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Lawmakers Lead the Fight in Protecting Enthusiasts’ Rights
Pending State Legislation Would Allow Backyard Restorations
Members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus are again demonstrating their support for the hobbyist community by introducing legislation that would provide safeguards for individuals who restore or maintain inoperable vehicles on private property. Based on SEMA-model language, the legislation requires that vehicles be concealed outside of ordinary public view.
Michigan State Senator Ron Jelinek, Utah State Representative Neal Hendrickson and Washington State Senator Mike Carrell have each introduced a version of the SEMA model in their respective legislatures. SEMA Action Network (SAN) members and car clubs in these states are encouraged to contact these lawmakers to provide support in these efforts.
“It is vital that we rally behind these lawmakers who are working on our behalf,” said SEMA Action Network Director Jason Tolleson. “They face stiff opposition from local governments, zoning boards and other municipal organizations that, in recent years, have made increasing efforts to limit hobbyist activities.”
In addition to several city and county proposals, state lawmakers in West Virginia have introduced legislation this year to establish restrictions on these so-called backyard restoration projects.
Often, removal of these vehicles from private property is enforced through local nuisance laws with minimal or no notice to the owner. Elected officials develop these initiatives based on the notion that inoperable vehicles are eyesores that adversely affect property values or constitute health hazards. Many such laws are drafted broadly, allowing for the confiscation of vehicles being repaired or restored. For the purposes of these proposed bills, “inoperable vehicles” are most often defined as those on which the engine, wheels or other parts have been removed, altered, damaged or allowed to deteriorate so that the vehicle cannot be driven.
“We believe that clear legal distinctions must be drawn between an owner using private property as a dumping ground and a vehicle enthusiast working to maintain, restore or construct a vehicle,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald.
The SEMA-model legislation provides such safeguards for hobbyists to work on collector vehicles on private property and establish reasonable provisions that vehicles be located out of public view. A copy of the bill can be downloaded at www.semasan.com.
In working to present this issue to your elected officials, our experience indicates that it will be helpful to make the following preparations:
- Build a coalition of interested clubs, businesses and local organizations.
- Host positive and proactive meetings with city, county and state officials to address the issue.
- Propose fair alternative language that benefits both the hobbyist and the community (e.g. screened from ordinary public view by means of a suitable fence, trees, shrubbery, etc.
- Garner support from local media.
- Be persistent in your efforts.
For additional assistance in pursing the SEMA model in your area, please contact the SEMA Government Affairs Office at 202/783-6007, ext. 39 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEGISLATIVE QUICK HITS
Delaware Street Rods: A version of SEMA-model legislation is moving in the Delaware House of Representatives to create a vehicle registration and titling classification for street rods. The bill defines a street rod as a ’48 or older vehicle or one manufactured after 1948 to resemble a vehicle manufactured before 1949. Under the bill, street-rod replicas will be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicle it most closely resembles.
Hawaii “Gas Guzzlers”: In a misguided attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, legislation has been introduced in the Hawaii House of Representatives to establish a progressive purchase surcharge for some new motor vehicles based on state calculations of carbon emissions. Depending on the vehicle purchased, this surcharge could require owners to pay up to $2,500 more for the vehicle. If this effort is successful, the effects on a consumers’ ability to purchase the vehicle of choice, not to mention vehicle safety, could be impacted.
Iowa Street Rods/Customs: SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles and provide for special license plates for these vehicles was introduced in Iowa. The bill provides that a replica vehicle will be assigned the same model-year designation as the production vehicle it most closely resembles.
New Jersey New-Car Emissions: SAN-supported legislation reintroduced in the New Jersey State Assembly proposes to exempt newer motor vehicles from the state’s mandatory emissions-inspection program. Under the measure, motor vehicles that are five model years old or less would be exempted.
New Jersey Historic Vehicles: Hobby-friendly legislation that would amend the state’s current law governing historic motor vehicles to permit their use for pleasure driving one day per week has been introduced in the New Jersey State Assembly. Under current New Jersey law, use of historic vehicles is strictly limited to exhibitions and educational purposes by the owner.
Pennsylvania “Show Car”: A version of SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for “show cars” and provide for special license plates for these vehicles was introduced and referred to the Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee for consideration. The bill would permit show cars to be driven up to 5,000 miles per year and would exempt them from the state’s new enhanced vehicle inspection program.
