An Exhausting Issue
Enthusiasts Rally Against Proposed Restrictions on Aftermarket Exhaust Systems
In a story that has been replayed in several state capitals across the country, SEMA Action Network (SAN) members have rallied to defeat legislation that would restrict the use of aftermarket or modified exhaust systems. Although the language of the proposed bills may vary, the persistence of dedicated enthusiasts from all segments of the auto hobby have produced the same results.
"These proposals are poorly crafted and fail to provide a clear objective and enforceable standard," said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. "In fact, most seek to prohibit 'excessive or unusual noise.' Under these provisions, law enforcement officials are permitted to make subjective and unfair judgments on whether or not a modified exhaust system is in violation."
SAN members in Massachusetts seem to know all to well about this process as they have fought against such a proposal in the last four legislative sessions. As written, the current bill (H.B. 2011) would ban the sale or installation of aftermarket exhaust systems in that state. The bill is pending before the Massachusetts House of Representatives (go to www.semasan.com for updates) where it will be met with stiff resistance from enthusiasts in that state.
Earlier this year, the quick action by SAN members in New Jersey and Michigan resulted in the sponsors of legislation withdrawing their proposals. The bill in New Jersey (A.B. 757) would have directed the State Department of Environmental Protection to prescribe a decibel limit to which all aftermarket mufflers sold in the state would have to be certified.
However, the bill gave no instruction as to what the decibel limit should be. In Michigan, a bill (H.B. 5543) to ban vehicles equipped with replacement exhaust systems that differ from the design specifications of the original muffler was withdrawn after being met with fierce opposition from SAN members in that state.
Other recent victories include the defeat of a proposal in Illinois last year in which vehicles determined to have been modified by virtue of a Œvisual observation' would have failed emissions inspection. How emissions inspectors would have determined visually that an exhaust system increases noise was not explained in the bill.
Pennsylvania enthusiasts were also successful in defeating a bill to ban aftermarket systems in the closing days of their legislative session last year. In a remarkable sequence of events, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Transportation Committee contacted the SAN within 15 minutes of an e-mail action alert being sent to SAN members asking that we "call the dogs off."
"I am in awe by the rapid and overwhelming response by SAN members in standing up on behalf of the auto hobby," said SAN Director Jason Tolleson. "Sponsors of these measures witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of this fast-acting, enthusiast-driven effort."
To provide lawmakers with an alternative, SEMA has produced model legislation that provides for the testing of vehicle exhaust noise to a standard adopted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) with an established noise limit of 95-decibels (SAE J1169). Under this procedure, a calibrated sound meter (meeting industry standards) is placed 20 inches from the exhaust outlet at a 45-degree angle, the vehicle engine is revved to three quarters of maximum rated horsepower and the highest decibel reading is recorded. Adopted by California in August 2003, the 95-decibel program certifies tested vehicles to be in or out of compliance with the law. The SEMA model has also been enacted in Maine, Washington State and is currently pending in Virginia.
"The SEMA-model bill is a proven method for determining violations of the vehicle code and provides fair treatment to the many law-abiding and responsible enthusiasts who choose to customize their vehicles," added McDonald. "Simply banning aftermarket exhaust systems fails to recognize that these systems are designed to make vehicles run more efficiently without increasing emissions, provide increased performance, and allow hobbyists to replace factory exhaust systems with more durable, better performing options."
For more information on these proposals, or to download a copy of the SEMA model bill, visit www.semasan.com.
LEGISLATIVE QUICK HITS
Colorado Kit Cars: A version of SEMA model legislation (H.B. 1176) to create a statutory titling and registration class for kit cars and exempt these cars from Colorado's emissions inspection program was unanimously approved by the House Transportation and Energy Committee. The bill defines a "kit vehicle" as a passenger-type motor vehicle assembled by other than a licensed manufacturer, from a manufactured kit that includes a prefabricated body and chassis and is accompanied by a manufacturer's statement of origin.
Connecticut Tire Efficiency: The SAN is working to oppose Connecticut legislation (S.B. 5556) that would require, as California did two years ago, the development of a statewide program to mandate that replacement tires for passenger cars and light trucks be as energy efficient as tires sold as original equipment. While the bill contains a SEMA-drafted exemption for some hobbyist tires, including limited-production and off-road tires, the SAN is recommending that the bill be rejected since the replacement tire efficiency program conflicts with federal law by regulating fuel economy, imposes substantial redesign costs on tire manufacturers, competes with Federal consumer information requirements and essentially sets a 50-state standard. The bill would severely restrict the availability of tires that have improved performance, handling or appearance features.
