By Scott R. Cedergreen, President, Washington Car Club Council
It is once again time for our legislature to conduct business for the state of Washington. Among the many bills already introduced are two that the Washington Car Club Council (WCCC) has requested. Both deal with collectible automobiles and both should be of great interest to automotive hobbyists both here and in other states.
House Bill 1174 (H.B. 1174) would prohibit local areas from implementing an ordinance or land-use regulation that prevents automobile collectors from pursuing their hobby. Collector vehicles would only be required to be maintained and stored by the owner out of ordinary public view by means of inside storage, suitable fencing, trees, shrubbery or topography. This bill would include any vehicles that qualify as "junk vehicles."
House Bill 1175 (H.B. 1175) would redefine a "street rod" to include vehicles and materials manufactured after 1949 to resemble those manufactured before 1949. The new definition would also encompass bodies constructed of nonoriginal material or those altered dimensionally, or in shape and appearance, from the original manufactured body. Current law maintains that these parts must be all original steel. As each year passes, 1948 and older car bodies become more and more difficult to locate and become increasingly costly to restore to useable condition. Fiberglass replacement bodies have become increasingly popular as the cost of the body becomes more viable in comparison to restoration of a steel body. Additionally, the street rod hobby is starting to see steel reproduction bodies become available. The WCCC believes that the use of a reproduction body in a street rod project should not change the status of the vehicle from a street rod to an "assembled vehicle" in Washington state.
Both of these bills need your support to show legislators that there is interest from Washington residents to have these bills become law. Here is how you can support them. The Washington state legislature operates a toll-free legislative hotline (800/562-6000) that allows you to express your opinion on pending legislation. When you call, an operator will ask your name and address in order to identify your legislative district. You do not have to know who your legislators are, the operator will be able to identify them for you. You can then ask the operator to send your message to both the state representatives, the state senator and the governor. Your message may be as simple as, "I want my legislators to support this bill," or may include reasons why the bill is important to you. This information will be delivered to your legislators and you will usually receive a message back from them in the form of a postcard, letter or phone call.
Your relatives, friends and co-workers can also call to show support for these two bills. The most important thing to remember is to call as soon as possible to express support so your legislators will know there is a great deal of interest in these bills. This will help them to move swiftly through the legislative process and become enacted into law. Do it today!
'Working Together' -- Four-Wheel-Drive Groups Lend Support
As part of "Driving Force's" effort to highlight how vehicle clubs work together for the common good, we contacted several clubs active in the national four-wheel-drive community. SAN contacts Carla Boucher, Barry Kellerman, Dale Clifford and Gene King were kind enough to share their thoughts on the 4x4 community's educational and political efforts in support of the vehicle hobby as a whole. Their comments were strikingly similar and very encouraging.
Overwhelmingly, these contacts believe that all vehicle niches need to work more closely together for maximum political effect. Kellerman, VP of the East Coast Four Wheel Drive Association noted, "When it comes to lending support for an issue, even if it doesn't affect an individual directly, he or she should be active. In the end we are the same. Whether it's a muscle car or a raised vehicle, our hobby has four wheels and a motor."
King, land-use chairman for Colorado's Mile Hi Jeep Club, echoed this sentiment, "It's all a common cause even if it doesn't affect one group directly."
Each representative also touched upon issues that bond vehicle enthusiasts with each other. Boucher, legislative advocate for the United Four Wheel Drive Associations, pointed out how both street rodders and raised-vehicle enthusiasts would have suffered had hobbyists and SEMA not defeated a proposed Maryland raised vehicle regulation last year. "Parts of that lift regulation would have had a horrible impact on street rodders as well as [raised vehicle enthusiasts] by ruling out the alteration of suspension points," said Boucher.
Clifford, editor of "International Happenings" for the Scout and International Truck Association added, "We have a lot of things in common with antique-car owners and restorers. Because our vehicles are not produced anymore, we have the same problems with parts availability and the same concerns about issues like unfair emissions testing and inoperable vehicle legislation that they do.
