SEMA Action Network Honors Legislator and Friend to the Hobby
The SEMA Action Network (SAN) honored Virginia Delegate James Dillard (R-Fairfax) as a "friend to the motor vehicle hobby" for his leadership in enacting legislation (H.B. 1522) to exempt motor vehicles 25 years old and older from mandatory emissions inspections. Governor Jim Gilmore signed the bill into law earlier this year. The new law provides for a rolling 25-year exemption that exempts pre-1975 vehicles upon enactment and picks up an additional model year for each year the law is in effect. Previous law in Virginia only exempted vehicles manufactured prior to the 1968 model year.
Working hand-in-hand with SEMA, Delegate Dillard undertook an intensive statewide campaign to involve car clubs, enthusiasts, aftermarket industry members and like-minded legislators in Virginia's General Assembly in pushing for the bill's approval. "After last year's disappointing defeat of identical legislation, we appreciate the persistence of the many Virginia legislators, particularly Delegate Dillard, who vowed to fight the good fight on behalf of the state's vehicle hobbyists," said SEMA Director of Government and Technical Affairs Steve McDonald. "The gentleman from Virginia was convinced that older vehicles constitute a small portion of the vehicle fleet, are generally well-maintained, infrequently operated and have a minimal impact on the environment. Thanks to Delegate Dillard, H.B. 1522 represents clear relief for Virginia's vehicle enthusiasts."
SEMA and SAN members nationwide continue to consistently support state legislative actions that acknowledge the minimal impact of classic and antique vehicles on vehicle emissions and air quality. These actions also allow vehicle hobbyists to enjoy their older vehicles without fear of unfair treatment at emissions inspections.
To date, SEMA- and SAN-supported efforts in California, Washington and now Virginia have all resulted in hobbyist-supported "rolling" emissions exemptions. Virginia SAN organizations actively involved in passing this legislation include the Virginia Automobile Protective Society, Southwest Virginia Car Club Council, Central Virginia Car Club Council, Roanoke Valley Mopar Club, Northern Virginia Corvette Club, Southeastern Virginia Mustang Club and Virginia members of the United Four-Wheel-Drive Associations.
"The perseverance exhibited by Delegate Dillard in shepherding this initiative through the legislature proved to be the determining factor in the bill's passage," said SAN Director Brian Caudill. "Through his efforts this year and last, Delegate Dillard has shown himself to be a true friend of the vehicle hobby and a legislator of whom his Northern Virginia constituents can be proud."
For his work, SAN awarded Delegate Dillard with a framed certificate of appreciation on behalf of the SAN community in Virginia. Should you or your club wish to thank him personally, write to: Delegate James Dillard, Virginia House of Delegates, State Capitol, P.O. Box 406, Richmond, Va. 23218.
Despite Strong Opposition, Scrappage Programs Loom in Illinois...
Over the objections of Illinois car enthusiasts, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has adopted a program to crush cars for emissions credits. In doing so, IEPA continues to ignore the real-world facts about scrapping old cars:
1) Older cars are infrequently used, generally well-maintained and not a good source of emissions reductions;
2) "Crusher" programs, as evidenced in California and other states, are difficult to police and subject to fraud;
3) Scrappage threatens enthusiasts with the loss of valuable rare parts and vehicles for restoration projects;
4) Scrapped cars typically are second or third vehicles rarely driven in the first place;
5) Lower income car owners often cannot afford to purchase new vehicles-let alone "cleaner" vehicles-with the money provided by scrappage programs.
IEPA officials also rejected emission system repair and upgrade as an alternative to scrappage, despite mounting evidence that repair/upgrade programs are more cost-effective, environmentally sound and socially responsible.
Its support of scrappage notwithstanding, IEPA did respond to some concerns that SEMA and Illinois hobbyists raised. In the regulation, IEPA excluded vehicles 25 years old or older from scrappage and provided that a vehicle may not be scrapped until 21 days after notifying parties with an interest in purchasing the vehicle or parts.
While SEMA appreciates IEPA's efforts to provide notice and to protect older cars, we remain hopeful that it will take a broader view of scrappage and its effects on future generations of car hobbyists. Finally, SEMA is looking into possible legislative solutions.
