Texas Scrappage Bill Would Overturn Repeal
Striking a blow against hobbyists, the Texas legislature recently introduced legislation (H.B. 1550) that would implement a vehicle scrappage program and, incredibly, extend the state's emissions inspection to include vehicles 35 model years old, forcing mid-60's vehicles to undergo emissions tests. Texas regulators, under pressure from the U.S. EPA, removed a similar scrappage program from its state emissions implementation plan last year.
Texas state SAN clubs, the Texas Vehicle Club Council (TVCC) and SEMA all strenuously oppose H.B. 1550. SAN Clubs and the TVCC are currently engaged in an active letter-writing campaign to legislators. TVCC Chairman Troy Mennis stated, "It is vitally important for car enthusiasts to contact their legislators in opposition to this bill. We'll need to be active in our letter-writing and in attending hearings, if we expect to be successful."
In addition, SEMA has begun briefing key legislators on the shortcomings of scrappage programs and amending the current emissions inspection exemption to test vehicles 35 model years old. SEMA Director of State Relations Steve McDonald notes, "First and foremost, we know that scrappage programs simply don't work. We also believe that amending the emissions test requirement to include 1960s-era vehicles is ludicrously excessive in light of the low number of these vehicles and the few miles they are generally driven. Texas is bucking a trend among states to exempt older vehicles from I/M programs."
SEMA Launches Voluntary 'Repair and Upgrade' to Replace Scrappage
Convinced that vehicle scrappage programs are damaging to the vehicle hobby and produce little measurable pollution benefits, California Senator Maurice Johannessen has introduced SEMA-sponsored legislation (S.B. 1056) to study voluntary repair and upgrade programs as a substitute for scrappage. Under the bill, a pilot program would investigate a variety of technologies and retrofits designed to reduce automotive emissions.
SB 1056 also requires the California Air Resources Board to submit a report that would compare the relative costs of voluntary upgrade programs with scrappage programs and make recommendations on how to use voluntary repair and upgrade programs to achieve emissions reductions required by the Federal Government.
SEMA VP, Government Affairs Chris Kersting, who originally drafted the bill said, "We believe that the Board's findings will validate what many California hobbyists and SEMA have known for a long time: Voluntary repair and upgrade is a creative and preferable approach to controlling vehicle emissions. Scrapping and crushing cars is not."
Raised Vehicle Bills Threaten Enthusiasts in New York and Oregon
Legislation has been introduced recently in New York (S.B 3096 and A.B. 5740) and Oregon (S.B. 574) that would severely hamper hobbyist's ability to responsibly modify their 4x4s. The SEMA Action Network (SAN) has alerted clubs nationally and in both states about the need to fight this legislation.
In New York, S.B. 3096/A.B. 5740 is designed to limit suspension, body lift and wheel/tire alterations on pickup trucks. Specifically, these bills would ban pickups with bumpers higher than 3 inches over original equipment, while ignoring these facts: 1.) there is little data to suggest that bumper mismatch is a serious problem on New York's roadways. 2.) These bills would burden modified truck owners with the expense of reinstalling original equipment. 3.) These bills ban useful alterations that provide for ground clearance in on/off-road use and to accommodate heavy loads, larger tires, improved suspension and water-fording capability.
In Oregon enthusiasts were initially successful in persuading an Oregon legislator to abandon a bill (S.B. 574) that would have severely limited vehicle suspension, body lift and wheel/tire alterations. S.B 574 would have banned vehicles whose bumpers are elevated more than 3 inches over the original manufactured bumper clearance. However, some state legislators are apparently now trumpeting an alternative measure that would prohibit vehicles with bumper heights exceeding 29 inches.
SEMA Action Network contacts throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest are aggressively fighting this legislation through a letter, phone and e-mail campaign. As a result, legislators are starting to see the light, including Rep. Mike Lehman, Vice-Chair of the Oregon House Transportation Committee, who has pledged to oppose this bill when it comes before this committee.
