There's a new petition sitting on the desk of the National Highway and Safety Administration to import extra Ferrari 599 GTOs into the United States. It is without a doubt pointless and uneccessary, but it happens to serve as an excellent explanation of the absurd import laws keeping some of the weirdest, coolest, best cars in the world out of America.
Here's the basics of the petition:
Ferrari only built so many 599 GTOs for the American market, but they made a bunch more for other international markets.
Rich Americans want to buy Ferrari 599 GTOs. Of course they do. The 599 GTO was the limited-production, ultra-high performance version of the already low-production, already high performance 599.
So many rich Americans want to buy 599 GTOs that there just aren't enough of the cars in the country to go around. At least, that's what I'm assuming, because J.K. Technologies, LLC.of Baltimore, Maryland (a company that specializes in this sort of thing) wants to import some more 599 GTOs into the US to sell to the aforementioned rich Americans.
The problem is that the US government won't let people simply import any international-market Ferarri 599 GTO into America. Only Ferrari 599 GTOs designed and built for the America market can be sold over here.
So J.K. Technologies, LLC. of Baltimore, Maryland wrote the NHTSA asking to import some more Ferrari 599 GTOs under the condition that they get modified to meeet US standards.
And those are the basics of the petition. Now you're caught up to speed.
But wait! You might be wondering what exactly would make the US Government say that foreign-market Ferrari 599 GTOs are unfit for sale here in the United States. I mean, after all, one 599 GTO is the same as the next one, right?
Well, here's everything that J.K. Technologies, LLC. of Baltimore, Maryland admits they will have to (and are willing to) change for US sale.
Standard No. 101 Controls and Displays: Replacement of the instrument cluster with a U.S.-model component and reprogramming of the vehicle computer.
Standard No. 108 Lamps, Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment: Replacement of the headlamps, side marker lamps, and tail lamps with U.S.-model components and reprogramming the vehicle computer to activate necessary systems.
Standard No. 110 Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or Less: Installation of a tire information placard.
Standard No. 111 Rearview Mirrors: Replacement of the passenger side rearview mirror with a U.S.-model component or inscription of the required warning statement on the face of that mirror.
Standard No. 114 Theft Protection and Rollaway Prevention: Reprogramming the vehicle computer to activate the key warning system.
Standard No. 118 Power-Operated Window, Partition, and Roof Panel Systems: Reprogramming of the vehicle computer.
Standard No. 207 Seating Systems: Replacement of non-conforming seating systems with parts complying with advanced airbag regulations from U.S.-model of the vehicle.
Standard No. 208 Occupant Crash Protection: Inspection to confirm that belts, airbags, sensors, control units, wiring harnesses, knee bolsters, and braces bear U.S.-model part numbers. Non-U.S.-model parts will be replaced with U.S.-model components to render the vehicle identical to the U.S.-model in regards to the standard. Reprogram the vehicle computer to activate the seat belt warning system.
Standard No. 209 Seat Belt Assemblies: Inspection of seatbelts and replacement of non-conforming belts with U.S.-model components.
Standard No. 301 Fuel System Integrity: Inspection of all vehicles and replacement of any non U.S.-model fuel system components with U.S.-model components as necessary to conform to the requirements of FMVSS No. 301.
Standard No. 401 Interior Trunk Release: Installation of U.S.-model interior trunk release components.
But that's not all! The NHTSA also states that they'll have to inspect any non-American 599 GTO's "bumper reinforcements and brackets" and replace them if they're not up to US standard.
They'll have to make sure the VIN plate is near the left windshield post, and they'll have to take a look at the airbags. "Compliance with [...] advanced air bag requirements" is a "significant concern" to the NHTSA, the agency admits, and J.K. Technologies, LLC. of Baltimore, Maryland will have to be prepared to alter any foreign 599 GTOs to meet American standards. Here are some, but not necessarily all, of the components affected.
a. Driver's frontal air bag module
b. Passenger frontal air bag module
c. Passenger frontal air bag cover
d. Knee air bags
e. Knee bolsters
f. Passenger outboard frontal seat belt system
g. Driver and front outboard seat assemblies including seat tracks and internal seat components
h. Steering wheel components, including the clock spring assembly, the steering column, and all connecting components
i. Instrument panel
j. Instrument panel support structure (i.e. cross beam)
k. Occupant sensing and classification systems, including sensors and processors
l. Restraint control modules
m. Passenger air bag status indicator light system, including related display components and wiring
n. Wiring harnesses between the restraint control module, occupant classification system and restraint system components
o. Control system computer software and firmware
This should give you a sense of what it takes to sell a foreign car in America. And we're talking about international versions of a car that was actually sold in the US. Think of all the hoops Honda would have to jump through to bring their Type R into the country, or what BMW would need to do to get something like the M135i hatch Stateside.
Easy as it is to mock rich people for wanting more 599 GTOs, a car they can already buy here, it's an interesting slice of why companies decide against bringing some of their most interesting niche models to America.
You can find the full text of the petition right here.
Photo Credits: Ferrari/Seinfeld
Hat Tip to The Artist Formerly Known as DCAutoGeek, Juan Barnett!