August 2005

Click here to view the newsletter as it was originally printed.

The Maine Event
New Law a Knockout for Custom Cars
A version of SEMA-model legislation to create a registration class for custom vehicles was signed into law by Maine Governor John Baldacci.  Maine joins Montana, Illinois, Missouri and Rhode Island as states that have enacted the bill.   
Sponsored by State Representative A. David Trahan, the new law defines custom vehicles as at least 30 years old and of a model year after 1948 or manufactured to resemble a vehicle from that era.  The law also allows customs to have bodies constructed from non-original materials and assigns these vehicles the same model-year designations as the production vehicles they most closely resemble, allowing qualifying replicas and kit cars to be accommodated under this registration class.  
“It took a long time and a lot of work by many people, but it appears that this legislation has finally happened,” said Representative Trahan.   “Having custom vehicles is a wonderful economic-development initiative that should help boost our economy.  I hope that someday Maine is a destination for custom-car enthusiasts!” 
The measure requires the chief of the state police to convene a committee comprised of representatives from the custom-vehicle industry to provide advice and technical assistance regarding potential inspection standards and procedures.  The new law is the product of months of consultation with the state legislators, regulators and the local hobbyist community, including the Maine Custom Auto Association.  The custom-vehicle registration class was added to the state’s existing street-rod-friendly registration laws.
“Backed by the hard work and perseverance of Representative Trahan, SEMA members and the state’s vehicle enthusiast community, we are extremely gratified that Maine will join the list of states that recognize customs as a distinct class of vehicles,” said SEMA Vice President, Government Affairs Steve McDonald.  “The new law offers the benefit of also including qualifying replicas and kit cars in this specialty-vehicle registration classification.”
SEMA and the SEMA Action Network will continue to pursue the model legislation in states that either don’t have registration classifications for these vehicles or have laws that are lacking in some way.
Additional information on the street rods and custom vehicles can be found on page 3 of this issue of Driving Force or on the SAN website at www.semasan.com.
Optional Lighting:  SAN-supported legislation to permit accent lighting on motor vehicles was signed into law.  The new law permits the use of optional accent lighting that meets certain conditions, including color and intensity restrictions.  The new law also provides for undercarriage neon lighting, although not for use on public roadways, and allows blue interior and dash lighting under some circumstances. 
Inoperable Vehicles:  Working with officials from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Maine Municipal Association and the state’s vehicle enthusiast community, the SAN amended a bill that threatened to repeal the current hobbyist exemption from the state’s graveyard laws.  The original bill would have required hobbyists to get business licenses and be regulated as automobile graveyards.  Under the SAN amendment, hobbyists will retain the exemption but will be required to screen project cars from public view and properly handle vehicle fluids to prevent environmental contamination.  The bill, with the SAN amendment, was passed by the Maine Legislature and signed into law. 
Nitrous:  SAN-supported legislation to expand the permissible use of cars equipped with nitrous-oxide systems was signed into law.  In 2003, working with the Maine Custom Auto Association, SAN amended a Maine bill that originally threatened to prohibit the operation of vehicles equipped with nitrous oxide or other “power booster systems” (e.g. superchargers) on public roads.  Under the amendment, the bill permitted vehicles equipped with nitrous-oxide systems if all canisters of nitrous have been removed or if the vehicle is en route to or from a racetrack.  The new law also allows the public highway use of vehicles equipped with nitrous systems if they are en route to a car show, off-highway competition or fill station. 
Street Rods:  SAN-supported legislation to repeal the requirement that a vehicle owner be a member of a qualified street rod owner’s organization to apply for a street rod registration was signed into law.
Tires:  SAN-supported legislation to repeal the requirement that a vehicle must only be equipped with tires that meet or exceed the load and speed rating of the original equipment tires was signed into law.
Thirty-Two Years Later, Is The Endangered Species Act Working?  After 32 years and hundreds of millions of dollars, is the Endangered Species Act (ESA) working?  That’s the question asked in a comprehensive review of law ordered by House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA). 
