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Re: DOT battle

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:04 pm
by raymond
Chuck Lutz wrote:Just be d*mn sure you have your best lawyer who really KNOWS the "Robert's Rules" so that when the committee reads into the minutes THEIR version of this and tries to ram the legislation through without a proper review for you guys to respond to, that you your guy can come up with something. A lawyer with excellent Parlimentarian knowledge can slow up, trip, stop and put off them from ramming home a decision without your opportunity to review, respond and reject it.

Good Luck....remember they will try to cover their stupidity with a quickly drafted and passed "law" more often than realize and admit they were full of crap with dumb legislation!
And we don't want a "bad law" to spread by example to other states.


Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:47 pm
by doctormv
TLR – 38. U. S. Government – Vehicles Purchased From
When an individual or company purchases a Motor Vehicle that came through a title exempt
agency, such as agencies of the United States Government and such vehicle was manufactured or
assembled after July 1, 1969, the new owner must make application for Certificate of Title.
Where such vehicle is purchased directly from such United States Agency, application for
Certificate of Title can be supported by a Current Bill of Sale, only, provided the vehicle was not
previously titled. July 27, 1970
FWIW, this doesn't work in Mississippi. I made a photocopy of the page with this from the title manual and my bill of sale from GL for a 1972 M35 and took it to my county courthouse. They read it and thought it meant what it said and sent it on to Jackson with my title application. They sent it back and said they had to have a Form 97 or a title bond. Actually the exact quoit was they "have to have the blue or a bond", we had to call them to find out what that meant.

It sounds like they have a real fight on their hands. I wish them good luck and hope they prevail.

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:01 pm
by Chuck W.
for those who may not have seen it, here are comments on the issue from the latest MVPA Supply Line:


Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:48 am
by undysworld
This is far from over.

When we first raised objections to WisDOT's actions of refusing to register a U.S. Jeep in August, '07, and cancelling Pinzgauers operating privileges in Sept. '07, WisDOT BACKED DOWN on U.S. HMVs and claimed that "there's no plans right now" to search further. (Wisconsin State Journal article Nov. 18, 2007)

HOWEVER, Based on a WisDOT memo, #BVS-06-10, dated 12/19/06, I quote:

"Manufactured for military use in the US (even if model year 1970 or newer, this vehicle has no consistent VIN or federal certification label)"


USA Military market: "If vehicle was manufactured for MILITARY USE in the US: DO NOT REGISTER"

Currently, Steyr-Puch Pinzgauers are ILLEGAL TO OPERATE by Wisconsin citizens. U.S. HMVs are ILLEGAL TO REGISTER in Wisconsin, according to the WisDOT memo.

WisDOT has been less than honest about their intents and agenda.

There has been growing concern in the U.S. over gray-market vehicles (nonconforming or noncomplying vehicles). (A 1994 GAO report listed less than 300 per year, which is an average of only 6/year per state.) Rather than addressing this problem, WisDOT has instead chosen to illegally disenfranchise a SMALL group of citizens (Pinzgauer owners) in hopes of setting a precedent and thereby ASSUMING the authority to inspect ALL nonconforming vehicles. This is not legal.

We have created a new web site to address this issue:

PLEASE check the Wisconsin Pinzgauers site for updates. The site will be open to the public any day now. It will include instructions for contacting the appropriate Wisconsin authorities.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.

Paul Underwood
608 437-3465

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:43 pm
by undysworld
Hi Folks,
It's been a while since I've updated anything here. The fight goes on.

I've recently been communicating with Paul Nilsen, Asst. Gen. Counsel, WisDOT by mail.

In the most recent, April 24, 2008, he cites a 2004 NHTSA letter of interpretation wherein NHTSA allowed California to cancel existing registrations for US Military Surplus Humvees, manufactured 1983 to present.

It says, "In our opinion, California's refusal to register these vehicles is not prohibited by this agency."

My/our fight is for our Steyr-Puch Pinzgauers. Being imported, and over 25 years old at the time of importation, our trucks are FEDERALLY EXEMPTED from FMVSS requirements.

My question to you is: If they've cancelled EXEMPTED trucks, how long do you think it will be until they're after YOUR non-exempted trucks?

I'm NOT saying that if they succeed in taking away Wisconsin Pinzgauers, and then U.S. Miliitary Surplus (and they ARE going after them NOW), they will come after your truck. They MIGHT not.

But if they lose here in Wisconsin, over Pinzgauers, there is less of a chance that they'll come after your vehicles.

I'm already at the screaming stage. I'm shouting out loud and clear. If you want to help, please do!!

Things are just getting warmed up.

Paul Underwood
visit our web-site for additional info on the Pinz fight!

