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Feb 29, 2016
San Diego CA
Ok, some of you will know me/my HJ61 from this site. I've been extremely excited about this truck from the moment I purchased it, to today. The only LURKING ISSUE is that I STILL don't have the title in my name or the registration in my state (CA the diesel hater wasteland). My purchase agreement with the importer "guarantees" registration, but long story short, it can't be done in CA.
Option one: He buys back my rig (and i've already put 3k into it, so that's a no go) plus he likely cant
Option two: I pay $12,000 to retro fit my truck to CA specs... NO NO NO thanks.
option three: I bite the bullet and reg this thing in Arizona or South Dakota with a CA address.

Can anyone shed any light on these options? I feel duped, cheated and frustrated with my Nazi state. Oh and im out $17,000... If I choose to reg in AZ, im told it is good for 5 years, but what happens after that? can I ever sell it legally?? This is a Sh!t show, but its the bed im in. please help.

thanks all.
Bummer, I hate seeing this happen to people. Should have bought from LCD and you'd be enjoying your truck instead of worrying about titling. ;)

If he guaranteed registration, I'd make it his problem and make him buy it back. If you have a purchase agreement stating that, you'll have a pretty strong case for making it happen. This guy should have known that you can't do a direct-import registration in California. Unfortunately you'll likely be out the $3,000 you've already invested.

You can register/title in another state, a little bit of a hassle but you'll have a title from that state so you'd be able to sell it in the future.

Bummer deal, good luck!
Should have bought from LCD and you'd be enjoying your truck instead of worrying about titling. ;)
Lesson learned. I've read this many times and watched others struggle with this same issue too. Oh well egg on face!!

What I really need to know is if I title this beast of a truck in AZ or South Dakota (both states will allow a CA reg address) will I have issues selling it in the future?
What I really need to know is if I title this beast of a truck in AZ or South Dakota (both states will allow a CA reg address) will I have issues selling it in the future?

If you have a title matching the VIN (from any state), you won't have a problem transferring ownership in the future. I can't speak to whether that new owner could register in California at this point.
AZ is likely a good choice for a couple of reasons.

1) They will do this is number one! You can do all the paperwork via mail, no inspection required, 5 year registration will cost what 1 year of CA registration would cost, and you can buy insurance with an AZ title and CA address.

2) AZ is close to KAlifornia, so you can expect less hassle from the local police and CHP about out of state registration. SD is a long ways away and will stand out/draw attention more attention than AZ.

3) AZ title will likely allow you to transfer title to CA at a later date

It's a bummer, but Kalifornia does not want old vehicles on the road, especially old diesels.
AZ title still isn't an ideal situation in CA. Cops are fully aware of the outta state title runaround that people try to pull with old vehicles trying to avoid smog. CA law states that if you live or work in CA for something like 30 days or longer, the vehicle must be registered in CA. There's websites explaining this.

If an AZ plated vehicle (which really stands out on the road) is pulled over by a cop for any reason... maybe to check out the AZ plates, expect a long line of questioning about where you live and work and how long you've been here. Feel like lying to a cop? That usually doesn't end well.
If the cop wants to make your life miserable, you've given him a very good reason to do so. It's the (lame) law.
It sounds like the lesser of several evils is my only choice. To all of those that love this old Toyota stuff, please educate and caution your friends and peers so they don't end up like me (tricked out of hard earned $ for their dreams). too bad this truck is so damn nice, or id get rid of it and go the easy path and get a crappy Jeep lol (NEVER!!!!)
First things first, get a title. Once you have a title then you have a few more options. It sounds like AZ is the easiest. Isn't it easier to get a CA title if you already have a title from another state? Perhaps title it in AZ in a friend or family members name, then transfer the title to CA in your name? Just a thought, I have no idea if this will actually work, but worth a shot at this point.
normal ca DMV allows diesels to be among exempt. Imported diesels (or those that were never originally intended for sale in the USA or CA specifically are not. They are classified as "grey market" and require significant modification to the engine, safety and emissions systems so that they may meet "CARB" or California air resource board standards. The joke is that these 12-HT engines are far less smokey than domestic diesels up to and including the loved 7.3 ford power stroke and Cummings 12valve.... It's just a gov racquet, nothing more! The fm y part is that CARB won't touch a grey market vehicle. They refer you to grey labs which is more crooked than the Yakuza. $12,000 (not a typo) to retrofit it to ca. Then you have to install driver airbags different bumper and mirrors. Where they get you is in requiring a "VIN verification" and that takes the chp. The chp will not simply verify the VIN and refer you back to the DMV for all of the above.