This sense of community and cooperation wasn't always so obvious in the off-highway vehicle community. Each contact maintains that years ago there wasn't nearly the political awareness that there is today. Education and networking are changing this. "Ten to 12 years ago the [issues that affect the sport] weren't publicized and communicated to the public as well," noted Kellerman.
Boucher added, "Four-by-four enthusiasts were always willing to help, but didn't know how. Networking and using the contacts available, like the SEMA Action Network, is the second part of the equation." Clearly the lines of communication are now open.
When asked what the ultimate goal of all vehicle clubs working together was, each 4x4 club contact suggested that the goal was simple: By protecting all vehicles, regardless of model or type, we protect a way of life.
Motorsports Explorers, Post 1320 -- Developing Young Minds; Building Fast Cars
By Andy Lauer, Member, Boy Scouts of America, Motorsports Explorer Post 1320
In my opinion, there's not a whole lot of fun things to do in my spare time without being hassled. The Motorsports Explorers Post 1320 has opened a new doorway of positive things to do.
The Motorsports Explorers is the only scouting group of its kind, combining motorsports with scouting and endorsed by the National Hot Rod Association. The purpose of the Post is to help teens, some of whom may have had family or drug problems, and keep them out of trouble by teaching them about motorsports and possibly starting a career path. We don't just learn about racing and how an engine runs, we also learn marketing, sales and communication skills. The Motorsports Explorers is also an official group for the "Race Against Drugs" program in Pennsylvania. We have also been nominated for the next nationally distributed "Race Against Drugs" poster, which we are currently seeking sponsors to help fund.
The Explorer Post has acquired a Top Alcohol Funny Car that has been donated by driver Russell Prince. We take the car to several shows per year to promote our sponsors and to talk to other young race fans.
At age 17, and a member of the Post for about 3 years, I've learned a lot. I've learned about racing, engines and what mistakes not to make. Most importantly, I have gained more self confidence and the determination to reach my goal to race a Super Comp dragster. I know that I can do whatever I want if I put my mind to it.
The Post wouldn't be here for me today if it wasn't for our sponsors and Post leader Ginny McNally, who came up with the idea of combining motorsports with scouting. The idea started by Post leader Joe McNally taking a few underprivileged kids to a couple of races a year. This went on for several years until they developed the idea to organize a motorsports-oriented scouting group. It keeps kids off the streets and focuses our energy into positive activities like building cars.
For the past 2 years, we have taken our project cars to the Miller Motorsports Show in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. This year, our third time at the show (the Pennzoil Motorsports Show), instead of bringing our project cars to our 1800-sq.-ft. exhibit, we showed "The History of Drag Racing," with Bruce Larson's 1968 Camaro Funny Car, The Chicken Coop Special, the Young Guns' "Hot Rod From Hell" and Jake Vargo's "Flying Chestnut." We also had a guest appearance by "Big Daddy" Don Garlits.
Speaking for the 20 other guys and girls of the Post, I believe that we all learned a lot from talking with the drivers that we were fortunate enough to have with us. It was a great time for us to promote our sponsors and to talk to people at the show.
I also believe that some of the world's nicest people are those who work in the motorsports industry. Everybody seems to care about everybody else and they are always willing to give a helping hand. At the Pennzoil Show this past January, the Explorers gained the support and sponsorship of Pennzoil thanks to Area Manager Tom Jensen. Jensen and the rest of his staff were extremely kind to us.
If you would like to contact the Motorsports Explorers, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Joe McNally at 215/674-3067; fax to 215/674-2267.
Street Rodders Gather in Central Pennsylvania
Members of the Mid-Atlantic Street Rod Association (MASRA) recently made their annual pilgrimage to Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, the site of MASRA's winter meeting. The MASRA traditional winter meeting serves as a forum to discuss issues and events, honor member clubs and individuals, and provide legislative and regulatory updates affecting street rodders.
