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Not Every Bill Is a Clunker
Four Hobbyist-Friendly SEMA Model Bills
As an auto enthusiast, it sometimes seems as if legislation created in the state capitals only hurts the hobby. However, not every bill is a clunker. As the SEMA Action Network (SAN) has demonstrated with the success of its Street Rod/Custom Vehicle law, pro-active, positive legislation can serve to create new opportunities for the growth of the auto hobby. Expanding on last month’s theme of building productive relationships with your legislators, the SAN presents you with four hobby-friendly model bills to share with legislators in your state. Along with the Street Rod/Custom Vehicle bill, the SAN champions the Inoperable Vehicle, Exhaust Noise and Nitrous-Oxide Systems model bills from coast to coast. SEMA-model legislation is designed specifically to create reasonable and practical solutions to widespread issues affecting every hobbyist.
Street Rod/Custom Vehicle
Every hobbyist has a dream vehicle over which they obsess about every detail. For some, this might be a kit vehicle they build at home, while for others it’s creating the perfect street rod. To facilitate putting that dream onto the road, the SAN developed the Street Rod/Custom Vehicle bill to simplify the titling and registration of these vehicles. This model bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom car as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. Under the bill, kit cars and replica vehicles are issued a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble. To date, 20 states have passed a version of our model legislation to ensure historic and custom vehicles stay on the road.
Many hobbyists work to take advantage of the Street Rod/Custom Vehicle laws by building or restoring a vehicle at home. However, some cities or counties seek to limit your ability to store and work on project vehicles on private property. The SAN aims to protect your historic projects with the Inoperable Vehicle model bill. Under this bill, municipalities may not create ordinances or regulations that prohibit land owners from engaging in automotive restoration as long as the collector’s vehicles or parts car are stored out of ordinary public view. With the support of the SAN, hobbyists in states across the country are able to comfortably restore and build their dream vehicles in the freedom and comfort of their own properties.
One common thread on which most hobbyists can agree is the need to improve the performance of their vehicle. In the quest for more power and efficiency options, the first place many look to is their vehicle’s exhaust system. Through the years, we all have seen the nearly constant attacks on aftermarket exhaust system noise. As states work to limit the noise of mufflers, many enacted laws do not supply enforcement personnel with a clear standard to enforce, allowing them to make subjective judgments on whether or not a modified exhaust system is in violation. We agree that these exhaust systems should not be used in a way that causes overly loud or objectionable noise. The SAN’s Exhaust Noise model legislation protects you by establishing reasonable noise limits for modified exhaust systems based on an easy-to-administer test standard. These limits are usually indicated in decibels and allow vehicle owners to prove compliance by an objectively measured, fair and predictable procedure. The exhaust model bill safeguards your ability to improve your vehicle’s performance while providing law enforcement with a measurable standard.
Tenths of a second matter at the local dragstrip and can mean the difference between hitting that magical 10-second quarter time or not. For some hobbyists, that shot of nitrous oxide is all they need to conjure their asphalt-shredding personal best on the track. Unfortunately, everyone knows the actions of a few can hurt the many. Because nitrous oxide has become linked to illegal street-racing in the minds of many, legislators began banning its use. The SAN’s nitrous-oxide model bill ensures the rights of those who use nitrous oxide legally. The legislation allows vehicles that are equipped to supply nitrous oxide to the engine to travel on public roads as long as the nitrous-oxide feeding line is disabled or the containers are removed. This allows for the system to be easily accessed and restored for lawful use at the track.
The SAN and hobbyists have worked together to generate these successes, but there is much more work to be done and we need you more than ever. With the knowledge of how to lobby your legislator and model legislation to share with them, now is the time to build that relationship. Each of you, through a letter, a phone call or by inviting a legislator to your club meeting has the power to protect the future of the hobby. Our allies in the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus prove that state legislatures are populated with automotive enthusiasts just like you, looking to protect the hobby. The Street Rod/Custom Vehicle, Inoperable Vehicle, Exhaust Noise and Nitrous-Oxide System bills along with the guide to lobbying your legislator, can be found on www.SEMASAN.com. If you are concerned about these issues in your state, now is the time to pick up that pen or phone and help the SAN enact hobby-friendly legislation so future generations can enjoy their own dream cars.
