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Old 01-21-2006, 11:33 PM
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Body laws-California?

Is it still legal to chop a top in California? Does the state have limits in dimensions, such as how tall the windshield must be? Changing top size? Etc? I've looked over the CA vehicle codes, but you'd have to be a lawyer to figure that stuff out. Thanks for any responses.
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Old 01-22-2006, 02:14 AM
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This car was chopped recently in Hollywood no less, 5" front /2 in the rear.
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Old 01-22-2006, 02:25 AM
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Doc here,

Call or Better, Visit the local CHP office.. They have all the information you need to know on this stuff, and usually are happy to help out.

AS far as I know they were more concerned with Vehicle height above the street (Fenders below the wheel mid~point, on juicers) than they ever were about total height ,with the exception of headlight height. BUT they write new law every year so the CHP is your best bet..

Doc
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Old 01-22-2006, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docvette
Doc here,

Call or Better, Visit the local CHP office.. They have all the information you need to know on this stuff, and usually are happy to help out.


Doc

I have been around this stuff all my life, known a LOT of cops personally, 99% wouldn't know the answer and 80% wouldn't spend the time to find it because it really doesn't matter. They are too busy with real problems to pull out a measuring tape on some custom that gets driven three times a year. I have read the vehicle code book(I have one right in front of me) for years (available at the DMV for about five bucks), a HUGE amount of the laws are left up to officer discretion, this is one of them.

There is NO law about "chopping tops" in the California Vehicle Code book, not a single one.

There is not a single law about "modifying" body parts. They just don't write laws that way. They are not written anticipating what "could" be done in the future. They are written as what is "required" to exist. I understand that a minimum height requirement for the windshield seems like a no-brainer, but it is no where in the book. There is a mention in the somewhere that I can't find right now as a peruse the book, "Must have adequate visibility" or something like that. There is a ton of stuff on the "Safety Glazing material" that the glass must meet, but NOTHING on size of the opening.

There are a TON of laws that you could get nailed for every single day if the cops wanted to, don't sweat it.

For instance, the good old fender law. How many cops do you see outside your local Goodguys event with a thousand or more highboys, T buckets, and the like with no fenders?
NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE CARS IS LEGAL. what would be legal to drive with no fenders (cars registered prior to Jan 1,1971) the car has to weigh less than 1500lbs. ANY car with a cast iron V8 is over that! I have driven miles and miles on "regular" days no where near a car show in a 2700lb roadster with no fenders, never even been pulled over.

How about tinted windows? ILLEGAL! The "old husbands tale" about you being able to tint the side and back glass as long as you have both side mirrors to see out of? WRONG, it is and I quote "no person shall place, install, affix, or apply ANY transparent material upon the windshield or side or rear windows of ANY motor vehicle if the material alters the color or reduces the light transmittance of the windshield, side or rear windows, except where provided under subdivision blah, blah,blah. Blah, blah, blah refers to the car being manfactured that way, in other words "factory tinted glass".

How about head lamps, did you know that you don't need head lamps in Califorina? Not during the day you don't, it is very clearly written "During darkness". You may have seen a roadster with "clip on" head lamps he keeps in the trunk, perfectly legal.

Windshield wipers, now those you have to have "self operating" meaning they must be usable at all times. Something getting on the windshield isn't "predictable", darkness is.

This vehicle code book has more than paid for it's self in won bets. I highly recommend every car nut have one.


Brian

Last edited by MARTINSR; 01-22-2006 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 01-22-2006, 09:02 AM
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My truck(the one in my avatar)has been chopped 4 inches,which takes about 6 inches out of the windshield,I've been stopped a few times but nothing was ever mentioned about the top,don't think most cops would care about it either way.

I've heard there are laws against it,but I did it anyway,and no problems for eight years now.
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
I have been around this stuff all my life, known a LOT of cops personally, 99% wouldn't know the answer and 80% wouldn't spend the time to find it because it really doesn't matter.
Brian
How true, and I have found the same at the local Texas DMV titling office also. They are clueless of the law until you show it to them in their own writings.

Vince
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:43 AM
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Oops, double post....sorry

Vince
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Old 01-22-2006, 11:44 AM
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Not only do they not know, if YOU know and can speak with certainty about the law the officer will listen.

I have had a vehicle code book since high school when I was interested in being in law inforcement. Back when I was just 18-19 or something I was pulled over in my chop to, hoodless, volocity stack sticking up, primered truck by an officer telling me it needed a front bumper. I said "I am sorry officer but the vehicle code book clearly says that bumper is required on PASSENGER vehicles only with no mention to COMMERTICAL vehicles". The officer said something like "Have a good day" or something and handed me my license and walked back to his car. No kidding!

There are tens of thousands of laws in the book, it is TWO INCHES THICK! Every officer couldn't possibly know them all, certianly not the obscure ones like the thickness requirement for a solid rubber tire (if it is more than three inches but no more than six it needs to be one inch thick, then progressivly thicker when width increases, see 27450 article 4.) How about the requirements for a tinted sun shade on the top of the windshield? It is measured with the seat in the rearmost position,measure from a point six inches from the back rest on the bottom cushion up to the bottom of the sun shade, that can't be any less than 30 inches as I remember. How in the living hell is a cop suppose to know all this crap when he has a guy swinging a pipe at some people at a Quik Stop market?

There are people right in front of him running lights, wrecking, speeding, husbands beating up on wives and kids, alarms going off, they just don't have the time to worry about some candy painted 51 Mercs windshield height.

Cops are people to, if you car is cool, you can get by with a lot.However if you are breaking the law, running a stop light with that Candy painted Merc, you are going to get a ticket for running the light.

Brian
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Old 01-22-2006, 12:20 PM
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Thanks guys!
I understand that the cops don't always know their own laws. I was stopped in a '79 Magnum once near Scaramento. The car had tinting on all side windows and the top 4 inches of the windshield. He made me remove the windshield and forward window tinting right there on the side of the highway! But...he allowed me to keep the rearward side window and back window tints. based on what MARTINSR said, by doing that, he was breaking his own laws.

This will be a minor chop on a 48 Dodge, so I guess there's nothing to worry about. Thanks again.
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Old 01-22-2006, 12:32 PM
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A little taken off a 48 Dodge isn't to even be close to an issue. It is like my 48 Chevy truck, the windshield is about 13inches high now, about the same as a STOCK 53 VW bug. See what I mean?

I remember a 32 Ford 3 window that used to go to the NSRA events around northern Calif with side glass and windshield were only about four inches! I remember sitting in the car at the Merced Western Nationals in 1981 or so. That doesn't mean he wasn't pulled over once in a while, I don't know, but he drove it all the time.

Brian
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