Not Blowing Smoke
Masses Voice Support for California Bill to Exempt Pre-1981 Vehicles from Emission Inspections
Groups like the SEMA Action Network (SAN) are most successful when the members respond to opportunities in large numbers with great passion. United groups achieve maximum results. Lately, a large movement of auto enthusiasts have created quite a groundswell in the Golden State by banding together for a common goal.
Many of you will recall that in 2004, legislation was enacted into law to repeal California's rolling emissions-test exemption for vehicles 30 years old and older and replace it with a law requiring the lifetime testing of all 1976 and newer model-year vehicles. The auto hobby had been warned that the rolling 30-year exemption was in the cross hairs. In 2003, legislation was introduced that threatened to repeal the state's emissions exemption and replace it with an exemption only for those vehicles that were 45 or more model years old. Thankfully, California hobbyists working with the SAN derailed that effort and replaced it with an alternative bill that only forced "smoking" vehicles that were already required to participate in the Smog Check program into an out-of-cycle emissions test.
This type of legislation is part of the state's continued strategy to address failed efforts to meet air quality goals, while targeting old cars as convenient scapegoats. Regulators have conveniently used skewed data and inflated annual mileage assumptions to further their case. We had hoped that over time, lawmakers would finally realize that antique and classic vehicles that benefit from old car emissions exemptions are overwhelmingly well-maintained and infrequently driven. Further, these collector vehicles constitute an increasingly tiny portion of the overall vehicle population and are a poor source from which to look for emissions reductions. Forcing these vehicles back into the Smog Check program represents flawed environmental policy and creates no real benefit to the quality of the air breathed by state residents.
At least one lawmaker was listening. This year, Mustang enthusiast and California State Senator Doug LaMalfa introduced a bill to exempt all motor vehicles prior to the 1981 model year from the emissions inspection requirement. Simply put, Senate Bill 1224 seeks to recover some of the ground that was lost in 2004. Already, hundreds (if not thousands) of Californians have responded to the call in support of the measure.
"S.B. 1224 would provide an exemption for only one-half of one percent of California vehicles on the road today. Hardly an overwhelming number," said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. "Not surprisingly, opposition is coming from the state's air quality management districts, which argue that this bill increases the burden on regions to meet air quality standards set by state and federal governments."
This bill's success will certainly make it easier for California's enthusiasts to enjoy a wider array of classic vehicles, including sports cars and trucks. However, victory would also represent a common sense solution to an unnecessary burden on old car collectors and lower-income citizens. "The idea behind exempting any class of vehicles is to reduce costs while not losing appreciable emissions reductions," McDonald added. "This strategy builds support for emissions inspection programs, but also directs finite resources to where they will be most valuable in cleaning the air. In light of hard economic times and California's continued commitment to focusing limited resources where they can be most efficient in creating clean air, S.B. 1224 is a no brainer."
At press time, S.B. 1224 had been granted reconsideration after failing to be approved by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on a 3-4 vote, with two committee members not voting. The bill will be reconsidered in a future committee hearing.
Each month, Driving Force features members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. The SEMA-supported caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers, almost 590 members strong, whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles.
Here are its newest members:
Senator Nancy Barto
Assemblyman Brian W. Jones
Senator Tom Sawyer
Representative Michael Ashford
Representative Mike Cuffe
Senator Don Gustavson
Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini
Assemblyman Tim Eustace
Senator Jim Davis
Senator Dwight Cook
Senator Joe Miller
Representative Duane DeKrey
Representative Dan J. Ruby
Representative Allen Fletcher
Representative George Lavender
Representative Burt Solomons
Representative Paul Workman
Visit www.semasan.com for a complete list of caucus members.
LEGISLATIVE QUICK HITS
California Specially Constructed Vehicles: For the past several years, the SAN has been working with the California legislature and state agencies to provide protection for owners of improperly or illegally titled and registered specially constructed vehicles (SPCNS). Under a looming threat of prosecution, this program was pursued to help vehicle owners and builders avoid a situation that could have led to confiscated cars and felony law enforcement actions. Beginning July 1, 2011, an amnesty program to allow proper registration of previously-registered SPCNS went into effect. The program is slated to conclude on June 30, 2012. Working with the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the SAN has finally resolved program implementation problems on behalf of California SPCNS owners seeking amnesty. These solutions permit these vehicles to demonstrate compliance with current BAR smog-check tailpipe emissions requirements, in addition to providing amnesty for owners that have knowingly made false statements regarding the value of these vehicles, the year of manufacture or knowingly falsified any other facts in documents filed with the DMV or Highway Patrol. More information available on www.semasan.com
Connecticut Antique/Rare/Special Interest Motor Vehicles: SAN-opposed legislation to increase the age requirement for vehicles eligible for registration as "antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles" was approved by the Connecticut Joint Committee on Planning and Development by a narrow 10-9 vote. Under the bill, vehicles seeking registration as antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles would be required to be at least 30 years old. Currently, vehicles 20 years old or older are eligible for this status and special license plates. For the purpose of property taxes, the bill also increases the maximum assessment of these vehicles from $500 to $2,500. The bill has been sent to the Connecticut House of Representatives for a vote by all members.
Hawaii Low-Mileage Credit: The SAN is supporting resolutions introduced in the Hawaii House of Representatives urging the City and County of Honolulu to create a 10% vehicle registration credit for residents who drive limited miles in their vehicles, like rarely used hobby cars. The resolutions were introduced to offset the burden put on certain vehicle owners by increased registration fees. Under the resolutions, the credit would extend to any resident who is registering their vehicle and can provide their two most recent safety inspections (at least 11 months apart) showing that less than 3,000 miles were driven between the two inspections.
