Our Shelby AC Cobra Replica is road legal !

On June 24th 2013, the NSW RMS saw fit to issue registration for our Shelby AC Cobra Replica and handed over the license plates and paperwork !

Getting Rego.

Getting to this point - was not a trivial process ! If you are considering building your own Cobra or an ICV(Individually Constructed Vehicle) of any kind, I suggest you consider what is involved and understand that the goal posts in NSW - can move.

It is a complex, expensive process in NSW made most difficult because the NSW RMS require a lot more than the regulatory bodies in any other state in Australia. The primary challenge in NSW is the requirement for high speed brake testing. This cannot be done on public roads, so it requires either access to a race track, or an a closed air strip. The options are limited. Wakefield park is not long enough, and Eastern Creek is expensive and solidly booked well into the next year.

Before you get to engineering - you will need to have your car as close to compliant as possible. the challenge here is that the knowledge of what is needed, rests with the engineers, however they aren't going to spend a lot of time with you, until you agree to use, and thus pay them.

So to get you started. You need to have :

  • ADR compliant seats
  • ADR compliant seat belts
  • ADR compliant dash padding
  • A Passed Emissions test
  • ADR compliant steering wheel and Boss.
  • Proof of legitimate purchase of all the major components. Chassis, body, engine, gearbox, diff, seats radiator, fuel tank etc.
  • Your vehicle needs to be above the minimum ride height of 100mm.
  • All lights must be ADR compliant and carry the necessary markings
  • All wiring in engine bay must be double insulated and supported at least every 300mm.
  • Brake fluid, fuel cap and passenger seat must carry the necessary warning labels (ask your engineer)
Once you have a mostly compliant vehicle - here is the process :
  1. Find a Certifying engineer. The NSW RMS has a list of them on their www site. As at june 2013 the list of these Engineers is here. All engineers are not created equal. Some we talked to refused to do an ICV and a couple refused to touch a Cobra. Also - don't pay too much. There are some engineers out there that charge a lot of Money. All up our Engineering cost about $5,000. We used Treeve Andrew. He is a top bloke, very professional and very thorough. I would recommend him in a heart beat. His contact details are in the PDF linked above on the RMS www site.
  2. Work with the engineer to get your ICV compliant with the required Australian Design Rules and regulations. What are the relevant ADR's ? An excellent question. It's very complex and that's why the Engineers exist - to advise you on this very subject. The engineer will inspect the vehicle and check each relevant ADR (there are about 60 of these) and compliance with Schedule 2 of the road Transport(Vehicle Registration) 2007 legislation. It took most of a day to check all of this. The engineer will then do the necessary testing at the venue you have both selected. It takes about a day to do the track testing. Tests include high speed emergency brake testing, lane change tests, brake heat fade tests, drive by and static noise tests, speedo calibration tests and others. Your Engineer will have all the equipment to do and document these tests. Once testing is complete and the Engineer is satisfied your vehicle complies with all releveant requirements, he will write up a report that covers each ADR and all the safety testing. In most cases the report includes a photo demonstrating compliance with each of the ADRs.
  3. Engineer applies for VIN and supplies report to the RMS
  4. If the RMS is happy - the RMS supply a VIN number. The VIN must be put onto the vehicle chassis in a very specific, non removable way - your engineer can advise how.
  5. Once the VIN is applied to the vehicle and has been sighted by the engineer, the Engineer will advise the RMS, and give you a copy of the Engineering report.
  6. Obtain a blue slip from a mechanic
  7. Obtain a green slip from an insurer.
  8. Go the RMS motor registry with the Engineer's report, the VIN number, the blue slip, the green slip, your book of receipts for the components and lots of cash.
  9. Fill out the form "application for registration" and take a number.
  10. If all goes well - the RMS will issue you with number plates and registration and your car is registered.
  11. The RMS do occassionally do random inspection of ICV registrations. This did not happen to us, but if it does - don't worry. It's generally a paperwork process and not a big deal. Your Engineer can advise.
  12. You are done. Your vehicle is now just like any new car. No Pink slip inspections for 5 years and legal on the roads of Australia !

How long does all of this take ? It depends on the engineer, the venue for the testing, how compliant your vehicle is and how organised your engineer is. It took us approximatley 5 months from when we agreed to go ahead with the engineer, to getting plates. We could have done it more quickly but we were not in a hurry. The RMS were not a slow part of the process. From Engineer report submission, to VIN number - was only a few days. If you are organised, have a compliant vehicle, the time and have selected the right Engineer and he has availability - I would say it is doable in under a month.