Link Your Club Web-page to SEMA Action Network
SEMA online is offering a free link to your club's web-site. If your organization is interested in this opportunity, please contact the SEMA Action Network webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org. All we ask in return is that your club put a link on its homepage to SEMA Action Network at http://www.semasan.com to keep club members abreast of the latest happenings in the automotive aftermarket.
Nebraska Goes After Nitrous Oxide
Legislation, L.B. 688, has been introduced in the Nebraska legislature that would prohibit the use of fuel power booster delivery systems, including nitrous oxide, on motor vehicles operated in the state.
The L.B. 688 prohibition would include any "device or fuel enhancer...that provides a motor vehicle with the capability to operate at speed in excess of the design of the motor vehicle." Unfortunately, this provision could also be construed or easily amended to also unfairly ban the use of turbochargers, superchargers and many other performance enhancement products. L.B 688 also ignores the fact that some vehicles, such as large trucks or motorhomes, often need nitrous systems for added hill-climbing or hauling power. Finally, this bill would essentially allow the police alone to determine at what speeds vehicles are designed to operate.
While legislators are aware that the bill is overly broad and poorly written, the measure is slated for hearing in committee. In discussions with the bill's sponsor, SEMA has pointed out that no health or safety data exists that demonstrates that these devices warrant a ban. In addition, L.B. 688 has angered many in the enthusiast community. SAN contact Mel Jastram of the Rapid Transit System Club notes with concern that, "L.B 688 can be interpreted to make anything that enhances speed illegal." Other notable clubs solidly and actively opposing this bill include the Eastern Nebraska/ Western Iowa Car Club Council and the Nebraska Rod and Custom Association.
'Working Together' -- Model A and Model T Owners Keep An Open Mind
By Erin Mulholland
Recently, Driving Force spoke to members of Model A and Model T clubs to understand their commitment to supporting other vehicle enthusiast's issues. The dialog provided some encouraging results. Overall, clubs and members are refreshingly open minded towards every imagined vehicle hobbyist and niche.
Carol Martin, member of the Greater Orlando Chapter of the Model A Ford Club of America, understands the importance of protecting the rights of all enthusiasts. By working proactively with all car groups in mind, she says her club shows concern for its own future, "You never know when you will need [other hobbyists] on your own side of a situation. Yes, everybody needs to cooperate."
Aside from her Model A, Martin also enjoys time behind the wheel of her 1969 Mustang. "We are supportive of diversified interests, as our own interests are diverse. I even sent the President of the Mid-Florida Mustangs a copy of the SEMA Action Network newsletter ‘Driving Force' to let him know it was around and that we are involved, and the Mustang club should also be involved."
A shared legislative interest echoes between Martin and Model T owner Deb Fritzler of Sterling, Colorado, involving license plates. Many antique car owners are battling to obtain original issue or special horseless carriage license plates. This goes far beyond affecting simply Model A and Model T clubs. This issue touches any car 20 to 25 years old or older.
Sharing common ground certainly does not end with license plates. One of Fritzler's three Model A's, a 1920 Speedster, is lowered. Legislation surrounding altered suspensions not only affect her, but also 4x4 enthusiasts and street rodders. Fritzler believes it is critical to stay informed and keep communications open so all enthusiasts can combat issues together. As an example, she further reflected, "Emissions might not affect us now, but who knows if it will down the road?"
Upstate New York's Mohican Model A Ford Club, allows anyone to be a member "as long as they have an interest in Model A's," notes member Wally Towne. Towne, who owns a 1931 Deluxe with a rumble seat, goes on to say, "I'm an old timer, and I prefer the older cars. I don't prefer street rods, but I admire street rods because those guys that make them are geniuses. A lot of antique car clubs are fighting the issues, and we support organizations that are working on our behalf."
Members of the Mohicans Club include owners of "everything from Buicks to an assortment of street rods," according to member Peter Winnewisser. Winnewisser is also proud to report the Mohicans belong to a 25-member car club coalition. "This is a central organization that coordinates events so that we do not intrude on each other." Currently, the coalition is watching and supporting legislation to create a one-time registration for antique cars 25 years old or older.
