March 2002

Federal Scrappage Update
Attention SEMA Action Network:
Thank you all for your hard work in opposing, and now defeating, the old car scrappage provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2002 (Section 822, formerly section 832,of S. 517).
In case you haven't heard the news, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell's (R-CO) amendment to eliminate scrappage from the legislation was - astonishingly enough - passed by unanimous consent. In the end, even the principal sponsor of the scrappage provision, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), was not willing to oppose the Campbell amendment!
This is fantastic work, work that would not have been possible without the literally thousands of phone calls, faxes, emails and letters to U.S. Senators that SEMA Action Network vehicle clubs and individual enthusiasts were able to muster. Hobbyist efforts were cited by Senator Campbell and Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) as a compelling force in defeating this scrappage provision.
SEMA sincerely thanks everyone for their dedication, hard work, and willingness to protect the vehicle hobby today and to preserve for it for our children. This is an amazing victory and a testament to the powerful connection between the specialty aftermarket automotive industry and the American vehicle hobbyist community.
Job well done.
Brian Caudill 
Director of Public Affairs 
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Street Rod/Custom Vehicle Bills Introduced in Illinois and Rhode Island
SEMA's efforts to create specific vehicle registration classes for street rods and customs are taking shape in selected states. Both Illinois and Rhode Island have legislation pending that would provide unique license plates for these vehicles, as well as fair and reasonable equipment standards.
Over the past year, Illinois state law enforcement agencies have begun enforcing vehicle equipment requirements more stringently than they have in the past. As a result, many Illinois rodders simply stopped driving their vehicles for fear of being ticketed. Now, through the efforts of Illinois hobbyists like Gary Bohlen, chairman of the Committee to Upgrade Street Rod Laws in Illinois; Charlie Yapp of the Secrets of Speed Society; and Frank Manzullo of the Unique Street Rods Club, Representative Terry Parke (R-District 53) introduced a pro-hobby SEMA rod and custom bill (H.B. 4344) that seeks to ease the situation.
In addition to providing for unique license plates, H.B. 4344 recognizes that street rods and customs are rarely driven, meticulously maintained vehicles that should not be held to the same equipment standards as modern passenger vehicles. For example, under current Illinois law, a high-boy must be equipped with bumpers and the rake of the vehicle cannot exceed three inches.
In Rhode Island, thanks to SEMA Action Network contact Ben Zanni and the overall efforts of the Rhode Island Street Rod Association, similar legislation (S.B. 2146) was recently introduced. Sponsored by Senator Joseph Polisena (D-District 28), S.B. 2146 would provide specific registration classes for street rods and customs and would only require them to comply with those equipment standards on the books during the vehicle's year of manufacture. Replicas would be given a model year designation based on the production vehicle they most closely resemble. The bill would also permit blue-dot taillights, and exempt street rods and customs from emissions inspections.
While it's great to see legislation introduced, now the real work begins. If you're a resident of Illinois, write to your state representative and tell him or her that you support H.B. 4344. If you live in Rhode Island, write your state senator and let him or her know that the passage of S.B. 2146 is important to you. Feel free to give us a call at 202/783-6007, ext. 38, if you need assistance in determining whom your legislators are.
Interested in pursuing similar legislation in your state? Copies of SEMA's model street rod and custom legislation are available from Steve McDonald at SEMA at 202/783-6007.
Senate Considers Enormous CAFE Hikes
The U.S. Senate is voting on a measure to dramatically raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to about 35 mpg by 2013 for both cars and light trucks. The CAFE provision is a key component within a 500-page bill to establish a comprehensive national energy policy. The Senate bill would also restructure the CAFE program, which currently has a separate standard for passenger cars (27.5 mpg) and light trucks (20.7 mpg). The new CAFE program would eliminate the two classes, as early as 2007.
Not every vehicle has to achieve the CAFE standards. Rather, an automaker's entire fleet for each category must average that mileage; otherwise, the manufacturer must pay a hefty penalty that is ultimately passed on to the consumer. Consumer choice will be limited as automakers raise prices on popular, heavier and safer vehicles like full-size cars, SUVs and light trucks, if these vehicles can't achieve the CAFE numbers.
SEMA has consistently opposed any legislative CAFE increase. SEMA's argument remains that any CAFE hike will force automakers to limit consumer vehicle choice, particularly in the light-truck/SUV and performance/luxury car markets, by either downsizing, under-powering, eliminating or substantially decreasing production of popular models in order to meet fuel economy targets.
The House has already passed its version of a national energy plan. It would increase the CAFE standards by about one mpg by 2010. In order to become law, the House and Senate will need to agree on a single measure that can be passed by both chambers of Congress and then sent to President Bush.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the authority to increase the CAFE standards on its own. NHTSA is reviewing the issue and may recommend a series of hikes beginning in 2005.
