May 2007

Big Win in Little Rock
Arkansas Enacts SEMA Street Rod/Custom Vehicle Bill Into Law
Arkansas joined the growing list of states to enact SEMA-model legislation to amend the vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and create a classification for custom vehicles. The bill was approved by the Arkansas State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Mike Beebe.
Under the new law, a street rod is defined as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. Most importantly, kit cars and replica vehicles will be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble. Arkansas joins Virginia, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Montana and Rhode Island as states that have enacted similar bills into law.
The new law allows for the use of non-original materials, provides for special license plates and permits the use of blue-dot taillights. In addition, the measure exempts street rods and customs from a range of standard-equipment requirements and emissions controls (only that equipment required in the model year that the vehicle resembles). 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 new law recognizes the unique nature of these vehicles as hobbyist cars,” said SEMA Vice President, Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “For many vehicle enthusiasts in Arkansas and throughout America, building, maintaining and enjoying their vehicles is a favorite pastime. This law represents an opportunity to acknowledge their commitment to the hobby and to protect it for future generations.”
The new law is the product of months of consultation with state legislators, regulators and the local hobbyist and business community. Arkansas State Representative Johnny Key, the bill’s sponsor, remarked, “It’s been great working with the street-rod community in our state. We’ve managed to craft and pass a piece of legislation that inserts common sense into titling and registration for customs and street rods to the benefit of the hobbyist community statewide.”
“Backed by the hard work and perseverance of Representative Key, we are extremely gratified that Arkansas has joined the list of states that recognize street rods and customs as distinct classes of vehicles,” McDonald added. “The new law offers the benefit of also including qualifying replicas and kit cars in these specialty-vehicle titling and registration classifications.”
The model bill will continue to be pursued by SEMA in states that either don’t have registration classifications for these vehicles or have laws that are lacking in some way. SEMA efforts are ongoing this year to work with the state legislatures in Florida, New York, Nevada and Massachusetts on this initiative and to add others to that list in the coming legislative sessions.
California Legislative Lowdown
The SAN members in the Golden State are again engaged in a very active legislative session with numerous proposals being considered by the California Legislature. Among them are changes to the state’s emissions-testing program, surcharges on “gas guzzlers,” and year of manufacturer license plates for historic vehicles.
One of the more harmful proposals would require annual smog-check inspections for vehicles 15 years old and older. Under this bill, pre-’76 vehicles would continue to be exempt from smog checks. However, vehicles 15 years old and older—presently ’76–’92—would move from a biennial test to annual tests with the clear intent of moving them into the scrappage program.
On a more positive note, the SAN is working with the California Attorney General’s office and the Department of Motor Vehicles in support of legislation that seeks a reasonable solution to California’s vehicle registration and titling process so that motor vehicles (including hobby cars) can become properly registered in the state. In the past, California’s complex vehicle registration laws have created confusion among state hobbyists and those charged with applying these laws at the ground level. The result has been that certain hobbyist vehicles may be erroneously titled or registered.
The bill provides amnesty from prosecution to those who, within a reasonable period of time, voluntarily retitle their vehicles and pay appropriate fees and penalties. 
Arkansas Historic Vehicles: Facing opposition from SAN members, legislation that threatened to amend the state’s current law governing historic or special-interest vehicles to require that these vehicles be at least 30 years old and pay a $25 registration fee was withdrawn. Under current Arkansas law, historic vehicles are only required to be 25 years old or older and historic vehicle owners are only required to pay a $7 registration fee.
Florida Street Rods/Customs: Florida is on the verge of joining the growing list of states to enact SEMA-model legislation to amend the vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and create a classification for custom vehicles. The bill was approved by the Florida Senate and is moving on a parallel track in the House. Under the bill, a street rod is defined as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. Importantly, kit cars and replica vehicles will be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble.
Hawaii Exhaust Systems: SAN members defeated a Hawaii bill to ban vehicles equipped with an exhaust system “that has been modified to make more noise or sound than the vehicle made when manufactured.” The measure would have allowed law enforcement officers to seize and impound a vehicle upon making a subjective determination that the vehicle was in violation.
Idaho Replicas: A bill to create a registration classification for replica vehicles has been approved by the Idaho House of Representatives. Under the bill, a replica is defined as a vehicle made to replicate any passenger car or truck previously manufactured using metal, fiberglass or composite materials. Replica vehicles would be required to look like the original vehicle being replicated but may use a more modern drivetrain. Replica vehicles would only be required to meet federal safety and emissions standards in effect for the year and type of vehicle being replicated.