The document, titled “Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005,” identifies areas of concern and possible ways to address them.  Enacted in 1973, the ESA currently provides protection to 1,800 species and their surrounding habitat.  For years, property owners and off-roaders have argued that the law allows the government to quickly list a species and designate the surrounding area off limits.  
 In its criticism of the ESA, the report focuses on the high cost of compliance for landowners combined with the subpar results in species recovery.  The 84-page document claims that only 10 species have been recovered and that 60% of listed species have an uncertain or declining status.  Environmental groups have countered these figures by asserting that species recovery is a long-term goal and that many of the species in question were placed on the list only in the past 15 years.
The report also calls for greater input by states, the revision of critical habitat rules and the establishment of an administrative appeal process similar to the one set forth in the Healthy Forest Act.  The appeals process would encourage a mediation of issues before lawsuits can be filed.  Chairman Richard Pombo wants to incorporate the report’s recommendations into an ESA reform bill. 
In conjunction with the introduction of this legislation, SEMA and SAN joined with the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) and the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) to sponsor a Washington, D.C., Summit for Motorized Off-Highway Vehicle Registration on July 12 and 13.  Participants asked members of Congress to support and promote ESA reform legislation.  Participants also attended a Congressional reception and a House Resources Committee hearing on “Motorized Recreational Use on Federal Land.”  Chairman Pombo requested the Summit as a mechanism to help generate support for his bill.
Off-Roading Faces Park Service Review. Following in the footsteps of the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service (NPS) has begun a nationwide review of off-highway vehicle (OHV) use and regulations within the National Park System.  Operating under an executive order from the 1970s, NPS regulates OHV use on a specific park-by-park basis, factoring in environmental impact and public input.  NPS officials have indicated that it will be a couple of years before new regulations and policies are established.  Officials have stated that the current review is at the most basic level, including defining what a road is and what qualifies as an OHV.  Environmental groups claim that unregulated OHV use contributes to soil erosion and habitat destruction.  The SAN continues support of regulation on a park-by-park basis as opposed to implementing a one-size-fits-all national policy.
You’ve Got Mail!
E-Mail Action Alerts Send Up-To-Date News to Your Inbox
We here at the SEMA Action Network (SAN)  appreciate everything that you, the enthusiasts, do to stay informed about the laws that affect the auto hobby.  To ensure a continuous flow of information, we are asking all SAN members who have e-mail addresses but are not currently receiving any e-mails from the SAN to update their information by e-mailing Jason Tolleson at jasont@sema.org.  
Any time there is legislation in your state that affects the hobby, the SAN will send an e-mail letting you know how the bill impacts you, what action to take, and who to contact.  
As an example, a harmful piece of legislation in Illinois was quickly modified in the last few days the state legislature was in session back in June. While the bill moved fast, the SAN e-mailed an Action Alert to all of its Illinois members and, as a result of their efforts, the bill died for the year. 
These action alerts provide the most up-to-date information on the legislation in which you are the most concerned. Rest assured that any information you provide will not be sold or distributed to anyone.  We simply want to provide you with the best information available in order to protect your interests as a hobbyist.
All in the Family
1930 Model A Coupe
Owners: Carol and Rich Papp
Longmont, Colorado
Our 1930 Ford Coupe was first pulled out of the sand in Needles, California, by my brother David and some of his high school friends in about 1961.  They got it running during their senior year.  At that time, it had a Model B engine, and the drivetrain was stock. My brother died in 1965,  and the car was not driven again.  It just sat in my mom’s back yard for a long time.  But after Rich and I got married, we built a makeshift shed around it.  There it sat.  A lot of people wanted the car, but I would not let it be sold.
After it sat for about 37 years, Rich started to build our rod out of what was left. Since we have only a one-car garage, he worked on the frame in the backyard under a tree for shade. Our friends came over and saw what he was doing and said he really and truly was a “Shadetree mechanic.”
We hope that next year we will be able to take the car back to California and meet with some of my brother’s friends who helped him pull it out of the sand all of those years ago.
