I bought my Pantera back in 2005 and have had it registered and safety checked every year as needed. However, this past year the safety station started a new system in 2014 where they take pictures of your vehicle. All good its a nice ride! However going back to the same station this year. They told me they almost lost their license for safety check because of me!? And I need to put bumpers on my car! (car was redone in 1993 and the previous owner took off the bumpers and filled the holes to give it that clean look! It's the white pantera (1wild1)on the opening page. So I immediately bought replacement bumpers from PI Motors (Carbon Fiber) had them drilled on as if they were the originals. And now the state inspector is telling me that those are NOT bumpers and when we go to the statues of what a bumper should be, it falls in line. But now I sent him a pic/copy of a page out of the Ford Pantera Chassis and body parts catalog P9230/9231 showing the bumpers are bolted onto the body, so now he is telling me the bumpers have to be attached to the frame! My argument is this replaced original equipment and is superior to it (carbon fiber vs metal) And I'm not the only Pantera in Hawaii, but the only one on this Island with an state inspector that doesn't know cars!
I'm working on a small claims trail now. Thinking the Judge will define the bumper dilemma!
Any suggestions?
Original Post
Federal rules required that your car meet FMVSS (U.S. safety standards), which include needing bumpers, when it was mfgr'd., sold, or imported in the U.S., but those requirements have expired as of the car's 25th birthday. [49CFR30112], IIRC.

However, you must also meet the state's equipment requirements, as specified in state law (statutes?). This may dictate a certain bumper, or it may not. I'd recommend you read over the pertinent section of the law, comply as needed, and appeal the cop's decision if appropriate. The cop can only enforce existing laws, like it or not.

In Wisconsin, such an appeal can be done (with or) without an attorney through our Dept. of Administration.

Good luck with this.
Originally posted by ItalFord:
Nice to hear that there are communist states that are worst than Kalifornia. Sheesh
UNLESS Hawaii is giving driver's licenses to ILLEGAL ALIENS...California is STILL "1" communist state!!!...Mark
UNLESS Hawaii is giving driver's licenses to ILLEGAL ALIENS...California is STILL "1" communist state!!!...Mark

I drive by the DMV every morning on my way to work. The lines are worse than ever. Our tax dollars at work.

Too true!
Seriously I would just drop it with this guy, this guy is only arguing with you out of principle at this point and won't backpedal because this is the only job this nitwit does all day. I would think it would be less hassle to ferry it to another island than deal with this idiot who will never be satisfied honestly.

I ran into bureaucratic smog shit growing up in CA. I bent over backward to run my supercharged fox mustang with California Air Resource Board (CARB) Executive Order Exemption Numbered parts. I had everything in hand listed at the smog station and they still hassled me and made me take off my radiator shroud so they could check timing. He marked the distributor so I could go home disassemble, drive back without overheating, let him check timing without running it on the rollers again, then drive back and put it back together. The guy claimed he still could not check the timing and finally just gave up after all that.

The dumbest part is I could have run a hotter cam vs the e303 and they wouldn't have known anyway as long as it passed the tailpipe sniffer test. Multiple ways to fool that thing anyway. The whole thing is a joke and was obviously enacted to fail cars that clearly are not maintained and are gross polluters. The ppm numbers for each vehicle type are averaged in a range over time as they became older anyway. So I could be running a hot motor and it would still pass while most vehicles of that age with their stock motors were deteriorating. My supercharged car was running cleaner than the stock examples tested the previous year. They should have paid me and not the other way around.

Just another way for gov to make a buck, otherwise they would have had the foresight to write legislation that doesn't penalize people who take care of their vehicles. I registered my car out of state after that experience.
The inspection station almost losing their license because of "your Pantera" sounds like an over-blown statement. Its an excuse for nit-picking the bumper issue this year.

Tim, I like the suggestion of going to another inspection station if possible. One that is not going to nit-pick. The fellow at the current station is not going to back down.

Is there a historic vehicle program that would exempt your Pantera from the inspection?
Hawaii instituted a new safety check program last year that negates any discretion on the part of the local gas stations doing safety checks because each station must use an app on an IPAD provided by the state to send and store the info in a central database. So, if you try to go to another station, they will pull up the same information on the vehicle, if it passed or failed, pictures and remarks if any. The state inspectors also reviews the data to try to catch stations letting cars slip by.
Do you know what law is being cited? They must have decided you are in violation of something, and it would be helpful to know what that is.