Illinois Inoperable Vehicles: SAN-opposed legislation that would have further restricted the ability of Illinois vehicle hobbyists from maintaining inoperable vehicles on private property will not be considered by the Legislature. The bill sought to redefine “inoperable motor vehicles” to include vehicles incapable of being lawfully driven on state highways in full accordance with Illinois vehicle laws. The bill would have also expanded the definition of inoperable vehicles to include dismantled and unlicensed vehicles. Under current law, localities may authorize fines and disposal of inoperable vehicles on public and private property.
Kentucky Inoperable Vehicles: SAN-opposed legislation that would have overturned existing hobbyist protections for inoperable vehicles, including parts cars that are stored out of ordinary public view on private property, died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The existing law was enacted in 2005 with the support of the state’s hobbyist community and based on SEMA-model legislation. The proposed bill threatened to reverse the existing law without giving it a chance to work by allowing local governments to impose more restrictive standards against project cars.
Maryland “Show-Class” Vehicles: Maryland has introduced legislation to create a new “show-class vehicle” registration classification. Under the bill, “show class” is defined as a vehicle that has decorative features or alterations and is used primarily for transportation to and from shows, repair facilities, parades, holiday or weekend activities or similar uses. These vehicles would be limited to 5,000 miles per year but would be exempt from specific equipment requirements and the use and inspection of emissions controls.
Montana Exhaust Noise: SAN-sponsored legislation to permit vehicles with modified exhaust systems that do not emit an excess of 95 decibels as measured by SAE test standard J1169 was approved by the Montana House of Representatives and is pending approval by the full Senate. Under the SAE standard, a sound meter is placed 20 inches from the exhaust outlet at a 45-degree angle, and the engine is revved to three-quarters of maximum-rated horsepower. The highest decibel reading is then recorded.
Montana Collector Items: Legislation that would clarify that collector-vehicle owners must pay only a minimal one-time registration fee was approved by the Montana Legislature and sent to the state’s governor for his signature. Under Montana law, collector vehicles must be more than 30 years old and not be used for general transportation.
Nevada Replicas: The SAN is working to enact a version of the SEMA-model kit-car legislation in that state. Under the bill, custom vehicles are defined as replicas of vehicles manufactured before 1968. These vehicles will be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble, will only be required to have equipment required in the model year listed on the title and will be exempt from emissions inspections and controls.
Pennsylvania Modifications: The Pennsylvania State Legislature has introduced legislation to include modifications or alterations to a motor vehicle that violate state motor-vehicle inspection laws and regulations among offenses cited as “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices.”
New York Lawmaker Assumes Leadership of State Legislative Caucus
New York Assemblyman Bill Reilich is the new chairman of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. Reilich succeeds Montana Senator John Brueggeman who served in that capacity since the Caucus’ inception in 2005.
Formed in 2005, the Caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles. To date, almost 200 state legislators from California to New York and points in between are involved in the Caucus. The group is serving to raise the motor-vehicle hobby’s profile in the state legislatures and in the public’s eyes. Working in state capitals, many of these legislators have sought to preserve and protect the hobby by improving existing motor-vehicle statutes and creating new programs to safeguard and expand the hobby.
Upon joining the Caucus in 2006, Assemblyman Reilich immediately demonstrated his willingness to get involved in keeping automotive-related New York laws fair and hobby-friendly. Reilich’s quick response helped delay action on a bill that threatened to ban brush and grille guards on all motor vehicles that use New York’s public roadways.
“Assemblyman Reilich understood that this proposed ban relied heavily on unsubstantiated claims that grille guards, among other things, obstruct airbag sensors,” said SEMA Vice President, Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “The measure also ignored an existing federal prohibition against selling or installing equipment that would take a vehicle out of compliance with federal safety standards that cover occupant crash protection. Our friend Bill Reilich is leading the charge in the New York Legislature to ensure that the hobbyist point of view is considered in this debate.”
Reilich has recently taken a seat on the New York Assembly’s Transportation Committee in order to help safeguard the rights of motor-vehicle enthusiasts. In 2007, he introduced SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles, including kit cars and replicas. In addition, his current advocacy efforts on behalf of small businesses benefit the many industry members who cater to this growing crowd.
Despite his busy legislative schedule, Reilich still finds time to fit in all the “car stuff,” having recently added an ’81 T-Bird to his collection. He can often be found working on and refining his ’57 Chevy.
“As a New York State Legislator, I have been diligent in my efforts to protect the interests of automobile enthusiasts in my state,” Reilich said. “When researching bills dealing with vehicle modification, I am careful to share with my colleagues the whole and accurate picture regarding the proposed legislation. Those that don’t share our love of the automobile are often unaware of the true effect of many of the bills. I am committed to my fellow auto enthusiasts and the hobby we enjoy. I look forward to continuing my work with the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus as chairman. As a leader, Senator Brueggeman has set the bar very high. Together we will continue to ensure the voices of the auto enthusiasts are heard.”