SEMA would like to acknowledge Illinois SAN members who worked so hard to oppose this scrappage program: the Vintage Chevrolet Club-Central Illinois Region, Shelby Club of America-Northern Illinois Region, Northern Mustang Corral, Northern Illinois Fiero Enthusiasts, Illinois Bentley Drivers Club, Chicagoland Walter P. Chrysler and Buick Clubs, Northern Illinois Impala Club, Cruisin' Tigers GTO Club and the Pontiac-Oakland Club.
...And in Texas
The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) adopted a regulation to implement a vehicle scrappage program. The regulation will affect vehicle owners in a number of Texas counties. The regulation comes on the heels of a failed effort by the Texas legislature to implement a car-crusher program which was beaten back by a coalition of far-sighted legislators, car enthusiasts, SEMA and SAN members. By adopting this regulation, the TNRCC has effectively circumvented the legislative process, acting counter to the wishes of the Texas legislature and Texas voters.
The scrappage plan was overwhelmingly opposed by SEMA-member companies, local chapters of the Sierra Club and other Texas-based environmental groups, the Antique Automobile Club of America and the American Automobile Association. Many Texas SAN members also opposed the plan. They include members of the Lone Star Street Rod Association, Houston Mopar Connection Club, Vintage Thunderbird Club of Houston, North Texas VW Club, National Motorists Association, TX Chapter and the Plymouth Owners Club, High Plains Region. Even members of the Texas Rangers baseball team opposed the program through its affiliation with the Dick Bosman Street Rod Club (Bosman is the Rangers' pitching coach).
"We are continuing to analyze the program to identify weaknesses and inconsistencies," noted SEMA Director of Government and Technical Affairs Steve McDonald. "If necessary, we will pursue a bill next January to repeal the program before too many vintage and potential vintage vehicles are destroyed."
Senate Passes CAFE Freeze
On the heels of an overwhelming victory for sport utility and light-truck enthusiasts in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate also approved a 1-year extension to the freeze on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. For the past 6 years, CAFE standards have been frozen at 27.5 mpg for cars and 20.7 for light trucks and SUVs. Automakers and SEMA have consistently argued that any rise in CAFE standards would force manufacturers to limit consumer vehicle choice, particularly in the popular SUV and light-truck market. A CAFE rise would force automakers to either curtail production of these vehicles or make them more expensive or less powerful in order to meet fuel economy targets.
The Senate added language to its bill requiring the National Academy of Sciences to perform an independent study of CAFE standards. The study would analyze what impact stricter CAFE standards would have on motor vehicle safety, the environment, the economy and the automotive industry. This provision is acceptable to the auto industry because the study will be submitted to Congress, which will then use the findings to determine whether CAFE should be increased. The legislation was sent to a House-Senate conference committee for final action.
New Jersey Withdraws Proposal to Regulate Racetrack Noise
In a victory for New Jersey's drag racing enthusiasts, SEMA and the NHRA, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has withdrawn a proposed rule to reestablish noise restrictions for racetracks. New Jersey racetracks have been exempt from noise restrictions since 1971, but were encouraged to enter into "good neighbor" voluntary agreements with surrounding areas to address hours of operation, etc.
The draft proposed rule would have drastically impacted track operation and the drag racing sport and hobby in New Jersey by severely limiting track operating hours, requiring mufflers on racing vehicles and requiring tracks to certify that "street-legal" vehicles comply with New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicle standards.
The DEP will continue reviewing the issue to determine if there are better approaches to regulating racetrack noise.
Hey, Is that My Car?! Driving Force Needs MORE Pictures...
Thanks to all who have sent in or e-mailed photos, efforts to replenish our photo library and continue publishing an informative-as well as visually appealing-newsletter are going well...But we need more!
We need MORE restoration process pictures, MORE junkyard pictures, MORE street rod pictures, MORE antique/classic pictures, MORE import performance pictures and MORE lifted 4x4 pictures. Continue sending us MORE photos of your trail rides, rod runs, car shows, charity events or drag races. Also, if it is okay with club members, give us permission to reproduce images used on your web sites.
