The New Mexico MVD offices went to appointment only last week, and this morning I (barely) managed to finally get it titled and registered in my name. Buying it from the importer (Japanese Classics), shipping it across the country, insuring it and even dealing the State Police for the “level 3" vin inspection wasn’t hard. Dealing with the MVD has been... a process. They have proven largely unable to deal with anything that falls outside of what they usually see, and the folks working there certainly aren’t empowered to solve problems.
First was the required vin inspection for out of state vehicles, in which they struggled with the fact that is doesn’t have a vin per se in the US format, and were unable to deal with the chassis number existing in one place, and one place only on the truck. They failed it and kicked it to the state police for a “level 3" vin inspection. Once that appointment came around, they looked at the truck, looked at all the importation paperwork, ran the chassis number through NCIC and were promptly satisfied that it wasn’t a stolen vehicle. They gladly signed off on the paperwork, although it inexplicably was going to take 5 days for the form to get to the MVD office a mile away.
In that intervening time, Covid-19 ramped up and the MVD went to appointment only, which pushed this process out another week.
Fast forward to this morning, and the local office was unable to deal with the fact that 25 year rule import vehicles are exempt from US vehicle standards and thus come with different customs paperwork than a newer, conforming import vehicle. The manger of the local office and I ended up going toe-to-toe for several rounds of forceful conversation that resulted in a series of calls on the spot to and from Santa Fe with MVD big wigs.
Ultimately the local office got told to pull their heads out and get it done for me. It resulted in a round of appolgies and some education for the local office on non-conforming import vehicles.
I don’t go into Marine mode very often, and I hated that I couldn’t be excellent to them the whole time. In the end they accepted my appolgy for that part, and pointed out that literally standing my ground at one point forced them to get to the right answer. You don’t often fight the MVD and win, but I’ll take this one. Given that the Governor is going to issue a shelter in place type order this afternoon, this was probably the day to get this done.
I went with the standard, classic Yellow New Mexico plate for the Pajero. There is probably a vanity plate in it’s future any way. This concludes the great car exchange of 2020.
In other news, I worked on the Pajero on Sunday and it now longer pees itself when it gets excited. It is now adventure ready.