2 Jan 2009

So I show up at the local DMV office, pulling into the parking lot at 6:15 am (they open at 8 am) and was disappointed to see there were¬† already four people in line, freezing. Turned out the first guy in line had been there since 10pm the previous night(!), saving the place in line for his employer, Business Owner Guy (BOG), who’d just shown up. (I have mixed feelings about that, not that he paid someone to save his spot, but that it was his employee. I mean, if your boss came and asked if you’d stand in the cold all night for him, can you say no? If you later lose your job might you wonder if it had anything to do with turning down his “offer”? Anyhow, back to the story.)

Did I mention it was really cold? Anyway, that explained the first two people in line. The other two turned out to be husband and wife, cool, so that meant I was #3. There ended up being five of us, three registering Cobras (big surprise), one GT40, and me; I was surprised no one was registering a hot rod.

It was foggy, a damp kind of cold that cuts right through a jacket – had I remembered to bring one. Long underwear, gloves and a hat helped a lot but by the time the doors opened I could feel neither my nose nor my feet. They were expecting us, handing us numbers as we came in and sat us off to the side. BOG went up first and what we overheard was not encouraging – the clerk was a trainee and had never handled SB100 cases (which isn’t hard to believe since they only do it for about an hour each January.) Hearing BOG’s voice getting louder (maybe it was because he knew he couldn’t buy her?) wasn’t helping, especially since we still had to deal with her – let’s not piss her off right away, okay?

Anyhow, BOG comes back and sits down, shaking his head and muttering “We’re screwed.” However, the clerk was working pretty darn fast and in fact was moving faster than anyone else in the office. The next two got went up and their paperwork didn’t take long, then it was my turn. The first thing she asked was, “Has it been started yet?” Figuring she meant the car project I said yes, but what she meant was the paperwork… oh, sorry, no. She asked for the VIN, “there isn’t one, I’m building it.” Then she asked who I got the frame from, “no one, I’m building it”, feeling sure I was going to get screwed because she was going to get stuck any second (since everyone else’s car had a manufacturer’s certificate.) She asked what the car looked like and I said a two-seat sports car. She asks, “convertible?” Yes. She asked for the total cost of components and I answered honestly (and in fact had¬†totaled up all the receipts beforehand to pump the amount higher else it would be a suspiciously small amount. “Here, write us a check for this amount” she says… okay. Then I go back and sit down, watching the next two people go through the motions, and then the waiting starts.

The local DMV office telephones into the main office in Sacramento to have the official numbers pulled. Getting through on the phone is like trying to win the lottery, with all the branch offices calling simultaneously. We all became immediate close friends, like survivors who find themselves floating on a melting iceberg, wondering if we’ll get saved before it sinks. The waiting was killing me so I called my brother who went through the same process a couple years ago, asking how long he waited, “about 15 minutes.” Geez, 20 minutes, 25, 30, 45, and then a different clerk came over and said, “Here you go”, and handing out our numbers – we’d all gotten them! Whoo hoo! She mentioned she was surprised more people hadn’t applying and wondered if the slow economy means less people are buying/building kit cars – could be. My brother got his number in 15 minutes and was assigned #482. After waiting 45 minutes I got #334. Regardless, I/we couldn’t be happier. When I got home I added a few more tubes.