California Officials Publish Smog Policy for Hot Rods, Kits
For the past year, SEMA has been working with appropriate agencies to dispel rumors and misunderstandings regarding California’s vehicle registration and titling process so that specially constructed vehicles, including certain street rods, kit cars and replicas, can become properly registered, titled and emissions certified in the state. As a result of the ongoing discussions with SEMA, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) has published its policy for Smog Check certification for specially constructed vehicles. Under the BAR policy, the emissions controls of specially constructed vehicles are determined by one of two separate processes: (1) based on what the vehicle body or engine most resembles, or (2) model year or configuration of the engine installed.
In the first case, under the provisions of the Specially Constructed Vehicle Emission Control Program (commonly known as California Senate Bill 100), a smog test referee compares the vehicle to those of the era that the vehicle most closely resembles to determine its model year. The vehicle’s owner can then choose whether the inspector will certify the vehicle per the year of the body or the engine. If there is no close resemblance, the vehicle is classified as a 1960 model year. However, the Senate Bill 100 registration program is limited to the first 500 applications for registrations of specially constructed vehicles submitted to DMV per year that meet the criteria. DMV doesn’t categorize the vehicles into SB100 or not; the applicant does that.
In the second case, for specially constructed vehicles without a Senate Bill 100 sequence number, the only emissions controls required are those used when the engine was originally manufactured. For example, a Cobra kit-car using a 1968 351C Ford V8 would require all emissions equipment originally required for that model year engine. A dune buggy upgraded with a ’91 L79 TPI GM V8 would require all emissions equipment used on that engine. More generally, if a configuration precedes 1966, no exhaust emissions controls would be required. If the configuration precedes 1961, no PCV system would be required. If a range of model years applies to any particular engine configuration, vehicle owners will have the option to select the model year of emissions controls to be used. Further, according to the BAR, new and rebuilt “crate” engines fall into this “range of model years” category. As an example in this category, the use of a Chevrolet 5.7L ZZ4 V8 engine in a replica of a ’32 Ford roadster would require emissions equipment found on the first 5.7L engines used in ’67. Finally, in some instances, vehicle owners may be required to provide engine information to aid in the identification and inspection process.
Currently, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) registers “Specially Constructed Vehicles,” which are by definition built for private use, from a kit or some combination of new and used parts. The DMV does not assign a model year to these cars. Rather, the vehicle is assigned the year in which the application for registration is submitted to DMV. A “Specially Constructed Vehicle” application submitted to DMV today would not have a model year, but would have 2005 assigned as an asterisk year [*YR 2005]. However, this designation does not relate to the emission control requirements for the vehicle. The DMV’s website has a detailed explanation of the process for registering “Specially Constructed Vehicles” (http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/spcnsreg.htm). The website provides general emission control information and also outlines the previously mentioned Specially Constructed Vehicle Emission Control Program (Senate Bill 100 program). Consumers with questions regarding the Smog Check program may contact the Department of Consumer Affairs' Consumer Information Center at 800/952-5210.
“For too long, misunderstanding of California’s complex vehicle registration laws has created confusion among state hobbyists,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “Certain hobbyist vehicles, including those that could be classified as specially constructed, may be erroneously titled or registered. Consequently, owners may have paid reduced registration fees and avoided emissions testing requirements. BAR’s documented policy for specially constructed vehicles should help clear the way for the many owners who fail to receive one of the 500 yearly Senate Bill 100 sequence numbers to properly title, register and smog check these vehicles.”
SEMA has also been actively pursuing a solution that provides these vehicle owners a reasonable period of time to voluntarily retitle their vehicles and pay appropriate fees. The California Legislature will consider legislation to provide amnesty from prosecution to vehicle owners who have mistitled or misvalued their vehicles. This bill will likely be considered in the 2006 legislative session. In the meantime, SEMA has vowed to work with all relevant parties to consider alternative approaches to protect vehicle owners who voluntarily reregister their vehicles, pay appropriate fees and fulfill BAR emissions requirements.
For a copy of the BAR document, please contact the SAN at 202/783-6007, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
SEMA’s Street Rod/Custom Vehicle bill on the move in 2006
Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wyoming are among the states whose legislators are considering introducing street rod and custom vehicle titling and registration legislation in 2006. The SEMA model bill was written to counter outdated and convoluted registration laws and provide unique titling classifications for these popular vehicles.
The bill provides for special license plates and exempts rods and customs from periodic inspections and emissions tests. It also provides for the use of non-original materials and requires an initial safety inspection based on criteria established in part by the local hobbyist community. Under the legislation, replica vehicles are assigned the same model-year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble.
