy the howl of those 6 44 DCNF carbs just inches behind my head.
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