Winnewisser asserts that it is the responsibility of all vehicle owners to protect the rights of all hobbyists regardless of the model and type. Members of his club share this opinion. "We are pretty open minded. Anybody can join. We have all sorts of members with all kinds of antique cars. Hot rods, street rods, you name it, and I bet we have one."
California Legislators to Support Hobbyists on Emissions Testing
State Senators Maurice Johannessen and Richard Mountjoy have introduced three bills designed to take the pressure of invasive emissions testing off the backs of California car enthusiasts.
Senator Johannessen's bill, S.B. 1058—the "tailpipe-only test"—seeks to ease the burden of emission testing for owners of aftermarket-equipped vehicles by limiting visual and functional testing requirements. Under S.B. 1058, vehicles equipped with California-legal aftermarket parts that pass tailpipe emissions requirements will be relieved of the common automatic referral to a referee station for additional testing. Currently, these referrals often happen when a technician merely sees aftermarket parts under the hood.
The Senator Mountjoy's first bill, S.B. 285, seeks to exempt older vehicles from random roadside emissions tests. Under existing law, California is required to conduct arbitrary testing using remote sensing and roadside tailpipe tests. This bill would exempt any motor vehicle manufactured prior to the 1974 model year or, beginning on Jan. 1, 2003, any motor vehicle that is 30 or more model years old. "I am appalled that hidden traps on the side of the road can snare older cars not required to have smog checks, pulling them into the test as a spider traps a fly in its web," Senator Mountjoy stated. "There is a loophole in the law which will allow bureaucrats to trap exempted older cars, like classic cars."
Senator Mountjoy's second bill, S.B. 296 would exempt vehicles driven 5,000 miles or less from obtaining a certificate of emissions compliance or noncompliance every two years. This bill acknowledges that collector vehicles are infrequently operated, overwhelmingly well-maintained, and have a negligible effect on California's air pollution problem.
The hobbyist community and SEMA are hopeful that these bills will finally mark the inspection of older cars as a wasteful and inefficient use of resources. Accordingly, SEMA Action Network clubs and contacts in California have been contacted and urged to vigorously support S.B. 1058, S.B. 285 and S.B 296.
Virginia Emissions Exemption Left Hanging in the Wind
In a procedural move that surprised and infuriated allied Virginia car clubs and many Virginia legislators, hobbyist-supported legislation (H.B. 1955) that would have granted older vehicles an emissions inspection exemption was sent back to committee for reconsideration. Having come on the last day of the legislative session, this action effectively killed the bill until next January when it will have to be reintroduced.
H.B. 1955 proposed an inspection exemption for vehicles 25 years old and older and passed overwhelmingly in the House of Delegates. The House rejected a Senate version of the bill that would have pushed the cutoff to 30 model years. "Ordinarily, differences such as this are resolved in a conference committee comprised of legislators from both chambers," said SEMA Director of State Relations Steve McDonald. "Unfortunately, the Senate chose to deal a death knell to the bill when it by-passed the conference process and recommitted the bill to committee."
Outraged House bill sponsor Del. James Dillard told SEMA staffers he believed this to be the first use of this procedural gambit in his 26-years serving in the legislature.
"We were sucker-punched at the last moment," noted SAN contact Dirk Wright of the Virginia Automobile Preservation Society. "If there had been a referee, he would have called a penalty."
SEMA would like to recognize the efforts of the Southwestern Virginia Car Club Council, Central Virginia Car Club Council and Virginia clubs of the United Four Wheel Drive Associations for their efforts on behalf of this legislation. Despite this unfortunate setback, SEMA and Virginia vehicle hobbyists have vowed to pursue the emissions exemption in the next legislative session.
Letters to the Editor
I really like your idea for a "working together" set of articles. You are so right about our need to stop fighting among ourselves and unite against a common enemy.
One area that gets my goat is stock vs. modified. Every car out there is modified to some degree. Even the "never been restored" car probably has a newer and different battery, [newer tires, oil,] etc. My point is some folks really enjoy keeping their car as near as possible to how it left the factory. They are doing a good job of saving their car for the next owner to preserve or modify. At the other end is the modified car owner. He, too, is saving a car for the next owner. His car is a wonderful place to begin a new idea of modification [or return to stock].
