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Washington State Poised to Take its Place as Hot Rod Nirvana
SEMA Model Street Rod and Custom Bill Passes in Washington State Senate
You’ve dreamt about it for years – the hot rod or kit car you’ve wanted all of your life. Now it’s within your grasp. You painstakingly do your research and find your project car or kit of choice. Hours upon hours are spent organizing, sourcing parts, assembling, and troubleshooting. You spend a great deal of money acquiring all the vital components for your dream machine. Finally, after several hundred man-hours, your vision is complete. Time to hit the road, right? Not so fast. Unfortunately, in some areas, it remains extremely difficult to title and register homebuilt vehicles like customs, street rods, hot rods, and kit cars. Thankfully, SAN is on the case and actively promoting legislation that will alleviate that problem for the enthusiast community by streamlining the process. Our model language gets these rides out of the garage and onto the road… where they belong!
The most recent example of this legislation is in the state of Washington. This year, Senate Bill 5585 was offered up in the Washington Legislature by State Senator Mike Carrell, a car guy himself. This much-needed piece of legislation would create a vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles. Lawmakers in Olympia understand the need for SB5585 and the State Senate recently passed the bill in a unanimous 48 to 0 vote. The bill is now pending consideration in the State House of Representatives. As Senator Carrell said, “These folks have a passion for restoring old cars or building something new and one-of-a-kind out of parts gathered from a dozen different cars. This bill will establish constancy in state law and clarify previously unclear registration requirements.” Working with Senator Carrell and his staff, the SAN played a critical role in drafting amendments to the bill to accommodate Washington’s unique requirements.
SB5585 provides guidance for registering and titling street rods and customs, including kit cars and replicas. When enacted into law, Washington enthusiasts will no longer arrive at their local DMV office and denied a means of putting their creations on the road. Moreover, the bill acknowledges that original parts may have “dried up” and that technological advancements have created improved materials. SB5585 allows for the use of non-original components and creates a titling criterion that assigns these vehicles the same model year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble. Another important cornerstone of the bill is that it exempts street rods and customs from a range of standard equipment requirements and emissions inspections. Vehicles classified under this class will be held to standards applicable to the designated model year, not those of 2011 and beyond. Finally, SB5585 also permits the use of “blue dot” taillights, a favorite among restorers of classic automobiles.
“This type of legislation is a top priority for SAN on behalf of the nation’s enthusiasts,” said Mike Dingell, director of the SEMA Action Network (SAN). “We want enthusiasts to express themselves by building their dream cars and to share them and enjoy them on America’s streets,” he continued. Versions of our model bill have been successful in helping hobbyists title their rides in 21 states to date and we are working to add more to that list. This year, similar SAN model titling and registration legislation is also pending consideration in New York, Texas, and New Mexico.
For more information on SB5585 and SAN model legislation, please visit www.SEMASAN.com or contact Mike Dingell, director of the SAN, at (202) 783-6007, ext. 38 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
One Real Cool Stude
1953 Studebaker 2-Door Hardtop
Owner: Steve Fowler
My love of Studes goes way back. One of my first cars was a ‘53 Studebaker hardtop. It started out as just transportation but eventually got hopped up a bit and got a coat of paint. As so often happens, it was sold when “life” got in the way. I have owned over a hundred other cars but there was always that hankering for another “Loewy Coupe.” About eight years ago, I got the street rod bug and after considerable searching, I found a clean ‘53 hardtop in Sacramento.
My wife said that I could get it running but couldn’t start modifying it until work on her Packard was finished, which motivated me to get my tail in gear. Once her Packard got a “best-in-show” trophy in Fortuna, I was off and running.
We attended the Pleasanton Goodguys show and I was like a kid in a candy store. Several items were ordered and used in conjunction with the Ford 8” rear axle and 1990 Corvette engine and transmission that I had acquired for the project. My wife, who is also my upholsterer, helped with a late ‘80’s Thunderbird interior and a few other trinkets on the inside. Soon, the mechanical work was done and the engine gleamed like a jewel. I turned my attention to the exterior which was not too tough, mostly panel fit issues. It had already been partly de-trimmed so I finished the nose, deck and shave job. I even rigged-up a spray booth in a portable garage and shot the paint. After a couple of tries on the clear, I got it the way I liked then color-sanded it and had it buffed.