Engine: ’85, 270hp. donor 350 engine; 350 trans with 2400 stall and remote cooler; Corvette valve covers; Corvette dual-quad intake with WCFBs; Ram horn exhaust; dual 2-inch pipes with Smithy glasspacks and chrome tips.
Suspension & Steering: ’60 vintage 2_-inch drop axle with ’40 Ford spindles; split Model A wishbone; seven-leaf model A spring; reversed steering column handbuilt with Corvair steering head, sprint car steering wheel; Toyota 4x4 steering box; Lokar vintage shifter.
Tires & Wheels: ’35 Kelsey Hays wire wheels with ’35 hubcaps and beauty rims; fronts, 16x4s wrapped with Goodyear 5.00x16s; rears, modified rims with 15x10s wrapped with BFGoodrich 285/70-15s.
Misc: A “push” start button. (To Rich, real hot rods must have a starter button.)
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: san@sema.org
Your Title Here!
SEMA Street Rod/Custom Vehicle Titling Bill Coming to a State Near You
In many states, outdated and convoluted vehicle-registration laws have created confusion among motorists and those who are charged with applying these laws at the ground level.  With the growing popularity of street rod and custom vehicles, including kit cars and replicas, problems arise in trying to title and register these vehicles, which may not fall under existing vehicle classifications.
To remedy this issue, SEMA has produced model legislation that establishes titling and registration classes for street rods and custom vehicles.  The model 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.  The legislation allows eligible vehicles to be titled as the same model production years they most closely resemble.  The bill stipulates that vehicles titled and registered as street rods and custom vehicles may be used only for occasional transportation, exhibitions, club activities, parades, tours, etc. and not for general daily transportation.  The model bill is the product of consultation with the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA), local police departments, regulators and hobbyists. 
Summary of SEMA-Model Street Rod/Custom Vehicle Bill:
  • Defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom vehicle as an altered vehicle manufactured after 1948. 
  • Provides specific registration classes and license plates for street rods and custom vehicles.
  • Provides that replica vehicles and kit cars will be assigned the same model-year designations as the production vehicles they most closely resemble and allows the use of non-original materials.
  • Exempts street rods and custom vehicles from periodic vehicle inspections 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. 
  • Exempts street rods and custom vehicles from a range of standard-equipment requirements. 
  • Allows the use of blue-dot taillights on street rods and custom vehicles.
Those interested in reviewing the model bill or obtaining information on how to pursue a plan to enact the model into law in their states should contact Steve McDonald at stevem@sema.org.  To download a copy of the model bill, visit the SAN website at www.semasan.com.
In for the Long Haul
Despite sweltering heat up north, monsoon-like conditions down south and the radiator fan on the bus disintegrating 50 miles into the trip, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) made the annual pilgrimage across the heartland on the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour.  Starting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and winding its way down to Kissimmee, Florida, the Power Tour brought car enthusiasts from across the country in what has become one big rolling family reunion.  At each venue the SAN took photos of enthusiasts and their vehicles, which were then sent back to their hometown newspapers.  
“I would personally like to thank the over 1,000 enthusiasts who signed up for SAN while on the Power Tour,” said SAN Director Jason Tolleson.  “Each day of the tour, I had the opportunity to meet with countless individuals who understand the importance of becoming involved in influencing the laws that impact our hobby.”