Stockers and modifiers are still saving cars AND [we all] must work together to keep some jerk from taking [them] away and crushing [them].
Meadow Valley Cruisers
I couldn't have agreed more with the statement made in the third paragraph of the February Driving Force [hobbyists should bond together regardless of specific interest]. I keep preaching the same basic message to everyone I have talked to at the various shows and "Cruise Nights" I have attended in my area, and I've tried, and will continue to try to incorporate the message that we are all in this together into my articles as well.
Classic Vehicle Advocate Group
Eagle One Honors SAN Clubs With 'Golden Rule' Award
As reported in the January 1999 edition of the Driving Force, Eagle One, a division of Valvoline has started presenting a "Golden Rule" award recognizing regional car clubs for outstanding community service and charitable work in 1998.
The winners have been selected and 6 out of the 8 winners and runners-up are members of the SEMA Action Network! SEMA would like to add our congratulations to the regional winners (SAN clubs in bold): West—River Cruizers of Bullhead City, Arizona, winner; Los Angeles Roadsters, runner-up. Midwest—Evansville Iron Street Rods, Evansville, Indiana, winner; United Street Machines Association, Clawson, Michigan, runner-up. East—Lost in the 50s Custom Car Club, Baltimore, Maryland, winner; Villa Capri Cruisers, Moscow, Pennsylvania, runner-up. South—Fort Lauderdale Mustang Club, winner; Jacksonville Corvette Club, runner-up.
Thanks to all the clubs who participated and to Eagle One. Keep up the good work.
Newly Introduced Legislation
Note: The following state bills are not laws. They have been recently introduced and are currently being considered for adoption by the respective state legislatures.
Arizona S.B. 1266 would establish a registration fee based on a vehicle's emissions as measured during an emissions test; would use 85 percent of those funds to be deposited in the Voluntary Vehicle Repair and Upgrade Fund.
California S.B. 285 would exempt motor vehicles older than 1974 from the state's remote sensing procedures; beginning in 2003, the exemption would extend to vehicles 30 years and older.
California S.B. 296 would exempt vehicles driven less than 5,000 miles annually from the state's I/M program.
Nevada S.B. 269 would provide an exemption from the state's emissions program for vehicles 30 years or older.
Pennsylvania S.B. 434 would require the installation of a restraint system in antique vehicles for children under 12.
Texas H.B. 1103 would change the definition of a "junked" vehicle to include a vehicle that is on private property and remains inoperable for 15 consecutive days.
Washington H.B. 1885 would prohibit municipalities from removing vehicles from private property that are fully covered with a cloth or plastic car cover; would set a limit of no more than three vehicles to qualify for this exception.
California S.B. 272 would make it a misdemeanor to sell gasoline containing (MTBE).
New Hampshire S.B. 71(H.B. 694) would ban gasoline containing (MTBE), as of January 1, 2000.
PLATES & REGISTRATION
Florida H.B. 967 would allow for special license plates issued to vehicles which are either "antique", (defined as 30 years or older), or "historic" (defined as 25 years or older). The specialty plates would indicate that the vehicle is either antique or historic.
New York S.B. 1854 (A.B. 2961, A.B. 3072) would establish a one-time fee of $23 for the registration of a historical vehicle.
Virginia S.B. 1193 would increase the registration fee for antique vehicles to $10 and would allow for year of manufacture license plates or the original metal year tabs in place of license plates issued in 1942 and 1952 for vehicles of those model years.
Hawaii S.B. 1426 would eliminate the requirement that antique vehicles undergo a safety inspection; would require vehicles that were rebuilt or restored to pass a safety inspection.
Iowa S.B. 1090 would allow use of non-oxygenated gasoline in antique vehicles.
Minnesota H.B. 486 would allow use of non-oxygenated gasoline in antique vehicles.
Kansas H.B. 2176 would exempt antique motor vehicles from the state sales tax up to $2000.
