Should I get a specially constructed title?

I just bought a car, that has the body of a 1972 Triumph Spitfire sitting on the frame of a 1995 4X4 Geo Tracker. The engine, transmission, etc. are all geo. Essentially it is a Tracker with a Spitfire body. It runs beautifully and all of the lights, horns, etc. work perfectly. Only 70k miles on the motor, and gets 24 MPG!

I bought the car and it was tagged and titled as an antique 1972 triumph spitfire. In order to drive it daily, I would need to ditch the antique tags and get a specially constructed title. Im thinking about having the car inspected at a normal inspection station to tell me what it might need in order to pass the states “enhanced inspection” required for the specially constructed title. The enhanced inspection will take some time and money, and I want to make sure it is worth it. Would this be a wise route? What route should I take so I can make this car my daily driver?

Here is a photo of the interior as well, just to show the car is in excellent condition.

Every state has their own way of doing things so you really need to hash this one out with the local DMV or DPS.

Why not avoid the hassle and just leave it titled the way it is.

Or does your state…whatever that might be…have secret agents that drive by your house every day to be sure you have it parked part of the time.

As far as a Triumph body on a Geo frame and drive train, I’ll refrain from commenting.

One persons trash is another ones treasure!!!


Unfortunately Pennsylvania. Which has more than enough communist tendencies involved with our DMV, known as PennDot. I do live in town, so if a cop were to see me more than once, I’m not sure if they would pull me over. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure? No need to be negative. I’ve already had a ton of fun just driving the car home from the purchase.

In Minnesota, the vehicle has to licensed by the make, model, and year of the body.

This is because if you’re pulled over by law enforcement and they decide to run your plate, they can identify if the plates are on the proper vehicle. Otherwise they’ll think the plates were stolen from another vehicle, or the plates were swapped with another vehicle.


That’s interetsting, and makes a lot of sense. So far I’m thinking the best option is to take it to be inspected in town, see what it would need, and go from there. Gosh, what a headache. If only this were Ohio or maryland…

I think you are over thinking this. What does the state say about the use…or over use of a vehicle with Antique plates. Research it first…then decide how to plate it.
I doubt any cop is going to notice you, that often to think you use it every day. Just don’t go past the doughnut shop on the way to work. Of course it does stand out like a three legged dog!!!

Who’s to say that this week you used the car, but last week you didn’t…or last month.
Who’s running the tally on what days you use it and what days you don’t.

I guess I’d just keep it as an antique to keep from having to start a hornets nest of paperwork to get this thing titled.

I didn’t mean to be insulting. I just don’t think much of Geo’s and putting a Triumph body on it is like buying a wrench set from the dollar store and engraving “Snap-On” on them.

I would never buy something like this because I’d never trust whoever did all the work.
Example; the stearing shaft must have had to be lengthened or shortened to fit up correctly and I wouldn’t trust how they did that or the quality of the retrofit on parts like this.
I wouldn’t like to be doing 60mph and find out that a weld was bad.


I think @yosemite makes some sense.

Like was said above I would look into if you need to change the registration or not. Some states it is difficult to register specialty cars. I would also look for a good shop that builds hot rods and customs and have the quality of the build looked over. I have seen beautiful bodies bolted to frames that the welding and fab work looked like it was done by a 3rd grader.

Good point @Yosemite10. I’ve gone up and inspected the car from top to bottom, and have all of the restoration paperwork to make sure it was put together properly. The antique tags route will probably be the one I will take.

If you go with the collector tags in your state, look at limitations when a vehicle has such tags.

In Minnesota, you have to prove that this isn’t your primary support of transportation. And that the vehicle is only driven a certain amount of miles each year.

Otherwise, if you get caught with collector tags on a daily driver, it’s a steep fine.


I think that Wisconsin had a limitation with collector plates years ago. You could only be on the road for 6 month out of the year. You were able to pick a starting date and you had 6 months.

But I think that there were too many complaints from people that might trailer a car to a show out of state, or a rally. I think that they only require the vehicle to be a certain age to get collector plates.


Definitely have an unusual one-off little puppy there.

Good point @Yosemite10. I've gone up and inspected the car from top to bottom, and have all of the restoration paperwork to make sure it was put together properly. The antique tags route will probably be the one I will take.
Just because you have paperwork doesn't prove it was done right, just that it was done.

I’m actually going to take in to have a normal PA safety inspection tomorrow, not for the sticker, but to make sure to an in good order, and see what it would need in order to pass inspection. Im going to try and keep the antique plates on as a temporary solution, and then try and go get the specially constructed title. It may take a while, but I’m confident it’s worth it. That is, if it is in good condition as described by the inspectors tomorrow…

Then there’s the issue of how to insure it…

I find it odd the title is labeled “antique” rather than just the plates. If the car has a Triumph title can’t you get regular plates for it in Penn? In Ohio, antique (older than 25 years) or collector (specialty cars) plates could be applied to anything that met the criteria but could be plated as a regular car if desired.

You may have another wrinkle, though. Some states require a later swapped engine to meet emissions regs for the year of the engine, not the car (California for one). So your '94 engine would need catalytic convertors, EGR and the rest to be fully functional.

@ Brad_raimer,

What part of PA do you live/drive in? I live in a industrial/post-industrial town along the Allegheny River…and unless you’re moving “product,” or driving in a grossly intoxicated state, the locals are happy enough just to leave you alone.

Out in rural PA, folks are conservative, distrustful of authority, and not inclined to get in each others’ business. The high firearm possession % also means cops are loath to pull over for specious reasons.

Now, if you live in an affluent suburb…I can see where you might have problems. Folks there are unbelievably nosy, and tend to see the police as their buddies and/or hirelings.

Location ALSO makes a big difference in emissions. Outside of Pittsburgh, Philly, and State College…most of the rest of the state is exempt from ANY emissions testing. (Even in the developed areas, if you don’t drive >5,000/yr (and/or >5,000 with the odometer connected) you’re automatically “exempt.”

(Also, in PA it is written into the law that an emissions station is PROHIBITED from failing a car that has ANY “additional equipment” that has the effect of LOWERING emissions. So long as that '94 engine–in whatever state of emissions tune–is cleaner than OEM, they CANNOT bust you.)

Maybe you should talk to the state police. This story might be interesting to you.

During my last year of college 3 of us moved into an apartment in a suburb of Allentown. Shortly after we moved in, one of my roommates found a notice on his ride that he had been there long enough that he should change his NJ plates to PA plates. He went to the police station and told them he was a student at a local university, but they didn’t care. They insists he register it in PA. He next called the state police. They asked where he lived, and we’re not at all surprised. The state trooper said to give him an hour and then call the locals again. The local police politely took his license number and said they would make sure that their officers never bothered him again.