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Military Vehicle Registration in New York
Chris Ciesla has provided this information about antique plate registration requirements in New York:
New York does not clearly define what a "show" is. There are numerous car shows sponsored by small car clubs on a regular basis. What's to say you can't schedule your own show, where ever you want to have one?
Jim Bruno's Success Story
I thought I'd share my experience in importing an M-151 into the U.S. and then getting it credentialed for road use.
I resided in Vietnam for four years, having just returned to the U.S. this summer. While over there, I bought a nicely restored 1972 M-151A2 jeep ("MUTT"). Over the years, it went from U.S. inventory into the People's Army of Vietnam to private ownership. I drove it on Vietnam's bad roads for the four years I was there. I fell in love with this vehicle and determined to take it back with me.
Based on some of the accounts I'd read in Olive-Drab, however, I was terribly worried that I would encounter obstacles ranging from overstrict customs officials to prohibitive EPA rules to anal DMV bureaucrats. I didn't want to go through the effort and expense of shipping a vehicle to the U.S. only to discover that it wouldn't be cleared in or allowed on the roads. So, I methodically researched all the relevant regulations, which I obtained from relevant web sites. The internet is a godsend for doing this.
I learned that EPA emissions rules don't apply to vehicles more than 25 years old, that Customs had no beef with clearing in military vehicles such as mine, that the Dept of Transportation exempted vintage vehicles from most of the safety requirements current today, and that NY state had flexible rules for licensing and registering many mil vehicles.
This is not to say that I breezed through the whole process. At one point, a dispatch agent in NY informed me that I'd have to refit the vehicle with emissions and safety equipment to the tune of $6000-$7000. I had to point out the specific regs to him to get him to back down. Before I went in to my local DMV office, I had thoroughly boned up on the regs. I had had the admittedly out-of-the-ordinary Vietnamese registration, bill of sale and title documents professionally translated and notarized in advance. Fortunately, I had a kind, public-service-oriented woman who worked with me to get through all the necessary paperwork (being in a rural area where people tend to know each other and are good-natured anyway certainly helped). The registration/licensing procedures took mere minutes. I was able to slap the plates on my jeep immediately afterward and finally take it out on the open road, a great, liberating feeling. Inspection also proved to be problem-free. While still in Vietnam, I had run through the NYS inspection requirements step-by-step on my jeep with my mechanic and had him adjust those features needing to be fixed.
To make a long story short, it is essential that you thoroughly research what needs to be done and become smarter than the bureaucrats you will deal with, to "help" them do their job, if necessary. In fact, if anything, I had over-prepared and obsessed over every detail in the process. But the result was the one I wanted and I'm happy I did it the way I did.
My only challenge now is to get my friendly local mechanic to undo all the jury-rigging and half-assed workmanship of twenty-nine years of Vietnamese mechanics!