Assemblymember Bill Reilich (New York)
Immediate Past Chairman:
Senator John Brueggeman (Montana)
Representative David Guttenberg
Senator Ron Gould
Representative Bill Konopnicki
Representative Nancy McLain 
Senator Denny Altes
Representative Johnny Key
Senator Tom McClintock 
Senator Gloria Negrete-McLeod
Assemblymember Mike Duvall
Assemblymember Bob Huff 
Assemblymember Doug La Malfa 
Assemblymember Alberto Torrico
Assemblymember Michael Villines
Senator Ken Kester 
Representative Debbie Benefield
Representative Larry Liston
Representative Nancy Todd
Representative Toni Walker
Senator Steven Amick
Representative William Oberle Jr.
Senator Bill Posey
Representative Pat Patterson
Senator Chip Rogers 
Representative Calvin Hill 
Representative Alan Powell
Representative Tony Sellier
Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland
Representative Bill Killen
Representative Tom Knollman
Senator Jeff Danielson
Representative Dwayne Alons
Representative Dave Deyoe
Representative Jim Lykam
Senator Chris Steineger
Representative Bob Bethell
Representative Doug Gatewood
Representative Mario Goico
Representative Harold Lane
Representative Judith Loganbill
Representative Terry McLachlan
Representative Shirley Palmer
Representative Michael Peterson
Representative Don Schroeder
Representative Bill Wolf
Representative Charlie Hoffman
Representative Reginald Meeks
Senator Ken Hollis
Representative Jeffery Arnold
Senator Douglas Smith
Representative Richard Cebra
Representative Carol Grose
Representative Lawrence Jacobsen
Representative Everett McLeod, Sr.
Representative Peter Rines
Representative Nancy Smith
Senator J. Robert Hooper
Delegate Don Dwyer, Jr.
Delegate Barbara Frush
Delegate Cheryl Glenn
Delegate Barry Glassman
Delegate Benjamin Kramer
Delegate Warren Miller
Delegate Richard Weldon
Representative Robert Hargraves
Senator Glenn Anderson
Senator Ron Jelinek
Representative Fran Amos
Representative Bill Caul
Representative Joe Hune
Representative Rick Jones
Representative Kathleen Law
Representative Richard LeBlanc
Representative John Pastor
Representative Tom Pearce
Representative John Proos
Representative Bettie Cook Scott
Representative Joel Sheltrown
Representative John Stahl
Representative Lorence Wenke
Representative Jim Abeler
Representative Pat Garofalo
Representative Rick Hansen
Representative Melissa Hortman
Representative Carol McFarlane
Representative Ron Shimanski
Senator Hillman Frazier
Representative Pat Montgomery
Representative Dannie Reed
Representative Clayton Smith
Representative Bruce Darrough
Representative James Whorton
Senator John Brueggeman
Senator Jeff Essmann
Representative Jill Cohenour
Representative Gordon Hendrick
Representative Bill Nooney
Representative Wayne Stahl
Senator Don Preister
Senator Bob Beers
Senator Bob Coffin
Assemblymember Chad Christensen
Assemblymember Moises (Mo) Denis
Assemblymember Ellen Marie Koivisto
Assemblymember Mark Manendo
Assemblymember John Oceguera
Assemblymember David Parks
New Hampshire
Representative Michael Reuschel
Representative Kevin Waterhouse
New Jersey
Senator James McCullough
Assemblymember Richard Merkt
New Mexico
Representative Nathan Cote
New York
Senator Jeff Klein
Assemblymember Jim Bacalles
Assemblymember William Barclay
Assemblymember Daniel Burling
Assemblymember Marc Butler
Assemblymember Nancy Calhoun
Assemblymember Janet Duprey
Assemblymember Joseph Errigo
Assemblymember Gary Finch
Assemblymember Mike Fitzpatrick
Assemblymember Joseph Giglio
Assemblymember Steve Hawley
Assemblymember Brian Kolb
Assemblymember Peter Lopez
Assemblymember Donna Lupardo
Assemblymember David McDonough
Assemblymember Marcus Molinaro
Assemblymember Bob Oaks
Assemblymember Thomas O'Mara
Assemblymember Jack Quinn
Assemblymember Andrew Raia
Assemblymember Bill Reilich
Assemblymember Joseph Saladino
Assemblymember Teresa Sayward
Assemblymember Mark Schroeder
Assemblymember James Tedisco
Assemblymember David Townsend, Jr.