“Low & Red” turned out nearly perfect and has been an incredibly fun ride. It handles well, stops on a dime, rides beautifully, goes like stink, gets great mileage, turns heads and gets kudos wherever we go. It has even done well on the showfield with our favorite award being the Homebuilt Heaven pick at the Goodguys West Coast Nationals in 2004. It’s nice to be recognized for doing it all ourselves, but the real fun is in the driving and we have over 10,000 trouble-free miles on it so far.
LEGISLATIVE QUICK HITS
Arizona Emissions Tests: SAN-supported legislation to exempt all vehicles 25-years old and older from the state’s mandatory biennial emissions inspection and maintenance program was approved by the Senate Rules Natural Resources and Transportation Committee. The bill will now make its way to the floor for a vote by the full Senate. Existing law in Arizona only exempts pre-1967 model year vehicles and those vehicles designated as “collectible.”
Arkansas Inoperable Vehicles: SAN is opposing legislation that would allow cities to remove inoperable vehicles from private property if the vehicle is deemed a “nuisance” under a local ordinance. The bill was approved by the Arkansas House of Representatives. Among other things, the measure provides no reasonable safeguards for legitimate automotive hobbyists that choose to work on inoperable collector vehicles on private property and establishes no provisions that would enable vehicles located out of public view to avoid being classified as abandoned.
Connecticut Antique Vehicles: Legislation to increase the age requirement for vehicles eligible for registration as “antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles” has been introduced in the Connecticut General Assembly. Under the SAN-opposed bill, vehicles seeking registration under these classes would be required to be at least 25 years old. Currently, vehicles 20 years old or older are eligible for such status and a reduced assessment for personal property tax purposes. Antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles are currently assessed at a rate of $500 and owners pay personal property taxes on that amount.
Hawaii Car Audio Equipment: SAN-opposed legislation to ban the installation, ownership or use of any car with aftermarket speakers over 6.5 inches in height or depth, any 5 speaker aftermarket system, any aftermarket speaker over 100 watts and any aftermarket speaker installed external to the passenger compartment or in an open hatch back will not be considered in the Hawaii legislature this year. The measure was discriminatory toward aftermarket products, as it did not seek to limit systems installed by the original vehicle manufacturer or dealer. If enacted, the bill would have denied hobbyists the opportunity to purchase and install a range of aftermarket alternatives to original equipment stereos. Following a hearing on the bill in the House Transportation Committee, the measure was deferred.
Nebraska Parts Cars: Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman signed into law a bill to redefine parts cars and make such vehicles easier to transfer. Prior to the bill’s enactment, Nebraska required a certificate of title when transferring any vehicle. The new law, effective immediately, allows for parts cars to be transferred using a bill of sale issued by the DMV. Parts vehicles eligible to be transferred using only a bill of sale under the new provisions include vehicles for which title has been surrendered due to the vehicle being destroyed, dismantled or scrapped or for which title has been surrendered to another state or an insurance company to render it fit for sale for scrap parts.
New Mexico Street Rods/Customs: SAN model legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles and provide for special license plates for these vehicles was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee. The bill will now be considered by the Senate Finance Committee. The bill 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. Among other things, the measure allows for the use of non-original materials, creates a titling and registration criterion that assigns these vehicles the same model year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble, only holds street rods, customs and replicas to the equipment standards specified by law during the model year listed on the title of the vehicle and provides for a one-time registration and plate fee of $100.
North Dakota Vehicle Modifications: A bill in North Dakota to severely restrict the modification of any motor vehicle that alters the manufacturer's original suspension, steering or brake system has been amended and approved by the House of Representatives. At the insistence of SEMA and the North Dakota hobbyist community, among the provisions that were deleted from the bill are those requiring the state highway patrol to issue an inspection certificate for all modifications (without indicating objective criteria that would be used to determine which modifications are legal) and requiring fenders on all vehicles regardless of whether or not they were originally manufactured with this equipment. The bill will now be considered by the Senate Transportation Committee.
