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The Long and Winding Road
Pro-Hobby Street Rod/Custom Vehicle Bill Passes Massachusetts Legislature, Vetoed by Governor
The road to success is often marked with unsuspected twists and turns. This is exactly what SAN members in Massachusetts have experienced over the last month in working to pass a titling and registration bill for street rods and custom vehicles.
After working tirelessly for the last two legislative sessions it seemed like the end was in sight when the measure was approved by the Legislature in the closing days of 2008. However, it was “pocket vetoed” by Governor Deval Patrick after he failed to sign the bill within 10 days of receiving it. The SEMA Government Affairs office will work to uncover and mitigate concerns raised by the Governor as the bill may be reintroduced this year.
It was through the persistence of one particular individual, Methuen City Councilman Joe Leone, that the bill was even given consideration amongst the chaos that exists in the closing days of a legislative session. An avid enthusiast and owner of a FFR Roadster, Leone worked to educate lawmakers on the positive benefits that this bill would have on the enthusiast community.
“We are deeply indebted to Joe for his determined efforts to get the bill through the Legislature,” said Steve McDonald, SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs. “From countless e-mails, phone calls and visits to the State House, he helped to ensure that this pro-hobby bill would receive attention from lawmakers and has pledged to continue in this effort.” In quoting Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood from his new movie Gran Torino, Leone joked with SEMA staff in saying, “I finish things...that’s what I do.”
Based on the SEMA-model Street Rod/Custom Vehicle bill, the bill defined 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 bill allowed kit cars and replica vehicles to be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicles they most closely resemble.
Special thanks are also due to Dana and Lenny Schaeffer of Chop-Shop Customs; Paul Saulnier of the Dominators Car Club; John Buchanan of the Mass Cruisers Car Club; and to the officers and member clubs of the Massachusetts Association of Automobile Clubs.
To date the SEMA-model bill has been enacted in one form or another in Washington state (1999), California (2001), Illinois (2002), Missouri (2004), Rhode Island (2004), Hawaii (2004), Montana (2005), Maine (2005), Colorado (2006), Arkansas (2007), Virginia (2007), Nevada (2007), Florida (2007), Idaho (2008), Iowa (2008) and Tennessee (2008). The New York, New Jersey and Wyoming Legislatures have already or will introduce the SEMA model for the 2009 legislative session.
Editor’s Note: As Congress is considering various scrappage proposals, this “Scrappage Update” section has been included in Driving Force to brief SAN members on developments surrounding these harmful and shortsighted measures.Critical to this effort are SAN members rallying their fellow hobbyists against these programs. Here is a letter that was sent by long-time SAN member Tom Cox to enthusiasts in his area.
Some of you are no doubt aware that Congress is considering funding another ill-advised “Cash for Clunkers” program. In the past, such scrappage programs have been largely funded and administered at the state level. Unfortunately, Congress is poised to ram a stimulus package through within 30 days of the inauguration. Many congressional members, at the urging of car dealers and manufacturers, are petitioning the Obama transition team to support a federal scrappage program funded with billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars as part of the stimulus package.
The belief is that low-income families will trade their clunker for $1,500 or $2,000 from Uncle Sam, and then rush to buy a new car. In addition, it is believed that buying and scrapping these older cars will clean the air. Both assumptions are heavily flawed.
Many of the cars traded in under this plan would have been driven sparingly, if at all, and many would likely come from junkyards and junk dealers. Additionally, these older vehicles represent a minimal part of the pollution problem due to their small numbers and minimal annual mileage. This is another feel-good proposition that will not address the true causes of air pollution, but will only serve to make bureaucrats feel useful.
Low-income families will never be able to buy a new car simply because someone gave them $1,500 or $2,000. New cars cost far more than that; $1,500 or $2,000 will not cover taxes, DMV fees and the higher insurance fees required on most new vehicles. Not only will these lower-income folks not be able to access a new car, but they will find the cost of a used one in their price range is harder to find, as all the inexpensive cars will be scrapped under this plan. Accordingly, they will be limited to working in areas serviced only by public transportation, which will trap many in deteriorating metropolitan areas without access to better jobs. In addition to the motorists affected, auto body shops, general repair shops, auto parts companies and many others in our backyard will be affected negatively through the scrapping of these cars.