This year's meeting kicked off with an awards ceremony to honor the Street Rodders, Lady Street Rodders and Custom Rodders of the Year. Also, an announcement was made about an upcoming street rod and custom show to be held in Macungie, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, October 24. Sponsored by the Endless Summer Street Rod Club, the first-annual '99 Rod and Custom Show will be a non-profit event to benefit a scholarship fund created in memory of Gregory L. Hummer Jr., a 20-year-old street rodder who died in a car accident this past year. Donations and registration for the event ($8 pre-register, $10 at show), can be sent to the "Gregory L. Hummer Jr. Memorial Scholarship," 355 Grant St., Phillipsburg, N.J. 08865. Call 610/252-0361 for more information.
On the legislative side, SAN contact Gil Smith of the Vintage Tin Street Rod Club of Maryland reported that he is pushing legislation in Maryland that would include a 1948 and earlier street rod designation and a "custom" classification for vehicles made between 1949 and 1981. This effort stems from concerns that Maryland lacks appropriate vehicle registration categories. Vehicles that do meet the definition of a street rod are obtaining "street rod" tags simply because there is no other category they fit in. According to Smith, "The aim is to make sure that there is a proper registration available for the type of vehicle that you own or drive in Maryland. A whaletail on a Thunderbird is not a street rod and should not be registered as such."
At the invitation of SAN MASRA contact Mike Kramer, SEMA Research Coordinator Joe Hill was on hand to discuss SEMA Action Network successes and provide information on a Virginia bill to provide an emission exemption for vehicles 25 years and older. Members were also updated on the status of vehicle scrappage in California and other legislative and regulatory matters.
Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council (AAHC) Hosts Legislative Forum
By Bill Gilmore, AAHC
Adjacent to the annual Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction held each January in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council (AAHC) convened its first-annual "United We Drive" National Automotive Legislative Conference and Hobbyist Forum. All eight national organizations active in our hobby's legislative affairs were invited to the event and all accepted the invitation.
Walter Haessner, president of the International Society for Vehicle Preservation, agreed to act as moderator. Other attendees included Butch DeZuzio, president of the Council of Vehicle Associations; Jack Down, Ph.D., president of Citizens Against Repressive Zoning; auto writer Stella Pyrtek-Blond and Charlie Peters of Clean Air Performance Professionals; Dan Godzich, representing the Coalition for Auto Repair Equity; and Frank Bohanan, director of technical affairs for the Specialty Equipment Market Association.
Despite major road construction and dangerously high winds, the AAHC conference attracted 70 people, a record attendance for any AAHC legislative meeting. In fact, speakers from the national organizations said that this was one of the biggest turnouts of hobbyists they knew of for any automotive legislative conference in the country. The conference was full of politically active hobbyists, car club presidents and newsletter editors, four past AAHC presidents as well as the current president and board. Arizona vehicle clubs met and discussed issues with the national organizations—truly a historic meeting of minds.
When all was said and done, everyone agreed that this family-oriented vehicle hobby was worth defending and that we should keep our eyes on the government regulators and corporate emissions credit traders. Everyone also agreed that more hobbyist networking was necessary and that we should build from and continue to hold this annual forum because it's "United We Drive and Divided We Park."
SAN National Club Profile: Volvo Club of America
By Erin Mulholland
For 17 years, the Volvo Club of America (VCOA) has supported its nationwide network of members concerning ownership, restoration, maintenance and simple enjoyment of Volvo vehicles. What started in 1982 as a small group of Volvo enthusiasts in Virginia has blossomed into a network of 25 chapters and more than 3,500 members nationwide. Every model of Volvo is represented, including current President Steve Seekins' 1968 Model 122.
Seekins, one of seven original VCOA founders, has recently been busy with interviews concerning the purchase of Volvo by Ford Motor Co. According to Seekins, VCOA feels the purchase by Ford was "…an inevitable occurrence. It's impossible to survive these days as a small independent. The concern of many VCOA members is the use by Ford of the Volvo name. If the Volvo badge loses value concerning safety and value, it will kill its reputation in the long run."
As a not-for-profit corporation, VCOA offers regular and associate (family member) memberships, and produces a magazine, Rolling, to keep members informed about events, happenings and the concerns of Volvo owners. A few of VCOA's annual events include the Carlisle Import Festival each May, Volvo Cars of North America's annual Owners Open House, and the annual Owner's Meet held each July. This year, the Owner's Meet, in Santa Rosa, California, will include a swap meet, tech sessions, local tours and banquets.