Two Arizona Bills Would Exempt Older Vehicles From Emissions Inspections
Arizona's old car hobbyists are in a unique position. Two separate bills seeking to ease the emissions testing burdens on older vehicles have been introduced in the Arizona legislature.
The first bill (H.B. 2045) would exempt all vehicles 20 years old and older from the state's mandatory emissions inspection and maintenance program. Currently, only 1966 model year and older vehicles are exempt from emissions testing requirements. The exemption the bill provides for is similar to those recently signed into law in Missouri, Virginia, Washington and California. H.B. 2045 recognizes that older vehicles are driven less frequently, compose a very small percentage of the vehicle fleet and are often collector cars that are meticulously maintained.
The second bill (H.B. 2496), pushed heavily by the Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council, seeks a different solution. H.B. 2496 would exempt qualified "collectible vehicles" from emissions testing requirements. Under the bill, collectible vehicles are defined as 15 years old or older, of unique or rare design, of limited production and objects of curiosity. Collectible vehicles would be required to carry collectible or classic automobile insurance to qualify for the emissions inspection exemption and cannot be used as daily drivers.
SEMA has alerted the Arizona SEMA Action Network community to both of these bills.
Michigan Bill Would Exempt Historic Cars From Insurance Fee
A bill (H.B. 4007) that would amend the Michigan insurance code to exempt historic car owners from fees charged by the Michigan Catastrophic Claim Association (MCCA) is pending in the Michigan House Committee on Insurance and Financial Services.
This fee, assessed only in Michigan, makes it significantly more expensive to maintain cars of historical value in Michigan than in any other state and is unfairly and disproportionately applied to owners of these vehicles. This year, the fee for each insured vehicle will rise from $14.41 to $71.15!
There are many reasons for Michigan hobbyists to support this legislation. First of all, H.B. 4007 will exempt historic cars from fees that are applied equally to every vehicle with no-fault coverage regardless of the type and age of the vehicle, or how and when it is used. H.B. 4007 will also protect collectors from fees that are disproportionately applied to owners of historic cars whose vehicles are insured under policies that limit usage and require the vehicle to be stored in a locked and enclosed garage.
H.B. 4007 also draws distinctions between historic cars and daily drivers, recognizing that daily drivers can log 20,000 miles or more per year on Michigan highways and are often parked on city streets, thereby increasing their exposure to vandalism and theft. Finally, this legislation protects collectors from fees that drive the cost of collector car insurance significantly higher than in bordering states. For example, the fee makes it at least 38 percent more expensive to insure a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air two-door hardtop in Michigan than it does in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois or Wisconsin.
The SEMA Action Network is especially indebted to John Hinckley of the Michigan Chapter of the National Corvette Restorers Society for his tireless work in supporting this legislation. Michigan SEMA Action Network members are encouraged to follow Hinckley's lead and contact members of the Michigan House of Representatives in support of this bill.
California Exhaust Noise
SEMA submitted a proposal to the California Legislative Counsel's office for a new bill that would provide for a statewide exhaust system testing program. Under the legislative proposal, owners of vehicles deemed by law enforcement officers to be in violation of California's 95-decibel exhaust noise limit would be issued a notice to correct the violation. Upon delivering proof that a test of the exhaust system was performed at a licensed muffler certification station and the exhaust system was found to comply with the prescribed decibel limit, the violation would be certified as corrected.
SEMA Director of Government Affairs Steve McDonald commented, "Hopefully, this new legislation is the final step in SEMA's ongoing effort to protect hobbyists from receiving erroneous exhaust noise tickets simply because their car is equipped with a customized exhaust. While this new legislation will still allow the authorities to issue "fix-it" tickets, it also allows hobbyists to objectively prove that their exhaust systems comply with California law."
Senator Maurice Johannessen (R-4) has agreed to introduce the bill on SEMA's behalf. You may remember Johannessen as the author of S.B. 1081, the bill that was signed into law last session that compelled law enforcement to tie exhaust system noise citations to a 95-decibel limit.
We commend him on his continuing efforts to provide a clear and reasonable standard for exhaust noise, and for his dedication to California's automotive hobbyist community.
West Virginia Bill Would Simplify Titling Antique Vehicles
A new West Virginia bill (H.B. 3165) seeks to provide a procedure for titling vehicles 25 years old and older when the owner does not have a title to the vehicle. The bill requires the vehicle owner to show proof of an existing VIN or serial number (except for pre-1946 model year vehicles) and a bill of sale, dismantling permit, mechanic's lien or storage lien agreement. In addition, the owner must provide the state and location from which the vehicle was obtained, as well as the make, model and year of the vehicle.
