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Making MiniTrucks Street Legal

Discussion in 'EPA Regulations' started by Donald Shimoda, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. Let's face it, the latest EPA certification garbage is yet another government intervention where there should be no government interference.

    Here's an idea:

    Why not import Mini Trucks the exact same way that the new Smart Car is imported? I mean look at this thing ... it's like driving a bumper car:


    If you can drive that thing on the road, then Mini Trucks are a no brainer. I'd put my Mini Truck with an air bag up against that go cart of a car any day of the week in exhaust testing, crash testing, you name it.

    If fact, check this out. You can even get bumper cars made street legal:


    The key is to import what we want correctly so that we can use them in whatever way we see fit. I drive my personal Mini Truck on the road and off the road and occasionally I even drive it in water. The key is to get the government to find something better to do with their time and our money.

    How about asking Suburu, Mitisubishi, Honda, etc. to fill out the stupid paper work in Japan for their Mini Trucks so that we are no longer hassled?

    If this doesn't work, let's brainstorm other ideas.

    I see that Gung Ho in Michigan has been smooching the dark side of the government to get an EPA Certification for certain Suzuki models but they are still for off the road only. Who wants to buy a new Mini Truck and not be able to drive in where ever you need to go? That's stupid.

    If we work together, we can come up with a way to make these Mini Trucks not only legal but immensely popular. You wouldn't believe how many people stop me to ask where they can get one. So the market is there but only if we can drive them through the McDonald's drive up window while asking our riding companion to take care of our order because we can't reach it from the right side. Come to think of it, make them pay as well.

    If necessary, let's import these Mini Trucks as parts and put them together here and just use what's called an "Assembled Title."

    There's got to be a good way to do this that we all can use.

    Who has more suggestions to stop the EPA from hassling us?
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  2. Ran440

    Ran440 Member

    Nice post.
    I see the EPA cirt as a positive thing. It is now one less hurdle we have . Get it DOT approved and imported correctly we're there.
    The gov tried to ban the importation and the dealers got around it. Now if we can get the dealers to take it one step further....we'll be driving them on the streets.
  3. Thanks Randy.

    The goal is to have these mini marvels available in the US for anyone that wants to drive one!
  4. Kevinj

    Kevinj New Member

    We can register just about anything with street tires, lights, horn and mirrors for on-road use. My 02 Suz-Carry and my son's Mit van are street legal here - registered as motorcycles - just can't go on the interstate. Not to get political but lobby your state to allow 4 wheelers to be street legal and your off and running. (we are in the US)
  5. The best thing would be to import these as regular vehicles and then sell them as such. Skip the whole "farm equipment" runaround.

    I have one of these mini trucks licensed that I drive every day, and I'd like to help others do the same and make it easy.
  6. canadian1

    canadian1 Member


    the EPA CERT. is for OFF-ROAD USE; not street use.
  7. We want off road and on road and in the hills and through the woods to Grandma's house.

    We don't want a bunch of bureaucrats telling us where we can drive our Mini Trucks. That's ridiculous!

    These Mini Trucks must become street legal everywhere. Let's not settle for less.

    Again, if you can drive Smart for Two cars and even Bumper Cars on the road, then these Mini Trucks are a no brainer.

    The question is how to overcome the adversity that the government is throwing our way?

    Somebody out there has the answer. What is it?
  8. Timetripper

    Timetripper Moderator

    From what I know from this side of the 49th if the Kei trucks were imported into USA as "on road" vehicles
    they would be subject to a 25% import duty that they don't have right now being imported as "farm equipment".
    I'm not throwing water on your parade - I totaly agree they should be as you said:
    "We want off road and on road and in the hills and through the woods to Grandma's house."

    I always wondered on the above duty if that somehow didn't enter into how things have escalated into where they are now.

    I know that it is the "EPA" calling the shots right now but somewhere there has to be someone that imports vehicles
    that is paying the 25% duty that has to be pretty ^&* at someone bringing in a Kei truck as " farm equipment" then having
    the end user license it for the street and with no duty paid.
    Not saying right or wrong just another POV.
  9. greg0187

    greg0187 Moderator Staff Member

    Very good point. Maybe it all started in the beginning when some importer was trying to save money.

  10. Ran440

    Ran440 Member

    Now I am beginning to wonder how many of the newer minis would be street legal if imported as such. I mean they are built to higher emissions standards and like a previous poster said they probably have a better crash test results than the Smart Car. I think someone said they are now coming with air bags too. Not sure??
  11. greg0187

    greg0187 Moderator Staff Member

    Don't under estimate the Smart cars abiltiy to with stand impacts. It uses a Tridion steel safety shell similar to what todays race cars are required to be equiped with. Personally, If I had the choice, I'd rather be in a impact in the smart car. The minitruck doesn't even have any crumple zones.

    Smart 70 mph barrier impact.
    Tuvoca likes this.
  12. Mighty Milt

    Mighty Milt Active Member

    when i first got my truck i spoke to an importer about legalizing my truck. he said he specialized in the smart cars but would work on any kind. $2500 and 6-8 weeks for the process... after further discussion i found that since my 99 didn't have an air bag it would never pass :(
  13. Sure they do, right about where your feet are! :eek:

    I have seen two K truck front end collisions below 20 mph and the results were downright ugly.
  14. Yeah Randy, now you're talking!

    * * * * *
    Now I am beginning to wonder how many of the newer minis would be street legal if imported as such. I mean they are built to higher emissions standards and like a previous poster said they probably have a better crash test results than the Smart Car. I think someone said they are now coming with air bags too. Not sure??
    * * * * *

    Most of the newer Mini Trucks have air bags standard. Besides, let's not even compare against the Smart Car, let's compare against these little attached bumper cars that are street legal.

