May 2002

California Considers Limits on Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Pressured by hard-core environmental lobbying groups, California is considering legislation (A.B. 1058) to allow state regulators to limit "greenhouse gases," including carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from noncommercial cars, SUVs and light trucks. The bill passed the House and was approved by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.
A.B. 1058 would direct the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles to achieve the maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction. Senate amendments to the bill allow for alternative methods of compliance and emissions reduction credits, but prohibit CARB from mandating trip-reduction measures or banning the sale of any vehicle category.
"A strict greenhouse gas standard may significantly impact vehicle enthusiasts by effectively requiring automakers to construct "California-only" vehicles," said SEMA Automotive Technical Consultant Frank Bohanan, who attended the California Senate hearing and testified against the legislation. "The standard may also serve to reduce vehicle choice by making these vehicles much more expensive to purchase and maintain. Finally, depending upon how the standard is ultimately implemented and enforced, the standard could indirectly affect the use of automotive products that increase power. This could limit performance products which may be needed to help haul heavy cargo or passenger loads."
If signed into law, new rules to limit greenhouse gases would be adopted and implemented to take effect in 2008 model year vehicles.
New Hampshire Pro-Hobby Inoperable Vehicle Bill Still Moving
A SEMA-supported bill (H.B. 617) to exempt antique vehicles owned and maintained by automotive collectors from "junkyard" control regulations was passed by the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Antique motor vehicles, defined by New Hampshire law as those older than 25 years, would be required to be stored and repaired by owners out of public view by means of inside storage, fencing, trees or shrubbery. The measure applies only to noncommercial antique vehicle restoration activities.
The bill now moves to the New Hampshire Senate Committee on Public Affairs where concerns over the total number of vehicles a collector may store may be addressed. Local communities are expressing concern that, as currently written, the bill places no limits on the number of cars a collector can keep and that this privilege might be abused. To counter this concern, there is growing support for an amendment to limit the number of cars a collector can keep to 15 total. SEMA supports this amendment as a reasonable compromise between the legitimate interests of hobbyists and local communities.
SEMA Director of Government Affairs Steve McDonald expressed satisfaction with how this bill has progressed. "Pro-hobby inoperable vehicle bills are typically very difficult to pass," said McDonald. "Local communities, as well as statewide county and township associations, often are able to block this sort of legislation by raising exaggerated concerns about how car collectors will turn ordinary backyards into dangerous and unsightly junkyards. We are pleased that New Hampshire has not followed this pattern. We are also proud of New Hampshire Representative Lawrence Artz (R) for authoring and fighting for this legislation."
TECHNICAL CORNER -- Engine Swaps Made Easier
By Frank Bohanan, SEMA Technical Consultant
Hobbyists frequently ask us about the rules governing engine switching in project vehicles. First of all, those engaged in engine switching activities are bound by specific state laws that may vary from state to state. Having said that, there are some general guidelines one may consider. This article will cover the rules for switching the engine in production-type vehicles. Specially constructed vehicles, street rods, kit cars and the like will have different rules which will be discussed at another time.
The basic rule of engine switching (as opposed to installing a "replacement" engine) is that the change must do no harm. This means that the engine being installed must theoretically be at least as "clean" as the one taken out. Several requirements may define "clean" for the purposes of engine switching:
Model Year: The engine to be installed must be the same age or newer than the one being replaced. Crate engines can be used if they are configured to resemble an engine that was certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and/or the California Air Resources Board. This essentially means that the required emissions parts must be present on the engine.
Certification Level: The engine to be installed must come from a vehicle certified to meet the same or more stringent emissions standards than the one replaced.
Vehicle Class: An engine from a vehicle class such as a motor home, medium-duty truck or marine application must not be used since these engines were certified to different types of emissions standards, using different tests.
System/Equipment: When swapping in a newer engine from a later-model vehicle, all of the relevant emissions control equipment must be transferred as well. This includes the carbon canister, the catalytic converter(s) and even parts of the on-board diagnostic (OBD) system. Some states have exceptions to this requirement, but the general rule is that as much of the donor vehicle's emissions system as possible should be transferred. The vehicle will likely run more efficiently with a full transfer of the system and shouldn't cause any undue heartache.
Of course, engine switching can be much more complex than described here, but these are good general rules to follow and should keep engine switchers out of trouble in most cases.