Posted: Tue May 27, 2008 3:19 pm
by JAB
Here's the latest:

From: jerowsam@************
To: Subject: Wis DOT and Historic Military Vehicle Registration updates
Date: Mon, 26 May 2008 22:30:18 -0500

Hello ALL,

It’s been a while since we sent out an update on the DOT issues.

But things have been grinding along (slowly). There is some good news.

Earlier this spring, several of us HMV types met with the board of the Wisconsin Car Clubs Alliance. This organization represents over 100 old car clubs around the state and has both the experience and membership numbers to effect legislation that has impact on the collector car hobby. The WCCA was founded some 20 years ago over similar issues when the WI DOT proposed additional restrictions on Wisconsin car collectors. They remain a watchdog group and are ready to join our fight to use or Historic Military Collector Vehicles. If your MV club is not a member of the WCCA, you should be contact me for more information about the organization.

Tim Scobie, Bob Anderson and Jeff Rowsam met a second time with Rep Karl Van Roy’s staff at the state Capitol two weeks ago. This meeting included two people from the DOT, additional legal staff from the legislature and two lawyers representing the specific concerns of the Pinzgauer military truck owners.

Clearly, we have touched a nerve and there are more and more people becoming aware of our issue.

Since our capitol meeting in Feb 2008, the WI DOT has gone back to their offices to re-evaluate their policy of refusing WI titles for any former Military vehicle sighting that MV’s are “Off Road” vehicles and so can not be operated on the roadway. The “off road” interpretation is the summary in WI 340.10(6) for refusal to grant title. In the recent May meeting, council for the DOT indicated that the department has re-evaluated the interpretation and realized that the WI DOT policy is in conflict with the “On Road” vehicle definition used by the Federal Government. This is specifically in conflict with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The WI DOT is re writing the current administrative code to change the HMV definition from Off Road to an “On- Highway vehicle with off road capability”.

Victory Number 1)

That means that in the future, WI DOT – DMV will not refuse to grant title for a former military vehicle based on the vehicle being designed as an “Off Highway” vehicle. We will have the opportunity to review the change before it goes the legislature in the 2009 session.

Victory Number 2)

We have successfully lobbied the WI DOT about the difference between HMV’s built prior to NTHSA act of 1966 that went into effect with model year 1968 vehicles. While the WI DOT is not happy about it, they acknowledged that former military vehicles, built prior to model year 1968 can not be prohibited from license and operation in WI as long as they are compliant with the requirements of WI Transportation Rules section 305. These are the same requirements as any other pre 1968 civilian car, truck or motorcycle.

Previously, the DOT had tried to make the case that ALL military vehicles regardless of vintage are not made to NHTSA federal standard and are therefore “Non Compliant” and unsafe for use on WI highways. Now, pre 1968 vehicles can stay on the road with any plate the owner chooses. The blue collector plate being the most popular.

Remaining issue)

The outstanding issue now turns to former military vehicles built post 1968. The WI DOT sights these post 1968 vehicles as NOT produced to meet the requirements of the 1966 NHTSA Act and considers then to be “Non Conforming” and therefore cannot issue a license to operate these former military vehicles. This would include CUCV’s, HMMWVs, Late Model M35’s and Late 5 Ton series trucks.

The resolution to this issue would be a legislative rule change that would create a special use category for HMV’s to be used for public display, education, parades, etc. This would be similar to HMV legislation that is law in OHIO and Kansas among others. While this would be more restrictive, it looks like the only option for post 1968 HMV’s.

We discussed and reviewed an internal legislative draft of such a proposal, however the drafters intended to create a new “Historic Vehicle” category. This would put a new the special HMV category under the current WI Antique plate rules, rather than Collector Car rules, this would replace the current Antique plate. Antique category was suggested since it already has a mileage and usage limitation. It is easier to modify existing laws that it is to create new ones.

We don’t think this is a workable solution under antique plate rules. And we are currently working on a revised draft of a legislative rule change that would create a special HMV category (for post 1968 HMV’s) under the collector rules with limitations on road use.

We are making progress, the issue is active. There is much more detail, but this should give everyone a sense of what we are working toward.

Please share this information with the members of each of your respective collector clubs.


Jeff Rowsam

A little success

Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:19 pm
by creinemann
Well, I went to the BMV with my 1943 Jeep paperwork, and after a little while, had the temporary plates in my hands. Now knowing the current state of affairs in Wisconsin, I decided not to celebrate but wait for the title to arrive, which it did, in about 5 weeks. Interestingly enough, the title has the jeep listed as a 1943, Make is a Will's, and the vehicle type is SUV..... but I did have title now. Then about four weeks after the title arrived, the Collector plates showed up.

