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Can I assume that this was through a private seller and not a dealer?
How much do you pay for the car?
The sale was not as is because the seller told you that you could get the car to pass the safety inspection and this was a material misrepresentation.
So, if you were to sue the seller you would succeed.
Your next step should be to send the seller a letter by registered mail. In the letter set out the facts and stress the fact that you relied on their misrepresentation to your detriment. Give the seller a deadline for reimbursing you and and tell him that if he fails to comply you will commence legal proceedings and then will be seeking interest and your costs.
If it gets that far and you find you need some help as you go through the process you can always post on the site again and I can assist you further. You will be able to self represent in small claims court and it will not cost you very much to do so.
For now let me know if you need any further clarification.