Tennessee Custom Vehicles: A version of SEMA-model legislation has been reintroduced in the Tennessee State Senate to create a vehicle registration and titling classification for custom vehicles. The bill defines a custom-built car as a vehicle that is built for private use and is not constructed by a licensed manufacturer or remanufacturer. Under the bill, kit cars and replica vehicles will be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicle it most closely resembles.
Vermont Scrappage Program: A SAN-opposed bill has been introduced in the Vermont State Senate that would implement a vehicle scrappage program and finance it with a progressive purchase and use tax and higher registration fees for some new motor vehicles based on fuel-efficiency ratings. Funds collected under the program would be used to dismantle vehicles deemed by the state to be “clunkers,” regardless of their historical value or collector interest. If this effort is successful, purchasing the vehicle of your choice could be significantly more costly. Further, this proposed scrappage program could deny hobbyists the availability of vintage cars and parts for restoration projects.
West Virginia Inoperable Vehicles: For the third time, a bill has been introduced in the West Virginia State Legislature that would further restrict the ability of West Virginia vehicle hobbyists from maintaining inoperable vehicles on private property. The SAN-opposed measure would redefine “abandoned motor vehicles” to include vehicles or vehicle parts which are either unlicensed or inoperable, or both, are not in an enclosed building and have remained on private property for more than 30 days. Under current law, the abandoned vehicle law applies primarily to vehicles on public property. The bill would make a violation a misdemeanor offense punishable by substantial fines, community service and jail.
West Virginia Antique Vehicles: SAN is supporting legislation that would amend West Virginia’s law governing antique motor vehicles to permit their use for “occasional recreational driving.” Under current law, use of antique vehicles is strictly limited to club activities, exhibits, tours, parades, testing, obtaining repairs and for recreational purposes only on Friday evenings, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
Each month Driving Force will feature members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. The SEMA- supported caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles.
Here are its newest members:
Arizona State Representative Tom Boone
Arizona State Representative Jerry Weiers
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
Mild Street Machine
Owner: Ken & Anita Brown
My wife and I bought our ’69 Camaro as a birthday gift for me 11 years ago from a friend who towed it each winter from Illinois to Arizona to be his warm weather cruiser. Being a teenager in the ’60s, it didn’t take me very long to start making a mild street machine out of it.
The car was equipped with a stock 350, bucket seats and a column shift, and it was in pretty good shape. We did a frame-on restoration and after rebuilding the engine, it was able to put out 310 horsepower at the wheels.
As anyone who owns a classic musclecar knows, the fun is in the thumbs up and comments made when driving by or sitting at a cruise and park functions. The long hours of working on and maintaining this mild street machine is well worth the effort.
UNDER THE HOOD: 350 small-block, HEI ignition, stock polished crank, 10:1 flat top pistons, Competition Cams 280H-10 480 lift, push rods, roller rockers, double springs, 202 valves, Edelbrock dual quad manifold, Edelbrock 500 carburetors, Holley fuel pump, Hedman Headers, Napa Advantage mufflers with 2½-inch exhaust, 1800 stall converter, 350 turbo transmission, B&M shifter, Richmond 3.55 gears
OUTSIDE: LeMans blue metallic paint, Competition Engineering traction bars, Cragar 15x8 rear wheels, Cragar 14x6 front wheels, Goodyear Eagle GT11 tires
INSIDE: Stock vinyl seats, Sun tach, Auto Gauge gauges
SAN Members Rally Against Leaded Fuel Ban: Environment Canada Proposal Threatens Competition Motor Vehicles
The Canadian Department of the Environment has issued a proposal to terminate the current exemption from environmental restrictions for leaded gasoline used in competition motor vehicles. If approved, the regulation would require a ban on vehicles using leaded fuel by January 1, 2009, resulting in the likely demise of all international drag-racing competition in Canada.
“In the first call to action by the newly created SEMA Action Network-Canada, the response by enthusiasts, car clubs and businesses has been overwhelming,” said SAN Director Jason Tolleson. “We are indebted to the individuals and groups who have spearheaded the efforts against this shortsighted proposal.”