In 2005, car hobbyists scored a major victory when SEMA’s model bill was enacted into law in Montana and Maine. The bill was previously enacted in Rhode Island, Missouri and Illinois. The Missouri measure also exempted all vehicles 26-years old and older from emissions inspections. The 26-year rolling emissions test exemption replaced a law which only exempted vehicles manufactured prior to the 1971 model year.
The SEMA model bill also stipulates that vehicles titled and registered as street rods and custom vehicles may only be used for occasional transportation, exhibitions, club activities, parades, tours, etc. and not for general daily transportation. The model bill is the product of consultation with the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA), local police departments, regulators and hobbyists.
“We are extremely gratified by the number of states that are seeking to recognize street rods and customs as distinct classes of vehicles,” said SEMA Vice President, Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “Of extreme interest to these states and of huge benefit to hobbyists is that the model bill also includes qualifying replicas and kit cars in these specialty vehicle titling and registration classifications."
“The model bill will continue to be pursued by SEMA in years to come in states that either don’t have registration classifications for these vehicles or have laws that are lacking in some way,” McDonald added.
Anyone interested in reviewing the model bill or obtaining information on how to pursue a plan to enact the model into law in their state, should contact Steve McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org. A copy of the bill can also be downloaded from the SAN website at www.semasan.com.
National Park Service Releases Draft Plan on OHV Use: The National Park Service (NPS) has released proposed changes to its management policies that regulate off-highway vehicle (OHV) use within the park system. The management policies serve as a virtual handbook for park superintendents and other park officials. The NPS considered revising their policies after receiving criticism from Congressional Republicans who stated that NPS had shifted to far in favor of conservation, at the expense of public access. The SAN has urged Federal agencies to not adopt “one-size-fits-all” land access policies and allow for increased involvement by state and local officials and the off-road community in the decision making process.
In regards to OHV access, the proposed language closely mirrors existing policies in stating “routes and areas may be designated for off-road motor vehicle use by special regulation within national recreation areas, national seashores, national lakeshores, and national preserves, and then only when determined to be an appropriate use. Consistent with the executive orders and the Organic Act, park managers must immediately close a designated off-road vehicle route whenever the use is causing or will cause unacceptable impacts.” The SAN supports this proposal given its directive to allow individual park officials to use public input and available scientific date to resolve access issues.
Copies of the proposed changes can be downloaded on the NPS website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=13746. The public comment period on the proposed changes runs through January 19, 2006.
Endangered Desert Plant May No Longer Threaten Off-Roaders: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will consider removing the Peirson's milk-vetch plant from the Endangered Species list. The plant, which is found only in portions of the Algodones Dunes in California 's Imperial Valley , has been at the center of legal battles for a number of years. The so-called Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is a popular destination for off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation. Access to large portions of the 160,000 acres site has been restricted in order to protect the plant.
The American Sand Association (ASA), the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) and other OHV groups have repeatedly questioned the government's contention that the plant is threatened by OHV activity, or is even an endangered species. The groups initially petitioned FWS to delist the Peirson's milk-vetch in 2001; however the agency ruled that at the time the plant still warranted protection. In their most recent petition the groups assert that four years of additional data collection show that there are more milk-vetch plans than in 2001 and that the plant's reproductive capacity is stable and strong enough to warrant delisting. The groups also cited a BLM report which stated that only an estimated 0.3% of the plants showed evidence of OHV damage. The FWS will initiate a yearlong status review, after which the agency could propose that the plant be delisted.
The controversy surrounding the status of the Peirson's milk-vetch highlights the need to reform the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Enacted in 1973, the ESA has saved only 10 species out of 1,800 listings. Meanwhile, millions of acres of land have been closed with more set-asides in the works. The SAN supports legislation before Congress that calls for increased local involvement and the use of best scientific data in determining the status of a species.
The FWS regional office in Carlsbad, California is accepting public comments on the plant's status until January 30, 2006.
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
Pint Sized Punch
1964 Austin Mini Van
Owner: Paul Saulnier
My son Phil found a 1964 Austin minivan for sale on the Internet and was bidding high before I even knew about it. He arranged to have it imported from Wales and after six months of confusion and delays it finally arrived. During that time, we played out possible alternatives, from pure restoration to radical custom and decided on the “rod” option with moderate body mods. It also had to have the modern comforts such as heat and air conditioning.