Oregon Suspension/Tire Alterations: SAN is opposing a bill in the Oregon legislature that would severely limit vehicle suspension, body lift and wheel/tire alterations. Specifically, the measure would ban vehicles whose bumpers are elevated more than 3 inches over the original manufactured bumper clearance. Identical legislation was last introduced in Oregon in 2001. Among other things, the bill discriminates against hobbyists and aftermarket parts makers by leaving it solely to the vehicle manufacturers to choose bumper heights; would force owners of modified vehicles to spend large sums of money to reinstall original components and would ban useful alterations that provide adequate clearance for on/off road capability and accommodate heavy loads, larger tires, improved suspension and water-fording capability. The bill would also impose a fine of up to $360 per offense for vehicles that exceed the 3 inch clearance requirement.
Oregon Exhaust Systems: A bill to ban the sale of certain new motor vehicle exhaust systems or exhaust system components that cause motor vehicles to produce noise that exceeds noise limits has been introduced in Oregon and will be considered by the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee. Under the bill, noise limits would be specified in rules adopted by the Environmental Quality Commission (DEQ). However, in 1991 the DEQ terminated its noise control program. Among other things, the bill would prohibit the sale of these exhaust systems in Oregon and the sale of these systems by an Oregon-based business to an out-of-state customer; provides no clear standard to enforce, and refers to DEQ noise standards that are not currently in use; and makes no accommodation for SAN model legislation to allow vehicle hobbyists to buy and install aftermarket modified exhaust systems that meet a 95-decibel limit under a fair and predictable test.
Tennessee Emissions Tests: SAN is supporting identical legislation in the Tennessee House of Representatives and Senate to exempt vehicles more than 25-years old from the state’s annual emissions inspection and maintenance program, where applicable. To qualify for the exemption, these vehicles must be registered as “antique motor vehicles.” Existing law defines an antique vehicles as a motor vehicle over 25-years old with a non-modified engine and body that is used for club activities, exhibits, tours, parades, and similar uses as a collector's item; on the highways for the purpose of selling, testing the operation of, or obtaining repairs or maintenance; and for general transportation on Saturday and Sunday.
Texas Street Rods/Customs: The Texas Senate has joined the House in introducing SAN model legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles and provide for special license plates for these vehicles has been reintroduced in Texas. Both bills define 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. The measures also allow for the use of non-original materials and create a titling and registration criterion that assigns these vehicles the same model year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble.
Utah Vintage Vehicles: SAN-supported legislation to allow vehicles 30 years old and older to be classified as “vintage vehicles” was approved by the Utah House of Representatives and Senate. Currently, Utah reserves the “vintage vehicle” class only to vehicles 40 years old and older. Under the bill, “vintage vehicles” 30-40 years old would be charged a $45 annual registration fee. When the vehicle reaches 40 years old, the registrant would pay a one-time $40 fee. Vintage vehicles are exempted from annual emissions and safety inspections. The bill now moves to Governor Gary Herbert for his signature and enactment into law. Utah exempts vehicles manufactured prior to 1968 from emissions inspections. Vehicles manufactured after that date must be registered as “vintage vehicles” or “customs” to qualify for this exemption.
Washington Street Rods/Customs: SAN model legislation to create a vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles was approved unanimously by the Washington State Senate. The bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 30 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. Among other things, the measure exempts street rods and customs from a range of standard equipment requirements (only that equipment required in the model year that the vehicle resembles) and emissions inspections, provides that vehicles titled and registered as street rods and custom vehicles may only be used for occasional transportation, exhibitions, club activities, parades, tours, etc. and not for general daily transportation and permits the use of blue dot taillights. The bill will now be considered by the House Committee on Transportation.
Washington Collector License Plates: Legislation that originally sought to increase the age requirement for vehicles eligible for registration as “collector vehicles” was amended and approved by the Washington House Transportation Committee. Under the amended bill, vehicles seeking registration as collector vehicles and the one-time registration fee would only be required to be at least 30 years old – not 40 years old as the original bill required. The amended bill also deletes provisions that would have created penalties for violating the limited-use provisions. The measure now only requires the Department of Licensing to establish a method for law enforcement to readily access collector vehicle information using the collector vehicle’s plate number, which will aid in ensuring a plate is being used on its properly assigned vehicle.
