July 1999

Texas Hobbyists Hang Tough, Defeat Scrappage, Emissions Testing Roll-Back

In an admirable display of teamwork and effort, Texas vehicle associations—including the Texas Vehicle Club Council (TVCC), the SEMA Action Network and a coalition of Texas business concerns—defeated a stubborn effort to pass a scrappage law in Texas. Sponsored by Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Carson), chairman of the Texas House Environmental Regulation Committee, H.B. 1550 seriously threatened the automobile hobby in Texas.

H.B. 1550 would have authorized a car-crushing program, ignoring the real world facts about scrappage: (1) that there is no proof that scrappage reduces emissions or that crushed cars are actually replaced with cleaner ones; (2) paying people to scrap cars encourages fraud. Many scrapped cars are not daily drivers—often they are the barely running cars which people have kept in the backyard until a scrappage program paid them to get rid of it; (3) scrappage programs disregard the needs of vehicle enthusiasts and low-income families who rely on older vehicles and parts; and (4) authorities cannot justify crushing cars when more cost-effective and environmentally sound programs, such as emissions system repair-upgrade, exist.

Making matters worse, H.B. 1550 ridiculously sought to roll back emissions inspections to include vehicles 35 years old. SEMA Director of State Relations Steve McDonald said, "This bill ignored the reality that very few mid-'60s vehicles still exist and those still around are generally well-maintained and infrequently operated collector cars."

H.B. 1550 died a stubborn death. Chairman Chisum tried 3 separate times to pass this bill. Each time, the SEMA Action Network sprung into action, packing hearing rooms with concerned hobbyists and deluging committee members with letters, e-mails and phone calls in opposition. The TVCC was so concerned about this harmful bill that they went into, what TVCC Chairman Troy Mennis called, "Special Alert Status."

"We figured that H.B. 1550 could be brought up at any time and snuck through for a vote," said Mennis. "So we split up our membership into a phone bank. Each time we heard the bill was moving, TVCC Board members called an individual list of car club representatives who would in turn call their membership to urge active opposition," said Mennis.

TVCC's strategy paid off. Scrappage has failed again in Texas. SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Chris Kersting noted, "This is exactly how the SEMA Action Network is supposed to work—SEMA working hand-in hand with an active car club community to help defeat a horrible bill. It was gratifying to be involved."

Pennsylvania Postpones Bumper-Height Regulations

For the past month, SEMA has received many inquiries from Pennsylvania hobbyists concerning suspension lift and lowering rules in that state. Most complain that local and state authorities are hassling hobbyists, claiming that a "new law" will be going into effect outlawing suspension modifications later this summer. This claim is dead wrong and, in fact, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is actually relaxing one important rule dealing with bumper heights.

Let us help set the record straight. PennDOT has actually postponed indefinitely the enforcement of bumper-height regulations that were slated to go into effect on May 13. PennDOT pulled back this portion of the vehicle equipment and inspection regulations after determining that carmakers were producing vehicles with bumpers higher than PennDOT's new bumper-height limitations allowed.

According to sources at PennDOT, state inspectors will simply enforce the limitations that were in effect prior to the issuance of the regulation. For now, some part of the bumper bar must fall within 16-20 inches for passenger cars (measured from level ground) and 16-30 inches for multi-purpose passenger vehicles and light trucks.

Rules concerning the way vehicles may be lifted or lowered, however, remain in effect per the new regulation: Lowering is allowed provided blocks or spring shackle kits are not employed on the front suspension. Raising remains legal provided spring shackle kits do not exceed 2 inches over original equipment, blocks are not used on front axles, blocks used on rear axles do not exceed 5 inches over original equipment and the difference between the body floor and the top of the rail does not exceed 4 inches.

Alabama Vehicle Council Formation

By Erin Mulholland

Fran and Vernon Boyd purchased their first old car together 15 years ago, a 1955 Chevy Bel Air two-door hardtop, and they still have the car. What started off as an innocent hobby has developed into a business and personal lifestyle—the couple purchased a restoration parts store in 1998, Boyd's Classic Chevy, for antique Chevrolet cars and trucks. Fran operates the parts portion of the business while Vernon runs the newly formed restoration and customizing shop. In 1990, the Boyds joined the Shelby County Wheels of Time Car Club and became involved with the social and political aspects of being a car enthusiast.