New Hampshire Street Rods: SEMA-model legislation (S.B. 288) in New Hampshire to create vehicle titling and registration classifications for street rods was passed by the New Hampshire Senate. Under a Senate amendment, the bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old or manufactured to resemble a vehicle 25 or more years old. Under the bill, kit cars and replica vehicles will be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model year designation as the production vehicle it most closely resembles. The bill has now been referred to the House Transportation Committee for consideration.
New York Brush Guards: A SAN-opposed measure (A.B. 10116) has been introduced in the New York Legislature which would prohibit the public road use of motor vehicles equipped with brush/grille guards. The bill relies on unsubstantiated claims that these devices create the potential of greater harm to other vehicles in the event of a collision and obstruct airbag sensors, rendering the airbags useless in an accident. If approved, owners of vehicles currently equipped with grille guards (including those purchased with this equipment from a dealership) would be required to remove the equipment. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Transportation Committee for consideration and a vote. Similar legislation (A.B. 10000) was also introduced in New York which would prohibit the use of a grille guard attached to the chassis of a motor vehicle but permit those attached to the bumper. Under this proposal, vehicles with brush guards attached to the chassis would fail inspection and the owners would be subject to a $100 fine.
South Carolina Antiques: A SAN-supported bill (S.B. 776) to provide an exemption from property taxes for motor vehicles licensed and registered as antiques was passed by the South Carolina State Senate. South Carolina law defines an "Antique" as every motor vehicle which is ³over 25-years old, is owned solely as a collector's item and is used for participation in club activities, exhibits, tours, parades and similar uses, but in no event used for general transportation.² The bill has now been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee for consideration.
Vermont Gas Guzzlers: In an attempt to reduce dependence on foreign oil, legislation (H.B. 736) has been introduced in the Vermont House of Representatives to establish a progressive registration surcharge for motor vehicles registered at the pleasure car rate that achieve fewer than 20 miles per gallon. For example, this surcharge would amount to $160 annually for vehicles with an EPA rating of less than 15 miles per gallon. The SAN-opposed bill would limit consumer choice in purchasing vehicles by making popular performance and luxury cars, as well as SUVs, light trucks and minivans, substantially more expensive to own.
West Virginia Antiques: SAN-supported legislation (H.B. 4307) that would amend the state's current law governing antique motor vehicles to permit their use on Friday evenings was passed by the West Virginia House of Representatives. Under current West Virginia law, use of antique vehicles is strictly limited to club activities, exhibits, tours, parades, testing, obtaining repairs and for recreational purposes only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
Each month Driving Force will feature members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. The SEMA-supported caucus is a bi-partisan group of state lawmakers whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles. Here's its newest member: Maine State Representative Peter Rines.
Representative Rines first laid hands on this '28 Ford Tudor some twenty years ago when he worked on it with its original owner. Over time the owner lost interest and the car sat in pieces in his barn. Many years later, Representative Rines heard that it was up for sale and he quickly became reacquainted with it. "It was truly a basket case," said Rines. "It took four truck loads to get the scattered parts back to my place." In March 2006, a mere one year and three months later, the restoration was complete and the Ford was back on the road.
Sweet News in the Sunshine State
Street Rod/Custom Vehicle Bill Introduced in Florida
Enthusiasts in Florida are welcoming the news they have become the sixth state this year to introduce SEMA-model legislation which would create vehicle titling and registration classifications for street rods and custom vehicles. Introduced by Senator Bill Posey, who is also a member of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus, the bill (S.B. 2248) defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. Under the bill, kit cars and replica vehicles will be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble. The measure also exempts street rods and customs from periodic vehicle inspections and emissions inspections. Similar legislation is pending this year in Colorado, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Virginia. The model bill has already been enacted into law in Illinois, Maine, Montana, Missouri and Rhode Island.
Blue Dots to Light Up in Mississippi
A SAN-supported bill (H.B. 489) to allow antique vehicles and street rods to display a blue, violet or purple light as part of the vehicle's rear stop lamps was passed by the Mississippi Legislature. Mississippi defines antique motor vehicles as those manufactured more than 25-years ago and street rods as modified vehicles produced by an American manufacturer in 1948 or earlier and used as a safe, nonracing vehicle. The blue dot bill follows in the tradition of similar laws enacted in other states, including recently in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana and Rhode Island. The bill now goes to Governor Pickering to be signed into law.
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
So Rare, So True... My Peggy Sue
1957 Buick Caballero
Owner: Jim and Peggy Sue Day
We purchased our Caballero from the original owner eight years ago and it took seven years to complete the restoration. Locating parts was not the easiest thing that I've ever done. Buick only produced 10,186 of these units in 1957. While one would think that there would be parts, or complete cars setting in back yards, for whatever reason, they basically do not exist out there.
