Growing up in Northern California, there were always tons of cool old Japanese cars to lust after. I dreamed of buying them all, like this grimy 280Z, until I actually talked to an owner.
It was a guy with a really sweet second-generation Celica with red paint that had faded into pink. He offered me the car for a few hundred bucks, but not before regaling me with stories of how he'd MacGyver the car's system of vacuum hoses into working every time he had to get the car smogged.
Since I'm less comfortable around the insides of machinery than an Amish farmer, I've steered clear of owning any of these do-it-yourself kind of cars.
It's all thanks to CA's wonderful DMV, which was investigated in detail when we saw one of Shelby's old prototypes sitting in a SoCal junkyard.
Forgive me for not understanding California law but why exactly can't the junkyard just apply for a lost title so they can sell the car whole? The process is simple and well-known here in Washington state, in fact it happens all the time.
The yard can sell you the carcass as parts but you'd basically have to get a Rampage and strip it down then rebuild it using the Shelby bits. After that you'll have to undergo an inspection which you'll likely fail a few times. I'd suggest leaving as much of the mechanical bits from the donor Rampage intact for that inspection then start your mods after you get the title in order.
From there all you'd have to worry about it getting it smogged and being snickered at by all the people that don't know how cool your truck is.
Once a wrecking yard buys it, it's considered destroyed by the DMV.
In California you must first apply for purchase by filling out a 148 page form in triplicate. Then you have to put your left foot, take your left foot out, put your left foot in, and shake it all about. While you are waiting for your forms to be rejected so you can reapply, you will have to apply for your permit to drive a vehicle that is not a EV, hybrid, or PZEV. Repeat those steps as needed.
Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove