Originally Posted by lawrencedesigns
My suggestion, since the car will be in S. Calif, is to take it to Santo's and let him handle it. After visiting a number of "certified smog locations" and having nothing but grief, I have done this will all of my Alfa's. Santos will take care of whatever is legally necessary to pass the test, and then get it smogged for you.
This is good advice. The smog test procedure is pretty user unfriendly to walk-in customers - if your car fails, the test center is supposed to report that failure to Sacramento. However, when the car is brought to the tester by a repair shop - especially one they work with on a regular basis - then if there is a problem they will let the shop fix it before considering the test "official".
Also the repair shop will know what modifications their testing buddy will or will not pass. Something like a home made AAV might get ignored, especially by an emissions tester who regularly works with an Alfa repair shop.
Santos has a great reputation, and I would encourage you to use them. However, if you happen to settle somewhere that isn't close to their Northridge location, any competent repair shop can work on a Bosch injected Alfa, and handle the smog thing. I use some guys down here in south Orange County who work on a wide range of European imports, and they have no difficulties.
Originally Posted by shadowburn
Keep the Fl plates, registration, driver's license as long as you can. If you don't have to get an inspection in Florida and just have to send them your payment to renew, keep the plates. Fly back to renew the driver's license, if you have to get a picture taken. Keep the less expensive Florida insurance (if it is cheaper).
Boy, I'm not sure I agree. I do concur that you can get away with driving with out of state plates - California roads are full of them, what with tourists, transients, etc. But the insurance thing would scare me - seems that if you had a claim, the insurance company might discover the scam, and refuse to pay. Plus, it sounds like license fees are cheaper here than in Florida - insurance may well be higher - but the sum total is probably about the same. It is also useful to have a local drivers license for ID purposes.
Be sure to attend some AROSC events once you arrive!