Submit pictures to SEMA, 1317 F St., NW, Ste. 500, Washington, D.C. 20004. You may also send high-resolution e-mail pictures to email@example.com. While we regret that we cannot return any pictures to you, take heart that next time we do a story focusing on your segment of the automobile hobby, we may use your ride as the example.
Chuck Hanson and the American Chevelle Enthusiasts Society (ACES) Threw a Big-Time Bash in Nashville
By William Groak
Nashville was music to ears of hundreds of Chevelle lovers because that was the site of this year's annual car club party, Chevell-abration 2000. Orchestrated by Chuck Hanson and the American Chevelle Enthusiasts Society (ACES), the 4th annual Chevell-abration was just that: a 3-day fun fest wrapped around classic Chevelles, Malibus and El Caminos. Or as Hanson described it: "A weekend-long picnic of power and pulchritude with plenty to see and do on the side."
Hanson is the president and founder of ACES, a national organization dedicated to the preservation of all 1964-72 Chevelles, Malibus and El Caminos. The Mid-South Chevelles, one of 26 ACES associate clubs, was the host of this year's Chevell-abration event. Hanson said the current membership of ACES is at about 4,000, including foreign members.
There's also about 6,000 cars in the membership and about 400 of the beauties were at Chevell-abration 2000. Hanson said some folks arrived from as faraway places as California, Washington, Canada, Puerto Rico, Texas, Colorado, Michigan, Maine and Florida.
"This was the largest gathering ever of America's favorite muscle car," said Hanson. "The park was filled to capacity with shimmering sheet metal and thousands of bodies slathered in sunscreen." There were several informative seminars all 3 days of the event, on everything from restoration techniques to performance upgrades. Many family events were featured, including tire-changing contests, tug-o-wars, "slooow" drags and die-cast model racing. More than 70 classic Chevelles made their way to Music City Raceway for a night at the 1/8-mile drags. There was an informal Show 'N Shine and the awards banquet featured real Southern-style, slow-cooked barbecue in a picnic setting under a huge tent. More than a hundred awards were presented to, as Hanson noted, "deserving winners."
Hanson said Chevell-abration was "a monster success," but knows classic car clubs are always in jeopardy due to government legislation such as scrappage programs. "We recently joined SAN [the SEMA Action Network] and plan on sharing items of pertinent interest with the membership through our house organ, Chevelle World," Hanson said. "I imagine that responses to the editorial would be forthcoming. Certainly any legislation that threatens the personal freedom of engaging in the automotive hobby in any way, shape or form would be a concern."
Hanson said that legislative watchdog groups such as the SAN can help a club against governmental laws and regulations that could harm the hobby. "SAN helps by keeping us informed at the club level so we can share that information with the club members." Hanson added that he'd "be happy to make room for an informed speaker to address our group at next year's Chevell-abration (tentatively set for June 7-9, 2001, Nashville). We presented 10 seminars this year on topics of interest to our members. I'd also welcome any suitable editorial for inclusion in Chevelle World."
For more info on ACES or Chevell-abration, visit www.chevelles.com on the web or call 615/773-ACES (2237).
WE GET LETTERS
Off-Highway Enthusiasts ARE Environmentalists
In a showing of support as the environmental stewards they are, many motorized OHV enthusiasts from the Pacific North West 4 Wheel Drive Association, Oregon BushHackers, Pacific Land Rovers, Brush Busters, Jolly Jeepers, and various other 4x4, motorcycle, all-terrain-vehicle and snowmobile clubs participated in the Apr. 29, 2000 Stop Oregon Litter & Vandalism (SOLV) cleanup of the Tillamook State Forest in Oregon's breath-taking northern coastal mountain range.
This annual forest cleanup has traditionally been highly attended by Sierra Club members, but this year, one of its more active members noted: "Our absence was especially humiliating considering the fact that 50-plus off-road vehicle enthusiasts showed up to pull cars and sofas out of the forest. (Who is the environmentalist here?)"
We removed 20 cubic yards of garbage, 3 tons of scrap metal, 368 tires and seven abandoned vehicles. I just wanted to point out how environmentally aware the off-highway vehicle community is, and who the real environmentalists are: us, the tax-paying public who access our lands and actually did the work of caring for our environment. Visit www.odf.state.or.us/tsf/solv.htm to learn more about SOLV 2000 cleanup of the Tillamook State Forest.
