SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting Discusses the RPM Act of 2017

Take action now: visit sema.org/rpm to save our racecars! Watch SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting's latest message on what racing enthusiasts can do to help the RPM Act get across the finish line in 2017: https://youtu.be/92AANftSVek



8th Annual Collector Car Appreciation Day to Be Celebrated July 14, 2017

The SEMA Action Network (SAN) announced that the next Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD) will be celebrated on July 14, 2017. The date will mark the eighth consecutive commemoration in what is now an annual event to raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society. “The U.S. Senate first recognized Collector Car Appreciation Day in 2010 at our request and helped launch this annual event,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “As we prepare for the eighth celebration of our nation's automotive heritage, enthusiasts and related businesses are already planning open houses, car cruises, club gatherings and educational events to commemorate the day.”

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Darrell Leland’s first car, a 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado, is shown sitting in the driveway of his parents’ house in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This Polaroid was snapped in the summer of 1982, shortly after he bought it.

Darrell Leland has fond memories of his first car, a 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado. At 20 years old, his desire to obtain a car of his own had been building up for some time. “I loved the Toronado because it was technically advanced, unusual and just different,” Darrell explains. He recalls his father shaking his head in disapproval while gazing at the huge vehicle that he had just brought home. “Just a few hours before, dad had given me the lecture,” says Leland. “He instructed me to get something sensible that got good gas mileage and was reliable. He was a fan of small Japanese cars, the ones favored by Consumer Reports. Refusing to buy a car like that and instead getting the Toronado was the closest I ever came to youthful rebellion.”

Darrell’s father made several predictions about the purchase, some of which came true. As he had suspected, the car needed just about everything including new brakes, shocks and transmission. However, the car’s young owner worked on it tirelessly for the next few years and got it into good running condition. Several long-distance trips were taken in it that began from his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. One drive in 1986 took Leland through the deep south, up the east coast and eventually to Riverton, New Jersey. There he stayed with his grandmother for about a year. “I sent a picture in the mail to my father showing the Toronado triumphantly sitting next to the Delaware River by grandma’s house,” he remembers. He also gained instant respect from the car guys he’d known in high school because of the car’s wild looks, unusual drivetrain, high compression 425 c.i. engine and respectable acceleration. “That car often attracted a crowd of admirers. That was certainly the case when I was in New Jersey as many people were amazed by its complete lack of east coast rust.”

He currently has a flathead six-powered 1935 Oldsmobile sedan sitting in his Albuquerque, New Mexico driveway. “Common sense tells me that it’s pretty far gone and isn’t a good candidate for restoration. But I’m too stubborn to give up on it just yet.” Leland’s current dream is to own a 1937 Packard 1502 Super 8 Limousine. He says that a model 1508 V12 Limo would be nice too. “I particularly like the sedans because of their amazing looks and practicality. Plus, high end collectors tend to shun them in favor of convertible sedans and phaetons.”

“I sincerely appreciate the way the SEMA Action Network (SAN) has consistently been the voice of the old car hobby over the years,” Darrell adds. “This organization is fighting to allow the old car hobby to survive in the face of modern technology and other realities. As someone who cares about the environment, I’m glad modern cars have been made more efficient, safer and pollute less. But, there aren’t too many old cars like my Toronado left on the road. They’d all be scrapped if the system were left unchecked. The SAN has pushed for common sense legislation for the car hobby and has carefully avoided partisan politics, which I find quite refreshing these days.”

Your kind words and continued support are truly appreciated, Darrell! Hopefully the Packard of your dreams will be yours one day.

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SEMA SAN Driving Force, Winter 2016