Many of you may wonder how this will affect the old-car hobby. It will impact us immediately in some ways and eventually in others. There will be an immediate reduction in older parts available for restoration and project cars. Old cars will be looked upon as detrimental to the environment and will be labeled as such. Most government programs and initiatives such as this start out as “voluntary.” Eventually, they then become permanent, and we may all be compelled to rid ourselves of older cars or prevented from driving them. In addition, bodyshops and auto-service-related businesses will dwindle in number, driving up repair costs. Once old cars are labeled as gross polluters due to this legislation, we will be forced into emissions testing or even paying carbon taxes on our cars. There is even the possibility of federal auto registrations to keep track of these older cars. Trust me, you and your hobby will be disproportionately affected by this legislation.
Instead of Cash for Clunkers, if politicians really want to help in these times of crisis while cleaning the air, they should support the following recommendations offered by our friends at SEMA:
Allow an above-the-line tax deduction for interest, sales and excise taxes associated with the purchase of a new car or provide a tax credit/voucher for everyone towards the purchase of a new or used car, more efficient car, etc.
Provide tax credits to help repair or maintain an older vehicle since this employs the people who make the parts, sell them or install them. This will offer the owner added performance, drivability and fuel mileage and significantly reduce pollution since maintenance, not age, is the greatest factor affecting air pollution from vehicles.
Act now! Please respond immediately to the Action Alerts sent by the SEMA Action Network and available at www.semasan.com. On behalf of your fellow hobbyists, I thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.
Vice President Membership AACA
President Southwest Virginia Car Council
Past President Virginia Museum of Transportation
Strength in Numbers
This year, the legislatures in all 50 states will be meeting and considering approximately 160,000 bills and other various initiatives. Within those legislative bodies there are 7,382 lawmakers, many of which are serving for the first time, and more than 35,000 support staff.
While at first glance these numbers seem intimidating, it also provides an opportunity to educate these lawmakers and their staff on the automotive hobby and the positive impact it has on communities across the country. To start that process, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) recently e-mailed all state lawmakers inviting them to learn more about and join the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus.
Formed in 2005, the caucus is a non-partisan group of state legislators whose common thread is simply a love and appreciation for automobiles. To date, there are more than 300 members from all 50 states. (Click here to view a complete list of current Caucus members.)
To assist in building this network of hobby-friendly lawmakers, SAN members are urged to contact their state representative and state senator and ask that they join the caucus. As there is no specific obligation in joining the caucus, new members must only agree to list their names among other state legislators around the country who have also chosen to associate themselves with this great American hobby. Their contact information can be accessed through the “Find and Contact Your Legislator” link on www.semasan.com.
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
“It’s a Keeper!”
1949 Plymouth P-18
Owner: Charles and Marilyn Wellborn
East Palatka, Florida
My wife and I purchased the car five years ago from a friend. It had a 305 Chevy engine, a turbo 350 transmission and a Camaro front clip. It ran and drove rather well. The only major problem was that it didn’t have air conditioning. We decided that we would keep the car and fix it up.
First, we replaced the entire floor from bumper to bumper, as well as the firewall. While we were at it, we installed a ’68 Chevrolet 365hp 396ci engine with Flowmaster Series 40 mufflers. And, of course, air conditioning.
This was good for about a year and a half. Then it was time to redo the interior. I had an old set of Ford Explorer six-way power seats and decided they would look good. After looking for several weeks, we found another identical pair and installed all four of them. We designed, built and upholstered the center console, which turned out great considering it was our first time to upholster anything. However, we let the pros reupholster the seats.
Since then, we have frenched both the headlights and taillights, removed all the door and window handles and installed electric doors and windows with safety releases. It’s also got Firestone Indy 500 tires mounted on Centerline mags. Future plans call for a 700-R4 transmission.
Marilyn and I have been married for almost 44 years and have owned a lot of hot rods and race cars. However, this is the one that we have worked hard on together. So I guess like my wife…“It’s a keeper!”