- Pete Poling, Pacific Northwest
4 Wheel Drive Association, Region 3
Proof That Repair/Upgrade Works
Just a short report on Arizona's repair and upgrade program, a program that [defeated the powerful oil industry lobbyists and] took the words "scrappage" and "vehicle retirement" out of the vocabulary of Arizona's legislators.
Our first full year is complete and we have great news for fellow hobbyists: 1,556 vehicles have gone through this program [with 37 undergoing installation of emission system upgrade equipment]. Our program has removed 400 tons of pollution from the Arizona skies at an unbelievable cost of $594 per ton.
We have been told our figure is the lowest price per ton reduction in the country. If you have a better figure, send it to SEMA as we can only hope to set the stage and not occupy it forever. We truly hope other states can put together a similar program to clean the air at a low cost and, of course, keep our "pride and joys" on the roadways of our great nation.
Now the best news! Due to the success of the vital program, the Arizona legislature passed a newly authorized budget of $2.7 million to continue the work of this important program. You can bet your bottom dollar we are going to keep this great program going for a long, long time.
-Bill Buck, Arizona
SEMA Government Relations Office
1317 F St., NW, Ste. 500
Washington, D.C. 20004
202/783-6007 Fax 202/783-6024
August SAN Club Events
Aug. 12, El Segundo
Old Town Music Hall Tour
Sponsor: AACA, Southern California Region
Aug. 25-27, Pleasanton
14th Annual West Coast Nationals
Sponsor: Goodguys Rod and Custom Association
Aug. 27, San Jose
Progressive Dinner and Poker Run
Sponsor: Early Ford V-8 Club, Mission Trail Region
Aug. 26-27, Kuna
Gearheads Beach Weekend
Sponsor: The Big Guys
Aug. 6, Edgebrook Woods
Car Show/Block Party
Sponsor: Chicago Gearheads
Aug. 20, Aurora
10th Annual Orphan Auto Picnic
Sponsor: Chicagoland Corvair Enthusiasts
Aug. 27, Oak Brook
10th Annual Indian Uprising
All Pontiac show
Sponsor: Cruisin' Tigers GTO Club
Aug. 11-13, Attica
Sponsor: Sport Utility Action Network
Aug. 3-6, Louisville
31st Annual Street Rod Nationals
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
Aug. 19-20, Lansing
Sponsor: Capital City Corvette Club
Aug. 26, Las Vegas
1st Annual Grand National/T-Type Drag Race
Sponsor: Buick Grand National Racing Association
Aug. 6, Bushnell's Basin
Rally and Steak Roast
Sponsor: MG Car Club, Western New York Centre
Aug. 12, Fairborn
Olds Performance Nationals
Sponsor: Gem City Rockets
Aug. 19, Vinton County
Sponsor: Sport Utility Action Network
Aug. 26, Cambridge
15th Annual Cambridge Cruise-In Car and Truck Show
Sponsor: Y-City Custom Car Association
Aug. 6, Hershey
Good Ol' Summertime Picnic
Sponsor: AACA, Hershey Region
Aug. 25-27, Shawnee Mountain
Pocono Mountain Nationals
Sponsor: Classy Cruisers of
the Lehigh Valley
Aug. 5, Bellows Falls
2nd Annual Antique Truck Show
Sponsor: American Truck Historical Society, Green Mountain Chapter
Aug. 20, Cartersville-Westview
Annual Float Trip on the James
Sponsor: Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association
Aug. 11-13, Ethel
Shiftin' and Driftin': Summer Convention 2000
Sponsor: Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association, Region 4
Aug. 19, Evans Creek
8th Annual Fun Run
Sponsor: Off Road Animals Club
Aug. 25-27, Eastern Washington
SUV: An Event
Sponsor: Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association
Aug. 25-27, Spokane
17th Annual Northwest Street
Sponsor: National Street
Aug. 26-27, Jeep Bowl
Region 4 Cornfeed
Sponsor: Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association, Region 2
Aug. 26, Green Bay
10th Annual Denil-Walls
Sponsor: Oldsmobile Club of Wisconsin