February 2007

Close Call for Collector Cars
Ohio Enthusiasts Stall Year End Push on Harmful Inoperable Vehicle Bill
Despite a late session push to enact legislation in Ohio which would allow townships to confiscate inoperable vehicles deemed to be "junk," including collector cars, from private property, a SAN-opposed bill died when the 2006 Ohio legislative session adjourned for the year. While the bill was approved by the Ohio House of Representatives, time ran out before it could be considered by the Senate.
As it is anticipated the bill will be reintroduced in 2007, the SAN will work with the Ohio legislature in the coming months to modify the bill's language to provide that project cars will be guaranteed protection when properly maintained on private property.
Leading the charge against the bill is State Representative Kenny Yuko. In addition to owning a fully restored '31 Model A Ford, Representative Yuko is also a member of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus.
Joining in this fight are thousands of SAN members, car clubs and hobby-related businesses in Ohio whose phone calls and e-mails to lawmakers have ensured that this harmful bill would not go unnoticed.
While supporters of the bill claimed that collector vehicles would be protected, they fail to consider that most, if not all, collector vehicles in the process of being restored would meet Ohio's exceedingly broad definition for "junk." Under existing law, a junk motor vehicle must be "three model years old or older; apparently inoperable; extensively damaged, including, but not limited to, any of the following: missing wheels, tires, engine or transmission.  This bill, if enacted, could subject many ungaraged historic hobby cars to disposal under the broad definition of junk vehicles.
"There is a very, very, very fine line between what is considered by some people to be a junk vehicle while another may view it as an opportunity to create a beautiful collector vehicle somewhere in the future," said Representative Yuko during the debate on the bill on the floor of the Ohio House of Representatives. "I can assure you that a junk vehicle and a collector vehicle in its early stages almost look like the same thing."        
The SEMA Action Network supports legislation that permits the outdoor storage of a motor vehicle if the vehicle is maintained in such a manner as not to constitute a health hazard.  These vehicles could be located away from public view, or screened by means of a suitable fence, trees, shrubbery, opaque covering or other appropriate means.
Arizona Emissions Exemption: The U.S. Environ-mental Protection Agency has approved an Arizona law to exempt qualified collectible vehicles from the state's mandatory emissions  inspection and maintenance program. The law was enacted in 2005 and then submitted to the EPA for hearings and study. Under a SAN amendment to the law, vehicles will have to be either at least 15-years old or of unique design, limited production and an object of curiosity. Owners will have to maintain appropriate collectible or classic automobile insurance and their vehicles must be primarily used for car club activities, exhibitions, parades, etc. and only infrequently for other purposes. In reaching approval, the EPA agreed with findings from the Arizona air quality regulators and a long-held SAN contention that collector vehicles have a "negligible impact" on air quality. The exemption is expected to take effect on March 1, 2007. 
Florida Street Rods/Custom Vehicles:  SEMA model legislation to amend the vehicle titling and registration classifications for street rods and create a classification for custom vehicles has been introduced in the Florida State Legislature for consideration in 2007. The 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. Under the measure, kit cars and replica vehicles will be assign-ed a certificate of title bearing the same model year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble.  The bill is similar to legislation enacted into law in Illinois, Missouri, Rhode Island, Montana, Maine, Colorado and Hawaii.
New York Grille Guards:  SAN-opposed legislation to prohibit the use of grille guards attached to a motor vehicle's chassis has been reintroduced in New York for the 2007 legislative session. The measure relies on unsubstantiated claims that grille guards create the potential of greater harm to other vehicles in the event of a collision and obstruct airbag sensors, rendering the airbags useless in an accident. The bill would require owners of vehicles currently equipped with grille guards (including those purchased with this equipment from a dealership) to remove these guards. The measure is identical to legislation that was not approved by the New York legislature in 2006.