This legislation recognizes that it is often not possible to locate a title for project vehicles and provides fair and reasonable standards to register a vehicle without one.
Anything that makes it easier to purchase, build and enjoy a car is worth supporting. SEMA encourages West Virginia SEMA Action Network clubs and contacts to support H.B. 3165 as it moves through the legislature.
Sport Compact Enthusiasts: Check Out This Event!
The SEMA-sponsored 2002 International Auto Salon (IAS) is shaping up to be one of the elite events in the automotive industry. The upscale, classy and entertaining show features the best that the import scene has to offer! This year, SEMA teams up with Vision Entertainment, creators of Hot Import Nights and Import Revolution, to further enhance the experience.
Held in Long Beach, California, IAS will feature hundreds of leading industry vendors showcasing the automotive scene's newest international trends. Although the event is open exclusively to the trade industry on Fri., April 19, the public is welcome to join in on the excitement Sat., April 20, noon - 8 p.m., and Sun., April 21, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Additionally, consumers at the show will be able to, for the first time, purchase products directly from vendors at the show.
Also new for 2002, Vision Entertainment will play host to the first IAS 2002 car competition. With numerous show categories, expect to see the best that the industry has to offer. Vision also plans to add to the experience by providing new visual and special effects, along with the top industry DJs, creating an energetic vibe. Meet and greet your favorite models, including the official "Girls of Import Revolution," as well as "Veronica Becerra, Miss Hot Import Nights 2002."
Industry vendors, elaborate display vehicles and next level entertainment . . . International Auto Salon 2002 will surely be a "don't miss" experience! Visit www.ias2k2.com for more information and to purchase tickets.
Scrappage: A Cautionary International Tale
I just received the February issue of [Driving Force]. The old philosophy of "out with the old and in with the new" is all too prevalent in today's society, and even classic cars are not exempt.
Since I started the SIMCA Car Club of America in 1985, I have heard a lot of horror stories, but sometimes I think we don't know how bad (or good) things are until we compare them with other places in the world. France, for instance, had an incredible country-wide bounty on turning in old junkers, and it has permanently destroyed many of the mainstream locations of old classic French cars - some cars worth literally tens (and restored, hundreds) of thousands of dollars each in today's market were destroyed. Delage, Delahaye, Hotchkiss, Tractions (Citroen) and other obscure, yet highly prized cars, were systematically destroyed.
The purge has generally been done away with over there, but the effects created a permanent deep scar on the rebuilder's market in Europe. My friends from there have mentioned it repeatedly and just shake their heads in dismay and disappointment.
I guess it also boils down to freedoms. But where does legislation like this stop? It's discouraging to the collector, and eventually people will tire of the hassles of ownership. We don't want any ownership or collection of any kind to be crippled by this loss of freedom - local, state or national. It would be a travesty and take away a right that would be greatly missed. I would like my six- year-old son to enjoy the hobby as I have over the years - freely, and without restrictions of any kind.
Jim Conrady 
SIMCA Car Club of America
March 10, Phoenix 
36th annual Valley of the Sun Kiwanis Club 
Sponsor: Valley of the Sun Kiwanis Barbecue 
Information: 602/864-3494
March 23-24, Pleasanton 
GOODGUYS 20th annual All American Get-Together 
Sponsor: GOODGUYS 
Information: 925/838-9876
March 21-24, Pensacola 
Gulf Coast National Mustang Show 
Sponsor: Gulf Coast Regional Mustang Club 
Information: 850/457-3916
March 22-24, Daytona 
Florida Fiero Weekend IV 
Sponsor: Central Florida Fieros 
Information: 321/631-3140
March 24, Wheaton 
11th annual Buick Olds Pontiac Cadillac Swap Meet 
Sponsor: Illinois Valley Chapter, 
Oldsmobile Club of America 
Information: 630/357-8083
March 9, West Friendship 
29th annual Antique Auto Parts Flea Market 
Sponsor: Chesapeake Region, AACA 
Information: 410/653-3108
March 10, Norristown 
2002 British Car Flea Market 
Sponsor: Philadelphia MG Club 
Information: 610/356-4409
March 10, Puyallup 
20th annual 4x4 Off Road and High Performance Meet 
Sponsor: Spanaway Moonshiners Jeep Club 
Information: 253/537-3172
Newly Introduced Legislation
Note: The following state bills are not laws. They have been recently introduced and are currently being considered for adoption by the respective state legislatures.
Arizona: H.B. 2045 would exempt all motor vehicles 20 years old or older 
from emissions inspections.
Arizona: H.B. 2496 would exempt collectible vehicles 15 years old or older 
from emissions inspections.