Editor’s note:  For you long haulers out there who had your cars featured in your local papers, please send a copy to:
SEMA Action Network
1317 F Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, D.C.  20004
August 6-7, Prescott
31st Annual Car Show and Swap Meet
Sponsor: Prescott Antique Auto Club
Information: 928/445-6555
August 5-7, Pomona 
8th Pomona Nitro Nationals 
Sponsor: Goodguys 
Information: www.good-guys.com or 925/838 9876
August 14, Calimesa
Bob’s Big Boy August Nights Cruise
Information: 909/795-0291
August 14, Costa Mesa
Chevy Madness Car Show
Sponsor: L.A. Classic Chevy Club
Information: 310/335-2567
August 20, Atascadero
16th Annual Atascadero Lake Car Show
Sponsor: Mid-State Cruizers
Information: www.midstatecruizers.org or 805/466-2265
August 26-28, Pleasanton
19th Havoline West Coast Nationals 
Sponsor: Goodguys 
Information: www.good-guys.com
August 28, Chatsworth
40th Annual Parts Exchange
Sponsor: San Fernando Valley Chapter of the MTFCA
Information: 818/765-0552
August 25-27, Lewiston
19th Annual Hot August Nights
Information: 208/743-1122
August 14, Geneva
All-Pontiac Car Show
Sponsor: Cruisin Tigers GTO Club
Information: www.cruisintigersgto.com
August 17-20, Lincolnshire
All-Buick Show, Swap Meet, and Car Corral
Sponsor: Chicagoland Chapter, Buick Club of America
Information: www.buickclub.org/chicagoland or 847/464-1301
August 20-21, Olney 
19th Annual Car Show and Cruise Night
Sponsor: White Squirrel Cruisers
Information: www.whitesquirrelcruisers.com or 618/393-7738
August 26-28, Springfield
26th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Hot Rod Super Nationals
Information: www.familyevents.com
August 19-21, Indianapolis
12th Annual Toyo Tires Import and Truck Bash
Information: www.familyevents.com
August 4-7, Louisville
36th Annual Street Rod Nationals
Sponsor: National Street Rod Assn.
Information: www.nsra-usa.com or 901/452-4030
August 21, Medway
Mass Cruisers 14th Annual Car Show
Sponsor: Mass Cruisers
Information: www.masscruisers.com or 781/986-4259
August 26-28, West Springfield
3rd Annual Eastern States Nationals
Sponsor: Right Coast Association
Information: www.rightcoastcars.com or 800/753-3978
August 20, Detroit
11th Annual Woodward Dream Cruise
Information: www.woodwarddreamcruise.com
August 11-14, Cloquet
1st Cloquet Class Car Extravaganza
Information: 218/879-4948
August 27, Farmington
17th Annual Car Show, Swap Meet and Craft Fair
Sponsor: Southern Cruzers Car Club
Information: www.southerncruzers.com or 952/469-5963
August 18-21, Hammond
Two-State Rodders 50th Anniversary Nationals
Sponsor: Two-State Rodders
Information: 601/684-2609
August 12-14, Polson
5th Cruisen by the Bay
Sponsor: Valley Cruisers
Information: jackoartz@charlo.net
July 30-August 7, Reno/Sparks
Hot August Nights
Information: www.hotaugustnights.com
August 4-7, Reno
40th Annual Reno Classic Car and Parts Swap Meet
Information: www.renoswapmeet.com or 916/933-0949
August 21, Cottonwood
14th Annual Make-a-Wish Car Show
Sponsor: Rio Grande Corvette Club
Information: 505/298-0627
August 21, Sylvan Beach
29th Annual Antique Car Show
Sponsor: Mohican Model A Ford Club
Information: www.28-31ford.org
August 27, Mooresville
All-GM Cruise-In
Sponsor: Carolina Crossroads Vintage Chevrolet Club of America
Information: asbanner@statesville.net or 828/728-9048
August 6, Columbus 
Neo-Fest Custom Compact Nationals 
Sponsor: Classic Events
Information: www.classicevents.com or 614/268-1181
August 20, Cambridge
20th Annual Cambridge Classic Cruise-In
Sponsor: Y-City Custom Car Assn.
Information: ken@mcpeck.com or 740/454-0437
August 4-7, Bend
Flashback Cruiz 2005
Sponsor: Central Oregon Classic Chevy Club
Information: jredding@bwndcable.com or 541/382-9370
August 6-7, Blair County
Convention Center
Blair County Antique Auto Club 30th Anniversary Celebration
Sponsor: Blair County Antique Auto Club
Information: www.bcaac.com or 814/695-2549
August 23-28, Harrisburg/Carlisle
National Solid Axle Corvette Club Convention
Sponsor: National Solid Axle Corvette Club
Information: www.solidaxle.org or 302/436-4974
August 26-28, Carlisle
Carlisle All-Truck Nationals
Sponsor: Carlisle Events
Information: www.carsatcarlisle.com
August 26-28, Macungie
WOTSRA Rod and Custom Jamboree
Sponsor: Wheels of Time Street Rod Assn.