Here is a link to a 2013 Hawaii PMVI Manual for Inspectors of Passenger Cars and Light Trucks: http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highwa...ht-Trucks-9-2013.pdf

On page 3 you will find BUMPERS listed. It gives a description of the characteristics you very likely need to meet. It references meeting [291-35.1, HRS], and here's a link to that: http://law.justia.com/codes/ha.../chapter291/291-35-1

Frankly, unless you've got the car mounted on a truck chassis and exceed the maximum bumper height of 22", I'd argue the rest of the language. Come on, how much more ambiguous can you get than "moderate impact" and "adequate protection", etc.

I ain't no lawyer, but maybe one's called for. (??)
As mentioned above, my car is now flagged all over the state, so can't go to any other station. And I've emailed back and forth to the"head guy" on Oahu, but he never gives me answer he just gives me this link of the definition of by Hawaii code as here
"Bumper", for purposes of this section means a horizontal load bearing protective system installed on a motor vehicle which is constructed of sturdy materials that will not shatter or split upon moderate impact and provides adequate protection.
And with that I figured we are good with the new carbon fib or bumpers from PI motors (carbon fiber is 5 times stronger than steel)
But of course now he says they have to be attached to the frame?! With monocoque body, I do not believe bumpers were never attached to the frame?
My question to him is…Why can another Pantera pass any where in the state, but now my can't. Consistency is necessary for creditability!
And now my pride and joy and investment (that is what I tell the kids & wife)which I drive about twice a week went from being worth$$$ to zero$
I plan taking the inspector to small claims court
and sue him for misguiding me into buying this bumpers $1600 installed, And hoping the Judge will side for him claiming that they are bumpers!
I lose the case, but get the definition correct!
I already told the inspector that his job was to enforce the laws and not modify/change them!
I can't believe my taxes pay for these clowns!
That statute seems to render any pre 73 vehicle unfit. Bumpers were indeed attached to the frames but even at the lowest speeds didn't protect much.

Maybe you could search somewhere else in the statutes for a statement of original equipment for the model year or equivalent being sufficient.

That's the rule here, if wasn't as OE, it's not required.
I'd take it to that inspector's boss (or the "head guy's" boss, if necessary), and request clarification as to exactly what law you have violated. Panteras aren't the only unibody vehicles out there, and they did pass FMVSS requirements for their year of manufacture. I do not believe that they can force you to modify the structure of the car so as to tie in with the "frame" (such as it is in the rear of the car).

Maybe contact your elected state representatives and plead your case to them. Your car getting thrown off the road is a hardship to you. Being non-roadworthy would devalue it, which may constitute a "taking". Your representatives may have some pull with your DMV, since they control the purse strings that feed the DMV. At least, they should be able to demand DMV answer the question of specifically "what law is being broken". You deserve that answer, at the very least.

I would not file a claim against the inspector, as I'd expect him to respond by doubling down on things to cover his rear. If he gets his superiors going on this too, then you'll be facing an even bigger hurdle, as they'll all be trying to defend their inspector's decision.

I'd try and take the stance that the inspector made a mistake that simply needs to be corrected.
This sounds like it would preclude most if not all classic vehicles from being driven on public streets. Does Hawaii have classic or historic vehicle code?

You may want to make an inquiry to SEMA. They've really done a tremendous advocacy job on behalf of street rodders and have been successful with the introduction and passage of legislation for alternate construction vehicles and customs. They would take interest in any state legislation they felt threatened such and at minimum, may have good information on just exactly what the law in your state requires.


FYI, SEMA's page only publishes info they get directly from each state's DOT, so it can be somewhat biased IMHO, but it is a pretty decent overview.

According to that info, Hawaii apparently considers your car to be a "reconstructed vehicle", since it was modified "by the removal, addition, alteration, or substitution of other than original replacement essential parts, including the vehicle's... ...bumper system...". This would justify their denial.

Curiously, bumpers are considered "optional equipment" on street rod vehicles and street rod replica vehicles and pre-'69 vehicles. (So much for consistency.)

It may be simpler to buy and install some "original replacement" bumpers on your car, and be done with it. (I'm assuming the aftermarket ones are not DOT approved.)
I would suggest you take the "road more simple" and find an older model rubber bumper with shock mounts. Install it, pass inspection. And then simply change it back to whatever you want. Do the same with any other "problem" parts. It's a hassle but easily the less complicated solution to getting back on the road. No policeman will ever do a tech review if you get stopped in future.
In the US, technically speaking you cannot change the bumper configuration from how the car was sold.
Why this particular situation happened in Hawaii is really just a matter of what that particular inspector saw.

I think though that even if the car was a 71 with original bumpers, you still might have failed because it's apparent he never saw a Pantera before and simply does not know what it is SUPPOSED to look like?

I can envision a scenario that if the inspector was comparing say a 74L to a 71, by comparison because of the bumpers, the 71 would look like it didn't conform. Bring your lawyer with lots of pictures and a lawyer who knows about Panteras.