Be smart and DONT live in CA. So cal is too expensive, full of assholes and nazis about every rule. Lol. God bless America. Lol.
Can you find the California definition of grey market? Technically this isn't a grey market vehicle since it has it's original OEM engine etc. At least that is my understanding.

I believe grey market refers to vehicles not originally sold in the North American market, but eligible for import from other country's used vehicle markets.

Black market = illegally sourced
Grey market = an alternative to the general local market
Indeed it is a grey market vehicle, my mistake.

This was copy and pasted from the link at the bottom. It looks like all you would need to do is pass the Lab test by achieving the required results for the model year vehicle, so basically you need to meet the lab standard for a 1989 diesel vehicle.The equipment requirement doesn't apply. The big question is what would need to be done to meet the 1989 standard. A catch can for sure and ......

1975 model year vehicles to the present:
(EXCLUDING any vehicle obtained by a California resident within two years of its date of production) require a "Certificate of Conformance" issued by the ARB after a successful laboratory test. This test is administered to the same standards required of new vehicle manufacturers, and for the model year of the vehicle . However, unlike new vehicle manufacturers, as an individual you are not required to meet the full range of additional testing and equipment standards such as On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) requirements, durability testing, low emission fleet averaging, or Zero Emissions Vehicle testing (LEV and ZEV requirements). So while these standards reference what a manufacturer must do, when required by the Direct Import requirements they apply to individuals importing a used motor vehicle. Some limited exemptions apply to individuals moving to California with vehicles of these years registered in their home state for at least a year before moving to California. Contact us for more information.

Other important general notes: Grey Market vehicle regulations, like the new vehicle certification standards they are based on, are a performance standard and do not have specific equipment requirements. Whatever equipment the vehicle owner or vehicle modifier choose to make the vehicle pass the laboratory test, these will be the equipment requirements for all future inspections. In addition this means all vehicle and engine technologies are subject to the same standard. All fuels, all engine sizes, displacements, no. of cylinders, engine types and designs, even electric and hybrid vehicles must prove compliance by laboratory testing. Unlike California's basic Smog Check program, the Direct Import program does not have exemptions other than the original 1967 model year and older exclusion outlined above. And as a final note, these regulations only apply to passenger cars and light-duty trucks. Motorcycles and heavy-duty engines (used in trucks and buses) are required to comply with CA or USEPA from the date of manufacturer, no after-the-fact modification is permitted for products first sold outside the US market.

Registering an NON-USA, out-of-country, or "Grey Market" car in California
Thanks for all of the great info. I managed to get past the chp inspection only to have the DMV kick back the paperwork. I Kurds the jigs up in CA!
I filed for 5-year reg in Arizona today. My Mai. Regret is not being able to get that cool new black with yellow plate in ca.
...Regret is not being able to get that cool new black with yellow plate in ca.

Yeah, but you can get the AZ historic vehicle copper plate which is pretty cool too and has no mileage or day-of-use restrictions like most state's historic plates.
Just had mine rejected by the CHP today (HJ47 1982), also referring it to CARB. got a call into CARB to see, out of curiosity, what the test actually consists of. I'm quite certain, though, if the performance standard is for new cars today, even if the range of testing isn't as robust, it's not going to pass.
CARB will refer you to "grey market labs" as it is an imported (not originally sold in North America" vehicle. It's a total joke really. Mine was quoted at 12,000$$ and then I'd have to change mirrors add air bag etc. see my PM about South Dakota as the best way to register the vehicle.
Man, that front bumper is serious business! Too bad the headlights are there or you could do away with your roof rack, lol.

Very clean, cool 60!
That's not a front bumper - thats a front porch! :)

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