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Protecting Your Passion
The SAN and Its Members Look to Continue 2009’s Successes in the New Decade
The most powerful tool in protecting our hobby will always be an informed and active enthusiast. This has been reinforced by SAN members from across the United States and Canada who continue to play an active role in supporting hobby-friendly legislation across both countries. This yearly issue of Driving Force contains a snapshot of the victories forged this year by the SAN and its dedicated members.
California Emissions Tests: The SAN defeated legislation that sought to require annual smog-check inspections for vehicles 15 years old and older. The bill would also have required that funds generated through the additional inspection fees be deposited into an account which could have been used to scrap older cars. Pre-’76 motor vehicles would have remained exempt under the measure.
California “Gas Guzzlers”: The SAN helped defeat legislation that would have authorized the establishment of a surcharge tax for some new motor vehicles based on state calculations of carbon emissions. Funds collected under the program would have been used in part to fund rebates for vehicles including hybrids and electric cars. The SAN opposed the bill because it would have made popular performance and luxury cars, as well as SUVs, light trucks and minivans, substantially more expensive to own without necessarily curtailing greenhouse gas emissions.
California Scrappage: The SAN submitted comments opposing a proposal to spend roughly $30 million annually to augment the state’s existing scrappage program. The proposal would provide incentives for vehicles not currently eligible under the Consumer Assistance Program by removing the existing requirements that vehicles be subject to and fail smog check to participate; the agency is targeting pre-’76 vehicles that are no longer subject to emissions inspections.
Connecticut Vehicle Noise: The SAN defeated legislation that would have required motor vehicles and devices to be operated, constructed and adjusted to prevent unnecessary or unusual noise. The bill did not define what constituted unnecessary or unusual noise. The SAN also defeated legislation that would have provided an incentive to localities to increase the number of citations issued for violation of vehicle noise regulations.
Indiana Antiques: State hobbyist groups, working with the SAN and SEMA-member companies have reached a tentative compromise with environmental regulators on a proposal that originally sought to redefine the term “antique vehicle” in order to force more of these hobby cars into the emissions inspection program. Under existing law, an antique vehicle is defined as “a motor vehicle or motor scooter that is at least 25 years old.” Under the initial regulation, the definition would be revised to require that the vehicle must be at least 25 years old; registered and plated as a historic motor vehicle; driven a maximum of 3,000 miles per calendar year; and include federally required pollution control equipment for that make and model year. Under the compromise, these vehicles would be exempt from the mileage limit and the pollution-control equipment requirement if they were insured under a collectible vehicle automobile insurance policy.
Montana Exhaust Noise: Montana legislation that sought to repeal a SAN-sponsored law enacted in 2007, which permits vehicles to be modified with exhaust systems that do not emit an excess of 95 decibels, died when the legislature adjourned for the year. Under the repeal legislation, Montana would have returned to subjective noise-level determinations when considering whether an exhaust system is legal.
New York Taxing “Gas Guzzlers”: The SAN defeated legislation that would have established a progressive purchase or lease surcharge for some new motor vehicles based on state calculations of carbon emissions. Depending on the vehicle purchased, this surcharge could have required owners to pay up to $2,500 more for the vehicle.
North Carolina Street Rods/Customs: A version of SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods, replicas and custom vehicles was signed into law by Governor Bev Perdue. The law retains the key components of the SEMA-model bill while relieving vehicle owners of unfair title branding and inspection concerns. The measure provides specific registration and titling classes for street rods and replicas; allows for the use of non-original materials; and creates a titling and registration criterion that assigns replica vehicles the same model year designation as the production vehicle intended to be replicated.
North Carolina Scrappage: The SAN defeated legislation that would have implemented a state vehicle scrappage program for passenger vehicles that were at least 14 years old. Participants would have received around $1,000–$1,500 to scrap their car and purchase a current-year vehicle under 10,000 lbs., or one from the previous three model years. All trade-in vehicles could have been destroyed, regardless of their historical value or collector interest. Had this effort been successful, hobbyists could have been denied the availability of vintage cars and parts for restoration projects.
Oregon Aftermarket Parts: The governor of Oregon signed into law an alternative to legislation that originally sought to prohibit the sale and distribution of aftermarket motor-vehicle parts if alternatives are available that “decrease greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.” Under the alternative, negotiated between the SAN and environmental regulators, the new law will only allow the state to adopt the present California certification process for aftermarket emissions-related parts, allowing parts manufacturers to meet one uniform standard, rather than a patchwork of multiple state standards.
Tennessee Antique Vehicles: SAN-supported legislation to amend the state’s current law defining antique motor vehicles to also permit use of these vehicles for “selling, testing the operation of or obtaining repairs” was signed into law by Governor Phil Bredesen. The bill had originally sought use for everyday general transportation. The Tennessee law continues to allow use of antique vehicles for club activities, exhibits, tours and for general transportation on Saturday and Sunday.