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 is its newest member:
California State Assembly Member Tony Mendoza
LEGISLATIVE QUICK HITS
Indiana Antiques: SAN hobbyist groups affiliated with the Auto Clubs Council of Indiana, working with SEMA and SEMA-member companies, have reached a tentative compromise with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) on an agency proposal that originally sought to redefine the term “antique vehicle” in order to force more of these hobby cars into the emissions inspection program. Under existing regulations, an antique vehicle defined as “a motor vehicle or motor scooter that is at least 25 years old” is exempted from emissions inspections. Under the initial proposed regulation, the definition would be revised to require that the vehicle must be at least 25 years old, registered and plated as a historic motor vehicle, driven a maximum of 3,000 miles per calendar year and include federally required pollution-control equipment for that make and model year. Under the plan, the vehicle would be periodically forced into a vehicle emissions test site to verify that these requirements have been met. Under the current compromise, vehicles 25 years old and older would be exempted from the 3,000-mile limit and the pollution-control equipment requirement if they were insured under a collectible vehicle or classic automobile insurance policy.
The SAN Creates “Guide to Land Use Policies & Off-Road Recreation”
Free and unfettered access to public lands is vitally important to many U.S citizens, not the least of which are Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts. This hobby represents a growing trend and leads to more people actively using and appreciating our public lands each year. Land use policies developed in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere have a dramatic impact on the availability of public land for hobbyist use, so it is important to be a knowledgeable and active enthusiast. Because these laws and regulations are massively complex, the SAN has created a “Guide to Land Use Policies & Off-Road Recreation” to help you decode the Washington lingo.
The “Guide to Land Use Policies & Off-Road Recreation” provides several key tools that will help you build a solid foundation of land use knowledge. It includes a broad overview of such topics as the key federal agencies managing public lands; major laws and regulations, such as the Endangered Species and Wilderness Acts, that affect access to public lands; private organizations who are active in the conservation of natural lands while supporting the hobby; and SAN position statements, which act as a guidepost for legislative and regulatory advocacy.
Many laws and regulations that are passed or proposed are well intended, but have a tendency to be one-sided and too vast in scope, taking little account of hobbyists who responsibly enjoy nature through a variety of motorized activities. Far too often, laws are enacted by legislators who do not take into account the beneficial impact that enthusiasts have on public lands through the OHV hobby. Many hobbyist groups and clubs actively participate in the maintenance of roads and trails on their own time and dollar, conduct clean up days on public lands, and work to preserve the environment not only because it’s the right thing to do, but to ensure that future generations can enjoy the same natural splendor and beauty our public lands possess. These are the same individuals that are as passionate about their vehicles as they are the land they enjoy them on, and maintaining a future for this hobby on public lands is essential.
How can these wilderness bills affect my hobby you ask? Imagine planning a trip to go enjoy OHV trails in The Great Basin, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Moab-La Sal Canyons or San Rafael Swell areas. Now imagine the U.S. Congress passing a bill called America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act of 2009 which closes significant portions of those parks to all OHV use. The threat that these laws and regulations pose to hobbyists are not imagined or abstract; they are very real and require action on the part of hobbyists, hobby groups and other industry associations.
This March, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 was signed into law, designating more than 2 million acres of wilderness (land closed to all motorized activities) in nine states. This included areas in and around Joshua Tree National Park and Eastern Sierras in California, Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonlands in Idaho, Mt. Hood in Oregon and Zion National Park in Utah. Additionally, a bill entitled “The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act” has been introduced in Congress. This legislation would set a precedent by using the term “bioregion” as justification for converting 24 million acres across five states into wilderness areas. How would you feel if congressmen and senators from distant states came to your backyard and told you how you can use local designated trails? Keeping access decisions about these lands at a local level and to be determined by those who enjoy them is vital to keeping them free for all Americans.
The SAN has taken the action of submitting comments in opposition to these bills, but participation by invested hobbyists and businesses may be necessary to secure access to these areas in the future for all tax-paying hobbyists. The SAN’s “Guide to Land Use Policies & Off-Road Recreation” is another means of protecting access to these lands by putting the information necessary to understand the issues and the players at your fingertips. Educating yourself and using that knowledge to take action by writing your legislators and passing the information on to your friends is the key to creating a win for your hobby and passion. The guide can be found at www.SEMASAN.com.