Drivetrain: Chevy 350ci, 427 hp (rear-mounted, tied to tubular steel chassis and roll cage)
Porsche G5050 5 speed transaxle (inverted and converted to side shift)
Brakes and Suspension: Fiero coilover performance struts
Metro 8.4” 4-pot calipers (front) Rear disc brakes
Wheels: Custom 13” Minilites (front)
15” 5-bolt Minilites (rear)
Interior: Dakota Digital instrumentation (mounted in custom all-steel dash), Flaming River tilt steering column, 13” X-Force steering wheel, shift knob and emergency brake handle, Fiero seats, cut down 6” and reupholstered
Body: Extensive body modifications including: Suicide doors, Front-hinged hood with remote power opener, power windows and door latches, rolled rear pan with screened vents, frenched headlights, parking lights, taillights and third, brake light, DuPont Hot Hues 3 stage pearl paint and Wheelie bars
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:
Illinois SB 2126: Exempts vehicles 25 years and older from inspection. Currently, those of a 1967 model year or before are exempted.
Michigan SB 902: Regulates the use of information obtained from motor vehicle data event recorders.
Michigan SB 903: Prohibits requiring the installation of, or using the data received from, a motor vehicle event data recorder to establish eligibility for premiums for automobile insurance.
Michigan SB 904: Prohibits the use of information gathered from a motor vehicle data event recorder for the purposes of establishing criminal liability under certain circumstances.
Michigan SB 905: Prohibits the use of information obtained from a motor vehicle event data recorder in a civil action.
New Hampshire LSR 2120: Requires vehicles to have a useable spare tire.
New Hampshire LSR 2121: Prohibits the use of hand held mobile phones by drivers.
New York SB 6001: Requires persons performing routine vehicle services for compensation, like oil changes, to register as motor vehicle repair shops.
Kentucky BR 306: Makes property owners liable for all fees if a lien has been attached to their property by a local governing body, including fees related to permitting a public nuisance.
Michigan SB 889: Authorizes township boards to establish administrative hearings bureau to impose sanctions for blight violations. Blight violations may include vehicle abandonment, inoperable vehicles, vehicle impoundment.
Pennsylvania SB 1025: Provides that the Department of Environmental Protection shall not adopt the low emission vehicle standard established by the State of California .
January 13-15, Lake Havasu City
Buses by the Bridge X
January 21, Tubac
12th Annual Car Show
Sponsor: Santa Cruz Valley Car Nuts
Information: www.carnuts.org or 520/648-7029
January 26-29, Scottsdale
35th Annual Scottsdale Collector Car Auction and Show
Information: www.kruse.com or 800/968-4444
December 30-January 1, Blythe
Information: www.resoshow.com or 909/590-0785
January 7, Stockton
Circle Track Trade Show and Swap Meet
January 13-15, Grass Valley
24th Winter Fun Festival
Sponsor: California Association of 4WD Clubs Inc.
Information: www.cal4wheel.com or 530/878-1414
January 13-15, San Francisco
6th Annual San Francisco Rod, Custom and Motorcycle Show
January 15, Alameda
Auto and Motorcycle Swap Meet
January 20-22, Pomona
57th Annual Grand National Roadster Show
January 28-29, Turlock
40th Annual Swap Meet
Sponsor: MAFCA, Modesto Area A's
Information: www.turlockswapmeet.com or 209/571-1232
January 14, Lake Worth
6th Annual Fords and Friends Meet
Sponsor: Early Ford V-8 Club, Palm Beach Region
Information: email@example.com or 800/330-1004
January 14-15, Cordele
Afterthoughts Show and Shine
January 8, Countryside
35th Annual Super Swap
Sponsor: Model A Restorer's Club, Calumet Region
Information: www.thechatteronline.com or 708/331-0643
January 22, St. Charles
29th Annual Auto Parts Swap Meet
Sponsor: Waukegan Chapter IL Region AACA
January 21-22, W. Springfield
30th Annual Autoparts Swap 'n Sell (indoor)
January 15, Canby
30th Hi-Performance Auto Swap Meet
Sponsor: NW Drag Racing Association
January 22-23, Salem
18th Custom/Classic Car Show
January 14, Seattle
Harvest of Toys
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 253/863-6211
January 21-22, Longview
NW Motorsports Expo and Swap Meet
Early February 2006 Events
February 4-5, Orange
Annual Packards International Show and Swap Meet
Sponsor: Packards International
Motor Car Club
February 5, Palmetto
17th Annual Vintage Wheels Car
and Truck Show
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) by including information about the SAN in your show goodie bags.
A recently reprinted SAN brochure 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 us at email@example.com 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.)
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org