According to government figures, competition motor vehicles use only 1.5% of all leaded gasoline consumed in Canada. The aviation industry, which owns a permanent exemption from the ban, accounts for the other 98.5%. It is also worth noting that U.S., U.K. and Australia regulators have not seen the need to enact a similar ban.
Of significant concern is the negative impact a leaded fuel ban will have on local and national economies. According to data compiled by the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), drag-racing competitions and related expenditures by race teams, event organizers and tourists, among others, the ban would bring with it a multimillion dollar windfall for regions hosting these events.
Comments on the proposal were due to Environment Canada by February 13, 2008. Updates on this proposal will be available in future issues of Driving Force.
60 Years and Counting!
In 1948, a group of students and graduates of an Indianapolis high school founded the Cluster Busters Hot Rod Club. Until recently, little was known about the original members other than their love for drag racing.
By the early ’50s, hot rodders had acquired a reputation as “hoodlums.” The Cluster Busters wanted to change this image. They became advocates of safe driving and organized racing on the track instead of the street. With the help of a local judge, the club negotiated with the National Guard to use the Stout Field airstrip for a racing event. This resulted in the first organized drags in Indiana in the summer of 1955. The event, set-up by the Cluster Busters and sanctioned by the NHRA, was chronicled in the October 1955 issue of Hot Rod magazine.
Bolstered by the success of this event, the club formed the Indianapolis Timing Association. The two organizations hosted more events at Stout Field throughout the ’50s. From there, the club helped design and organize Indianapolis Raceway Park (now O’Reilly Raceway Park) in 1960.
Members of the Cluster Busters formed the Indiana Street Rod Association in 1971, became affiliated with the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) in 1976 and hosted numerous custom car shows throughout the ’70s and ’80s. The club also continued its efforts to promote safe driving and supervised racing with an amateur drag-racing series.
As the third-oldest, still active car club in the United States, the Cluster Busters will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2008. Over that time, the mission has remained the same: promote safe driving and racing for all ages and present hot rodding as a safe and responsible hobby.
While current members of the club are quite aware of its lengthy history and deep ties to the Indianapolis drag-racing scene, all were surprised when three of the original members showed up at the July 4th Rod Run last year. Current members were excited to meet and learn more about these original members and hoped to see them again soon.
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:
Arizona HB 2308/Hawaii 2178/Kentucky HB 271/West Virginia HB 4133: Allows each state to adopt emissions standards established by the state of California for new vehicles.
Hybrid Vehicles/Clean Fuel
Hawaii HB 2106: Creates a one-time tax credit for the purchase of a new or used hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicle. The credit would be for anyone that purchased a qualified vehicle between December 31, 2005 and December 31, 2009.
Oklahoma HB 2777: Extends the tax credit for the purchase of a clean-fuel vehicle until 2016.
New Jersey AB 1905: Creates a 50% tax credit for the purchase of a diesel-engine conversion device that allows the vehicle to be powered on fuel other than diesel fuel.
Missouri HB 1628: Changes the annual alternative-fuel fee to exempt historic vehicles.
Mississippi HB 343: Repeals the Mississippi Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Law.
Oklahoma HB 2961: Creates an inspection program for all vehicles. Exempts “ancient vehicles” from the program.
Hawaii SB 3133: Creates a deposit on vehicle battery and tire purchases to increase the number of products that are properly recycled.
New York AB 9877: Prohibits the sale and use of any product that alerts drivers of photo enforcement equipment.
Oklahoma SB 2021: Makes it illegal to emit any noise that can be heard from over 50 feet from a vehicle.
Idaho HB 364: Amends the salvage vehicle code to create a uniform policy regardless of vehicle age. Changes the salvage title fee to $15.
New Jersey SB 797: Raises the fine for those convicted of street racing for first-time and subsequent offenses. Fines would range from $500–$1000 for the first offense and $1,000–$2,000 for subsequent offenses.
Maine SB 836/Indiana HB 1243/South Dakota HB 1170: Allows for tires equipped with retractable studs to be used year-round if the studs are retracted during non-inclimate weather.