Arizona: H.B. 2575 would link registration fee amounts to the fuel economy 
of the vehicle being registered.
Kentucky: H.B. 46 would exempt vehicles less than five years old from 
emissions inspections.
Missouri: S.B. 1016 would permit non-oxygenated gas to be sold for use in 
historic motor vehicles.
New Jersey: A.B. 409 would direct the Department of Environmental Protection 
to implement Phase II of the California Low Emission Vehicle program in 
New Jersey: A.B. 572 would exempt all vehicles five years old or less from 
emissions inspections.
Rhode Island: S.B. 2380 would implement the OBD II emissions testing program for 1996 and newer vehicles.
Rhode Island: S.B. 2485/H.B. 7127 would subject new vehicles to a fuel 
efficiency surcharge or credit applicable to the sales or use tax upon registration.
Utah: H.B. 172 would permit counties to require biennial emissions 
inspections (as opposed to annual inspections) for vehicles less than six years old.
Illinois: S.B. 1624 would eliminate the window tint criteria exemption for 
window treatments performed before 1997.
Missouri: H.B. 1386 would permit side and side wing vent windows to be 
tinted, provided there is a light transmittance of 35 percent or more, and a 
luminous reflectance of 35 percent or less.
Oklahoma: H.B. 2807 would prohibit neon lighting, provide glass and 
taillight standards and exhaust noise restrictions.
Washington: S.B. 6459 would exempt custom-built vehicles from the 
requirement that they be equipped with hoods and bumpers.
Florida: S.B. 1598 would make it a first-degree misdemeanor to display or 
show blue lights on unauthorized vehicles and a second-degree misdemeanor to 
display or show a red light in an inappropriate way.
Kentucky: H.B. 504 would prohibit vehicles from displaying blue or red 
lights on or under vehicles that are visible from the front.
Florida: H.B. 1225 would prohibit drag racing on streets and parking lots 
and would require the vehicles of alleged offenders to be impounded for at 
least five days.
Florida: S.B. 2020 would make it a felony to street race.
Hawaii: S.B. 2339 would increase the penalty for street racing to$100-$500or 
six to 12 months in jail.
Vermont: H.B. 650 would permit non-oxygenated gas to be sold and used for 
racing purposes.
Tags, Titles and Registration
Alaska: S.B. 260 would provide for one-time registration of historic 
vehicles and permit year-of-manufacture plates.
Arizona: H.B. 2503 would permit owners of historic trucks to drive them 
without a commercial driver's license.
Florida: H.B. 249 would make it a felony to remove a “Rebuilt” decal from a 
vehicle with the intent of concealing the vehicle's rebuilt status.
Florida: H.B. 977 would require that all VINs be affixed by the manufacturer 
or by a state agency.
Illinois: H.B. 4344 would provide specific registration classes and plates 
for street rods and custom vehicles, exempt them from emissions inspections 
and provide fair and reasonable equipment requirements.
Illinois: S.B. 2039/S.B. 1572 would eliminate the requirement that vehicles 
display a front license plate.
Indiana: H.B. 1165/S.B. 116 would permit antique vehicles to display 
authentic or reproduction year-of-manufacture plates.
Kansas: H.B. 2653 would require that an antique vehicle be inspected if the 
owner does not possess a title.
Kansas: H.B. 2669 would prohibit any license plate frame or covering that 
obscures any part of the plate.
Kentucky: H.B. 506 would exempt historic motor vehicles from the requirement 
that they be inspected before being issued a title.
Maryland: H.B. 317 would make it a moving violation to drive with a license 
plate that has been modified with the intent of avoiding identification.
Missouri: H.B. 1786 would eliminate the requirement that street rods display 
a front license plate and expand the definition of a street rod to include 
all modified vehicles, regardless of age.
Missouri: S.B. 2501 would provide for NASCAR license plates.
Nebraska: L.B. 1210 would provide VINs for kit cars and requires them to be 
taxed as passenger vehicles are.
New York: S.B. 1931 would provide for one-time registration of historic 
motor vehicles.
Rhode Island: H.B. 6964/H.B. 6929 would permit antique vehicles to display 
year-of-manufacture plates.
Rhode Island: S.B. 2146 would provide specific registration classes and 
plates for street rods and custom vehicles, exempt them from emissions 
inspections and provide fair and reasonable equipment requirements.
Tennessee: H.B. 2375/S.B. 2217 would permit antique vehicles to display 
era-of-manufacture plates.
West Virginia: H.B. 3165 would provide a procedure for registering a vehicle 
that does not have a title.
Wisconsin: S.B. 366 would eliminate the requirement that motor vehicles 
display a front license plate.
Vermont: H.J.R. 158 would honor the accomplishments of Terry Ehrich, owner 
of Hemmings Motor News.