Topic: A little clarification on "street-legal" ?

Greetings Lemons Rally Organizers! (and others who mistakenly clicked this thread)

I ran the 2017 Hell on Wheels - Monterey Car Weeeeeak as 1/3 of Team MoostangRally and had one hell of a good time! The other 2/3 of the team are going to be driving something slightly more, eh, ambitious this year (with only 2 seats) so I've been left to my own devices to come up with another vehicle. While hoopties abound in the cracks and crevices of currently sweltering NorCal (I keep telling myself its good training for this year's romp through the desert) I've come up with a very specific question regarding vehicle eligibility.

But before I ask this question, let me explain the situation.

I have several vehicles I've been eyeballing pretty hard that would make excellent Lemons Rally candidates. One particular stand-out in the group (because its literally free, free as in beer) is a Dodge D150 Club Cab 2wd pickup courtesy of my father in laws back yard. Equipped with the venerable Chrysler LA360 5.9 L engine and A727 TorqueFlight automatic, she has the aerodynamics of a refrigerator and gas mileage numbers to prove it. All I have to do is get it registered and she's all mine. The only catch is ...the truck is a 1976 model and is thus required to pass a CA SMOG inspection as part of the registration process. Due to the GVW and origin of this vehicle, I believe the only emissions equipment it had on it from the factory is a PCV system. No catalytic converter, no smog pump, not even an EGR system. Knowing what I know about SMOG inspections having been a "car guy" and a Californian all my life, I can tell you with reasonable certainty that she ain't gonna pass with flying colors. The truck can be transferred into my name, fully insured and partially registered, but it won't have updated tags before the rally.

Now the State of California, not being completely unreasonable, knows that even though your vehicle failed a SMOG inspection you probably still need to drive your gas guzzling, smog belching, superfund-site-on-wheels to work on Monday morning in order to earn money to pay their fees, go to the Toyota dealer to put a down payment on that shiny new Prius you always wanted, or generally live your life while you attempt to rectify the smog situation. Or maybe drive to Yuma. Who knows! To this end they will grant you, for a mere $50 (or possibly even free!) a Temporary Operating Permit (TOP) via CVC §4156 in order to legally drive you car on California roadways for 60 days.

Information on TOP CVC §4156 can be found at:

Now back to Lemons Rally Registration. The rules state:

Da Rules wrote:

2.1: VEHICLE ELIGIBILITY Open to anything street-legal and road-insured (be ready to show proof).

And finally, my question: Does a California Temporary Operating Permit (TOP) CVC §4156 issued by the California DMV meet the requirements set forth for "street-legal" in section 2.1 of the general rally rules?

Full disclosure: I may not actually drive this vehicle in the rally because the juice on the registration may not be worth the squeeze, but I'm hoping that in asking this question I may also help others in similar situations who are willing to participate but lack valid vehicle registration due to CA SMOG inspection laws.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Verbosely yours,
- Drain_Bamage

Re: A little clarification on "street-legal" ?

IANAL but if you have documentation from the DMV stating you may operate a particular piece of machinery on California's highways that is the very definition of street legal ...

#98 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight - Class A car in the hands of a Class D team - MSR Houston IOE!

Re: A little clarification on "street-legal" ?

I believe a team ran last year's Monterey rally with a CA temporary permit. Lemons was fine with it but the team did have some difficulty crossing into Canada and back (which wasn't part of the rally but they just wanted to do it anyway). My advice, therefore, is don't cross into Canada with it.

This is probably less of an issue with this year's route. I hope.

1982 MG Metro 1300: IOE 2015 Pacific Northworst GP, Longest Distance 2010 Cd'L Box Wine Country Classic
1980 KV Mini 1: Worst of Show and Fright Pig Supremo 2009 Concours d'Lemons
1978 H Special: Second-Round Elimination 2010 Lemons Pinewood Derby at Sears Pointless
1967 SAAB 96: IOE 2012 Pacific Northworst GP, Organizer's Choice 2022 Hell on Wheels California Rally

Re: A little clarification on "street-legal" ?

Easy rule of thumb, Does it have Insurance and a registration plate/permit in any US state or neighboring nation.

If you can drive it on the street, get pulled over for a ticket, and still drive off after the police officer hands you your "Donation Voucher" Then it's "Street-Legal"

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: A little clarification on "street-legal" ?

I was under the impression that particular "Canada" excursion wasn't deliberate, and that the team didn't have proper travel documentation, hence the detention. Most of the temporary registration permits I've seen allow for international travel. So long as you have documentation for the vehicle proving its yours, CBP has bigger fish to fry than vehicle registration.

Re: A little clarification on "street-legal" ?

gogmorgo wrote:

I was under the impression that particular "Canada" excursion wasn't deliberate, and that the team didn't have proper travel documentation, hence the detention, .... , CBP has bigger fish to fry than vehicle registration.

Yes, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has been complaining about those illegals crossing the border. In an address to the Canadian Bacon Producers Association [CaBaPA] just this last week, he stated, "Those l'Americains, they're crossing the border illegally, eh? They're bringing crime to our fair country, ya? They're warm weather mechanics, they're racers; they're driving on our roads with racecars, they're members of the 24HOL gang. This has to stop. We have to protect our country, eh? We have to build a wall; a big wall - the grandest. We'll build it out of barrels filled with sand, and make them pay for it, eh?" /Transcript, CFAFAY-TV Ch 9, Nunavut, July 23, 2018, video segment on "Oh, Canada - Tonight!", with Martin Short.

Re: A little clarification on "street-legal" ?

While I can't speak for the parties involved, my memory is that the bigger difficulties were actual in re-entry to the US.

Re: A little clarification on "street-legal" ?

this year the potential problem is accidental excursions into Mexico, and then being able to get back into the US.

I Survived Hell on Wheels, Car Weeeak, Route Sucky Suck, etc.

Re: A little clarification on "street-legal" ?

squirrel wrote:

this year the potential problem is accidental excursions into Mexico, and then being able to get back into the US.

That may be true for the next _few_ years ...

Re: A little clarification on "street-legal" ?

I wouldn't completely discount the truck won't pass. I had my doubts of our malaise era Pinto passing, but it actually passed with flying colors. The target numbers for a '76 truck are pretty lenient.

Re: A little clarification on "street-legal" ?

Check with Steve ( about the TOP thing.

Eric Rood
Everything Bagel, 24 Hours of Lemons