Washington Inoperable Vehicles: SAN model legislation has been reintroduced in Washington State to prohibit cities or towns from enforcing an ordinance, development regulation, zoning regulation, or administrative practice that prevents automobile collectors from pursuing their hobby. Junked, wrecked or inoperable vehicles, including parts cars, stored on private property would only require screening from public view if required by local law.
West Virginia Personal Property Taxes: Legislation in the West Virginia Legislature to provide owners of antique motor vehicles with a fair and equitable personal property tax assessment was approved by the House Roads and Transportation Committee. The bills seek to address recent unfair valuation practices which have negatively impacted many West Virginia hobbyists. This important legislation provides that for the purposes of the property tax, the assessed value of an antique vehicle cannot exceed $200. It is now en route to the House Finance Committee for consideration.
Wyoming Titles: A bill to ease the burden on hobbyists by providing an exemption from bonded title requirements has been signed into law by Governor Matt Mead. By allowing enthusiasts to title vehicles being restored for personal use without posting bond, the exemption reduces costs associated with titling hobby vehicles when an original title was never issued or can no longer be located. The new law allows restorers to title their completed works by submitting an affidavit of vehicle ownership, a notarized bill of sale, a written statement of the value of the vehicle (based on a national appraisal guide or appraisal performed by a dealer) and a VIN inspection. To prevent abuse of the new procedure, titles issued under this procedure will not be transferable for the first 180 days after issuance.
House Approves SEMA-Supported Measure to Suspend EPA E15 Program; Senate Action Next
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a provision to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using agency funds to permit an increase in the amount of ethanol content in gasoline to 15% (E15). The provision is part of a larger bill to fund the federal government during fiscal year 2011 which must also be approved by the U.S. Senate. SAN requested this action and worked hard to secure the vote.
When signed into law by President Obama, this timely legislation will protect automotive enthusiasts and consumers from misfueling and other unnecessary harm. On behalf of millions of auto enthusiasts across the country, SAN applauds the House of Representatives for acknowledging the need for more unbiased and independent testing on the impact of E15 on vehicles and engines. The provision suspends EPA’s premature efforts to permit E15 in the marketplace in fiscal year 2011.
The SAN is now working to help pass a newly introduced bill (HR 748) to repeal the EPA E15 program altogether. The SAN will continue to take proactive steps in Washington, D.C. to oppose E15 until there are conclusive scientific findings that demonstrate that it will not harm automobiles of any age as a result of corrosion or other chemical incompatibilities.
ATTENTION SAN MEMBERS: YOU COULD BE MISSING OUT ON VITAL INFORMATION!
Are you getting all of the benefits of your SAN membership? If you don’t have an email address on file with us, you’re missing out on the most vital tools and information you need to defend the hobby. That means you’re not getting up-to-the-minute action alerts, tips to communicate with lawmakers, special invitations, offers and much more!
If you now have an email address and would like to receive this crucial information delivered instantly to your computer, please visit www.semasan.com or call 202/783-6007, ext. 39 to update your information.
Your email address will remain confidential and only used to send the information you need to protect the hobby. Please make this important update today!
ASSOCIATION OF CALIFORNIA CAR CLUBS TO HOST 25TH ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE
Formed on March 16, 1972, the Association of California Car Clubs (ACCC) consists of thousands of automobile hobbyists throughout the state who are interested in California laws and policies regarding collector automobiles.
The ACCC is a volunteer organization with regional representatives who represent the interests of individual members and member clubs across California. Hobby clubs and individuals joining the ACCC contribute to the protection of the hobby and are kept informed of the issues. These representatives form the Board of Directors, serve without pay, and are elected from the pool of active auto enthusiasts in the state.
Again this year, the ACCC will be hosting its 25th Annual Legislative Conference from May 11-13, 2011 at the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento. Speakers from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, California Air Resources Board, Bureau of Automotive Repair, California Highway Patrol and various legislators will address the membership about issues relating to the collector vehicle hobby. All interested enthusiasts are welcome to attend the conference. Additional information and registration forms can be viewed on www.acccdefender.org or contact Bob Stearns at email@example.com.