We wanted to retain the stock looking appearance, but wanted to utilize modern technology related to ride, power and comfort, whenever possible. We recognized that such changes during restoration would mean that we could not compete in car shows in stock class. It would mean that we would have to enter either "Modified" class, or "Resto-Rod" class. That was not a problem to us, as we feel that the modifications made to our Caballero were worth our time and effort.
Drivetrain: 425 / 375h.p. "Nailhead"; TH-400 Trans.
Chassis: 1979 Century Wagon chassis swap
Brakes: Front Disk; Rear 11-inch Drum
Wheels: Kelsey Hays
Paint: Seminole Red / Carlsbad Black
Interior: Coral Reef / Allante Black Vinyl
Thanks to all who have sent in or e-mailed us photos. Please continue to send us photos of your trail rides, restorations in progress, rod runs, car shows, charity events and drag races. Kindly submit pictures to email@example.com.
On The Road Again
SAN Sets Up Shop in Philly!
Calling all Tuners! Stop by the SEMA Auto Salon (April 8-9, Fort Washington Expo Center, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania), the premier car show dedicated to sport compacts and tuners. While there, visit with Jason Tolleson, director of the SEMA Action Network (Booth #1351) to learn more about how you can get involved.
A limited number of free admission passes are available for SAN members. Please contact the SAN at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
April 8, Avondale
Cactus Classic VI Car Show and Concours
Sponsor: Cactus Cruisers
Information: www.cactuscruisers.org or
April 1, Mena
Show and Shine
Sponsor: Ouachita Cruizers
Information: email@example.com or
April 9, Buena Park (Knotts Berry Farm)
21st Annual Fabulous Fords Forever
April 22-23, Buena Park (Knotts Berry Farm) 27th Annual Handcrafted Auto Show
Sponsor: Association of Handcrafted Automobiles
Information: www.replicarclub.com or
April 28-30, Bakersfield
Western Street Rod Nationals
Information: www.nsra-usa.com or
April 30, Long Beach
Cadillac Concours D'Elegance
Sponsor: Cadillac Club International Consortium
April 9, Stafford
Ty-Rods of CT 20th Annual Spring Swap Meet
Sponsor: Ty-Rods Auto Club
April 22, Tampa
"Legends" at Legends Field Mustang & Ford Show
Sponsor: Classic Mustangs of Tampa
April 8-9, Conyers
9th Annual Horsepower at the Park
April 21-23, Braselton and Commerce
The Year One Experience
Sponsor: Right Coast Association
Information: www.rightcoastcars.com or 800/753-3978
April 1-2, McCormick Place
April 15, East Peoria
Nostalgic Indoor Auto Show
Sponsor: Early Ford V8 Club of Peoria
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 309/367-2981
April 30, Elmhurst
23rd Annual Car Show and Swap Meet
Sponsor: Northern Illinois Region, WPC Club
April 8-9, Cedar Rapids
Sponsor: Hawk A Region Model A Club
April 20-22, Bowling Green
Official C5/C6 Bash
Information: www.corvettemuseum.com or 800/53-VETTE
April 23, Crofton (Capitol Raceway)
Muscle Car Mania
Sponsor: Corvette Club of America and Maryland Camaro Club
Information: email@example.com or 301/854-2014
April 1-2, St. Paul
50th Annual Rod and Custom Spectacular Show
Sponsor: Annual Gopher State Timing Association
Information: www.gstarod-custom.com or 763/566-3990
April 8, Amory
Railroad Festival Car and Truck Show
Sponsor: Tenn-Tom Cruisers
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 662/256-9320
April 7-8, Deming
Smok'n Oldies Show
Sponsor: Smok'n Oldies Car Club
April 15, Rochester
Annual Automotive Swap Meet
Sponsor: Western New York Early Ford V-8 Club of America
Information: www.wnyrg.org or 585/254-4059
April 6-9, Charlotte (Lowe's Motor Speedway) Charlotte Auto Fair
Information: www.charlotte-autofair.com or 704/841-1990 April 8-9, Lowe's Motor Speedway Comet East Club Autofair
Sponsor: Comet East Car Club
April 9, Lowe's Motor Speedway
Euros at the Fair
April 8-9, Grand Forks
24th Annual Prime Steel Car Show
Sponsor: Prime Steel Car Club
April 7-9, Oklahoma City
Southwest Street Rod Nationals
Information: www.nsra-usa.com or 901/452-4030
April 1, Moosic
Flea Market and Car Corral
Sponsor: Scranton Region, AACA
Information: email@example.com or 570/654-0891
April 19-23, Carlisle
Spring Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet
Sponsor: Carlisle Productions
Information: www.carlisleevents.com or
April 21-22, Rock Hill
1st Annual Catawba River Rod Run
Sponsor: Dixieland Cruisers of Rock Hill
April 1-2, Fredericksburg
2nd Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Texas 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
Information: www.familyevents.com or
April 16, Boerne
13th Annual Open Car Show
