What is it re­ally?

New Zealand Classic Car - - Readers' Writes -

Some years ago — ac­tu­ally Fe­bru­ary 10, 1997 — I reg­is­tered my then–newly fin­ished Porsche Speed­ster replica, built around the short­ened chas­sis of a late ’60s Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle.

This re­con­fig­ured chas­sis was al­lo­cated a new VIN num­ber, though the nec­es­sary LVVTA pa­per­work did men­tion the orig­i­nal chas­sis num­ber as well.

The Cer­tifi­cate of Reg­is­tra­tion that I re­ceived made no men­tion of the old chas­sis num­ber, only the VIN, yet some­how man­aged to note that I was the ninth owner of what went on the road as a brand-new ve­hi­cle.

I found this ‘ in­ter­est­ing’ to say the least, and a query at the time yielded a po­lite re­sponse from the Mo­tor Reg­is­tra­tion Cen­tre at Palmer­ston North that same month, which in essence said, ‘sorry, but can’t help you — them’s the rules’.

So, I was legally the ninth owner of a new ve­hi­cle be­cause part of a chas­sis with a num­ber on had been used in its con­struc­tion — hav­ing been short­ened by 255mm — while all other parts had come from else­where.

I let this slide at the time, but com­ing across the cor­re­spon­dence again more re­cently — in June 2014 — I tried once more to have this weird ar­range­ment clar­i­fied, main­tain­ing that I have ei­ther a one-owner ve­hi­cle first reg­is­tered in 1997 — or a ni­ne­owner ve­hi­cle first reg­is­tered in 1968.

I re­ceived a re­sponse by phone from the NZTA to the ef­fect that the prob­lem was un­der­stood, and the mat­ter was un­der con­sid­er­a­tion. I was left with the im­pres­sion that some­one would get back to me, some­time.

I took no more ac­tion for a lit­tle over a year be­fore try­ing again to get a mean­ing­ful re­sponse — af­ter an­other month in limbo, I have now re­ceived what seems to be the ul­ti­mate non-an­swer. This ex­plained that a ‘sub­stan­tial amount of data needs to be re­moved, changed and added be­fore the out­come can be ad­vised’, and that the mat­ter has been passed to sys­tems ad­min­is­tra­tors.

The in­ter­est­ing bit is that, even af­ter all this time, no one can in­di­cate the likely out­come, as it isn’t known whether or not the rec­om­mended changes to the Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Reg­is­ter can be made — and, to cap it all off, there is no time­frame ad­vice “due to the sheer amount of data recorded”.

So, 18 years down the track — and for no-one-knows-how-much longer — this silly sit­u­a­tion per­sists, with no one able or will­ing to in­di­cate what the so-called rec­om­mended changes might be or even when it may be solved — al­ways as­sum­ing it will be.

I have no in­ten­tion of sell­ing the car — it would be likely to cause se­ri­ous fam­ily de­bate — but, should it come to that, my abil­ity to ac­cu­rately de­scribe its his­tory would be some­what more in­volved than usual and prob­a­bly quite un­con­vinc­ing.

If and when there is any­thing mean­ing­ful to re­port, I will pass it on — mean­time, it would be in­ter­est­ing to know if I am alone in this par­tic­u­lar bu­reau­cratic wilder­ness.

Dave Bray, Welling­ton

De­spite, as he puts it, “knock­ing on the door of 80”, Dave still en­joys driv­ing both his home-built sports cars — the ‘ ni­ne­owner’ Porsche Speed­ster men­tioned, and his lovely XK120 replica. Those with longer mem­o­ries will re­call that Dave used to be our ‘ Welling­ton Di­ary’ colum­nist. AGW

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