New York Historic Fees: A SAN-supported bill has been introduced in the New York Legislature to provide that historical vehicle owners only pay a one-time registration fee of $23 upon initial registration. The reduced registration fee would be available to owners of historical vehicles owned and operated as an exhibition piece or collector's item and used for club activities, exhibits, tours, parades, occasional transportation and similar uses. Under current New York law, a historical motor vehicle is either a vehicle manufactured more than 25 years ago or one which has unique characteristics and which is determined to be of historical, classic or exhibition value. The $23 one-time fee would replace the current annual fee of $23.
Help Spread the Word!
Does your club host an annual car show? Do you want to help get others involved in working to protect this hobby?  If you answered "yes" to both of these questions, then you can help by letting your fellow enthusiasts know about the SEMA Action Network (SAN) and include information about the SAN in your show goodie bags.
The SAN has produced a brochure which provides valuable information on some of the ongoing opportunities and threats that face the auto hobby. The brochure also highlights the importance of developing an ongoing positive relationship with your state and local officials.
It's quite simple. The more people that get their hands on this information, the more people that actively participate, the more successful we will be in protecting this hobby.
For more information, or to request brochures for your club's upcoming show, please contact Jason Tolleson at jasont@sema.org or by phone at 202/783-6007, ext. 39.  
(Please contact the SAN at least 6 weeks prior to the show to ensure timely delivery of the brochures.)
Me and My Mustang
Kansas State Senator Chris Steineger is serving in his eleventh session in the Kansas State Legislature and is one of the original members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus.
"I bought my Mustang in the summer of 1988 from the third owner. It's a 1966 GT convertible with all codes and numbers matching. It's a 289-4V, automatic, power steering, power top, Pony interior, styled steel wheels. I drove it daily for a few years then did a restoration in 1992-93. I hired out the bodywork, paint, and machine work, but did all the disassembly and reassembly myself including power train, interior, and trim."
"Classic cars are a great way to meet people and make friends. There's no political partisanship, just shared interest and enjoyment of the hobby.  I use my Mustang extensively during election campaigns in parades, and as a mobile billboard when I'm knocking on doors in the neighborhoods. The State Legislature takes so much time that I don't get to drive the car much so it just hibernates in the back of the garage. I look forward to late spring when the Legislature adjourns and I can get that freedom feeling of top-down cruising again!"
* Editor's Note: Each month Driving Force will feature a member of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. The SEMA-supported caucus is a bi- partisan group of state lawmakers whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles. Here is its newest Caucus member:
Senator Lance Mason
We Get Letters
Dear Editor:
I'm writing to inquire about the law regarding aftermarket exhaust systems in Massachusetts. While I saw materials on your website about a proposed aftermarket ban, I'm still somewhat confused about what is legal.
Mike Whithers
Dear Mike,
The current law in Massachusetts states that vehicles are to be "equipped with a muffler to prevent excessive or unnecessary noise..."  It also prohibits "an exhaust system which has been modified in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the exhaust." Under this provision, law enforcement officials are permitted to make subjective and unfair judgments on what constitutes "excessive or unnecessary noise." While the SAN agrees that aftermarket exhaust systems should not be used in a way that causes overly loud or objectionable noise, the law prohibits exhaust systems that produce modest and inoffensive noise increases.
For the past three legislative sessions, the SAN has defeated legislation that would further this restriction to prohibit the sale and installation of any exhaust systems that would cause any increase in noise.
To provide lawmakers with an alternative, SEMA has produced model legislation that provides for the testing of vehicle exhaust noise to a standard adopted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) with an established noise limit of 95-decibels (SAE J1169).  Under this procedure, a calibrated sound meter is placed 20 inches from the exhaust outlet at a 45-degree angle, the vehicle engine is revved to three quarters of maximum rated horsepower and the highest decibel reading is recorded. This program certifies tested vehicles to be in or out of compliance with the law.
We ask the SAN members in Massachusetts to stay tuned for e-mail alerts and other updates on this ongoing issue.
Thank you,
Jason Tolleson
Editor, Driving Force
Class Act Chevelle
1972 Chevrolet Chevelle
Owner: John Kolasa
Plainfield, CT
Years ago my friend Mike played in a band and used his '72 Chevelle to haul around his drums.  Years later he decided to go to San Diego and needed money to make the trip. I lent him $1,500 and he offered up his drum set as collateral. Knowing that music was how he made his money, I refused.  Instead he gave me the car.
