All, here's my update…
Short story: WSP VIN inspection/DOL./Registration Passed!!!
1) WSP VIN Inspection:
-About 2 months ago I went down to the local VIN inspection station and talked with the officer for about 20 minutes…he was nice and very helpful. He said the only bad time to get inspected was during the summer, b/c I may have to wait up to 4 weeks.
-when I called to schedule an appoint, they only had a 1 week wait period. (I asked for the best time and explained it was a kit car…so they put me at 9:30am)
-When we arrived, there was no line and we pulled right in. The car was on a trailer b/c I left the tranny tunnel cover off so that he could see the VIN.
-When I went to hand all of my documentation to the Officer and he said "probably doesn't matter…this thing won't pass. It doesn't have bumpers". My jaw dropped…and we talked about it and went back and forth about the WRC laws and why I don't need bumpers. In the end, he made some calls and confirmed I didn't need bumpers. (talk about a scare!)
-There were a few other small items, but the officer was really helpful and in the end I got approved!
-He essentially walked down this list of requirements and checked off each one: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.37.519
(when I read through this, it never said the WSP VIN inspection would inspect for these items…I always assumed it was up to me to ensure it was road legal.) During the inspection, he never asked for the lights (or anything else) to be turned on.
-here’s a few of the items that could've caused me more grief, but luckily didn't
-"Doors shall have latches"…we both agreed that safety wise, I was ok…but I didn't have a RCW that allowed me not to have doors.
-Windshield/Defrost/Wipers…I had to show him the specific RCW that allows me to just wear a helmet instead.
-Lights: must have "DOT" stamped on them (all lights)…Euro spec doesn't count.
-Seat belts being "DOT"…I have a 6pt race harness (we both agreed it was safer than a DOT 3pt, but not technically "DOT" approved).
-Receipts for Major components…PayPal receipts don't count.
-MSO certificate for a kit car...Since MNR isn't an approved kit vehicle company in the US, I didn't get a MSO certificate…which means I get a provisional title for 3 yrs. After 3 years, I'll get an official title. His explanation was that without the MSO, he can't be certain this chassis is mine, so the 3yr wait period allows someone to report it was stolen. This seems kinda odd to me b/c if I had said this was a home built vehicle, I wouldn't need an MSO and assume I'd get the full title w/o the 3 yr wait period. He was really nice and I didn't feel like push this issue…also I didn't even know the RCW's that covered this area.
-He then added a WA VIN to the chassis. Technically he was supposed to add 1 to the chassis and a matching one to the body, but b/c the entire body was Fiberglass, he only did the chassis. (it's affixed w/ some glue, then 2 holes are drilled for a hammered rivet to affix it).
-In the end, he printed out a sheet w/ all the info that I took to the DOL…it spells out yr/make/model, VIN,...
Final thought: In the end, all I can say is that you should do all of your homework ahead of time and assume you'll have to walk the WSP office through everything (I had all of the RCW's printed out and highlighted)…these are very unique cases for them, so especially for the local VIN inspection office, they won't know all of the rules upside down. (the other option is to go to the main inspection area in Olympia…they'll likely know the rules much more thoroughly, but it's further away and I would assume they'd be more strict on some things). The WSP officer was very nice and helpful - he seemed interested in the build, but you could also tell he's also doing his job and getting as much info as possible.
-After the inspection, I went to the DOL (Department of Licensing) and tried to get registered…they gave me a lot of grief and said I could only register as a Off-Road vehicle. By the end of Friday, the DOL was waiting for a response from their management…they didn't like the Welding statement that the RCW's required
" (4) Except for kit vehicles licensed under RCW 46.16.680(5), kit vehicles must comply with chapter 204-10 WAC. A kit vehicle is exempt from the welding requirements under WAC 204-10-022(8) if, upon application for a certificate of ownership, the owner furnishes documentation from the manufacturer of the vehicle frame that informs the owner that the welding on the frame was not completed by a certified welder and that the structural strength of the frame has not been certified by an engineer as meeting the applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards set under 49 C.F.R. Sec. 571.201, 571.214, 571.216, and 571.220 through 571.224, and the applicable SAE standards. " (I had MNR give me this exact statement, and the WSP Officer noted it in the report).
- Rather than wait for that DOL to figure out I was right, I found another DOL the follow day that had done a few other similar vehicles and within 45 minutes I had my new plates
(I had to pay taxes on the value I provided them…I showed them the original Miata registration, and the basic MNR kit price. I was hoping that since I already paid taxes/customs fees for all of the parts that I'd be exempt, but they said no…not a big surprise)
-I should get my official registration papers in about 2 months…but it's road legal now! (sounds like it has to go through all the official paperwork, and there's only a small chance it'll hit a snag)
3) Insurance: WA state doesn't require insurance prior to registration….so after I had the plates, I called my insurance company (Progressive) and got the cheapest insurance
(I'll call back later and figure out costs for full coverage…just didn't want to spend all day on the phone)
-I'm paying $170 for 6 months. (my understanding is that if I wanted full coverage, it would be based on the value I tell them it is worth).
-like everything else w/ this project, it took nearly 45 minutes on the phone w/ them b/c the guy had to keep getting help…my registration didn't have all of the normal portions filled in (i.e. the "Model" field was left blank).