March 2003

Arizona Hobbyists Emissions Exemption for Older Vehicles

Pro-hobby legislation (H.B. 2387) has been introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives to exempt vehicles 25 years old and older from the state’s mandatory emissions inspection and maintenance program. Existing law in Arizona only exempts vehicles manufactured in or before the 1966 model year from the emissions inspection. The bill would exempt pre-1979 vehicles upon enactment and would pick up an additional model year for each year the law is in effect.

H.B. 2387 acknowledges the relatively minimal environmental impact of older vehicles, such as the 25-year old and older vehicles targeted for this exemption.Arizona SAN groups like the Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council and the First Generation Camaros of Arizona Car Club know the truth about vintage vehicles: they are infrequently driven, overwhelmingly well-maintained and contribute little to air pollution.

“The idea behind exempting vintage vehicles from emissions testing is to reduce emissions testing costs to the public without affecting air quality,” noted SEMA Director of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “Many states have already enacted similar exemptions, the most recent being Missouri in 2001, Virginia in 2000, Washington State in 1998 and California in 1997. We hope to add Arizona to this list in 2003”

Pro-Hobby Street Rod/Custom Bills Introduced

To date in this new legislative season,New York (S.B. 615) Missouri (H.B. 283) and Rhode Island (H.B. 5487) have all introduced SEMA model legislation to create vehicle registration classifications for street rods and custom vehicles. These bills all mirror legislation recently enacted in Illinois that defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom vehicle as an altered vehicle manufactured after 1948.

Each of these bills exempts street rods and customs from periodic vehicle inspections and emissions inspections and a range of standard equipment requirements. They also provide that replica vehicles will be assigned the same model-year designation as the production vehicle it most closely resembles and allows the use of non-original materials.

SEMA Action Network Director Brian Caudill noted, “We are pleased that SEMA’s model legislation is finding support across the country from both state legislators and from SEMA Action Network clubs like the Rhode Island Street Rod Association and the Show-Me Rods of Missouri. We are hopeful that hobbyists in other states that don’t have proper and effective street rod and custom vehicle registration categories will pursue similar legislation.

If you or your club is interested in pursuing SEMA’s model street rod/custom legislation, please contact Steve McDonald at 202-783-6007 or stevemac@sema.org.

Legislative Quick Hits

West Virginia Light Bars: A bill has been introduced in the West Virginia legislature that would only allow original vehicle manufacturer’s equipment light bars in the state. This bill would effectively ban the sale, installation and use of aftermarket light bars equipped with aftermarket lighting equipment intended for off-highway use. The bill also mandates that the lights be installed or aimed by or at the direction of the vehicle manufacturer. SEMA and West Virginia hobbyists, particularly OHV enthusiasts, have written the WV Senate Transportation Committee in opposition. Currently, the bill is bottled up in Committee

Connecticut/Hawaii Greenhouse Gas: Following California's lead, the Hawaii and Connecticut legislatures have introduced legislation to regulate "greenhouse" gas emissions, including carbon dioxide. Both bills provide that the regulations must be similar to California's laws and regulations and will apply to 2009 model year and later vehicles. The new California law prohibits regulators from reducing speed limits, restricting vehicle size or imposing new taxes or fees, but is still little more than a back-door effort by environmentalists to set fuel-economy standards -- an authority exclusively reserved to the Federal government. Because CO2 is given off whenever gasoline is burned, the only way to cut emissions is to make vehicles that burn less gasoline or vehicles driven by electricity or other means. Hobbyists in CT and HI have been alerted to these bills

New Hampshire Exhaust Noise: New Hampshire legislators are considering SEMA-model legislation to create an enforceable motor vehicle exhaust noise standard for the state. Currently, New Hampshire deems illegal all modifications which increase noise levels above that emitted by the vehicle’s original muffler. The SEMA model requires law enforcement authorities to prove that an exhaust system modification results in a noise level in excess of 95-decibels as measured by SAE test standard J1169 before issuing a citation. The New Hampshire House Transportation Committee has indicated that it will conduct independent tests to determine if the 95-decibel limit is fair to all vehicles before voting on the bill. SEMA would like to highlight the work of New Hampshire SAN club Team Modified in supporting this bill


What You Need to Know About Smog Legal Equipment

by Frank Bohanan

“Smog legal” is perhaps the most misunderstood and, unfortunately, misused term enthusiasts use. Most vehicle owners who live in areas with emissions tests know they have requirements they have to meet. But most aren’t really sure what they are. Let’s try to clear up some of the confusion. There are three basic levels of “in-use” emission requirements that vehicle owners have to meet - Memo 1A, federal and California:

Memo 1A. This refers to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) memorandum that basically says it’s illegal to remove, disconnect or disable a required emission control device on ANY polution controlled motor vehicle (PCMV) - pretty much any 1968 (1966 in CA) or later model year car/light duty vehicle used on public roads. What this means is that even if you don’t have a local emission-testing requirement, technically you can still break Federal law by chucking/disabling your vehicle’s smog equipment.