A History of Caring
Oregon Street Rod Club Hosts Long-Running Show in Support of Children’s Care Facility
Formed in 1975, the Rogue Valley Street Rods club is the oldest organized and active street rod club in the southern Oregon region. With a membership of 180 individuals, the club continues to find ways to give back to the local community.
On February 7–8, the club will host the 32nd Annual Southern Oregon Rod & Custom Show at the Jackson County Fairgrounds and Expo in Central Point, Oregon. This long-running indoor show will feature about 100 selected street rods, customs, musclecars, classics and motorcycles from several western states. In addition to the Expo building with the car displays, there will be two buildings with commercial and product displays. Raffles, door prizes, cash drawings and kids’ activities, such as valve cover racing and a coloring contest, help bring about 7,000 people to the event during the weekend.
This charity car show was first presented in 1978 and has grown in size and quality every year since. Through last year’s event, the club has donated some $380,000 to charity. The funds are used by the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center (CDRC) of Oregon Health Science University to treat southern Oregon kids with diagnoses, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, developmental delay, craniofacial disorders, genetic syndrome and others. The CDRC uses the funds to provide the kids with such items as wheelchairs, van modifications for wheelchair lifts, computers and special therapy.
The volunteer efforts of the Rogue Valley Street Rods on this show and to other charitable causes have not gone unnoticed. In 2001, the club was presented with an Award of Merit by Eagle One Industries in their Eighth Annual Golden Rule Award program.
For information on the Rogue Valley Street Rods and the Annual Southern Oregon Rod & Custom Show, contact Larry Stalions at 541/857-9394.
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:
South Carolina HB 3081: Would require vehicles equipped with a data-recording device to disclose in the owner’s manual and on a window sticker that a recording device is installed in the vehicle.
Mississippi HB 142: Would establish a $2,000 tax credit for the purchase of a hybrid electric vehicle that meets National Low-Emissions Vehicle Standards.
New York SB 43: Would require all vehicles to emit a minimum exhaust sound level to aid in the safety of blind pedestrians.
Oklahoma SB 7: Amends the tax credit towards purchasing clean-burning motor vehicles to extend the tax credit until 2020. Also adds vehicles that use natural gas to the list of clean-burning vehicles.
Oklahoma SB 12: Would create a tax credit for vehicles that have been modified to use clean-burning fuels.
Texas SB 119: Would implement California’s low-emissions vehicle program for new vehicles 2012 or later bought in Texas.
Montana HB 69: Amends the vehicle exhaust law to prohibit increasing the noise from that of its original manufactured level.
New Jersey AB 3579: Would include a vehicle’s exhaust noise level as part of New Jersey’s vehicle inspection.
New York AB 317: Would allow for the reduction of insurance premiums for vehicles that have been retrofitted with daytime running lights.
South Carolina SB 199: Would create a historic-vehicle license plate for vehicles that are 25 years or older.
New York AB 798: Would amend the law so that vehicle windows that have been tinted must allow 90% of light in, up from 70%.
New York AB 197: Creates a replacement tire energy-efficiency program for passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks.
New Mexico HB 46: Would create a certificate of title for salvage vehicles that have been repaired back to roadworthy condition necessary for safe operation on the road.
Indiana SB 196: Would prohibit the use of a video screen or computer in the sight of a driver unless the screen is required or assists with driving of a vehicle.
