There is a well-written, if disturbing, article by Andy Lilienthal over on Gear Junkie, here, about two states that are pulling registration from legally imported Mitsubishi Delica vans, for no logical stated reason. Their owners are being told to take the vehicles off the road—no loopholes, no grandfathering, just bang: The vehicle on which you spent thousands of dollars to purchase and import under valid U.S. law is now illegal to drive on the road in Maine and Rhode Island. Please mail in your license plates.
As the owner of a legally imported Land Cruiser Troopy worth several tens of thousands of dollars, this is a horrifying possibility to contemplate. Since states can set their own rules as to what is legal to drive, or not, on the state’s roads, an inimical legislature could render such vehicles illegal on any one of dozens of flimsy excuses. Steering wheel on the wrong side? Boom. Non-USA-spec engine? Boom.
The percentage of owner-imported vehicles within the entire U.S. market has to be risibly low for any legislature to waste time with such a thing. As Andy points out, a Model T is perfectly legal to drive anywhere in the country, despite being less safe, slower, and more polluting than any Land Rover or Land Cruiser—or Mitsubishi.
Here’s hoping some attorney will do a pro bono and fight this capricious movement.
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