Fran Boyd identified the need for a unified car club coalition in Alabama when a bill was railroaded through the State Legislature that completely changed existing antique vehicle licensing laws. "Suddenly, without any warning, the cost of our vehicle license plates doubled and they removed our historical plating in exchange for an extremely restrictive license plating." Now, the Boyds and other Alabama hobbyists are concerned about more than just license plates. "Laws are being passed across the country, and now even in my home state, that prevent people from owning an unregistered car. This impacts restorers [who] want to buy a car for parts. The laws being passed allow the authorities to simply come onto your property and remove the unregistered vehicles, not only the car you are using parts from, but also the vehicle you are trying to restore. Without any notice at all, they can just come up and take the vehicles and have them destroyed," said Boyd.

To figure out how to start a club coalition, Boyd began sending newsletters to car clubs in Alabama, and contacted SEMA's Washington, D.C., office. "They have helped me tremendously by providing the names and contact information for several car club coalitions around the country that I have spoken to. They have provided wonderful information and insight that has helped us form a club coalition here in Alabama. Scott Cedergreen of the Washington Car Council and Paul High with the Eastern Nebraska, Western Iowa Car Council, in particular, helped us determine the direction to take."

Boyd gathered member representatives from Alabama car clubs and held the first meeting in March 1999. The group selected the name, Alabama Vehicle Council (AVC), and is now busy getting organized to address the issues that affect all Alabama auto enthusiasts.

As of May 10, the AVC has 97 members representing 10 clubs plus 4 businesses. The AVC also offers an associate membership for those enthusiasts that are not currently part of any club. According to Boyd, "The key people in putting together the Alabama Vehicle Council are Paul Lanier, his wife Sherri and daughter Amiee, Ray Halvorson, Price Howell, Bill Leonard, Brian McDougal and Michael Martin and Joe Molina. Paul Lanier is the president and Ray Halvorson is the secretary-treasurer while I am serving as the vice president." For more information contact Fran Boyd, Alabama Vehicle Council, P.O. Box 69, Calera, Ala. 35040.

CARZ (Citizens Against Repressive Zoning) Lends a Helping Hand

By Erin Mulholland

Based in Hanslett, Michigan, Jack Down, Ph.D., runs a little-known organization, Citizens Against Repressive Zoning—"CARZ" for short—to assist citizens nationwide with problems concerning zoning laws in their area.

Eleven years ago, Old Cars Weekly ran a story about a midwesterner who had been criminally cited for working on his car in his own driveway. At that time, Down sent in $5 toward a legal defense fund and an idea was born. Soon Down paired up with the like-minded Rob Altschuler of New York and together they organized and developed CARZ.

Now CARZ assists folks nationwide with information and help in legal cases. "We encourage people to fight," says Down.

Although CARZ is there to assist with any zoning problem, "Driving Force" readers will appreciate CARZ's vigor in defending the rights of vehicle restorers. "Inoperable vehicle laws are getting to be downright out of hand," Down lamented. "I know of instances where vehicles being used for parts to build or restore a vintage vehicle are being towed away and crushed without any notice to the owners. There was even one instance in Michigan where the local authorities cut down a man's fence to expose his parts cars so they could tow them away and destroy them."

At present, CARZ is funded through sales of its periodic bulletins, although recently a few new business members have contributed to help the CARZ cause. As their support and budget grow, a major CARZ goal is to grow a legal fund. Another is to develop a national list of attorneys willing to help citizens with zoning problems. With a couple of hundred individual members and a handful of business supporters, Down hopes CARZ is on its way. "I would love to hear from lawyers who will help," he adds. CARZ also hopes to convince a large legal foundation to take on some of the really tragic zoning cases. Further, the search is on to locate a contingent of attorneys in hotspot states, notably California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas, who CARZ can refer people to.

While zoning laws affect people in all walks of life, Down claims, "This is class warfare. The authorities are picking on the poor in many cases, and it simply must be stopped. We have worked with at least one person from each state of the union, and hope to hear from SEMA 'Driving Force' readers if they are having any problems."

To reach Down, call 517/351-6751, fax 517/339-4926 or e-mail him at malzoning@aol.com. Rob Altschuler can be reached at 914/739-0268 in New York. Citizens Against Repressive Zoning's address is P.O. Box 536, Haslett, Mich. 48840-0536.