Have a question for TECH CORNER? Send it to us at frankb@sema.org or SEMA, Attn: "TECH CORNER," 1317 F Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20004. We can't give you legal advice, but we might point you in the right direction!
Nitrous Oxide Equipment Remains Legal in Georgia
In a victory for hot rodders and safe-and-legal drag racers in Georgia, SEMA succeeded in negotiating a compromise to legislation (H.B. 151) that originally sought to fully prohibit public road use by all passenger cars or pickup trucks equipped to supply the engine with nitrous oxide. The SEMA amendment modified the bill to protect manufacturers and hobbyists from a blanket ban.
"H.B. 151, as originally written, sought to unfairly prohibit all public road use of passenger cars or pickup trucks equipped with nitrous oxide delivery systems," noted Brian Caudill, SEMA director of public affairs. "In other words, any car with a nitrous set-up would have been in violation of the law, regardless of whether the system was in use or not. As amended, the mere presence of nitrous systems on passenger cars does not constitute a violation -- nitrous systems must simply be disconnected when the vehicle is being driven on a public road. SEMA succeeded in modifying the bill on behalf of the many Georgia hot rodders who use nitrous oxide safely and legally at local drag strips."
SEMA extends thanks to Georgia State Representative Alan Powell. "Rep. Powell was instrumental in facilitating a relationship between the bill's proponents and SEMA," said SEMA Director of Government Relations Steve McDonald. "The resulting compromise was satisfying to all parties and is a tribute to how the political process can work to produce fair and reasonable legislation."
H.B. 151 was approved by the House and Senate and now awaits the governor's signature.
Eagle One Honors Car Clubs With 'Golden Rule' Award
Car clubs in four regions have been named winners of the "Golden Rule" award for conducting the most outstanding community service program in their areas during 2001.
Eagle One, a leading marketer of premium appearance care products, has presented the award for the past nine years to enhance the image of the massive car club movement in the United States.
The winners (SEMA Action Network members in bold) and their regions were: West -- Mustangs Northwest, Seattle, WA; Midwest -- E'ville Iron Street Rods, Evansville, IN; East -- Villa Capri Cruisers, Scranton, PA; South -- Pee Dee Street Rodders, Florence, SC. Winning clubs receive a large supply of Eagle One appearance care products, a large supply of Valvoline Max-Life motor oil, a custom-designed plaque and a donation of $250 by Eagle One to a charity designated by each club.
Runners-up, respectively, in each region were: South Bay Cruisers, San Ysidro, CA; Wizards of Rods, Tomah, WI; Cumberland Valley Corvette Club, Mechanicsburg, PA; Citrus County Cruisers, Beverly Hills, FL. Each runner-up receives a supply of products from Eagle One and Valvoline and an award of merit.
SEMA and the SEMA Action Network salute the efforts of all participating clubs. Today, vehicle clubs are about more than cool rides and shows. Increasingly, they are also about community, charity and political involvement.
Alabama Could Enact Emissions Inspections
SEMA is working with one of its member companies (Auto Custom Carpets of Anniston, Alabama) to amend legislation (S.B. 457) that seeks to create a motor vehicle emissions inspection program for portions of Alabama deemed to have pollution control problems.
Under the current bill, the program would require 1975 model year and newer vehicles to undergo inspection. The SEMA pro-hobbyist amendment would exempt from the program all vehicles 25 years old and older, similar to exemptions recently enacted in California, Missouri, Virginia and Washington.
While emissions testing looks like a reality in Alabama, there are many common-sense reasons for exempting 25-year-old and older vehicles from these tests. Logic tells us that antique and classic vehicles constitute a tiny portion of Alabama's vehicle fleet. In addition, antique and classic vehicles are over-whelmingly well-maintained and infrequently driven. Both of these facts make vintage vehicles a poor source from which to reduce emissions, and enforcement would not be a good use of limited resources.
Alabama SEMA Action Network members are encouraged to get involved in saving older automobiles from unnecessary emissions testing. For details on getting involved, contact SEMA Director of Government Affairs Steve McDonald at 202/783-6007 or stevemac@sema.org.
Federal Scrappage Legislation Killed
The nationwide car hobbyist community's recent victory over federal legislation that would have federally funded vehicle scrappage programs for vehicles more than 15 years old fueled a ton of letters this past month. While we regret that we cannot print them all, SEMA thanks every SEMA Action Network car club and individual member that wrote, faxed, e-mailed or called his or her U.S. Senators in support of efforts to defeat scrappage. We have again proven that organized hobbyists are a formidable political force. -- Ed.