Sponsor: Texas Corvette Association
Information: www.texas-corvette-association.org or 830/226-5386
April 27-30, Williamsburg
Sponsor: Durant Motors Automobile Club
Information: www.durantmotors.org or
April 29-30, Jefferson
29th Annual Spring Jefferson Swap,
Sale & Show
Sponsor: Madison Classics
Information: www.madisonclassics.com or 608/244-8416
Early May 2006 Events
May 5-7, Riverside
Show and Go 2006
Information: www.showandgo.us or
May 6-7, Springfield
9th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
Information: www.familyevents.com or 317/236-6522
May 5-7, Carlisle
Carlisle Performance and Style 2006
Sponsor: Carlisle Productions
Information: www.carlisleevents.com or 717/243-7855
May 5-7, Knoxville
Street Rod Nationals South
Information: www.nsra-usa.com or
Newly Introduced Legislation
Note: The following state bills are not laws. They were recently introduced and are currently under consideration by the respective state legislatures:
ANTIQUE AND HISTORIC VEHICLES
Iowa SB 2171: Requires that vehicles display only one license plate on the rear of the vehicle. Antiques are allowed to do this so long as the second plate is stored in the vehicle at all times.
Kansas HB 2882: Defines an "antique military vehicle" and includes it under existing antique vehicle classification.
Kentucky HB 698: Exempts historic vehicles housed in Kentucky for at least 180 days of the year from registration in Kentucky if registered to an individual in another state.
Missouri SB 1143: Changes punishment for violating historic vehicle use provisions from a Class C misdemeanor to a fine of $500 or more. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $300.
Tennessee HB 2964 / SB 3226: Allows vehicles registered as antiques to be used for general transportation on Sundays.
Connecticut HB 5182: Prohibits the sale of any item intended to replace an air bag in a motor vehicle if that item does not conform to federal air bag safety standards.
New York AB 9868: Establishes fines for the operation of sound amplifying devices in motor vehicles that make sound plainly audible from a distance of one hundred feet or more from the vehicle or louder than necessary for the convenient hearing by persons inside the vehicle or in areas adjoining places of worship, schools or hospitals.
Rhode Island SB 2399: Prohibits displaying of recorded video images within the view of the driver. The bill does not restrict the use of factory-installed global positioning systems.
EMISSIONS / INSPECTIONS
California AB 1997: Requires B.A.R. to develop and administer a voluntary program to remove high polluter vehicles within the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District by replacing high polluter vehicles in the district with donated vehicles that pass smog testing.
California AB 2788: Provides reimbursement of $2,000 to qualifying low-income participants who retire high-emitter vehicles and replace them with low-emission vehicles, and $4,000 to those who retire gross-polluter vehicles and replace them with low-emission vehicles.
Minnesota HB 2963: Requires adoption of California standards regarding low emissions vehicles and provides for updates to the standards as necessary to comply with the federal Clean Air Act.
Missouri SB 1166: Repeals the motor vehicle safety inspection program effective January 1, 2007.
Rhode Island HB 7511: Subjects all 1996 and later model year vehicles to OBD emissions testing rather than exhaust testing. Current law subjects vehicles 1975 and later models to emissions testing.
Rhode Island HB 7756: Creates the Anti-Idling Act, to prohibit the excessive idling of motor vehicles to prevent or reduced exhaust pollution.
Iowa SB 2259: Exempts paint and related supplies used by a motor vehicle repairer to refinish a vehicle from sales tax.
California AB 2337: Abolishes the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission and transfers duties/responsibilities to a Division of Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation in Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Requires division to establish an advisory stakeholder group and establish criteria for awarding of grants.
Georgia SB 524: Provides that off-road vehicles driven on private property shall not be subject to local noise ordinances unless operated within 100 yards of a residence or adjacent property.
Missouri SB 1044: Creates a criminal offense for failing to lower tinted windows when a law enforcement officer approaches a stopped vehicle.
New York AB 9943: Includes the examination of tinted or shaded windows in the periodic safety inspection of motor vehicles.