One small victory... However I am still backing the HMV issue in WI. Everyone is correct, one pen stroke, and titles and registrations could be pulled. I spoke with a lot of people at the "Reclaiming our Heritage"event at the VA in Milwaukee, and not one person knew of the issue, except for a few HMV owners. I think the word needs to get out to the public, ex-military, vets, legions etc. more voices mean a louder message at the capital.


Posted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:08 pm
by undysworld
Well, this is all danged interesting to me.

Last Monday, the 14th, my appeals hearing was held in response to the DMV rescinding my registration on my antique Austrian Pinzgauer.

The hearing was before Judge Mark Kaiser of the Dept. of Admin., Div. of Hearings and Appeals, case TR-08-0027. Paul Nilsen, Asst. Gen. Counsel WisDOT was the DOT's attorney.

DMV canceled my (5+ yr. old!) registration because my truck is ex-military and does not meet FMVSS requirements. (FYI, vehicles which are over 25-yrs. old when imported into US are federally exempted from the safety standards (FMVSS requirements).)

During the hearing, the DOT employee witnesses kept testifying, over and over, that they NEVER, EVER knowingly register ex-military vehicles! I claimed, and you've shown, that they have registered such ex-military vehicles for decades. Congratulations Carl. (Am I wrong?)

I believe that Jeff Rowsam is being misled. No offense to Jeff. Here's my reasons:

1) No current Wis. Stats. either define, nor ban the registration of, "ex-military vehicles". No current Wis. Stats. define "on-road" nor "off-road" vehicles.

2) No current Wis. Stats. require an on-road vehicle to meet FMVSS standards as a condition of registration.

3) DMV cancelled my 5+ yr. old registration citing s. 341.10(6), a statute written to prevent registration of vehicles like mini-bikes, go-carts and all-terrain vehicles. Look up s. 341.10(6) Wis. Stats. and then look up the Trans code 305.065 and read it yourself: ... &jd=341.10 ... ans305.pdf

4) In May, DMV introduced rulemaking which would change the interpretation of 341.10(6) to include requiring ALL motor vehicles to meet safety standards. Has YOUR vehicle got a sticker?? NO. Here is the Wisconsin Administrative Register, where the new interpretation was first posted on pgs. 2 & 15 (Look for "Trans 123"): ... eg629b.pdf

5) If that statute ALREADY makes your vehicles illegal to register, why are they proposing the change? It doesn't apply to on-road vehicles, IMHO.

Once this "rulemaking process" gets passed, all ex-military vehicles are likely to be MUCH more restricted in registration and operation than current law actually requires. Please research the documentation I've posted, and come to your own conclusions.

I suggest that EVERYBODY phone and write your representatives. Ask that DOT/DMV explain why Pinzgauers (an ex-military vehicle) have already been banned under 341.10(6), and what exactly is DMV's plan for every other ex-military vehicle?

As I referred to above, DMV already took my registration and branded my title "NON ROADWORTHY". My hearing was last Monday, and I turned in my closing argument yesterday. Whether I can drive my truck again is now being considered by the judge.

I'm sure Jeff will think I'm needlessly stirring the pot, and the DOT would have you believe I'm nuts. I disagree with both assesments. I simply believe the DOT is exceeding their statutory authority. But that's just my opinion. Please form your own, based on the facts, not what DOT promises you.

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:06 pm
by undysworld

An update: It ain't over yet, but...

Yesterday, I received by mail the proposed decision regarding the cancellation of my title and registration be the WisDOT. It is a ruling in my favor, ie: the cancellation is reversed.

Essentially, the DOT failed to meet the burden of proof that my truck does not meet FMVSS requirements.

Bear in mind that I, and the WisDOT, now have 15 days within which to present our objections and briefs, prior to the administrator of the Department of Administration, Division of Hearings and Appeals making a final decision. Even after that, WisDOT can appeal the ruling to a higher court. Nonetheless, a decidedly positive step, at this stage.

I hope to have a link to the court's entire letter posted to our website within a couple days:

In an interesting sidelight: my insurance agent called today, to say that Progressive has rejected my policy because my VIN is incorrect. It is consistent with the truck. But according to my agent, Progressive provides their client's VINs to the DOT and (I'm guessing) my VIN is not listed by the DOT as OK. I'll meet with her next Tuesday and deliver copies of the court's letter. Interesting, eh?

I'll keep you posted.


Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:19 pm
by JAB
Congratulations on your progress! I hope hope it's just the beginning of many setbacks for those pompous bureaucrats at the top levels of the DMV!

