Cherik's Super Seven Pages

Registration (in Wisconsin / USA)

  Main Page

  What's a Seven?



  Zetec vs. X-Flow

  Conversion to Zetec

  Gearbox upgrade

  Maintenance Log







The difficulty in registering a non-standard DOT compliant vehicle is, that in each state you will encounter different regulations.

There's difficulty in some states in determining what the "car" is: It's not a kit car, but rather an unassembled vehicle. Caterham will provide the proper chassis number and bill of sale. The engine is procured separately, and thus it's number will not be on the chassis plate. The car is not a rebuild, but a new vehicle.
The replica status can be used, as Lotus did transfer the manufacturing license to Caterham Cars in 1973. With that one can argue it's still a "Lotus", as Caterham already used to build the Lotus 7 for Lotus, thus it's the same vehicle (tooling, jigs, design etc), but with a different name. The language is what will require study for each individual state. Emissions is another challenge. This was addressed by Jon Nelson from RMSCI (he now  runs Caterham USA), who reworked the Zetec and it's ECU for the Caterham to pass standard emissions with full emission controls including the catalytic converter. For those states that allow registration for a pre- 1967 design. non emission controlled engines can be used, such as the classic Kent (Crossflow) engine. The engine can later be upgraded. Note that there is a US version of the Kent engine, which was found in Ford Pinto's. It differs in many details, but follows the same rules as the original Kent engine and would allow a pre '67 design registration.

I realize that in other states rules and restrictions are abound, but fortunately Wisconsin is filled with automotive enthusiasts and racers, perhaps because of that there is more lee-way here than the other states, I don't know.  Either way it's very simple here:

1. Apply at the DMV for Hobbyist plates
2. Register as '99 Caterham
3. Indicate Lotus 7 Replica for the category
4. Indicate pre 1967 engine design to get relief from emissions testing
    (this applies to a Crossflow engine, not a modern Zetec)
5. Pay tax on the car
6. Pay one time registration fee ($130 in Wisconsin)
7. Wait for plates 3..4 weeks
8. Mount plates and drive away... 

That's right - no checks and no inspection.
Use common sense to verify that the car is safe and follow DOT guidelines.
Get an expert to verify this if you're not 100% confident.