    Attached Files:

  15. Mighty Milt

    Mighty Milt Active Member

    and how much do those bumper cars cost? aren't they something ridiculous like $10,000?

    seems to me that at that price i'd just buy a regular old toyota pickup. i liked the minis for the great gas mileage (which was a farce) and the low price (my 99 cost $4,000)

    if i knew they got such low gas mileage as opposed to their advertised mileage and if it cost me $10,000+ i wouldn't buy one. JMHO
  16. So here's the question, Timetripper:

    Can you import these Mini Trucks today as vehicles if you pay the 25%? Obviously, they are shipping them all over the world and driving them on streets. How is the government going to block that?
  17. Mighty Milt,

    I agree that the cost is the bottomline. Based on the retail prices I see on sites such as Gung Ho (http://usedminitrucks.com/), it probably makes more sense to just buy an old pickup.

    But if you can get a Mini Truck for $4,000 like you did and make it street legal, now you've got something that's worthwhile in my opinion. Heck, I'd even go $5,000 but by the time you hit $10,000, it's getting pretty pricey compared to other options.
  18. canadian1

    canadian1 Member


    these trucks [as they are being mfg. today]will never;ever pass DOT requirements. they are mfg. to european standards which are lesser than U.S. standards. even the TIGER truck which is assenbled in the U.S. is not street legal.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  19. canadian1,

    Well, if Mini Trucks will never, ever pass DOT requirements as they are currently being manufactured today, then that probably answers the question.

    So what we are left with is a government with requirements that are completely bogus. Luckily, I have one Mini Truck that is street legal and since it will last for years, I don't have a problem. I just feel bad for all of the people that would like to have one.

    Maybe the next line of thought should be to ship these Mini Trucks into the US in parts. Maybe just take something critical out of the engine so they don't run. Then once they are here, make them "Assembled Vehicles." So instead of a speed limiter, take out the starter or something else. Then we are just importing sheet metal, plastic, and steel. Heck, why not do salvage shipments? Does the government have a corn cob up their butt on that idea?
  20. canadian1

    canadian1 Member


    first; let me say this. the requirements by DOT are not bogus, they are for our safety. enough on that.
    as for importing as parts and than re-assemble or import as salvage; this has been tried many times over the years. customs is an enforcement agency for the EPA and many other agencies. the EPA; although we may think so; are not completely ignorant. customs views all docs. on every container into this country. with the new EPA regs. in place they are doing a exam on every container.HERE IS WHY THIS IS NOT DONE ANY MORE. if you falsify docs. your container will be confiscated; you will be fined and you will serve jail time. believe it or not; most custom agents are sharpe cookies. i have known container loads of trucks go to the shredder. i hope this helps.
    Tuvoca likes this.
  21. Never ever....thats a pretty bold statement in government/regulations.
  22. canadian1,

    I am not talking about falsifying anything. I am talking about importing parts. Once the parts are here, aren't citizens free to build whatever they want? Why can't you build a Mini Truck in your garage? Is there a law against that? (There probably is unfortunately!) Again, if you can build a dune buggy from parts, why can't you order parts from Japan and build whatever you want?

    As for the DOT requirements, whether they are bogus or not is a matter of opinion. Are Mini Trucks safer than motorcycles? I say YES! Are Mini Trucks safer than 3-wheeled "Pickups" like what's attached? Again, I say YES! Are Mini Trucks safer than bumper cars made street legal. You get the idea.

    I guess we can either figure out a way to work around what I see as bogus restrictions or we start can start smooching more government officials where the sun don't shine.

    I'm just amazed that no one has figured out a workaround that makes sense.

    The bottomline for me is that I already have one of these little jewels, I just like more people to be able to get them.

    I think next I'll go for something smaller and get it street legalized just for fun. That'll keep those men in black on their toes. (Check out the cool little Beemer attached!)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  23. canadian1

    canadian1 Member


    read again== i said as they are being mfg. today.
  24. chickendumpling,

    I with ya! Dealing with the government is like dealing with lawyers. If you want a different answer, just ask another lawyer or, in this case, another bureaucrat.

    Read the EPA Notice on this thread and tell me it's not an example of confusion laced with BS ...


    This can only be called "Government Speak" which is intended to confuse, block, make difficult, and get in the way of commerce.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  25. Are you sure this is an absolute statement? For example, talking to EPA reps etc....pass or no pass pending who you go to? While I did not have to have my truck inspected by DOT, I am curious to find out these regs (good mission). I'll look into that...

    What is your take on Classification .... could this be an area to take a shot at? Re-classification from ag to some small utility vehicle? Problem is...I'm not a lawyer...maybe we need to get these gov guys love'in these trucks :)
  26. canadian1

    canadian1 Member


    do you realize the cost to build a mini trk. part by part and piece by piece and the shipping cost from japan. yes; this is legal the best i can determine but the cost would prohibit
    this. if this was feasible; people like yourself would be doing it. and yes, DOT is for you and your family protection also. no, i do not agree with all of the DOT AND EPA regs. some are ridiculous as you have mention above.
  27. chickendumpling,

    Let's get together with the rest of the members and send Barack Obama a Mini Truck! (I can just see him talking about going green and using his Mini Truck to chase Senators around on the Capital grounds.)

    What do you want to bet that if he likes it, the classifications will suddenly change?
  28. canadian1,

    How about this? Import a container of Mini Trucks without a clutch or starter or whole engine for that matter. Import another container with clutches or starters or whole engines.

    Put the two together.

    I'm sure it's not that simple but when dealing with ridiculous regulations you need some ridiculous creativity to work with them.
  29. :):):) Oh, how I've seen similar things happen ....
  30. canadian1

    canadian1 Member

    tatanka mini trucks is importing under a different classification at present but they are still for off-road use only.

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