Oklahoma S.B. 749 would give a reduction of insurance premiums to vehicle owners who insure more than one vehicle under the same company, when at least one of the vehicles is an antique.
West Virginia H.B. 2456 (S.B. 562) would exempt antique motor vehicles from being classified as taxable personal property.
West Virginia H.B. 2428 would define a classic vehicle as 25 years old or older and would allow them to be used for general transportation.
April SAN Club Events
April 10-11, Scottsdale, Ariz.
2nd GoodGuys Southwest Nationals
Sponsor: GoodGuys Rod and Custom Association
April 10-11, Tucson, Ariz.
Swap Meet and Car Show
Sponsor: Good Times Rod and Custom Association
April 17, Tucson, Ariz.
Sponsor: Classic Chevy Club of Tucson
April 3, Yorba Linda, Calif.
Car Show at John Force Racing Facility
Sponsor: Buick Grand National Racing Association
April 10-11, Pomona, Calif.
GoodGuys 10th Spring Nationals
Sponsor: GoodGuys Rod and Custom Association
April 17, Lake Forest, Calif.
Emissions Testing Tech Session
Sponsor: Buick Grand National Racing Association
April 18, Van Nuys, Calif.
10th-Annual Spring Car Show
Sponsor: Coastal Valleys CHVA
April 11, Stafford Springs, Conn.
13th-Annual Spring Automotive Swap Meet
Sponsor: Ty-Rods Auto Club
April 18, Sarasota, Fla.
23rd-Annual Show and Swap
Sponsor: Gulf Coast Corvair Club
April 18, Orlando, Fla.
Good Ole Days and Model A's
Sponsor: Greater Orlando Model A's
April 23-24,Panama City Beach, Fla.
Annual Corvette Caravan
Sponsor: Circle City Corvettes
April 24, Mount Dora, Fla.
8th-Annual Spring Car Show
Sponsor: Sunshine State Walter P. Chrysler Club
April 24-25, Punta Gorda, Fla.
25th-Annual Waterfront Car Show
Sponsor: AACA, Peace River Region
April 25-26, Orlando, Fla.
1st-Annual GoodGuys Spring Nationals
Sponsor: Goodguys Rod and Custom Association
April 24-25, Titusville, Fla.
Antique, Rod, Custom and Classic Car and Truck Show
Sponsor: Vintage Vehicles of Titusville
April 24, Columbus, Ga.
Riverfest Car Show
Sponsor: AACA, Boll Weevil Region
April 25, Wheaton, Ill.
Buick, Olds, Pontiac Indoor Swap Meet
Sponsor: Illinois Pontiac-Oakland Club
April 9-10, Baltimore, Md.
SEMA Truck and Auto Accessories Expo
Sponsor: Specialty Equipment Market Association
April 17, Stevensville, Md.
Spring Fling #5
Sponsor: Kent Island Cruisers
April 13, St. Paul, Minn.
MSRA Run to the Hill (legislative day)
Sponsor: Minnesota Street Rod Association
April 10, Aberdeen, MS
12th-Annual Car Show
Sponsor: Aberdeen Antique and Classic Car Club
April 21, Jefferson City,. Mo.
Awareness Cruise to the Capital (legislative event)
Sponsor: American Roadhouse Car Club
April 24, Rockaway Beach, Mo.
Springtime Car Show
Sponsor: Street Machines of Table Rock Lake
April 2, Laughlin, Nev.
19th-Annual Southwest Unique Little Car Show
Sponsor: Subaru 360 Drivers Club
April 23-25, Rochester, N.Y.
Spring Dust Off '99
Sponsor: Street Machines of Rochester
April 15-18, Concord, N.C.
35th Mustang Anniversary Celebration
Sponsor: Mustang Club of America
April 16-18, Hershey, Pa.
4th-Annual Museum Expo
Sponsor: (National) Antique Automobile Club of America
April 22-25, Carlisle, Pa.
Spring Carlisle Car Corral, Swap Meet and Toy Show
Sponsor: Carlisle Productions
April 30-May 2, Knoxville, Tenn.
25th-Annual Street Rod Nationals South
Sponsor: National Street Road Association