Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
It's all in the state laws. I don't know how your state does it, but in Illlinois they recently dropped all testing for any vehicle that doesn't have on-board diagnostics. My '78 had to pass it's final inspection, and now it never needs to be inspected again. Prior to that change it had to pass a tailpipe sniffer and gas cap check every two years. But that was only for two counties near St. Louis and a few more in the Chicago area. The rest of the state has no tests or inspections.
As I understand California rules, every vehicle newer than early '70s has to pass performance tests and a visual inspection to confirm that all emission controls are present and working as intended. One way around it is to buy property in Nevada or Arizona and register the vehicle there where there is no testing or inspection. You'll have to check with your DMV or state EPA to see what your rules are.