A Board of Directors is selected at the annual meet, and VCOA hosts to two to four board meetings each year. Careful planning goes into the administration and policy development of the club, the publishing of Rolling, planning and execution of the annual meet, charter chapters and interfacing with the manufacturer through Volvo Cars of North America. Additionally, VCOA operates a web site, http://www.vcoa.org/ that provides Volvo enthusiasts with technical assistance and information.
Legislatively, VCOA involves itself in safety and quality issues (like air bags) as they affect Volvos, as well as federal and state legislative and regulatory issues that affect members. VCOA avoids taking particular stands on issues. Rather, it gathers information for members to utilize and urges VCOA members to contact their legislative representatives when appropriate. Seekins believes the SAN is an invaluable tool in keeping VCOA members informed. "It is impossible for a small club like ours to keep track of what is happening legislatively in all states as well as the federal government."
On the local level, a few of the 25 chapters are actually car registries serving particular Volvo models. Each local chapter is required to have a minimum of 12 VCOA members, elect its own officials and organize the club around its own specific needs. The chapters each have at least one chapter coordinator and a treasurer to collect local dues and other funds that are received on the local level. Charitable activities are produced at the local level and have benefited many different causes and charities nationwide.
Virginia Inoperable Vehicle Bill Tramples on Hobbyists Rights
A bill has been introduced in the Virginia legislature that would allow certain local areas to prohibit the storage of inoperable vehicles on residential, commercial or agricultural property. The bill also allows local officials to remove and dispose of an inoperable vehicle after "reasonable notice" to the owner. The bill does not apply to vehicles that are completely enclosed within a building or structure or shielded from public view. However, this measure would grant authority to local areas to limit the number of inoperable vehicles that can be kept outside of an enclosed building.
SEMA Director of State Relations Steve McDonald said, "This bill directly impinges on the rights of collectors and restorers in Virginia to maintain their vehicles on privately held property and represents another egregious example of excessive and intrusive government intervention."
SAN has alerted Virginia hobbyists to this bill and has urged them to contact their legislators in opposition.
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.
CALIFORNIA S.B. 230 would repeal the requirement that anyone registering an out-of-state vehicle that is 1975 or newer in California must pay a $300 smog impact fee.
CALIFORNIA A.B. 158 would repeal the state's enhanced inspection and maintenance program.
CALIFORNIA S.B. 212 would establish an enhanced I/M program in any upwind district that the Air Resources Board has determined makes an overwhelming or significant contribution to ozone levels in a downwind area.
MINNESOTA S.B. 69 (S.B. 15, S.B. 18, H.B. 7, H.B. 162) would repeal the state's motor vehicle emission inspection program.
OHIO H.B. 24 would require the Director of Environmental Protection to negotiate with the U.S. EPA to explore alternatives to the emission inspection and maintenance program.
OHIO H.B. 25 would give a tax credit in the amount of the fees paid by vehicle owners to have their vehicles inspected under the state's emission inspection program.
VIRGINIA H.B. 2121 would delete an existing provision that prevents vehicles with missing or inoperable pollution control equipment from obtaining a safety inspection approval sticker.
COLORADO H.B. 1033 would require vehicles that have been raised to be equipped with splash guards.
HAWAII H.B. 78 would allow owners of inoperable vehicles to apply to the county for suspension of the vehicle's registration and reimbursement of registration fees for that year.
NEW YORK A.B. 468 would prohibit a seller, supplier or distributor of automotive refinish material, labeled "for professional use only" and containing material that generates hazardous waste, from selling such refinish material to the general public.
RHODE ISLAND H.B. 5191 would prohibit an individual from purchasing or possessing enamel, acrylic or lacquer paint unless that individual possesses a license to operate an auto body repair shop or automobile dealership.
PLATES & REGISTRATION
CONNECTICUT S.B. 772 would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue titles to antique vehicles that have passed all safety inspection requirements.
CONNECTICUT H.B. 6324 would provide for a refund of registration fees for antique motor vehicles if the registration is terminated.