I just wanted to drop you a short note to thank you for all your efforts in helping scrap the "scrappage bill [Section 822 of S. 517, the Energy Policy Act of 2002]."
SEMA's efforts in keeping the hobbyist organizations "in the loop" along with your continual voice of reason on 'the Hill" have earned you unwavering appreciation from car lovers across the country. You should be very proud of yourselves!!!
It is nice to know I can sleep better at night knowing people are "keeping watch" over one of the great hobbies in our country!
Thanks again.
Guy Fosse 
Great Falls, MT
Great news! Great news! I have to admit that I always thought scrappage was a distant problem -- a California or Arizona problem, to be specific! How long has SEMA been opposing the crushing of old cars in California, only to have the authorities out there turn a semi-deaf ear to everyone?
If [SEMA] has been frustrated with not completely dismantling scrappage in California, it sure didn't show in this latest federal fight. I received my first SEMA alert about the proposed federal scrappage program in late December and regular progress reports every other week or so until it was ultimately defeated.
I did my part. I wrote Senator Warner and Allen in Virginia. But I want to thank [SEMA] for doing its part not only in defeating the legislation, but also for keeping us car nuts "in the loop" so that we felt like part of the process.
Thank you.
Clint Sidwell 
Fairfax, VA
Congratulations on the defeat of the old car scrappage provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2002 (Section 822 of S. 517).
While The CARLAB is in favor of assertive pollution control measures for motor vehicles, it saw no value in the legislation of a program discouraging the responsible use of older vehicles by recklessly scrapping them regardless of their historic value, containment of reusable parts or propensity to be collected by enthusiasts.
SEMA's work in defeating this portion of the legislation is to be commended.
Eric Noble 
President, The CARLAB
Just wanted to say SEMA rocks. Thank you.
Luke McGlynn 
Comstock Park, MI
Okay, I admit, this one might be my favorite. -- Ed.
May 4, Antioch 
4th Annual Show and Shine 
Sponsor: Diablo Valley Mustang Association 
Information: 925/625-3537
May 17-19, Palmdale 
Buick Shootout and Team Challenge #13 
Sponsor: Buick Grand National Racing Association 
Information: 714/772-6201
May 19, Merced 
2nd Annual Mopars at the Gateway to Yosemite 
Sponsor: Central Valley Pentastar Club 
Information: 209/723-0543
May 19, Riverside 
5th Annual All Chrysler Car and Truck Show 
Sponsor: Inland Mopars Club 
Information: 909/981-0477
May 4, Lewes 
7th Annual "The British are Coming . . . Again" Car Show 
Sponsor: Philadelphia MG Club 
Information: 302/645-8073
May 4, South Holland 
9th Annual Spring Dustoff 
Sponsor: Buick Club of America, Chicagoland Chapter 
Information: 708/535-3044
May 3-5, Dubuque/Davenport 
Spring DrivingTour 
Sponsor: Northern Illinois Fiero Enthusiasts 
Information: 563/386-8336
May 4, Stevensville 
8th Annual Spring Fling 
Sponsor: Kent Island Cruisers 
Information: 410/643-4582
May 17-19, Berrien Springs 
13th Great Lakes Nationals 
Sponsor: Goodguys Rod and Custom Association 
Information: 925/838-9876
May 24-26, Springfield 
19th Annual Mid-America Street Rod Nationals 
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association 
Information: 505/763-5771
May 4, Newark/Heath 
Cruise-In Benefiting Children's Brain Tumor Research 
Sponsor: Cars of Ohio Club 
Information: 740/964-1928
May 2-5, Knoxville 
28th Annual Street Rod Nationals South 
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association 
Information: 303/776-7841
May 4, Carrollton 
12th Annual Dallas Spring Nationals Classic Car Show 
Sponsor: North Texas Mustang Club 
Information: 972/262-8655
May 25-26, Richland 
18th Annual Play Day 
Sponsor: Spanaway Moonshiners 4x4 Club 
Information: 253/843-2342
May 26, Tomahawk 
8th Annual Main Street Memories Car Show 
Sponsor: Northwoods Cruisers 
Information: 715/453-1955
May 30-June 2, Wisconsin Dells 
Dells Run 2002 
Sponsor: Fiero Fanatics 
Information: 414/282-3577