Texas Cretins Are Revoking Titles for Kit Cars and Dune Buggies

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
texas cretins are revoking titles for kit cars and dune buggies

In 2013, Texas’ Department of Motor Vehicles began revoking titles on newly built dune buggies. While that was already a bit of a dick move, the state was at least good enough to grandfather-in existing vehicles. However, that has changed in recent months now that the state’s DMV seems keen on enforcing Texas Administrative Rule 217.3 (Section 6).

The mandate, which appears only to exist to make automotive hobbyists sad, came into rule in March of 2015. But it has picked up lot of steam since then, denying titles on dune buggies and kit cars that had previously received them without trouble. As a result, enthusiasts are starting to organize in the hopes of lobbying the state to re-legalize the vehicles as others sell off their beloved rides — fearful that nobody would buy them in Texas since they aren’t street-legal anymore.

Speaking with Hemmings Daily, Adam Shaivitz, a spokesman for the Texas DMV, said the decision to ban dune buggies is “because many of these vehicles do not have key safety components or do not have a body at all. These vehicles, as manufactured, were not designed for on-road use. These vehicles, as modified from previously manufactured vehicles, also do not keep their on-road qualities.”

While being cautious about modifications is understandable, the overall safety concerns fall flat in a state where around 450,000 people own motorcycles. In fact, the last time I rode a motorcycle in Texas, I noticed the state doesn’t even have a helmet law. I would also wager there are more people cruising around on Harley-Davidsons without a protective lid in the Lone Star State than there are with a Meyers Manx in their garage.

If you’re interested in what this hypocritical law says, here is an excerpt from the dreaded Section 6 that outlines what types of vehicles are now illegal to own in Texas:

(A) vehicles that are missing or are stripped of their motor, frame, or body, to the extent that it materially alters the manufacturer’s original design or makes the vehicle unsafe for on­road operation as determined by the department;

(B) vehicles designed or determined by the department to be a dune buggy;

(C) vehicles designed or determined by the department to be for on­track racing, unless such vehicles meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for on­road use and are reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;

(D) vehicles designed or determined by the department to be for off­road use only, unless specifically defined as a “motor vehicle” in Transportation Code, Chapter 501

Vincent Parisien, the president of the Manx Club, said that the title revocations and the ban on dune buggy are essentially discriminatory practices. “We’re not about making the streets more dangerous,” he said. “Our members are willing to go through all the same safety standards as other cars.”

I would also suggest the ban establishes a fairly dangerous precedent against auto enthusiasm. It wouldn’t be impossible for someone to propose similar a ban on all modified vehicles or motorcycles on the grounds that they were “unsafe” and using the dune buggy title revocations as an example.

Faron Smith, founder of the Save the Texas Dune Buggy Facebook group, has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise enough money to hire a lobbyist to work on behalf of Texan dune-buggy and kit-car enthusiasts. The man chosen for the job, Ron Hinkle, has previous experience working with the State of Texas to legalize the Polaris Slingshot.

“We definitely see this happening in other states,” Hinkle said. “If Texas deems this as the right way to operate then other states will do so as well.”

Meanwhile, Manx Club officials have reached out to Texas State Representative Ed Thompson, who has asked the Texas DMV rescind its ban on buggies. Hemmings said they’ve also sought help from the SEMA Action Network and the Historic Vehicle Association. They could probably use whatever help you can offer.

[Illustration: Matt Posky; Image: Ariel Motor Company]

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3 of 38 comments
  • FormerFF FormerFF on Nov 07, 2017

    If Texas wants to do something about vehicle safety, they should start enforcing bumper height requirements. A jacked up brodozer is a dangerous missile when it rearends something at standard height.

  • Lon888 Lon888 on Nov 07, 2017

    If those jerks want o ban any thing, why not ban those stupid pickups and SUV's that are jacked up 5 feet in the air with massive oversized wheels and tires. Those stupid things violate so many Federal Motor Vehicle codes its ridiculous. Just for the ignorant, there's is a formula for how much tire can be exposed on a car and the tire cannot stick out past the fender line.

    • White Shadow White Shadow on Nov 07, 2017

      Not to mention how those jacked up bro trucks have bumpers that are more in line with passenger cars windshields than passenger car bumpers. For that reason alone, it should be illegal (and enforced) for people to lift trucks like that.

  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )