It just became a little bit easier to restore a pre-1981 classic car in the state of Arizona, all thanks to a campaign backed by major collector car auction company Barrett-Jackson.
Following a unanimous vote from the Arizona House of Representatives and State Senate, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed House Bill 2480 into law, allowing for the VIN plate on pre-1981 vehicles to be removed and re-attached during the repair or restoration process. This new statute came into effect on July 22nd, 2022.
Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis told Classic Car that his company began campaigning for the law to be modified last year and eventually received support from Arizona House Transportation Chair Frank Carroll. This helped the bill pass through the Arizona House of Representatives and the Transportation and Technology Committee in the Arizona State Senate before it was unanimously passed by both of the state’s governing bodies.
While it was illegal to remove and reattach a VIN plate to a different vehicle of the same make and model in Arizona, this practice is federally legal in cases where certain repairs to a vehicle may be necessary. Barrett-Jackson used language from the federal law to ensure the bill would pass in Arizona, with Classic Car noting the scope of the revised statute is quite narrow for this reason. It’s still illegal to reattach a VIN plate on a post-1981 vehicle, for example, as this was the year that VINs became more standardized across different vehicle makes.
Craig Jackson, chairman and chief executive of Barrett-Jackson, hopes the bill can one day be amended to include a wider scope of vehicles.
“As the collector car community evolves and expands to future generations and more makes and models, this cut-off may, at some point, need to be reconsidered,” Jackson said, as quoted by Classic Car.
While rules surrounding VIN plates for restored vehicles may seem somewhat arbitrary in the current day, these laws were written in the 1940s and 1950s, when many lawmakers would not have known that the vehicles of the day would become collector’s items. Some enthusiasts living in states have had their vehicles impounded and crushed after they were found to have illegally removed and reattached a VIN plate during the restoration process, and a similar fate almost happened to the buyer of a restored 1959 Corvette in Kansas. Jackson hopes the new law in Arizona will prevent this from happening in the future.
“This is a precedent-setting moment that people will look at and then want to emulate this legislation in their states,” he said.