On these cars here in NY now, all the inspector is required to do is walk around the car and look at it.

It doesn't need to be run, the lights don't need to be checked for operation, just visual.

That's very difficult to fail here if the car LOOKS like it conforms.

My '73 has got fiberglass L bumpers on it. No crash cylinder assemblies but the entire car LOOKS stock. Crash testing the car here to see it they work is not required. Not yet and frankly the entire state inspection thing here has been relaxed to the point that as long as the car has no broken glass, lights or bald tires, you are going to pass.

For $12.50, they "ain't going to do a lot". Wink

Best advice is bring a portfolio of pictures with you so that if there is a discussion with the inspector that at least you can have a discussion with him and show him the pictures. Hopefully you also pick a station that the personnel actually like cars as well.
I already tried to be nice and politely excused his (the inspectors)oversight. I showed him approx 20 Pics of Panteras with the same bumpers and one of are on are actually on Oahu! I also sent the diagram from the Ford Parts manual and that when the clown tells me it isn't even connected to frame, but just bolted onto the body.
The inspector's job before this…Kona Lawn care services!!
I'm collecting data/pics for my presentation.
Originally posted by OCWILEY:
I already tried to be nice and politely excused his (the inspectors)oversight. I showed him approx 20 Pics of Panteras with the same bumpers and one of are on are actually on Oahu! I also sent the diagram from the Ford Parts manual and that when the clown tells me it isn't even connected to frame, but just bolted onto the body.
The inspector's job before this…Kona Lawn care services!!
I'm collecting data/pics for my presentation.

Based on the inspector's prior job & THOROUGHLY LACKING the knowledge & expertise to "Correctly" determine the Factory mounted style of bumper that is currently on your DeTomaso Pantera, the inspector is UNQUALIFIED to make a proper determination
as it applies to your specific situation.

DON'T capitulate to the inspectors ignorance, speak to the person of highest authority, present your factual documentation in a calm and professional manner and seek a amicable solution.

Tell the current inspector if you had a problem with invasive crabgrass you would seek his opinion, otherwise..."Get the F**K OUT of MY WAY"!!!...Mark
I was wondering if you have Consumer Advocate at one of your tv/radio stations that could make a phone call to the head of the state agency that runs the state inspections, and he could ask the same questions you have been asking, and maybe drop the word (discrimination). I know they hate bad PR...just a thought...good luck
The idea of stepping over everyone's head unfortunately is the way to go.

I had a similar situation and the way it actually got solved was to write to my "Congressman". I got a phone call from his staff.

They verified what I wrote in the letter, then they called the "Director" of the agency directly on behalf.

Within an hour I had a phone call from the Director himself with an apology. He ordered a full investigation and it did take three days for the agency to correct the situation.

I did get another call back from the Director's aid asking if it had been corrected.

In my case going to the Congressman's office worked for me. Apparently even though this was a NYS agency, and there is a separation of powers, there is always some type of "Federal" funding available somewhere such as US Highway" funding and no one wants to be identified on the "evening news" as creating interest in a "Congressional Investigation" with agency heads being subpoenaed to testify in a WTF situation?

After all the Director of this particular agency was probably in Puerta Vallarta with his secretary on a "conference" anyway, and no one was watching the store?

You usually only get one shot at this business of going over someone's head. You have to make it count?

You MAY have better luck with the Governor's office since he appoints the head of the DMV but like I said, make it count.
Tim, did the safety check station refer you to the the state 'RECON' station in your county for reconstructed vehicles? Unfortunately, I don't know whether or not there is one in your county but the safety check station should know. The bad news is that even though the state inspector(assuming that there is one there) may agree to the design and mounting of OEM split bumpers, he may not approve the aftermarket bumpers you have. If they are anything like the carbon fiber ones my friend installed on his car, they are just for looks, the material may be strong but the tabs mounting them to the body are not and will crack or break if stress is applied like pushing on them. You will probably have to buy or borrow OEM bumpers to pass this thing.

BTW - I'm surprised they didn't ask you about your rims too. When the station that checks my cars did the initial inspection on my Pantera, the first thing he did after noticing the polished rims was check the door jam decal to verify the rim size. Mine doesn't have one since it was repainted. So, he asked me what the original rim size was and I told him it was 15". Both front and rear are 17" on mine he said that was still okay. 2" is the maximum rim diameter increase you can go to without having to go to RECON. But, he told me you can't have staggered rims such as 16's front and 17's. If you do, you may have to go through another song and dance to get RECON to approve it or tell you outright 'NO'. So, downplay the wheels if yours are staggered.
Aloha Tim -- Unfortunately, there are some inspection stations in the state that are run by village idiots, that are clueless about classic, or limited production cars. It looks like you're dealing with one.