Good Job Paul

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:34 am
by creinemann
This sounds precedent setting. Nice to hear that this took a BIG step in the right direction! Never give up, never surrender :!:

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:14 am
by Mtn-Track
I wouldn't be so quick to "pop a cold one". :?

You can bet the WisDOT is doing all they can right now to solve the "burden of proof" issue, be it side impact protection, seatbelts, emissions, what ever they can dig up! They know full well the reprocussions if they get slapped down by this ruling.

At this point, I would be taking a closer look at the proposed ruling itself. The current statutes don't say anything about your pinz not being worthy of registration, yet the ruling is focusing on the FMVSS requirements. You may think you have a leg up, but to me the judge just kicked the door wide open for WisDOT to fill and strengthen the gaps in their arguments. :evil:

Also, your insurance agent is basically confirming what you already know: you do not have a valid title to your vehicle, thus it is not insurable as a roadworthy vehicle. The insurance industry has a direct link with most, if not all, DOT's in each state to try and keep uninsured drivers from registering their vehicles.

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:53 am
by undysworld
This ban is now being enforced on U.S. surplus Ex-Military vehicles.

For anybody who still thinks that this ban is going to be limited to Austrian-built ex-military vehicles: Last week another Pinzgauer owner was contacted by a WI citizen (John) who just tried to register his 1971 deuce & 1/2 (M35A2) and was turned down.

He talked to Linda Lewis (WisDOT chief of vehicle records). She said that because his vehicle did not have a FMVSS sticker, the state of WI would not register it. But, if it was 1968 or older, it would be 'grandfathered' in and OK to register.

Don't forget that last August WisDOT refused registration of a 1943 Jeep, under the same statute they used to take our titles and license plates away. The secretary of WisDOT, Frank Busalacchi, wrote a letter defending that action. That Jeep was built a quarter century before the FMVSS laws even took effect!!

If anybody is interested in contacting these owners, let me know. I've got both phone numbers. Call these guys yourself and ask about it.

This is what NHTSA has to say about ex-military vehicles in a letter of interpretation:

"However, NHTSA excuses vehicles from compliance with the FMVSS if they have been manufactured in accordance with contractual specifications of the armed forc es of the United States (49 CFR 571.7(a)). Furthermore, because the Safety Act does not regulate sales of vehicles to owners subsequent to the original one, the U.S. armed forces may sell military vehicles to the public at the end of their useful milita ry life without having to bring them into conformity with the FMVSS (however, because of safety policy considerations they have not done so with respect to M-151 jeeps and HMMV vehicles)." Read it yourself:

Basically, NHTSA exempts surplus military vehicles from FMVSS requirements when resold to the public. FMVSS do not apply to off-road vehicles, so there would be no reason to exempt the vehicles. The fact that NHTSA exempted the vehicles shows that NHTSA expects and intends these ex-military vehicles to be licensed for on-road use.

As you know, I have gone to court to fight the cancellation of my title/license plates for my Pinzgauer. My brief in support of the proposed decision was delivered yesterday to the judge.

This is what I wrote regarding equipment:

Does my vehicle have the required safety equipment?

Perhaps WisDOT's attorney, Paul Nilsen, put it best when he wrote: "Your Pinzgauer may be safe and it may be appropriate for state roads but nobody really knows..." [P-8]. This is precisely the problem: Nobody bothered to check, yet DMV cancelled the title and registration for my truck anyway. DMV has never identified what equipment is required, much less specified what equipment my vehicle lacks.

However, evidence does show that Pinzgauers were factory equipped with turn signals, side marker lights [P-33], windshield wipers, a horn, exterior side mirrors [P-54], a speedometer, hand emergency brake, auxiliary road lamps, windshield washer, and a defroster [P-55]. It also came with 3-point front seat belts and emergency flashers. In addition, my truck had DOT-approved rear brake/blinker lights, backup lamps, safety glass and rear seat-belts added at the time I purchased it.

We've been told that DOT intends to appeal, but time will tell.

I delivered ppwk to my insurance agent. So far, no reply. Mtn-Track, you are correct about the Ins. Co. and DMV being directly linked.

I am scheduled to meet this Friday morning with my senator, Jon Erpenbach, to discuss legislation.

Why aren't the other Wisconsin collectors concerned and outraged??

Paul Underwood

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:07 am
by Mtn-Track
Good work Paul! Keep to your guns.......

I fear this will get worse before it gets better. If they can't make you crush them up (yet!) they will at least try to keep you from driving them. :evil:

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:12 am
by Dave K.

Could you post the letters from the DMV (blanked out where needed) of the M35 and 43 Jeep which were declined? Interested in seeing what's being said.

Thanks, Dave