February 28, Mesa
Home Runs, Hot Dogs & Hot Rods Car Show
Information: www.hotrodplanet.com/uploads/MESA_FEB_28_CAR_SHOW.pdf or 480/229-5691
February 28, Scottsdale
21st Annual All Oldsmobile Show
Sponsor: Oldsmobile Club of Arizona
Information: www.azoldsclub.com or 480/998-1449
February 27–March 1, San Diego
San Diego’s 43rd Annual Big 3 Auto Parts Exchange and Car Corral
Information: http://big3partsexchange.com or 619/276-7135
February 6–8, Hartford
The Show of Dreams–Frank Maratta’s Auto & Cycle Show
Information: www.fmautoshow.com/index.htm or 860/347-3625
February 20–21, Cocoa
2nd Annual WinterFest Car and Truck Show
Information: http://flacarshows.com/wf09.htm or 561/756-6593
February 21, Atlanta
Atlanta Police Cops & Rodders Car Show
February 13–15, Indianapolis
World of Wheels
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/indianapolis.html or 248/373-1700
February 20–22, Louisville
Carl Casper Custom Auto Show
Information: www.carlcasper.com or 502/551-4482
February 6–8, Baton Rouge
Super Chevy Show
Information: www.superchevyshow.com or 740/964-2350
February 6–8, St. Paul
World of Wheels
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/stpaul.html or 248/373-1700
February 7–8, Springfield
Information: www.autofestonline.com/event/91 or 317/236-6515
February 27–March 1, Kansas City
World of Wheels
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/kansascity.html or 248/373-1700
February 13–16, Primm Casino
50th Anniversary Convention
Sponsor: California Association of 4WD Clubs
Information: www.cal4wheel.com or 626/233-5016
February 6–8, Albuquerque
18th Annual Supernationals Custom Auto Show
Information: www.thesupernationals.com/indexold.php or 505/332-9222
February 1, Greensboro
3rd Annual Shriners Winter Volksfest 2009
Sponsor: South Eastern Volkswagen Association
February 7–8, Central Point
32nd Annual Southern Oregon Rod & Custom Show
Sponsor: Rogue Valley Street Rods
Information: www.roguevalleystreetrods.com or 541/826-5126
February 6–8, Pittsburgh
World of Wheels
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/pittsburgh.html or 248/373-1700
February 28, Ladson
17th Annual Lowcountry Shine & Swap
Sponsor: Lowcountry Mopars
Information: http://geocities.com/scmopar or 843/688-5992
February 13–15, Dallas
World of Wheels
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/dallas.html or 228/373-1700
February 27–March 1, Fort Worth
2009 Forth Worth Rod & Custom Show
Sponsor: Texas Show Car Association
Information: http://txshowcar.com/showinfo.html or 972/226-1315
February 7–8, Puyallup
35th Annual Corvette and High Performance Meet
Information: www.corvhp.com/chpmeet-old.htm or 360/786-8844
February 14–15, Puyallup
43rd Early Bird Swap Meet
Sponsor: Model T Ford Club of Tacoma
Information: www.earlybirdswap.org or 253/863-6211
February 13–15, Milwaukee
World of Wheels
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/milwaukee.html or 228/373-1700
February 20–22, Calgary
World of Wheels
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/calgary.html or 228/373-1700
Early March 2009 Events
March 7–8, Anaheim
The SoCal All Porsche Swap and Car Display
Sponsor: Porsche 356 Club
Information: www.porsche356club.org/Flyers/3rd_Annual_So_Ca_Swap-2009.pdf or 949/697-4499
March 14–15, Costa Mesa
3rd Orange County Get-Together
Information: http://good-guys.com/events/eventDetails.aspx?eventid=09-805 or 925/838-9876
March 6–8, West Palm Beach
Super Chevy Show
Information: www.superchevyshow.com or 740/964-2350
March 8, Hollywood
21st Florida Mopar Nationals Car Show & Swap Meet
Sponsor: Florida Mopar Connection Car Club
Information: http://clubs.hemmings.com/frameset.cfm?club=floridamoparconnection or 954/920-7096
March 14, West Friendship
36th Annual Antique Auto Parts Flea Market
Sponsor: Chesapeake Region, AACA
Information: http://local.aaca.org/chesapeake/FleaMktFlyer09ColorRev.pdf or 410/653-3108
March 6–8, Detroit
Information: http://autorama.com/casi/show/detroit.html or 228/373-1700
March 2, Homosassa
24th Manatee Car & Truck Show
Sponsor: Citrus County Cruisers
Information: www.citruscountycruisers.org/node/242 or 352/527-0024
Attention Car Clubs, Event Organizers and Enthusiasts!
Put SAN on Your Mailing List!
We’d like to know what’s going on with SEMA Action Network clubs and enthusiasts across the country; what charity events you’re involved in; when and where the rod runs, car shows, trail rides, rallies and tech meetings are held; and what legislative and regulatory issues concern club members and individual enthusiasts.
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.