Golden State Warrior: California Senator Ted Gaines Fights the Good Fight
California state Senator Ted Gaines is a lawmaker who understands the pure passion of the automotive hobby. He’s a member of the SEMA-supported State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus, a regular attendee at the SEMA Show, and a committed off-road enthusiast
Before becoming a Senator, Gaines served in the State Assembly from 2006–2011. He began his public service in local government as a member of the city of Roseville’s Planning Commission and was then elected to the Placer County Board of Supervisors.
Kevin Todd’s prized 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle is outfitted with a myriad of nostalgic ‘Day Two’ upgrades. “I grew up with my dad being into antique cars. They were all stock because they were affordable,” he explains. “The trophy hunting and trailer queens tired me. At age twelve, I was given a subscription to Hot Rod Magazine to improve my reading and comprehension. It worked! I was then converted into a gearhead without excuse and a lust for modified cars.”
Kevin Todd has owned his 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle for nearly 40 years. “I rescued the car from a classified ad and restored it to a street-legal state in 1980,” he adds. “The car’s fourth owner had left it in a sad state of repair: no engine, thrashed front suspension, no front carpet, shredded vinyl top and rust everywhere. It was one step from the salvage yard!” He says the car would have been a better donor for all its parts. However, knew just enough about Chevelles to know that the VIN it came equipped with the SS-396 package. “Being 20 years old and having visions of grandeur—I bought it for $800.”
Thankfully, the Chevelle is now in a state that Kevin calls “resti-fied,” a term originating with Car Craft magazine. He’s built the car with period-correct speed and specialty parts. “I just built it like I wanted it back then; in today’s terminology it’s called a ‘Day Two’ car. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but it is indeed fun.” The Todd children grew up with the car, forming a bond between them over the years. He plans to one day add a set of new-old-stock OEM front fenders that will be finished the same Code D as the rest of the body: Gotto Blue.
Among the slew of performance parts on the ‘68 is the exhaust system. Kevin’s kids helped put in a replica of what he’d originally installed in 1980. “They LOVE the car’s sound,” Kevin says. “If I do say so myself, it does sound nice.” He’s hoping that New York will consider amending his state’s exhaust noise policy. He explains, “the way the rule is written, there is no sound measurement method or system of measurement stated.” In fact, language in the SEMA-Model Bill was developed for instances like this where the laws are vague and subjective.
Kevin, special thanks for spreading the word about the SEMA Action Network (SAN) and writing your legislators in the Empire State!
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