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Has anyone done a California referee smog check lately ?

the car is a Beck 550 with a 912 Porsche motor , 1992 build

What do they check ?   Does the motor need to be stock as far as carbs and air cleaners.

Are there “better” referee stations to go to that understand what is needed for a Beck 550 ?

it is located in the Ventura area , but he has a trailer to take it to a friendlier referee station if needed,

And how long is the certificate good for ?  The car is going to be for sale once it’s registered,

Thanks for your help

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My experience is outdated and not useful.  However, you may want to check the Cobra replica sites, as they used to have the best and latest info on the subject of which offices to use to pass current emission standards.  Please let the group know what you find, as this is how we all learn.  Good luck in your search.

In short, your 912 motor will need to meet 1992 smog standards.  This would include all the equipment and probably catalytic converter that was required on a 1992 automobile.  Since your 912 doesn't have any of that equipment, the referee will deny it.  They may give you a list of needed components, but the components don't exist.  The only way I have seen this completed is the SB100 process.

Please let us know what you find.

Ummm  that sounds like a big problem ,

reading on the  club cobra website it seems that if you already have a VIN number from the manufacturer, in this case Beck  that it’s a problem getting the SB100.

But  from the Clubcobra forum it looks like the specs to get a SB100 keep changing , so trying to find posts from 2022 is a problem.

As far as you know , is there any engine you could put in this 1992 registered Beck 550 ?
I can borrow any VW or Porsche motor from 1950  or newer  and switch it out if that would solve it ,

Thanks for your thoughts.

If your title says 1992 Beck, then as far as I know, it must meet 1992 smog standards for CA.  Also, even if you had a 1992 engine and all the equipment, then passed smog.  You would not be able to swap the engine back and it would be reinspected at every smog inspection interval and upon sale.

You can do SB100 with any VIN number, you can even have a VIN added to the car by DMV.  But there are other requirements.

The last time I had a car in that situation, I just sold it to a buyer in another state.

Last edited by Theron

Cool, I did not know this and don't know how true it is.  It's off of Unfair Automotive Laws web site.


The new law repeals California’s current rolling emissions-test exemption for vehicles 30 years old and older and replaces it with a law requiring the lifetime testing of all 1976 and newer model-year vehicles.

Last edited by Andy-

Wow, that’s awesome.  I wish it were like that, here.

As I’ve been seeing with other people here this past year, they review paperwork for the replicated year for the overall look of the car, and then ask to see proof of year of build of the engine, not the year the engine is replicating.  Any engine build after 2007 needs to meet smog for the year it was built.  On the other side of the coin, no local inspection stations are smog checking ANY cars older than 2007 Because all of their “testing” is done via OBDII plug-in and those older cars might not have the proper OBD sensors for the inspector to reference.

So they weed you out on the front end of the process with paperwork so the field inspectors have less to do on the back end, as far as I can figure it.

If you have, say, an aircooled speedster built before 2007 and are good at talking your way through the initial inspections you may get an exemption and get registered.  After 2007 you need to meet smog levels to pass the test and that is a BIG DEAL process.   It’s a real PITA.

SB-100, even though it is an involved process, sounds a lot fairer than what we‘ve got.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

@Imperial, You don't need to chase around Cobra sites or other 'kit car' sites.  The info you need is here on this site.  You can click on 'search' for "SB 100", it has been covered many times.  Or, just go to the link @Theron provided because it summarizes the whole process:  The Magical SB100–Registering Your Car In California – Bauer Ltd

The point that has been made for you in posts above is that you won't be able to register a 1992 anything in California unless it passes current smog regulations.  And, as pointed out to you, that will be virtually impossible in your case.

So your option if you want to register in California is to go the SB100 route.  SB100 was created specifically for situations like this.

I did the SB100 process about 2yrs ago on my Spyder.  For 20yrs I'd been driving it around registered as a '69 VW based on a registration and VIN lifted from a 'salvage' bug chassis.  Obviously the Spyder didn't have anything in common with a '69 VW so when it came time to sell the Spyder I wanted to eliminate any 'shade' from the registration and title.

Given that my Spyder was a "specially constructed vehicle", like your Beck, SB100 provides the process allowing legal re-registration and title into the pre-smog era.  (which will be a registration and title that I believe is recognized and can be transferred in all 50 states, which naturally adds significant resale value to the vehicle.)

Edit:  As far as being a crapshoot for who you get at DMV etc., my suggestion is to read-up on the process as much as possible so you can guide them (politely) of your 'understanding' if you feel they got lost (DON'T tell them how to do their job).  Be aware in advance your DMV person is probably clueless.  Also be aware (in my case) that the first step in the process was surrendering my existing registration and title.  So dont start if there is any doubt you can finish.  If you fail along the way, you have NO title.

Last edited by RS-60 mark
@imperial posted:

I talked with my buddy today with the Nevada registered 550 ,

He asked if he could take it to another state and register it  as 1955 in that state ,

Anyway that this is possible , registering it  as the year model it was trying to copy , not when it was built ?   Yes I know this is what SB100 is trying to do, but this might help others.

As Mark said, there have been dozens of threads about how to register these things over the years, maybe hundreds.

The entire idea of the SEMA registration process is to title and license the car in the year it replicates, as opposed to the year it was built (as it would be if it were a "special construction" title) for the purposes of emissions exemption. If you don't care where the vehicle is registered, then yes - you can probably get it registered as a 1955 pretty easily in some states, with more difficulty in other states, and maybe not at all in still more yet.

California has a process. It's byzantine and difficult, but it's exactly what you want. Illinois has a procedure as well - it's easier, but you still have to have people down at the DOT (sec. of State's Office here) who understand the process, or at least won't blow you off.

Understanding the particulars of whatever state you're trying to do this in is the key to getting it done. You live in California. You may be able to get this registered in Montana or Wyoming or Georgia or Delaware, but it's not strictly legal to register a vehicle in a state you don't live in.

Good luck?

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