Illinois Considering Scrappage

Count Illinois as the latest to join the list of states interested in crushing cars to gain some sort of imaginary emissions reduction. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) held public meetings to discuss a draft vehicle scrappage regulation with members of the public on June 23 in Springfield and June 25 in Chicago. The (IEPA) plans on formally proposing this scrappage rule with the Illinois Pollution Control Board later this summer.

The SEMA government affairs office contacted the IEPA to present the case against the proposed Illinois regulation and against scrappage in general. In addition, all Illinois SAN clubs and SEMA member companies have been informed and encouraged to oppose this proposed regulation. We will keep the SAN informed of this latest fight to keep yet another effort to crush cars in the supposed "public interest" from becoming a reality.

Summer Legislative Updates in Nebraska, Vermont, New York and California

As summer rolls in, many state legislatures are wrapping up their legislative business for the year. The following are brief legislative updates on bills that SEMA and the SEMA Action Network continue to track. Alerts on these items have appeared in previous editions of the "Driving Force" and hobbyists and SAN clubs in each state have been contacted.

Nebraska Nitrous Oxide (L.B. 688): Bowing to pressure from the SEMA and allied Nebraska SAN clubs, the legislature held a single hearing, but took no additional action on this bill to prohibit nitrous oxide and other fuel enhancers on state highways. Note, however, that L.B. 688 is a "carry-over," meaning that it can be considered again once the legislature reconvenes next January.

Vermont Scrappage (H.B. 378): The Vermont legislature recessed until January 2000 without considering the bill that would implement a vehicle scrappage program. Currently, H.B. 378 resides in the House Natural Resources Committee where an informal survey of Committee members suggests that it has little chance of passage. This bill is also a carry-over and could be reconsidered next year.

New York Bumper Heights (S.B. 3096 and A.B. 5740): These bills would ban pickup trucks with bumpers higher than 3 inches over the original stock configuration. Because the New York Legislature runs year-long, SEMA member companies and SAN members continue to monitor and oppose these bills.

New York Lighting (S.B. 4837): This bill to prohibit the installation of aftermarket vehicle lamps unless approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles currently resides in the Senate Transportation Committee. At present, the Committee has no plans to consider it. Nonetheless, SAN members and SEMA companies have been alerted and continue to monitor this legislation.

California Visual/Functional Emissions Testing (S.B. 1058): This bill seeks to create a "tailpipe only" emissions test, limiting visual and functional inspections that often discriminate against aftermarket equipment. The California Senate passed S.B. 1058 on April 24 which now moves to the House for consideration. The California Legislative Session runs through September, reconvening in January 1999. If necessary, this will be a carry-over bill.

California Repair/Upgrade (S.B. 1056): Authorizing a program offering emissions repair and upgrade as an alternative to crushing cars, S.B. 1056 has passed the California Senate Appropriations Committee. SEMA is actively shepherding this bill through the legislative process. It is a potential carry-over bill.

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.


Alaska H.B. 235: Allows municipality to adopt inoperable vehicle ordinance for abatement and removal, etc.


Oregon S.B. 1058: Exempts vehicles less than 4 years old from the requirement of certification for pollution control equipment standards.


Minnesota H.B. 2387: Requires Department of Safety to review vehicle lighting requirements and make recommendations.


Missouri H.B. 60, S.B. 498: Allows registration of historic plates more than 25 years old, provided configuration is not identical to configuration of already issued plates.

Nebraska L.R. 164: Resolution providing for study to examine titling and registration of historic and assembled motor vehicles.

New Jersey S.B. 1894: Allows vehicles of model year 1945 or older to display front model year plate; allows historic vehicles to display rear and front model year plates.

Pennsylvania H.B. 1536: Allows antique and classic motorcycles or motor vehicles to display year-of-manufacture front plates.


Oklahoma S.B. 319: Requires the Department of Public Safety to promulgate regulations for the inspection of rebuilt vehicles.

