EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN!
Replica Market Revolutionized by Landmark Law
The year 2015 will be remembered for many things. For fans of classic cars, it represents the beginning of a new era. Thanks to a years-long effort by the SEMA Action Network (SAN), as well as the industry that supports us, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that will soon enable consumers to purchase turn-key replicas of classically-styled vehicles. Signed by the president in December 2015, the new law (called the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act”) means enthusiasts now have the choice of purchasing a completed replica or building a vehicle from a kit. Check out the SAN’s new video PSA above and share it with your friends.
The practice of recreating four-wheeled legends goes back generations. It first emerged in the 1950s when the law of supply and demand began to have a dramatic impact. There were more enthusiasts wanting to buy cars from previous decades than existed in stock, making prices unaffordable for many. A solution, aided greatly by a new material called “fiberglass,” allowed new look-alike bodies to be made rather inexpensively and placed on a newer frame. Kit cars allowed construction to occur in a hobbyist’s garage.
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Founded in 2002, the Raritan River Region-CLC owes its existence to the efforts of four Cadillac fans who began meeting at various car shows and cruise nights in New Jersey: Bernie Cooney, Bob Rankin, Andrew Monahan and Ray Koziol. The Cadillac & LaSalle Club, Inc. (CLC) is an international organization of over 7,000 members who own more than 18,000 collectible automobiles built by The Cadillac Motor Division of General Motors. The CLC dates back to 1958 and now includes almost 50 domestic regions, 18 international affiliate clubs, and eleven chapters that focus on LaSalles, ’41 Cadillacs, Allantés, Broughams, etc. Membership is open to persons anywhere in the world and ownership of a vehicle produced by the marque is not required.
Creation of the Raritan River Region came about one summer evening while at a cruise night in Somerset. “We theorized that this was not attempted before due to the amount of work needed,” explains Ray. “But since there were four of us, we could easily handle the workload. Bernie handled the liaison work with the CLC and I took care of the organizational work like marketing materials, membership and the newsletter, Caddy Corner while Bob and Andrew hit the streets promoting the idea.” Additionally, each person tackled “cruise night duty”—including promoting the club to all who stopped by.
According to Ray, a few key events solidified the group’s identity. The new region’s first organizational meeting was held in June 2002, where officers were elected and the newsletter was named. “A total of 19 members initially attended and today our membership stands at 87,” Koziol adds. The following year, they were granted full region status by the CLC Board of Directorsduring the CLC Grand National event. They also won the very first website excellence award—an honor received again in 2006 by webmaster Pat Caruso.
Promotion of the hobby is one of the major forces that motivate the group. “We participate in a number of community events, host annual ‘nursing home runs’ and encourage our membership to involve the youth,” says Ray. As supporters of the SEMA Action Network (SAN), they distribute Legislative Alerts to the membership for review and follow up. Recently, word was spread about New Jersey’s single plate bill to their membership via Caddy Corner. They’ve also participated in the celebration of Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD) each year since its inception.
For those members in the organization, we’re glad to have you all on our side in the Garden State!