Information: www.wheelsoftime.org or
August 28, Rothsville
16th Annual “A Taste of Britain”
Sponsor: Lanco MG Club
Information: www.lancomgclub.com or 717/292-0579
August 12-14, Pierre
16th Annual Dam Run
Sponsor: Street Masters Car Club
Information: 605/224-4476
August 12-14, Fort Worth
Yellow Rose Classic
Sponsor: North Texas Mustang Club
Information: 817/595-6900
August 6-7, Essex Junction
11th Annual Bond Auto Parts 4-Wheel
Jamboree Nationals
Information: www.familyevents.com
August 6, Raymond
16th Annual Raymond Cruise-In at 8th Street Park
Sponsor: Pacific County Cruisers Car Club
Information: 360/942-3142
August 19-21, Spokane 
4th Great Northwest Nationals 
Sponsor: Goodguys 
Information: www.good-guys.com
August 20, Dunbar
Klassy Kruzers Car Club Annual Car Show
Sponsor: Klassy Kruzers Car Club
Information: www.klassykruzers.com
August 6, Green Bay
14th Annual Denil - Wall Oldsmobile Show
Sponsor: Olds Club of Wisconsin
Information: 920/465-1502
August 6-7, Elkhorn
20th Annual Madison Classics’ Car Show
Sponsor: Madison Classics
Information: www.jeffersonswapmeet.com or 608/244-8416
August 12-14, Waukesha 
16th Great Lakes Nationals 
Sponsor: The Goodguys 
Information: www.good-guys.com
August 20, Graham
AMC Rendezvous 2005
Sponsor: The Coalition of AMC Clubs
Information: johngbarnes@comcast.net or 206/243-5403
Early September 2005 Events
September 5, Iowa Falls
9th Annual Car Show
Sponsor: Scenic City Cruisers
Information: www.sceniccitycarshow.com or 641/648-9559
September 4, Marshfield
25th Annual Car Show, Car Corral and Swap Meet
Sponsor: Spindles Auto Club
Information: spindlescarclub@yahoo.com or 781/335-9754
September 3, Sweetwater
Open Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show
Sponsor: Wheels of Time Car Club
Information: cruiser002@charter.net or 423/337-2603
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:
Pennsylvania HB 727/HB 1760:  Prohibits the use of nitrous-oxide systems on public roadways.  Owners of vehicles equipped with nitrous-oxide systems must remove the canisters while operating on public roadways.  Exemption provided for vehicles going to or returning from racetracks as long as the nitrous lines are disconnected while on public roadways.  Provides penalties for violations.
Pennsylvania HB 1294: Requires sellers to notify a buyer if a vehicle contains a vehicle-event data recorder.  Allows removal of data recorder with consent of owner and provides penalties.
Pennsylvania HB 1776: Prohibits drivers with learner’s permits or junior driver’s licenses from using mobile phones.  Provides exception for emergency situations.
New York SB 5603: Creates the “motor vehicles owners’ right to repair act,” requiring manufacturers to release vehicle-repair information to owners.
Attention Car Clubs, Event Organizers and Enthusiasts!
Put SAN on Your Mailing List!
We’d like to know what’s going on with SEMA Action Network clubs and enthusiasts across the country; what charity events you’re involved in; when and where the rod runs, car shows, trail rides,rallies and tech meetings are held; and what legislative and regulatory issues concern club members and individual enthusiasts.
One of the best ways to keep us abreast of what’s going on and what’s important to the vehicle hobbies nationwide is for us to receive your club newsletters and updates. Please consider placing SEMA on your mailing list. Send correspondence to: SEMA Action Network, 1317 F Street, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20004-1105. Or by e-mail at san@sema.org.
On The Road Again
We invite you to stop by and meet with Jason Tolleson, director of the SEMA Action Network, at these events in August:
36th Annual Street Rod Nationals
August 4-7
Louisville, Kentucky
11th Annual Woodward Dream Cruise
August 20