INDIANA S.B. 638 (H.B. 2063) would allow owners of antique vehicles to display one or two license plates that are either authentic from the vehicle's year of manufacture or a reproduction.
LOUISIANA S.B. 75 would lower the fee for antique license plates from $75 to $50 and eliminate the registration fee for plates issued after August 15, 1999.
NEBRASKA L.B. 641 would allow qualifying vehicles to receive a "historical" vehicle title. The measure would also require vehicle owners to furnish bills of sale for the vehicle's components if the vehicle was assembled from more than one source.
RHODE ISLAND H.B. 5088 would allow owners of antique vehicles to display a special "antique" license plate or a year of manufacture license plate.
ARKANSAS H.B. 1145 would define "street rod" as an antique automobile or truck made by an American manufacturer in 1948 or earlier which has undergone some type of modification. The bill would also allow owners to display special "street rod" license plates upon payment of a $50 fee.
RHODE ISLAND H.B. 5298 would remove current restrictions on antique vehicles allowing them to be used for general transportation and would exempt them from the state's inspection requirements.
RHODE ISLAND H.B. 5172 would repeal requirement that insurers offer coverage for antique, specialty or high-performance vehicles.
March SAN Club Events
March 13-14, Tucson, Arizona
Swap Meet and Sunday Car Show
Sponsor: Tucson Street Rod Association
Information: Mike McGoffin, 520/544-2739
March 12-14, Bakersfield, California
GoodGuys 40th March Meet
Sponsor: GoodGuys Rod and Custom Association
March 26-28, Pomona, California
SEMA Import Auto Salon
Sponsor: Specialty Equipment Market Association
March 27-28, Pleasanton, California
GoodGuys All-American Get Together
Sponsor: GoodGuys Rod and Custom Association
March 13, Brandon, Florida
18th-Annual Mustang, Shelby and Ford Roundup
Sponsor: Classic Mustangs of Tampa
Information: Bill Eggleston, 813/961-4776
March 13-14, Titusville, Florida
1999 Car Show and Air Show at Space Coast Regional Airport
Sponsor: Vintage Vehicles of Titusville
Information: Bob Arnold: 407/269-6286
March 20, Gainesville, Florida
Sponsor: Gainesville Street Rods
Information: Curt James, 352/332-5984
March 21, Fruitland Park, Florida
Florida Packard Club Spring Meet
Sponsor: Florida Packard Club
Information: Joe Ezell, 352/728-2848
March 21, Englewood, Florida
13th-Annual Open Car Show
Sponsor: AACA, Lemon Bay Region
Information: Bud Keeler, 941/475-8012
March 27, Tallahassee, Florida
Springtime Tallahassee Antique Car Show
Sponsor: AACA, Tallahassee Region
Information: Ken Hart, 850/878-3983
March 7, Stevensville, Maryland
Annual Legislative Breakfast Meeting (SEMA will attend)
Sponsor: Kent Island Cruisers
Information: Bob Sitar, 410/643-4582
March 14, Lincoln, Nebraska
26th-Annual Rocky Manginelli Memorial Swap Meet and Car Corral
Sponsor: Eastern Nebraska/Western Iowa Car Council
Information: Jim Snyder, 402/786-2427
March 19-21, Laughlin, Nevada
Sponsor: Squire SS-100 Registry
Information: Arthur Stahl, 602/893-9451
March 14, Cowtown, New Jersey
28th-Annual Cowtown Antique Auto Parts Flea Market
Sponsor: AACA, South Jersey Region
March 28, Princeton, New Jersey
15th-Annual Swap Meet and Auto Show
Sponsor: Jersey Late Greats Inc.
Information: Maureen, 609/299-5372
March 21, Scranton, Pennsylvania
Annual Automobilia, Collectable & Toy Flea Market and Car Corral
Sponsor: AACA, Scranton Region
Information: Jim Lyons, 570/876-3978
March 14, Puyallup, Washington
4x4 Off-Road and High Performance Swap Meet
Sponsor: Spanaway Moonshiners Jeep Club
Information: Dan Marek, 253/537-3172