Federal Emission Requirements. If your area has emission testing, almost certainly some form of underhood inspection goes along with it. Technicians will check to make sure that all required smog equipment is installed and functioning properly. This does NOT mean you can’t change things! You just have to make sure changes you make are “smog legal” and comply with Memo 1A. Because you may need to prove compliance to an inspector, most product manufacturers offer documentation that states their product is at least “ 49 state smog legal,” effectively claiming that their product satisfies the EPA requirements. One warning: products that claim “49 state” smog legality are not legal for use in California (or states which use CA emission standards) on PCMVs. Ever!

California (CARB) Emissions Requirements. If you live in CA or states that use CA emission standards, then being Memo 1A/”49 state” smog legal isn’t enough. Your product MUST have an Executive Order (EO) number issued by the California Air Resources Board to be legal for use on a PCMV, unless it can be considered a replacement part. That means the manufacturer of the product must obtain an EO number before the product can be advertised or sold in CA. The manufacturer must also provide an underhood label with the part that inspectors can use to verify that its appropriate for the vehicle it’s on. Products which have EOs are often called “50 state smog legal” because having an EO satisfies both California and EPA requirements. This is pretty cut and dried except for some products like intake manifolds which can qualify as replacement parts even though they are made by aftermarket companies. In these cases, many aftermarket companies include documentation explaining the “status” of these parts.

There are many, many subtle twists and complexities to this subject that could not be covered due to space limitations. However, the simple approach is this: 1) Non PCMVs (pre 1968/1966 in CA, race cars, etc.) don’t have to worry about much beyond state and local vehicle laws. 2) Outside of California, and other states that use CA emissions standards, emissions related parts for use on PCMV’s don’t need an EO for legal use. They only need to qualify as “49 state legal” or as replacement parts. 3.) In California, and other states that use CA emissions standards, emissions related parts for use on PCMVs must have an EO (qualifying as “50 state legal”) or qualify as replacement parts.

Have a follow up question or another topic for TECH CORNER? Send it to us at frankb@sema.org or SEMA, Attn: “TECH CORNER,” 1317 F Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20004.

EAGLE ONE Honors Car Clubs With “Golden Rule” Award

For the tenth year in a row, appearance care products manufacturer Eagle One, a Division of Valvoline, has presented its “Golden Rule Award” to four regional car clubs for outstanding community service programs. The award program is designed to enhance the image of the car club movement in the United States.

This year's winners for programs conducted in 2002 were (SEMA Action Network Members in bold): West, Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club, Big Bear Lake, CA; Midwest, Windy City Corvette Club, Orland Park, IL; East, Over The Hill Gang, Brookville, OH; South, Creepers Car Club, Murietta, GA. The clubs received a large supply of Eagle One waxes, polishes and wheel and tire cleaners, a large supply of Valvoline MaxLife motor oil, a custom-designed plaque, and a donation of $250 by Eagle One to a charity designated by each club.

Runners-up in each region were: Mountain Top Street Rodders, Prescott, AZ; Toppers Car Club, Kindred, ND; Street Cars of Desire, Baltimore, MD; Thunder Valley Mustang Club, Chattanooga, TN. These clubs received a generous supply of Eagle One and Valvoline products and an Award of Merit.
SEMA and the SEMA Action Network salutes the efforts of all winning and runner-up clubs. Today, vehicle clubs are about more than cool rides and shows. Increasingly, they are also about community, charitable, and political involvement.


Our article that referenced the anti-SUV program, “What Would Jesus Drive?” (CAN YOU BELIVE?! Driving Force, February 2003) generated a lot of response…

I was impressed with the delicate way SEMA handled the “What Would Jesus Drive” matter in the February Driving Force. In these politically correct times, you run the risk of offending no matter what you say and when there is the vaguest hint of religion, the risk of offending increases exponentially.

Let me just say, I don’t like SUV’s. They’re wasteful and generally unnecessary. I know SEMA disagrees. I just wanted to applaud the evenhandedness of the article.

Name Withheld by Request

I was just reading this month's Driving Force and I came across the "what would Jesus drive" question. I have not seen any of those ads here in California. I guess all the environmentalists realize that the soccer moms who own them pay for their causes. I did give the question some deep, logical consideration. What would Jesus drive.....hmmmm. Let's see, he lived in a rural area, they did animal herding and farming and, last but certainly not least, he was a carpenter. I suspect he'd drive an SUV or, maybe a 4WD quad cab pickup.

‘Nuff said,

Steve Tudor

Tracy, CA

March SAN Club Events


April 4-5, Tucson

23rd Annual Southwest Unique Little Car Show

Sponsor: Subaru 360 Drivers Club

Information: 520-741-0336


March 14-16, Coalinga

Molina Ghost Run

Sponsor: California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs

Information: 760-956-2783


March 23, Wheaton

Buick-Olds- Pontiac-Cadillac Swap Meet

Sponsor: Buick Club of America, Chicagoland Chapter

Information: 847-464-5933


March 22, Madison

2nd Annual Show and Shine

Sponsor: Antique Vehicle Club of Mississippi

Information: 601-825-3344


March 9, Norristown

2003 British Car Flea Market

Sponsor: Philadelphia MG Club

Information: 610-356-4409

March 16, Hershey

Annual Meeting

Sponsor: Legislative Council of Motor Vehicle Clubs

Information: 814-674-5301


March 16, Cartersville

Bodatious Off- Road Racing

Sponsor: Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association

Information: www.geocities.com/od4wdc/