Some time later I heard from his parents that he would not be returning and they signed the car over to me. I found it parked in their barn covered with dust, hay, and about ten farm cats. I got the car registered and did some minor body work on it, however, it wasn't until I saw another Chevelle at a local car show that I decided to put some real time into my new toy.  Now that it is finished I wish that my friend Mike could see it.
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: SEMA, 1317 F Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20004. You also may upload high-resolution digital pictures (minimum 5 inches wide at 300 dpi) directly through the SAN website at www.semasan.com/san/mycar.aspx .
On The Road Again
We invite you to stop by and meet with Jason Tolleson, director of the SEMA Action Network, at this event in February:
February 9-10, Philadelphia
AACA Eastern Region Meeting
Information: www.aaca.org
Honoring Virginia's Finest
When is a car show more than just a car show? When it is as much about people as it is about cars.
In May 2006, Fairfax County (Virgi-nia) Police Officers Vicky Armel and Michael Garbarino were killed in the line of duty in a tragic shooting in front of the Sully District Police Station. The event shocked the community and much attention was paid to caring for the families of the slain officers. Rising to meet this challenge were the members of the Custom Cruisers of Northern Virginia. Joining with the Clifton Lions Clubs, they donated close to $32,000 from the proceeds of their annual Labor Day car show.
Formed in 1985, the Custom Cruisers of Northern Virginia works to promote the enjoyment of hot rods, customs, antiques, and other collector cars within Virginia and surrounding states. In addition, the club supports other charities and causes in their community through financial donations and service projects.
February 25, Glendale
United We Drive Show
Sponsor: Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council
Information: 623/937-1171
February 2-4, Orange
Annual Packards International Show and Swap Meet
Sponsor: Packards International
Motor Car Club
Information: 714/541-8431
February 9-11, Sacramento
Annual Sacramento Autorama
Information: www.hotrodshows.com or 877/236-0632
February 24-25, San Diego
41st Annual Big 3 Auto Parts Exchange
and Car Corral
Information: www.big3partsexchange.com or 619/276-7135
February 22-24, Punta Gorda
AACA Winter Meet
Sponsor: AACA, Peace River Region
Information: http://local.aaca.org/peaceriver or 941/698-7968
February 17, Marietta
Swap Meet 2007
Sponsor: Georgia Street Rod Association
Information: www.gsra.com or 770/517-6701
February 18, St. Charles
19th Annual Winter Parts Swap
Sponsor: Illinois Region MARC
Information: www.illinoisregionmarc.com or 773/507-5144
February 25, Grayslake
Skip's Show and Swap Meet
Information: 630/876-1042
February 25, Wheaton
British Car Swap Meet and Autojumble
Sponsor: Chicagoland MG Club
Information: www.britishcarswap.info or 630/916-7358 
February 2-3, Wichita Sunflower Swap Meet
Sponsor: Wichita A's
Information: www.wichitaas.com or 316/838-5950
February 23-25, Louisville
46th Carl Casper Custom Auto Show
Information: www.carlcasper.com or 502/267-8807
February 10-12, Ocean City
26th Annual Ocean City Hot Rod & Custom Car Show
Information: www.specialeventpro.com or 410/798-6304
February 3-4, Kalamazoo
44th Annual Winter Swap Meet
Sponsor: Kalamazoo Antique Auto Restorers Club
Information: 269/342-8755
February 2-4, Albuquerque
2007 Supernationals
Information: www.thesupernationals.com or 505/294-7273
February 16-18, Portland
Portland Rod and Custom Show
Information: www.hotrodshows.com or 877/236-0632
February 17-18, Central Point
Southern Oregon Rod and Custom Show
Sponsor: Rogue Valley Street Rods
Information: troyboyd@earthlink.net or 541/944-2096
February 8-10, Philadelphia
AACA 71st Annual Meeting
Sponsor: AACA
Information: www.aaca.org or 717/534-1910
February 16-18, Dallas
Dallas AutoRama
Information: www.autorama.com or 972/841-1627
February 23-25, Decatur
Decatur Swap Meet
Sponsor: Wise County Antique Auto Club