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Owner: Eric T. Brubakken
When my Dad got home from work one evening in August of 1967, my mother met him at the front door and told him they were buying a new car that night. This would be only the second new car they had ever purchased and since my dad was a mechanic at JM Taylor Oldsmobile in South Gate, California, that’s where they went.
In the showroom sat a ’67 Cutlass Supreme. The Cutlass had the Turnpike Cruiser option, which was basically a 442 with a two-barrel carburetor and a cam designed with highway cruising in mind. That was the car they purchased, and it has been in the family ever since. The purchase price was somewhere around $3,200 in 1967 dollars
The Cutlass was my parent’s daily driver until I enlisted in the Air Force in 1972. During tech school in Biloxi, Mississippi, my parents decided to give me the car and brought it to me while I was stationed there. Before they left for home, I managed to find a set of “mag” wheels for it, the first of a long list of changes to the Cutlass.
Modifications throughout the years include: complete repaint and new vinyl top; swapped out 400 engine with a 455, added Edelbrock intake; Holley 780-cfm carburetor; Chevy 12-bolt rearend 3.31 gears; PowerTrax Lock-Right Locker; Strange Axles with C-Clip eliminators; Hooker headers; converted drum brakes to disks; and Turbo 400 transmission swapped to a 700-R transmission with a 2200 stall converter.
One of the many monumental events the Cutlass was involved in was the birth of my son. When he was born, we brought him home from the hospital in it and now, 20 years later, he is the third generation of my family driving it.
Future plans include building another 455 engine for it, freshening up the original interior and someday giving it to my son.
Building Ramps and Rods
The Dallas Area Classic Chevys (DACC) was organized in the spring of 1976 as a car club dedicated to ’55, ’56 and ’57 Chevrolets. Today it has more than 150 enthusiasts from all over the North Texas area, and each of them has a devoted passion for all of the mid-fifty Chevys, including sedans, coupes, Corvettes and pickups.
DACC has hosted several major events that focus on the ’55–’57 Chevy. Beginning in 1979, the club hosted a regional convention for ’55–’57 Chevys, then several years later, followed that with a national convention in 1985. In 1991, DACC hosted its largest event, the International Classic Chevy Convention—a week-long celebration of the mid-fifty Chevys that brought enthusiasts from all over the world to Dallas. Most recently in 2006, the club hosted the 24th Annual Lone Star Classic Chevy Convention, a rotating event shared by Classic Chevy Clubs in Texas (more info at www.LoneStarChevys.com). In 2011, DACC will again host the Lone Star Classic Chevy Convention, and work to put that event together has already begun.
Each month the club participates in at least one event that can include a day-long driving trip, club displays at the indoor winter car shows in Dallas and Fort Worth, a drag race in a season-long Car Club Challenge series or simply a meeting at one of the many parking lot shows in the area. DACC also meets at ’50s-era establishments, such as the Brazos Drive-In movie theatre (opened in 1952) in Granbury, Texas; Frosty Drive N Diner (opened in 1954) in Denton, Texas; and the restored Uptown Theatre (opened in 1950) in Grand Prairie, Texas. All of these were originally built in the ’50s and are still kicking just like DACC club cars!
DACC also enjoys doing charity work each Christmas season that does not involve old cars at all, such as constructing wheelchair ramps for the handicap at their homes. Working with a local agency, club members travel to the home of a wheelchair-bound occupant and by the time the club leaves, that person is able to get in and out of their home much more easily using the ramp built by DACC.
A great benefit of club membership is the assistance a person can get from fellow club members when it comes to their shoebox Chevy. Whether it’s a quick question or help with a complete restoration, members in the club are there to help by phone, e-mail or in person. The club also has several designated “tech advisors” whom members may contact should they find themselves stumped with a project on their Chevy.
Dallas Area Classic Chevys welcomes all enthusiasts of ’55–’57 Chevys to join. For more information, find DACC online at www.DallasClassicChevy.com.
