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  1. #1
    100 K left 2
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    Default question

    Hello,
    does anybody know if rally cars are road legal because i'd like to spend my money on one car instead of two.
    Thanks,

    Jean MAHE.

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  3. #2
    don't cut
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    Elma, Washington.
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    The answer to that question is so integral to our sport I wonder how you wouldn't know it already and still be aware of rally ? Seems a bit odd.

  4. #3
    The Scorpion King John Sundelin's Avatar
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    Queen Creek, AZ, USA.
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    Gene, I don't think it's odd at all. The first thing 50% of people ask when they find out I have a rally car is where the "tracks" are that I drive at. I haven't played any of the newer Gran Turismo games, but all the old ones had tracks to drive around that happened to be dirt. Do any rally video games have transits?

    To the OP, yes, (almost) all rally cars are road legal. More than 50% of almost all rallies in the US are sections that are driven at normal speeds on open public roads with regular traffic around. If you are looking to get into the sport, some people will tell you that it's possible to do what you are thinking, and it is. That doesn't mean it's a good idea. Rally is very hard on parts. Unless you have a year-round place to work on your car, readily available parts sources, and a very understanding boss who is OK with you calling on a Monday morning and saying you won't be able to make it to work this week because the right front suspension on your car is missing, it's not going to end well.

    See http://www.rally-america.com/what_is_rally and http://www.nasarallysport.com/main/Rally-University and http://californiarallyseries.com/ind...d=62&Itemid=95

    --
    John
    Last edited by John Sundelin; 10-01-2014 at 08:45 PM. Reason: Sentence didn't make sense.

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  6. #4
    L1 !!! HPR into HPL rallydave's Avatar
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    John,

    While yes, the cars are supposed to be street legal in order to compete in performance rallies, the sanctioning bodies and organizers have requirements in place that make the rally cars technically not street legal. One of the areas is seat belts and air bags. Street legal autos are required to have DOT seat belts while the belts (SFI and FIA) are not "street legal" and required air bags for street cars are required to be removed from rally cars. There are other DOT requirements that are required to be removed. Another is rally tires. While you are not required to use true rally tires, in reality everyone uses imported rally tires which in most cases are not legal for driving on the street as most are not DOT approved and actually have lettering on the tires stating they cannot be used on the street.

    This being said, we all simply simply look the other way and continue to use our rally cars on the street and as yet, to my knowledge, no body has been ticketed or told to remove their rally cars from the street by the constabulary. Hopefully we can continue running under the radar but, for people to want to use their rally cars as their street cars, they need to know that they are taking a risk using a true rally car as a daily driver. More than likely no problem during rallies but, using the cars on the street daily does constitute a risk.
    Dave Weiman
    rallydave at pobox dot com

  7. #5
    The Scorpion King John Sundelin's Avatar
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    Dave,

    Since I don't deal with them on a regular basis, I won't claim any expertise, but my understanding is that DOT regulations apply to the manufacturing and sale of vehicles (interstate commerce and all...). Once you have the car in your possession, you can basically do what you want within the statutes of the state that the vehicle is registered in. I don't think the DOT looks at car modifications the same way that the BATF looks at firearm modifications, where certain modifications are considered "making" a new firearm, but I could be wrong about that. If not, in portions of the country where state regulations tend to be light, those statutes can be pretty minimal, but to your point, that is not always the case. One of the reasons that I am no longer a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia is that they require any vehicle that came with an air bag from the factory to have it installed to get an annual safety inspection sticker, and you can't drive a Virginia registered car on a Virginia highway without one. I found that to be excessively burdensome. Even here in Arizona, where the footprint of the regulatory state is famously light, you aren't required to have seat belts in your car, but you are required to wear them. With regard to tires though, I think it would be an extraordinarily unpleasant experience from a litigation perspective if a rally car with rally tires was involved in an at-fault injury accident on a public highway where tire performance was an issue. I almost always slap a set of DOT rubber on my car when driving around town for just that reason, despite the fact that my tractor tires are most definitely not DOT compliant, and I can drive that on a public road also. Plus, the car stops a whole lot faster on rally tires than it does on high treadwear rated rubber that has been sitting in my garage for a couple of years. In contrast to DOT regulations, it is also my understanding that the Clean Air Act is a different animal, so people who modify their cars in a way that violates those regulations could face much more unpleasant consequences at any time. Incidentally, the FIA rules encourage the use of push button belts on rallies. The only company that I know of that makes a push button latch assembly is Schroth. Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced mine.