Assemblymember Rob Walker
North Carolina
Senator Julia Boseman
Representative Cary Allred
Representative Larry Brown
Representative George Cleveland
Representative Nelson Cole
Representative William Current
Representative Bill Faison
Representative Phillip Frye
Representative Mitchell Setzer
Representative Fred Steen, II
North Dakota
Senator Tom Fischer
Representative Robin Weisz
Representative Alon Wieland
Senator Lance Mason
Representative John Hagan
Representative Kenny Yuko
Representative Wallace Collins
Representative Scott Inman
Senator Gary George
Representative Jeff Barker
Senator Michael Waugh
Representative Scott Conklin
Representative Patrick Harkins
Representative Scott Perry
Rhode Island
Senator William Walaska
Representative John J. Laughlin II
South Carolina
Senator Larry Martin
Representative J. Gary Simrill
Senator Tim Burchett
Senator Mike Williams
Representative Robert Bibb
Representative Chris Crider
Representative Jim Hackworth
Representative John Tidwell
Representative Joe Towns
Senator Howard Stephenson
Representative Gage Froerer
Representative Neal Hendrickson
Representative Patrick Painter
Representative Stephen Sandstrom
Senator J. Brandon Bell
Delegate William Fralin
Delegate Morgan Griffith
Delegate Dave Nutter
Delegate Tom Rust
Delegate Terrie Suit
Delegate Onzlee Ware
Senator Jerome Delvin
Representative Cary Condotta
Representative Bob Hasegawa
Representative Chris Strow
Representative Deb Wallace
West Virginia
Delegate Robert Beach
Delegate Cliff Moore
Representative Sheryl Albers
Representative Steve Kestell
Representative Pat Childers
House Panel Approves Washington Wilderness Bill
The House Natural Resources Committee approved legislation to create a 106,000-acre wilderness area in Washington’s Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. While the Senate has approved the measure three times in the last five years, this marks the first time in which the bill was approved by the House Committee.
Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall and Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Chairman Raúl Grijalva have indicated they will be far friendlier than the previously Republican-led House to wilderness designations that prohibit motorized travel and other development in wilderness areas. The Washington proposal, commonly referred to as the Wild Sky Wilderness, will now be scheduled for a vote by the full House of Representatives.
Opponents of the Washington bill have argued that 13,000 acres of the proposed areas do not meet the requirements for a wilderness designation as they contain existing roads and developed lands. Last year, lawmakers failed to pass a SAN-supported alternative to set aside about 93,000 acres as wilderness and also create a 13,300-acre “backcountry wilderness management area” to maintain the previously developed lands.
Wilderness legislation is consequential to SAN members since it potentially denies access to off-roaders to existing riding areas and trails. The SAN continues to support land-use decisions that allow local stakeholders to participate in the decision-making process. Within that context, the SAN supports compromise approaches on wilderness areas that balance the need to preserve access to appropriate motorized recreation while protecting some of our nation’s natural wonders.
In following those criteria, the SAN supported a compromise wilderness proposal for Northern California last year which included provisions to establish adjacent or nearby areas that would be open to off-highway vehicle (OHV) use. This included “cherry-stem” roads as OHV corridors within the wilderness areas.
“Street Savvy Savoy”
1960 Plymouth Savoy
Owner: Ben Deutschman
Metuchen, New Jersey
My ’60 Plymouth Savoy was purchased new by my father on June 13, 1960 from a dealership in Metuchen, New Jersey. As time went on and the miles rolled by, it provided many faithful, economical years of service as the family taxi and grocery-getter. The slant-six that powered it definitely gave the economy of operation that my father needed from the car, while giving ample power to haul six passengers and their luggage comfortably. 
My Plymouth was the household mainstay until June 1972, when it was displaced from its top-dog position. By then the car was starting to show the effects of 12 years of service, and my parents decided it was time to purchase a new car. 
A year later, a so-called “friend” convinced me that the engine needed to be rebuilt to take care of a minor smoke problem. Knowing little about engines or cars in general, I thought my friend, who even offered to help, had to be right.
Needless to say, that was a mistake. After the “rebuild,” the Plymouth’s engine didn’t smoke, but it also didn’t do anything else. Upon further review, I should have checked with an experienced mechanic about the smoke problem. I should have also considered asking my father if I should even think of getting involved in such a big job as an engine overhaul without his supervision. After all, he was a mechanical engineer.
UNDER THE HOOD: 225 slant-six engine 1-BBL Carter carburetor, TorqueFlite-six automatic transmission
OUTSIDE: Srock wheels and wheel covers
INSIDE: factory gauges, re-upholstered seats, factory optional RCA 45-rpm record player and matching hi-fi radio
May 5, Prattville
Eighth Annual Open Car Show
Sponsor: Heart of Dixie Mustang Club
Information: www.hodmc.org or 334/277-5822
May 12, Prescott
Rod and Custom Car Show
Sponsor: Mountain Top Street Rodders
Information: 928/636-5609
May 19, Prescott
Mopars on the Mountain
Sponsor: Mopars Unlimited of Arizona
Information: www.moparsonthemountain.com  or 928/445-4970