This isn’t necessary, but as good Seven owners, I believe we have a duty to “pass it forward” as so many Seven owners have done for us. I know we certainly appreciate the help we received, and still do, for that matter. Our path to Seven ownership was, let’s say, a little bumpy, and if our experience can help others, that is a good thing. So with that said:
I know of three different scenarios that lead to owning a registerable Seven in California:
- Build it from scratch or purchase a kit, new or used, and build it yourself or with the help of someone who can. You must be able to prove that it was not built by the manufacturer or dealer or for resale. The traditional way of doing this is to purchase the engine and transmission separately from a source other than where you purchased the kit. It seems lately, however, they are scrutinizing kit car builds more closely, and you may be asked for additional documentation or information. It’s also a good idea to document your build with photos, and perhaps post your progress on Cateham forums. You can always refer to the photos and posts if they doubt you. Your SB100 designation won’t be handed to you on a platter. The people at DMV and especially BAR have a duty to enforce the law, and some take it more seriously than others.
- Purchase a Seven that is currently registered in California and has already received SB100 designation. It is in your best interest to verify that SB100 registration was not obtained fraudulently.
- Purchase a used Seven that has been legally registered in another state or now resides out of state but was previously registered under SB100. You must be able to prove that it was not built by a manufacturer or dealer and was built for private use. If the seller can’t provide proof of that beyond a doubt, don’t purchase a Seven from out of state. We were given copies of everything from Caterham USA and included documents showing they purchased a kit separate from the engine and transmission. There was also a document showing that the owner paid a Caterham USA technician to check and correct anything not right. That proved invaluable in proving it was built by the owner for personal use. Other documents included receipts for the engine, VIN verification and assignment of a state VIN, bills of sale and title. Additionally we ran the documents by DMV in Sacramento to ensure they were sufficient. My request was treated quickly and respectfully and they provided assurance that we would be given SB100.
Regardless of how you obtain a Seven, you must have a complete Type IV PVC system installed to pass the BAR inspection. If the vehicle you want to purchase doesn’t have one, it’s not insurmountable to install one. While we were told our Seven did have a Type IV PCV system, we could only see half of it, so we took it to a nearby repair shop licensed to provide smog checks, and they determined that indeed, our vehicle only had half of the system. It didn’t take them long or cost a lot to have PVC hose installed from the PVC valve to the Plenum/Inlet Manifold to complete the system.
The California Caterham Club site has lots of good information about the steps necessary to register a newly built SPCNS. There are a few of us that have purchased and successfully registered used vehicles from out of state, and our experiences have varied, depending on which DMV you visit. Many have successfully purchased Seven’s previously registered under SB100. If you still have questions, please ask. If we don’t know the answer, hopefully we can point you to someone who does.