Information: www.wcaac.com or 940/433-5770
February 25, West Bend
42nd Annual Greater Milwaukee Area Winter Swap Meet
Information: 262/677-5060
Early March 2007 Events:
March 4, Hollywood
19th Florida Mopar Nationals
Sponsor: Florida Mopar Connection Car Club
Information: floridamopar@bellsouth.net or 954/920-7096
March 3-4, Flint
3rd Annual PCS Mid-Michigan Chapter Micro-Meet
Sponsor: PCS, Mid-Michigan Chapter
Information: plumbsmith@ameritech.net or 810/691-6352
March 2-4, Sandy
33rd Annual AutoRama
Information: www.autorama.com or 801/774-8015
March 2-4, Seattle
Seattle Roadster Show
Information: www.hotrodshows.com or 877/236-0632
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:
Missouri SB 17: Removes requirements for vehicle inspections for street rods and custom vehicles.
Missouri SB 101: Increases punishment for misuse of historical plates and for falsifying application for vehicle registration.
Montana SB 36: Creates a one-time registration fee for vehicles owned and operated solely as collector's items. Vehicles weighing less than 2,850 pounds are $5, and those over 2,850 pounds are $10.
New York SB 187: Creates a one-time registration fee for historical motor vehicles until sold or the title is transferred.
Maine SB 12: Provides a sales tax exemption for a portion of the sale or lease price of a vehicle that is a clean fuel vehicle.
Mississippi HB 342: Provides an income tax credit for taxpayers who purchase a hybrid electric vehicle without the intent to resell.
New York AB 938: Provides tax credits and sales tax exemptions for the purchase of fuel-efficient, zero-emission, flexible-fuel, and alternative-fuel vehicles.
California SB 23: Requires the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District to develop and administer a voluntary program to remove high polluter vehicles within the district by exchanging high polluter vehicles for donated vehicles.
California AB 99: Declares the intent of the legislature to ensure that, by January 1, 2012, at least 50% of all new cars available in California are powered by clean alternative fuels.
New York AB 1057: Limits the use of a dynamometer during a vehicle emissions inspection to ninety seconds at no more than 30 miles per hour.
Texas SB 124 / HB 344: Proposes implementing a low-emission vehicle program based on California's Phase II Program
Missouri SB 105: Allows transparent covers for license plates so long as the plate is plainly visible and reflective qualities are not impaired.
Missouri HB 167: Requires the issuance and use of only one license plate on all motor vehicles, except those with personalized plates.  Currently two plates are required.
New York AB 108: Provides that sale of synthetic materials which prevent clear photograph of a license plate is prohibited.
Texas HB 348: Prohibits altering or obscuring state of origin on license plates. Does not apply to trailer hitches.
Virginia HJR 586 / HJR 655: Exempts privately owned motor vehicles used for non-business purposes from property taxes.
New York AB 142: Provides insurance premium reductions for vehicles equipped with automotive safety monitoring devices.  The bill is directed at minors under the age of 18.
Alaska HB 88: Prohibits driving a motor vehicle while a television or monitor is in the view of the driver.  Also prohibits installing a monitor in front of the driver unless it can be disabled while driving.  Provides exemptions for GPS and other vehicle information displays.
New York SB 634:  Prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle with a video monitor or screen within the view of the driver, except for GPS and other vehicle information displays.  Also prohibits retailers from installing monitors and screens within view of the driver unless it can be disabled while the vehicle is being driven.
New York AB 193: Creates window tinting standards for rear side windows of all motor vehicles in New York State and appropriates funds to buy necessary window tint meters.
New York AB 281: Includes the examination of tinted or shaded windows with a light transmittance of less than 70 percent in the periodic inspection of motor vehicles.