I knew there were things that would make me fail inspection this year; I didn't know how bad the situation was. It's $1200 bad - the big item is that the exhaust system needs to be redone; apparently, something corroded completely through. I thought that the only issue I'd have was with lights; I think there's a problem with some of the sockets on one side (although it may just be bulbs), and the plastic lens is broken on the other side, either of which is a fail. There were also some concerns with the steering and the brakes, neither of which are fail status, but which bothered me.
There is one big issue that I WILL need to deal with, though not immediately; it's one that should be dealt with sooner rather than later, but I have to really think about it, given the $1600 price tag to correct a leaking head gasket. The car is nearly 20 years old, and I don't use it enough to really warrant replacing it unnecessarily - but there does come a time when repairs/maintenance reach a point of diminishing returns, and this might be it.
The other really expensive issue is the air conditioner, which blows hot right now. To get it to blow cold on demand will require a $1200 refit of the whole thing; I can't just have it patched and recharged, because my freon isn't legal any more. That, I can ignore entirely, given how rarely I use the car; when it's hot, I can just roll the windows down.
Right now, I'm concentrating on the inspection-related issues, the brakes, and the steering. Once I get legal, I'll think about the rest.