According to the Hawaii Department of Transportation manual for inspectors, You'd fail the inspection if, "They (the bumpers) do not conform to the State (291-35.1, HRS) or County requirements relating to height and performance; bumpers are not securely installed or mounted or; bumpers are damaged to the extent that sharp edges or protrusions could be unnecessarily hazardous to a pedestrian who is hit by a vehicle. Your car does not fall into any of these categories.

You're doing everything "right," by showing him pictures of other cars with bumpertettes, and I'd go one further by getting a copy of one of the DeTomaso factory images -- most clearly show the cars in production with bumperettes.

I think your best course of action is two-prong: First, reminiscent of your Matson experience when you originally shipped the car over: The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease. Fill Governor Ige and Mayor Billy Kenoi's inbox with email, and don't forget to include your local rep, Richard Creagan.

Secondly, I'd check with other exotic/classic/hot rod owners, and see where they take their cars for safety inspections. You might get in touch with Bob Trungale or Hal Nishida (I think Bob still has his '71, and Hal used to own Robert Stuhr's '72). If you want some legal advice, give Ed Kemper a shout. He's an attorney and owner of a '74. PM me if you need anyone's contact info.

If there's any way I can help you from Maui, just let me know, Brah!
What about the fact that your car met FEDERAL safety standards (including bumpers) for use in ALL 50 states in the year in which it was made? The car's year hasn't changed, so how can they force you to conform to a later year's standards?

I had a similar issue years ago with a cop who gave me a ticket for having 'unauthorized' lights on my car. I went to court with the brochure for my car and showed the judge the factory fog lights the cop was referring to (and the cop agreed). When I pointed out to the judge that these were factory fog light that had obviously passed federal requirements for use on public roads in all 50 states in the year the car was built, he dismissed the case.

It sounds like this guy is trying to change laws from over 40 years ago!

A long journey, almost over! I finally passed the safety check! After 3 times the inspector told us what we needed to do, each time we went ,he would say "no, needs to be connected here or there!?
well finally got the sticker and these ugly pipe bumpers will be replaced immediately with the carbon fiber ones! Then I might stick these up the inspectors ass! But first I plan on taking him to small claims court to pay for all this non sense and if that doesn't work I all proceed with a letter campaign to my elected Officials.
I'm back on the road, Legal this time!


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Oh, that's just wrong to have to put that crap on your car at the whim of a village idiot inspector on a power-trip. Reminds me of when I removed a wall between a family room and living room to open up a great room... Did everything to the structural engineers plans, which the city had approved when I got my permits, then the inspector comes out and decides I need additional steel straps in various places - no, he doesn't have a structural engineering degree. I complied then a different inspector who was also on a power-trip showed up 2 days later, and he didn't like the additional straps I added (exactly per the last inspector) and told me that that guy told me the wrong thing, and that I now needed to remove them and do some different additional bracing. I asked to see his engineering degree... I reminded him that the structural engineer said I don't need the additional strapping, and the city plans inspector (his boss) agreed I don't need the additional strapping, my permit/plans show that I don't need the additional strapping, and that I've already complied to the permit/plans and gone above and beyond what was asked and required and don't intend to change it again. I then offered to call his boss to discuss the matter... He conceded and signed off on the inspection, but then found other "bull" to hassle me over - I had cut 4 holes in the ceiling for can lights and had fished a spare piece of Romex wire between two of them to see if it was the right length - he cited me for having exposed wiring and wouldn't 'final' the inspection. I yanked it out of the ceiling to demonstrate it wasn't connected to anything and explained that I was merely checking the length, but he told me "it's too late. I've already seen it." Absolutely ludicrous!

I sure hope you file suit for your trouble. It's absurd to put pipe-bumpers on an exotic sports car making it non-original to comply with some inspector's whimsy in order to pass inspection.
Hey Garth66,
It sounds like these guys are inbred from the same family tree!
I think these are the guys that got blasted with a dirt clod to the head in 3rd grade and now they rule the world( their little turf!)
I'll keep you call posted on my next move,
Game on!
I'm curious how things worked out in the end?

Reason I ask is that I got a call from a guy in HI last night who's got a Steyr-Puch Pinzgauer on one of the smaller islands, and he's getting hassled by the inspector. During the conversation, he commented that the inspector had told him about a Pantera that he'd been involved with, over the bumpers, and that the owner had eventually sold the car. (???) It sure sounded like your situation.

Now I notice that you haven't posted since that time. Anybody know what happened? Any updates available?


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