November 13–14, Dothan
10th Dothan Automotive Swap Meet and Car Show
Information: www.swapncrusin.com or 866/277-3962
November 20–22, Scottsdale
12th Southwest Nationals
Information: http://good-guys.com/events/eventDetails.aspx?eventid=09-629 or 925/838-9876
November 6–8, Borrego Springs
Bronco Daze 2009
Sponsor: Early Bronco Registry
Information: www.earlybronco.com or 760/751-9859
November 13–15, Trona
Panamint Valley Days
Sponsor: California Association of 4WD Clubs
Information: www.cal4wheel.com or 626/280-0308
November 14–15, Pleasanton
20th Autumn Get-Together
Information: http://good-guys.com/events/eventDetails.aspx?eventid=09-804 or 925/838-9876
November 1, Clearwater
Mason Dixon Best of the Best
Sponsor: Mustang Club of Tampa
Information: www.masondixonchristmaswishfund.com or 813/417-2483
November 6–7, Indian Harbour Beach
Roadsters Rock the Island ’09
Sponsor: Florida Roadsters
November 7–8, Ocala
22nd Annual Mopar with Big Daddy
Sponsor: Florida Mopar Association
Information: www.floridamoparassociation.com or 813/986-0990
November 8, Dade City
21th Annual Pasco Bug Jam
Information: www.pascobugjam.com or 352/567-6678
November 14, Orlando
Moparty Car and Truck Show
November 12–15, Zephyrhills
25th Annual Fall Auto Fest
Information: www.zephyrhillsauction.com/index.php or 813/258-6726
November 22, Sarasota
18th Annual Super Sunday
Sponsor: Mustang Club of West Central Florida
Information: www.mustangclubofwestcentralflorida.org or 941/927-7284
November 26–29, Daytona
36th Annual Turkey Run
Sponsor: Daytona Beach Street Rods
Information: www.turkeyrun.com or 386/767-9070
November 27–28, Ormond Beach
Antique Car Parade & Show
Sponsor: Volusia Region Antique Automobile Club of America
Information: http://local.aaca.org/volusia or 386/672-7762
November 7, Monroe
4th Annual Santa Cruise
Sponsor: Georgia Street Rod Association
Information: www.gsra.com or 770/464-1327
November 6–7, Augusta
The Fall Pumpkin Run
Sponsor: CSRA Road Angels Car Club
Information: www.roadangelsaugusta.com or 706/595-1450
November 7, Valdosta
25th Annual Fall Classic Car & Truck Show
Sponsor: South Georgia Classic Car Club
Information: www.sgccc.org/images/flyers/Fall_Classic_2009.jpg or 229/244-5820
November 21–22, Rosemont
2009 Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals
Information: www.mcacn.com or 586/549-5291
November 7, Richmond
37th Annual Vintage Wheels Rod & Custom Car Show
Sponsor: Vintage Wheels Car Club
Information: 765/966-0541 or 765/855-5771
November 11, Boutte
3rd Annual Benefit Car Show
Sponsor: Louisiana Custom Cruisers
Information: www.lacustomcruisers.com or 985/785-8494
November 6–7, Henderson
AMC/Rambler Club Southwest Regional Meet
Sponsor: Southern Nevada AMC Club
Information: http://snamc.amcrc.com/carshow.html or 702/985-7647
November 6–7, Logandale
29th Hump N Bump Trail Rides
Sponsor: Vegas Valley 4 Wheelers
November 7, Truth or Consequences
13th Annual Veterans’ Day Car Show
Information: www.nmstateveteranshome.org/events.shtml or 575/894-4222
November 7, Shelby
Hog Happnin’ Bikes & Cars Barbecue
November 8, Hatfield
Toy Drive 2009
Sponsor: Full House Motorsports
Information: www.fullhousemotorsports.com/eventschedule.html or 215/896-2923
November 14, Media
Salute to the Troops Car Show
Sponsor: Delco Cruisers
November 13–14, Bastrop
Veteran’s Weekend Car Show
Sponsor: Bastrop Area Cruisers
Information: www.bastropareacruisers.com/events.html or 512/569-2316
November 26–29, Houston
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/houston.php or 248/373-1700
Early December 2009 Events
December 5, Folsom
22nd Annual Gold Country Toy Run
Sponsor: California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs
Information: www.cal4wheel.com//index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=67&func=fileinfo&id=75 or 916/985-2250
December 5, Calhoun
2nd Annual Christmas in Paradise
Sponsor: North Georgia Hotrods
Information: www.northgeorgiahotrods.com or 706/278-2846
December 4–6, Timonium
East Coast Indoor Nationals
Information: www.eastcoastindoornats.com or 410/628-6262
December 5, Stayton
Santa Cruise Toy Drive
Information: www.stros.biz/santacruise.html or 503/769-5060
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 to firstname.lastname@example.org.