Utah Street Rods/Custom Vehicles: SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles was approved overwhelmingly by the Utah State Legislature and signed into law by then Governor Jon Huntsman. The new law 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 law allows kit cars and replica vehicles to be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble.
Virginia Inoperable Vehicles: Under pressure from the SAN, legislation which would have allowed the city of Newport News to adopt a more restrictive inoperable vehicle ordinance was withdrawn. Under the bill, the city could have adopted an ordinance prohibiting any person from keeping more than one inoperable motor vehicle on private property except within a fully enclosed building. In 2004, Virginia signed into law a SAN-negotiated bill to exempt at least two inoperable vehicles being actively repaired or restored on private property from any local ordinance if shielded or screened from public view.
Washington Scrappage: The SAN and its members helped defeat an effort that would have implemented a vehicle scrappage program for passenger vehicles more than 15 years old. Under the bill, qualifying vehicles would have been registered for a 24-month period and in satisfactory operating condition. Replacement vehicles purchased under the plan would have been required to have a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway gasoline mileage rating of at least 30 mpg. Participants in the program were to be granted a sales tax exemption for the first $2,000 of tax paid on the purchase price. All trade-in vehicles would have been destroyed, regardless of their historical value or collector interest.
West Virginia Inoperable Vehicles: The SAN defeated legislation that sought to redefine “abandoned motor vehicles” to include vehicles or vehicle parts which are either unlicensed or inoperable, or both, are not in an enclosed building and have remained on private property for more than 30 days.
West Virginia Exhaust Noise: The SAN defeated legislation that would have provided that the noise from a motor-vehicle exhaust system deemed “disturbing or unreasonably loud” constituted disturbing the peace under state law.
Wyoming Street Rods/Custom Vehicles: SEMA-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 Wyoming Legislature and signed into law by Governor Dave Freudenthal. The new law 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 law allows kit cars and replica vehicles to be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble.
Nova Scotia: At the request of the SAN, a regulation that would have required retailers and installers to provide proof that all suspension lift products had been approved by a certified engineer has been put on hold to allow regulatory agencies to conduct an impact study. Currently, the province has only one certified engineer available to conduct these inspections. For the time being and absent an obvious structural deficiency in the suspension equipment, inspectors will be instructed to not pass or fail a vehicle based on the fact that it has an altered ride height.
Saskatchewan: The SAN submitted technical comments to a regulatory proposal issued by Saskatchewan to regulate raised vehicles in the province. Under the proposal, all aftermarket raised vehicles operated on Saskatchewan highways would be subject to a raised vehicle inspection after January 1, 2011. The province intends to impose tiered frame height limits based on a vehicle’s rated operating weight. In addition, regulators are considering requiring owners to carry a “Letter of Authorization” issued by the province in order to operate a raised vehicle. The Letter of Authorization would signify that the vehicle has passed inspection and would be shown to law enforcement during roadside stops to demonstrate compliance with the applicable frame height limit. The province is also considering restricting the maximum speeds of raised vehicles with tires that have a loaded rolling diameter of greater than 35 inches.
U.S. FEDERAL ISSUES
Cash for Clunkers: After months of contentious debate, lawmakers enacted a $3 billion “Cash for Clunkers” bill that paid consumers to scrap cars and trucks getting 18 miles per gallon or less in exchange for a cash voucher to buy a new car. Consumers received a $3,500 or $4,500 credit depending on the fuel- economy improvement of the new vehicle. SEMA convinced lawmakers to exclude vehicles that were 25 years old or older from being scrapped. The provision served to safeguard vehicles that may possess unique historic or aesthetic value and are irreplaceable to hobbyists as a source of restoration parts. The program also allowed all parts, except the engine, to be recycled. During the clunkers debate, SEMA argued that a better environmental approach would have been to support vehicle repairs, installation of specialty equipment to reduce emissions and increase fuel economy, and engine recycling.
Car Collector Appreciation Day: Senator Jon Tester introduced Senate Resolution 97 designating June 1, 2009, to be “Collector Car Appreciation Day.” The resolution recognizes the value in collecting and restoring historic and classic cars. It also acknowledges this as a contribution toward preserving America’s technological achievements and cultural heritage. The SAN will work with the senator to seek its reintroduction in 2010.
Ethanol-15: The SAN submitted comments to the EPA opposing a request to allow the ethanol content of gasoline to increase to 15% (from 10%). The SAN cited concern that the additional content could harm automobile parts of all ages, including special-interest collector and historic vehicles. A number of other organizations expressed similar concerns. Tests using ethanol concentrations of up to 20% have shown a notable increase in wear on vehicle fuel systems produced up through model-year ’95, and especially for pre-’90 vehicles. Fuel pumps, tanks, seals, hoses and other rubber components are particularly subject to failures. The EPA is expected to rule on the issue in December 2009.