March 8, Birmingham
Corvette & Hot Rod Car Show
Sponsor: Mid Alabama Corvette Club
March 29, Maxwell Air Force Base
Maxwell AFB Open Car Show
Sponsor: Heart of Dixie Mustang Club
Information: http://hodmc.huntingdon.edu/carshows/Maxwell_Flyer_2008.pdf or 334/233-5369
March 1, Tempe
4th Annual Catch a Wave Car Show
Sponsor: Kiwanis Nuevo International
Information: http://kiwanisnuevo.org or 602/284-0137
March 15–16, Costa Mesa
2nd Orange County Get Together
Information: http://www.good-guys.com/events/eventDetails.aspx?eventid=08-805 or 925/838-9876
March 16, Arcadia
2nd Annual Cal Rod Car Show
Sponsor: Cal Rods San Gabriel Valley
Information: http://www.calrods.com or 909/626-0300
March 1–2, San Diego
Big 3 Auto Parts Exchange
Information: http://www.big3partsexchange.com/ or 619/464-5445
March 29–30, Pleasanton
26th All American Get-Together
Information: http://www.good-guys.com/events/eventDetails.aspx?eventid=08-801 or 925/838-9876
March 1, Naples
20th Annual Antique Car Show
Sponsor: Naples-Marco Island Region of AACA
Information: http://clubs.hemmings.com/frameset.fm?club=naplesmarcoaaca or 239/774-6993
March 2, Homosassa
24th Manatee Car & Truck Show
Sponsor: Citrus County Cruisers
Information: http://www.citruscountycruisers.org or 352/527-0024
March 16, Miami
22nd Annual Spring Meet Corvette Show
Sponsor: Sunshine Corvette Club
Information: http://www.sunshinecorvetteclub.com or 305/274-7977
March 29, Miami
Downtown Miami Classic Car Show
Sponsor: South Florida Region of AACA
Information: http://local.aaca.org/ southflorida/eventinformation.htm#Down or 786/251-4454
March 29, Pensacola
1st Annual Panhandle Cruisers National Car Show
Sponsor: Panhandle Cruisers
Information: http://www.panhandlecruisers.org/carshow.html or 251/946-3327
March 29, Vero Beach
31st Annual Antique Auto Show
Sponsor: Indian River Region of AACA
Information: http://local.aaca.org/indianriver/2008carshow.php or 722/569-4855
March 6–9, Boise
36th Annual Boise Roadster Show
March 7–9, Detroit
56th Annual Autorama
Information: http://www.autorama.com/casi/detroit.htm or 586/771-7110
March 28–30, Omaha
53rd Annual World of Wheels
Information: http://www.autorama.com/casi/omaha.htm or 402/478-5277
March 7–8, Kure Beach
Back to the Beach
Sponsor Sun Coast Cruisers
Information: http://www.suncoastcruisers.com/back_to_the_beach_2006.htm or 910/655-1989
March 29, New Bern
22nd Annual Shine & Show Open Car & Truck Show
Sponsor: Colonial Capital Rods and Classics
Information: http://www.colonialcapital rodsandclassics.com or 252/633-0527
March 14–16, Cincinnati
48th Annual Cavalcade of Customs
Information: http://www.autorama.com/casi/cincinnatti.htm or 859/331-7181
March 21–23, Redmond
9th Annual Central Oregon Rod & Custom Show
Sponsor: Central Oregon Street Rod Association
Information: http://www.centraloregon carshow.com/index.htm or 541/317-9351
March 29, Clarksville
2nd Annual March Madness
Sponsor: Wildhorses Mustang Club
Information: http://southernfordracing.com or 931/980-4453
March 30, Bellingham
Leprechaun Daze Show and Shine
Early April 2008 Events:
April 4–6, Del Mar
8th Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals
Information: http://www.good-guys.com/events/eventDetails.aspx?eventid=08-623 or 925/838-9876
April 5, Crescent City
Catfish Festival Car Show
Sponsor: Azalea City Cruisers
April 5–6, Pinellas Park
19th Annual Westcoast Mopar Show
Sponsor: Westcoast Mopar Club
Information: http://westcoastmopar.org/AnnualShow2008.htm or 727/584-1210
April 5, Macon
12th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival Mustang & Ford Show
Sponsor: Flag City Mustang Club
Information: http://www.fcmccherryblossom.webs.com or 478/390-2986
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 email@example.com.