    --
    John

  8. #6
    100 oversquare right
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    Howdy Jean, Yes rally cars are street legal. (mostly)

    I have driven my rally car about 30,000 miles on the street, after getting it caged and log booked. I daily drove it to work for a few years. I'm looking forward to daily driving my rally car again... after i fix a "small" fist sized hole in the block and mangled internals...

    no matter what car i drive, I get pulled over a lot.

    I have been pulled over in my rally car .. at least 3 times. The first time i was a bit lost in sparks and did a few U-turns and a cop noticed me and pulled me over. his wording was "Is this Thing registered and insured?" I showed him my info. he went to his car, came back and said i was free to go. I asked him if he knew where amco transmission was and he didn't even respond to me. LOL

    2nd time i was driving in carson to john boy tacos with a friend who was in his Caged swift. he got pulled over and the cop specifically told him, had he not been wearing his DOT belt he would be ticketed. since i also pulled over (to wait for my friend) the cop also asked to see my info, but did not Run it in his car.

    3rd time i driving back from seed 9 rally (after driving there, racing, breaking a 1/2 shaft , which i fixed in the parking lot of the hotel the next day) . i was speeding 10 shortly after leaving hathorne. I got pulled over. officer ran my info, came back with a "rural speeding ticket" a no points , but give our county money style ticket.

    I was never even asked about my 5-point harness, which i wear when i drive around. sometimes i only do the lap belt and the left shoulder (like how a DOT belt is)

    you can leave in your stock seat belt, and install a 5 point at the same time. IIRC the rally rules don't Say you have to remove your DOT belts, they state you must install FIA / SFI belts ...

    Also i was living in a 2 bedroom apartment, with UNCOVERED parking .. in Tahoe. I have literally done strut swaps while its snowing out (Great way to keep your beer cold .. sucks when it starts to freeze up on you ... solution drink it faster!)

    If you want to rally bad enough. MAKE IT HAPPEN. don't let anyone stop you.

    In my case i owned a 2nd car. so my worst case scenerio was that i would rent a U-hual truck and trailer and tow home. I would usually reserve one ahead of time as their policy at the time was 0$ fee for canceling, even on the day of pick up (if before 9 am ?) then it got changed to the night before .

    Also some rallies i would take the following monday off "just in case" and other times i would just explain to my boss what was up. "going to a race, there's a slight chance i could get stuck in that town for a few days after if my car breaks down and i can't drive home"

    a few folks have yelled at me a bunch . that i'm going to ruin the image of rally. that i'm going to get every rally road permit pulled. that if i crash rally will be done for.. for ever ... unsafe omg you could hit your head on the roll cage and die.

    Well guess what. no one knows what rally is, so they see my car and they think Track car.

    there has been a rally car On civilian Car Crash @ a rally event, (a few times) one example i know of, that rally still goes on, they do not have any permit issues.

    and just about everyone takes their helmet's off to transit back to service.


    If this is what you HAVE to do, to rally. Do IT ! Hell one of the rallies i drove my car there. had an axle nut fall off, almost vered off the road, thought i was screwed and Adam Crane happened to be towing his car and saw me on the side of the road and helped me identify the problem and fix it. drove the rest of the way there. was running 2OA, 1st OA had a clutch fail and i ended up winning over all, then i drove home. that was my most favorite rally ever, definitely in part due to the whole struggle to get there. (oh thanks again Adam!)

    basically i was VERY lucky, 3 times that weekend.. LOL that really should have ended with me towing to a shop in town , missing the race, and driving home a sad panda...

    I've also had to drive home from a rally, with a broken exhaust 3 times. and its HORRIBLE. omfg. hot & loud and total suck feast.. but that's what I had to do, to keep rallying.. so that's what i did. i could have skipped like 3-4 events and bought a tow rig + trailer, but it wasn't until the last drive home in a broken car, with my wife (GF @ the time) that she forced me to buy a trailer... lol

    but also make sure you have a "what if i total my rally car" plan ... do you live close enough to work to bike there? is there a bus you could take? could you just buy a 2nd "parts / Daily driver" car ?

    I see subaru imprezas quite often for $800 or less around reno/carson .. so buy 2 . drive them to work on different days.

    BTW, in Nevada the seat belt law doesn't state DOT so that's probably why I never had an issue.
    Last edited by A1337STI; 10-01-2014 at 09:43 PM.
    Welcome to Rally Addicts anonymous! Hi I'm Alex Rademacher, and i have a Rally problem..... 23 rallies and counting....

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