SECOND ANNUAL COLLECTOR CAR APPRECIATION DAY SCHEDULED FOR JULY 8
The SEMA Action Network (SAN) is proud to announce July 8, 2011, as Collector Car Appreciation Day. This will be the second celebration in what will become an annual event to raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society. The SAN is now working to secure a Congressional resolution to recognize the day’s significance.
The SAN encourages enthusiasts all over the nation to commemorate Friday, July 8 as Collector Car Appreciation Day. To help enthusiasts celebrate, SAN is compiling a list of events happening around the country on July 8, 2011. If you are attending, promoting or know of any car shows, cruises, etc. that are scheduled for Friday, July 8 or that weekend, please forward the information to Mike Dingell at miked@ sema.org. It doesn’t matter how big or small the event is, we want to know about it!
Rumblin’ in Detroit
The Royal Pontiac Club of America Pays Homage to the Hobby’s Roots
The Royal Pontiac Club of America was formed 18 years ago by a group of high performance Pontiac enthusiasts who yearned for the glory days when Pontiacs ruled the streets and tracks of America. These founders had grown-up in Detroit and had been involved with the Woodward Avenue street scene during the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. The mission was to go back to its roots, race, and help fellow enthusiasts. These members have had the ability to participate in weekly gatherings with a variety of different automotive engineers, designers, executives, manufacturers and hobbyists to discuss current issues that affect both the hobby and the industry as a whole.
The Royal Pontiac Club of America has been a very active club and has hosted and participated in many local and regional events. These events have included hosting a summer drag racing series at several Detroit drag strips including the historic and now defunct Detroit, Milan, and Lapeer Dragways.
The club has hosted cars shows with the support of the Pontiac Motor Division at Pontiac dealerships as well as in the City of Pontiac. The club has set-up displays at the Detroit Autorama and can be found at the Ames Tri-Power Weekend at Norwalk Raceway Park. The club hosts family picnics, Woodward Dream Cruise BBQ, fall color cruises, cider mill cruises and mid-winter banquets. Members have volunteered as judges at Carnival of Cars at the Packard Proving Grounds and at the National Muscle Car Shoot Outs and Car Show. The Royal Pontiac Club also assists Temple Israel of West Bloomfield, MI with its shows.
The club also recognizes that it is important to support community organizations as well. It has made contributions to Toys for Tots, the American Cancer Society, the University of Michigan Health Systems for Cancer Research, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and the Jeffery Ansbacher Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Marshal School of Business at University of Southern California. Further information and to join the Royal Pontiac Club of America can be found at www.RoyalPontiac.org.
April 15-17, Alpine
4th Annual Bulldog Cliffs Rennen.
Sponsor: Arizona 356 Outlaws
April 23, Peoria
2nd Annual Greens Car Show
Sponsor: Arizona Rod & Classic Car Club
April 1-3, Del Mar
11th Del Mar Nationals
Sponsor: Good Guys Rod and Custom Association
April 11-18, Redding
Kool April Nites
April 29-May 1, Bakersfield
35th Annual NSRA Western Street Rod Nats
April 10, Stafford
26th Annual Ty-Rods All Automotive Swap Meet
April 17, Wallingford
Connecticut Street Rod Association Spring Dust-Off
April 22-23, Panama City Beach
2011 Corvette Beach Odyssey
Sponsor: Emerald Coast Corvette Club
April 9, Marietta
Georgia Street Rod Association Swap Meet 2011
April 29-30, Marietta
30th Annual Peach Blossom Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac Car Show and Swap Meet
April 2, Glen Burnie
Lost in the ‘50s Opening 2011 Saturday Night Cruise-In
April 1-3, Boston
37th Annual Town Fair World of Wheels
April 7-9, Laughlin
24th Annual Gambler Classic River Run
April 24, Amherst
Monthly Outdoor Auto Show & Flea Market
April 2-3, Columbus
Columbus Spring Swap
Sponsor: Mid-Ohio Ford Club