July SAN Club Events


    July 16-18, Ariz.
    Horizontally Opposed7 Springs Cookout
    Sponsor: Horizontally Opposed Car Club
    Information: 602/434-5232


    July 31-August 1, Pomona, Calif.
    GoodGuys West Coast Hot Rod Happenin'
    Sponsor: GoodGuys Rod and Custom Association
    Information: 925/838-9876


    July 2-3, Melbourne, Fla.
    24th Annual Rod Run
    Sponsor: Space Coast Street Rods
    Information: 407/632-3379


    July 11, Caldwell, Idaho
    All Truck Show and Shine
    Sponsor: The Big Guys
    Information: 208/459-3046


    July 18, McHenry, Ill.
    3rd Annual Gary Lang Car Show
    Sponsor: Ponitac-Oakland Club, Illinois Chapter
    Information: 708/371-0306


    July 1-4, Council Bluffs, Iowa
    "Blast From the Past" Car Show
    Sponsor: Late Great Chevy Association
    Information: 402-895-0629

    July 2-4, Des Moines, Iowa
    8th Annual GoodGuys Heartland Nationals
    Sponsor: GoodGuys Rod and Custom Association
    Information: 925/838-9876


    July 16-18, Ky.
    The Kentucky Challenge Trailride
    Sponsor: United Four Wheel Drive Associations
    Information: 606/842-3606


    July 3, Easton, Md.
    Charity Cruise-In Benefiting Vietnam Veterans
    Sponsor: Chesapeake Classic Car Club
    Information: 410/364 5784

    July 11, Glen Burnie, Md.
    10th Annual "Christmas in July" Salvation Army Toy Run
    Sponsor: Lost in the '50s Custom Car Club
    Information: 410/747-7478

    July 18, Ft. Smallwood, Md.
    Rod Run and Picnic
    Sponsor: Vintage Tin Street Rod Club of Maryland
    Information: 410/255-5269


    July 3-10, Sand Dune, Mich.
    Annual Michigan Tour
    Sponsor: IOK 4-Wheelers
    Information: 812/432-5075

    July 16-18, Silver Lake, Mich.
    "Scout" the Dunes
    Sponsor: Scout and International Motor Truck Association
    Information: 317/861-5364


    July 23-25, Hastings, Minn.
    10th Annual National Red Power Roundup
    Sponsor: Northern Scouts
    Information: 612/757-5383


    July 10-11, N.H.
    Electric Avenue Campout
    Sponsor: Eastern 4-Wheelers
    Information: 203/265-4555


    July 3, White Plains, N.Y.
    Nash Car Show
    Sponsor: Nash Car Club of America
    Information: 718/343-1261


    July 9-11, Columbus, Ohio
    2nd Annual GoodGuys Nationals
    Sponsor: GoodGuys Rod and Custom Association
    Information: 925/838-9876


    July 9-11, Oklahoma City, Okla.
    16th Annual NSRA Southwest Street Rod Nationals
    Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
    Information: 724/932-3747


    July 13-17, Springfield, Oreg.
    Model A Ford Club of America, Northwest Regional Meet
    Sponsor: Model A Ford Club of America
    Information: 541/746-0295


    July 9-11, Carlisle, Pa.
    Chryslers at Carlisle
    Sponsor: Carlisle Productions
    Information: 717/243-7855

    July 11, Erie, Pa.
    Erie County "Off-Rodeo"
    Sponsor: Erie County Mudmushers
    Information: 814/868-5308

    July 17-18, York, Pa.
    4th Annual All Breeds Jeep Show
    Sponsor: PA Jeeps Inc.
    Information: 717/846-9295

    July 17-18, Dornsife, Pa.
    "Drags and Obstacles"
    Sponsor: Line Mountain 4-Wheelers
    Information: 717/648-9713

    July 18, Scranton, Pa.
    28th Annual Scranton Region Antique Car Show
    Sponsor: AACA, Scranton Region
    Information: 570/341-7862

    July 18, Doylestown, Pa.
    Run With the Angels Show and Shine
    Sponsor: Doylestown Road Angels Street Rod Club
    Information: 215/257-7618

    July 30-August 1, Carlisle, Pa.
    Summer Carlisle Swap Meet and Car Corral
    Sponsor: Carlisle Productions
    Information: 717/243-7855


    July 26-August 1, Nashville, Tenn.
    Hudson-Essex-Terraplane National Meet
    Sponsor: Hudson-Essex Terraplane Club of America
    Information: 651/225-9050


    July 16-18, Payallup, Wash.
    GoodGuys Pacific Northwest Nationals
    Sponsor: GoodGuys Rod and Custom Association
    Information: 925/838-9876