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
A Slammin' 68
1968 Chevrolet Camaro
Owner: Lane Ochi
Beverly Hills, California
Getting my license at the very end of the musclecar era, I always wanted to own a Camaro. I still remember the day my dad brought home a ’70 Z28. The Z remained a favorite of mine up until dad sold it. I cried when he sold that car and brought home a Honda due to higher gas prices
Fast forward years later, after kids and a divorce, it was time for some “me” time. After a long search, I found the ultimate Southern California project, a first-generation ragtop Camaro. The previous owner used it as his daily driver and along the way, it lost its original block and transmission—so I felt no obligation to restore it to being “factory correct.”
When I first got the car, I just drove it. But soon I needed “more power,” so off to B&N Custom Rods in Canyon Country, California, to build a motor with some attitude. They stroked a four-bolt main 350-cid engine that was bored .06 over after ultra-sounding the walls, then fitted it with a balanced Eagle crank and H-beam 6-inch rods and 10.7 to 1 compression JE pistons. The cam is a Comp Cam roller, with 0.520-/.0540-inch lift, and it’s topped off with Edelbrock aluminum cylinder heads and an air gap intake manifold. Fuel runs through an 800-cfm Holley. The built 388 now puts out close to 500 hp and 500 lb.-ft. of torque. To get the power to the rear, it’s running a 10-inch TCI Streetfighter torque converter, a heavily modified 700-R4 transmission and ending with a 3:73 Eaton Posi rearend. To stop the car, SSBC discs are on all four corners.
The car was then stripped to bare metal and repainted PPG silver and black Z28 stripes. It was really important to me that the car looked stock, so there’s no cowl induction hood and the color-matched 15-inch Rally wheels finish off the exterior.
The interior is fairly stock; it has a standard interior with the addition of houndstooth seats. Of course, having the ultimate California tanning machine, I needed a sound system to knock your socks off. A wireless McIntosh head unit, routing power through a JL 300/4-amp, pushes the sounds through Diamond speakers in custom kick panels and a 12-inch JL subwoofer in the trunk.
The car is a blast to drive. I love my Camaro!
Have your car or truck featured in a future issue of Driving Force.
Submit your high-resolution photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Irish Car Club Celebrates American Metal
Great American Steel Car Club (GASCC) was formed back in February 2008 by a small group of American car enthusiast in Ireland; their aim was to create a club dedicated to the American car, truck and hot-rod scene.
The club has grown from 12 original members to nearly 100 in this small space of time. GASCC members come from all ages and walks of life and attend monthly meetings where members share knowledge and experience with each other, along with just having a good time. GASCC has also launched its own website, which was set-up and maintained by its members, and the site acts as their main forum for advertising both locally and internationally. The site provides forums for members to discuss various problems and has a calendar of events, which the club has chosen to attend during the upcoming year. It also has a large photo gallery of club cars and a classified section that allows members to sell or buy American vehicles and parts in Ireland. Club members are avid car show attendees and have traveled as far as the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the United States to see the cars they love.
This year GASCC held its own show and BBQ on the 4th of July which was such a huge success that it will be made into an annual event. GASCC club members also made a trip to Las Vegas for the 2009 SEMA Show and reported that a good time was had by all.
Club members come mainly from people within the Munster region of Ireland, but it is open to all with the only stipulation being that you must be an American vehicle enthusiast, though, they say that having a sense of humor is well advised.
You can visit GASCC at their website: www.gascc.ie
December 5, Benton
6th Annual Toys for Tots Caravan Cruise
Information: George Beyers, 501/776-5155
December 13, Bakersfield
26th Annual Bakersfield Toy Run and Food Drive Cruise
Information: Sherry, 661/399-0340 or Twila, 661/302-0048
December 6, Bushnell
Sumter Swap Meets, Car Corral, and Show
December 5, Houston
Coffee ‘N Cars
Sponsor: Texas Vehicle Club Council
December 5, Burleson
Victory Family Church Benefit Car Show
Information: www.victoryfamily.com or http://speedthelight.com
December 12–13, Belton
26th Annual Texas Swap Meet Winternationals
December 19, Houston
Wings and Wheels Saturday Hobby Airport
Sponsor: Texas Vehicle Club Council
December 5–9, Timonium
East Coast Indoor Nationals Car Show
Early January 2010 Events
January 17, Phoenix
3rd Annual Wheels of Wellness
January 3, Cape Coral
Corvettes on the Gulf
January 10, Sunrise
4th Annual Open Car & Truck Show
Attention Car Clubs, Event Organizers and Enthusiasts!
Put SAN on Your Mailing List!
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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 to email@example.com.