HOW TO IMPORT A MOTOR VEHICLE
FOR SHOW OR DISPLAY
July 7, 2003
A rule permitting entry of nonconforming motor vehicles for purposes of show or display became effective on August 13, 1999. If you wish to import a vehicle for show or display, you must apply to NHTSA for permission to do so and establish that the vehicle is of such historical or technological significance that it is in the public interest to show or display the vehicle in the United States even though it would be difficult or impossible to bring the vehicle into compliance with the Federal motor vehicle safety standards. This provision is intended to facilitate the importation of historically or technologically significant vehicles that were never certified by their manufacturer for sale in the United States.
If you would like to know before purchasing a foreign vehicle whether NHTSA would determine that it is eligible for importation for show or display, you should submit an Application for Determination That a Motor Vehicle is Eligible for Show or Display and provide the information set out below in item 6d of the section entitled How You May Apply for Permission to Import. If NHTSA decides the vehicle is eligible for importation, you may then purchase the vehicle and submit a formal application containing the other information required. You should also consult the approved/disapproved listing at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/ShowDisplay to learn which vehicles the agency has already determined eligible for show or display and which vehicles it has determined to be ineligible.
In determining whether a vehicle is eligible for importation for show or display, NHTSA will consider the following factors, among others:
If the answer to any of the above is affirmative, you should not expect NHTSA to grant permission for importation. If the answer to item 4 is affirmative, the applicant must establish that the vehicle is of exceptional technological and/or historical significance.
A vehicle eligible for Show or Display may receive NHTSA approval to be driven on the highway. The odometer must not register more than 2,500 miles in a 12-month period. NHTSA approval of limited on-road use is to allow the vehicle to be driven to and from nearby displays of similar automobiles. Another reason permission is granted is to maintain the vehicle’s engine, braking, lighting, and other dynamic systems in good working order. The vehicle is still required to meet EPA requirements. If the original engine in the vehicle will be replaced with a non-original engine to meet EPA requirements, it must be identified in your application since it may impact on the technological or historical significance of the vehicle.
HOW YOU MAY APPLY FOR PERMISSION TO IMPORT
Your signed application must include, at a minimum:
Items of significance must be numerically listed followed by the reason why the item is of significance.
You may then mail the application to:
Import and Certification Division
Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (NVS-223)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
400 7th Street SW, Suite 6111
Washington, DC 20590