In Kansas, aftermarket wheels (or anything else) violate classic car status

Recent increase in enforcement leads to new legislative proposal

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In Kansas, you can lose your classic license tags if your wheels -- or any other parts -- aren't factory issued

We recently reported on the collector car community being called to action. Well, the calls continue:

There has been some fine print in the Kansas regulations regarding vintage vehicles that states that any modifications made to a vehicle more than 35 years old can violate the owner’s right to an antique license plate.

“The vast majority of people have no idea, like myself, that technically with my vehicles I am in violation of the law,” Kansas state Rep. Stephen Owens, R-Hesston, recently told NBC television affiliate KSNW. Owens, who according to the Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper, owns a 1927 Ford Model A, added that enforcement of the modification violation “has been stepped up” in the past year.

How strict has that enforcement been? People have had their antique tags confiscated for such things as putting aftermarket wheels on their vehicles.

One example reported by the television station: The owner of a 1967 Pontiac Firebird was stopped by a highway patrol officer for having the wrong wheels and tires on his car. 

“You cannot have aftermarket tires and wheels on your vehicle with that classic tag,” the Firebird’s owner was told as he was tickets and his tags were impounded.

Rep. Owens is among those supporting House Bill 2528, which was introduced in January and which last week left the Committee on Transportation with a recommendation that it be passed by the full legislature.

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The new bill would change language in the law to accept a vehicle as antique based on age, not on specific equipment installed since it was purchased.

“I had one one of my constituents say why are you wasting your time on this when we have a life amendment or we have this vote to make?” Owens told the TV station. “It doesn’t work that way. It’s not that we just sit here waiting on the big votes. There are so many things and to a number of people this is a big issue.”

Meanwhile, on a national scale, SEMA has scheduled its annual Washington Rally, officials it’s “Salute to the American Automotive Performance & Motorsports Industry,” for May 13.

The event is open to SEMA members and includes legislative briefings, face-to-face meetings with members of Congress and a luncheon on Capitol Hill, as well as visits to various Washington, D.C. attractions.

One issue certain to be discussed is the RPM Act that would overturn the EPA ruling that vehicles produced for street use cannot be converting for purposes of motorsports competition. 

“Converting street vehicles into dedicated race vehicles is an American tradition dating back decades and has negligible environmental impact.,” SEMA notes, adding, “While California is known for having the strictest emissions laws, the state exempts racing vehicles from regulation.” 

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Registration for the event closes on April 1.  

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Seriously? The state of Kansas expects all police officers to know exactly what wheels were OEM equipment on every car older than 1975? Most enthusiasts don’t know that information! And our fine men and women in blue don’t have time for that anyway as they have far more pressing issues to be concerned with than impounding someone’s 1965 Mustang for having the wrong wheels/tires on it. Besides, modern tires are far safer to drive on than the bias-plies that would have originally been installed on said Mustang.

  2. Next thing you know, the cops will ticket these folks for parking crooked in their own driveways! It really just reeks of gummint money-grabbing!

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