Maryland Historic Vehicle Registration: SAN-opposed legislation that threatened to severely limit the use of "historic motor vehicles" is dead for the year. The SAN has committed itself to participate with bill sponsors in efforts to help enact an amended version of the bill next year that will allow these vehicles to continue to be eligible for the historic class upon their 20th year; not require collector insurance policies and retain the "occasional use" provision.
Michigan Ethanol: The SAN is supporting legislation requiring retail dealers that offer gasoline for sale to label those pumps dispensing ethanol-blended gasoline with a notice that indicates the grade of gasoline and the percentage of ethanol contained. Under current Michigan law, gasoline that contains 10% or less ethanol is not subject to the labeling requirement. The bill provides that a person who violates the labeling requirement is liable for a civil fine up to $1,000.00 for each day the violation continues.
Nebraska Special Interest Vehicles: SAN-supported legislation to create a registration class and special license plate for special interest motor vehicles was signed into law by Governor Dave Heineman. The new law authorizes owners of special interest motor vehicles to operate them on state roads displaying a single license plate on the rear of the vehicle. Under the new law, special interest motor vehicles are defined as those vehicles "of any age which are being collected, preserved, restored, or maintained by the owner as a leisure pursuit and not used for general transportation of persons or cargo." Under a SAN- drafted amendment, special interest motor vehicles may be driven on the public streets and roads for occasional transportation, public displays, parades, and related pleasure or hobby activities. The SAN worked with the bill sponsor and staff to delete provisions in the original bill that would have required proof of membership in a recognized car club; forced owners to account for all daily driver vehicles owned or operated by the applicant; obligated owners to a sworn affidavit that the vehicle would not be used for daily transportation; and mandated that these vehicles be essentially unaltered from the original manufacturer's specifications.
New Jersey Emissions Exemption: In 2010, SAN-supported legislation to extend the emissions inspection exemption to vehicles five model years old or newer was signed into law, subject to approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Previous law only exempted vehicles four model years old or newer. The EPA has now incorporated revisions to the State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to include the extension of the new vehicle inspection exemption from four years to five years. This action acknowledges the relatively minimal environmental impact of the vehicles targeted for this exemption and that it is senseless to test newer vehicles, the results of which demonstrate no significant air quality benefits.
Pennsylvania Year-of-Manufacture Plates: SAN-supported legislation to provide vehicle owners the option of using vintage, original model-year license plates on antique and classic vehicles was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett. Under the new law, an application fee of $75 would be charged to use year-of-manufacture plates. The law provides that vintage plates must have been issued by the state of Pennsylvania between the years 1906 and 1975, must be provided by the vehicle owner and legible from a reasonable distance. There is no obligation to pay the fee for model year license plates. Antique vehicle owners may still apply for special antique, classic or collectible plates that bear the designation 'antique vehicle.
Texas Street Rods/Custom Vehicles: The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued its policies and procedures for issuance of titles and specialty license plates to owners seeking registration as street rods or custom vehicles. The policy also provides for a basic safety equipment inspection to be performed by an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) master technician. These procedures were drafted pursuant to the 2011 enactment into law of SEMA-model legislation. Unfortunately, due to a flawed interpretation of the law by the DMV, all vehicles seeking registration as street rods and custom vehicles must carry a title with a "REPLICA" brand-even those vehicles altered from original steel bodies. SAN is currently in the process of contacting members of the Legislature to seek additional legislation to correct this flaw. In the meantime, the new polices should accommodate owners of replica street rods and custom vehicles.
Utah Vintage Travel Trailers: A SAN-supported bill to create a statutory definition of a "vintage travel trailer" and provide for a one-time $40 registration fee was signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert. Under the law, vintage travel trailers would also be eligible for a special group license plate and would be exempted from wheel cover, mudguard, flap, or splash apron requirements. Slated to go into effect on July 1, 2012, the new law defines a "vintage travel trailer" as a travel trailer, camping trailer, or fifth wheel trailer that is 30 years old or older and primarily a collector's item that is used for participation in club activities, exhibitions, tours, parades, occasional recreational or vacation use and other similar uses.
Virginia License Tax: The SAN defeated legislation that originally threatened to provide localities with the authority to raise from $100 to $500 the amount charged for an annual license tax for vehicles that do not display current license plates. A substitute bill containing SAN-drafted amendments was vetoed by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. The SAN amendments exempted from the license tax ALL vehicles and parts cars stored on private property for the purpose of restoration or repair.
West Virginia Property Tax: A bill to provide a cap on property taxes paid by owners of antique and classic motor vehicles was vetoed by Governor Early Ray Tomblin due to a technical issue. The bill had been amended and approved by the Legislature with a new $5,000 assessed value for all of these cars. Previous versions of the bill contained an assessed value provision of $1,000. Generally, the bill vetoed by the governor benefited antique and classic vehicle owners whose cars are worth more than $5,000. However, it would have penalized most antique and classic vehicle owners whose cars are worth less than $5,000.
Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Registration Rights: Legislation that originally sought to provide legal registration to hobby vehicles with a clear title, required safety equipment and in good working order was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker. Due to opposition from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the bill was amended to only affect Former Military Vehicles. Several pro-hobby provisions of the bill with application to all hobby vehicles were eliminated. While the amended bill does not solve the many problems associated with registering a hobby car in Wisconsin, it does provide incremental improvement to the rules governing Former Military Vehicles.
MAY 2012 SAN CLUB EVENTS
May 3, Anchorage
Thursday Night Cruise
Sponsor: Midnight Sun Street Rod Association
Info: info@MidnightSunSRA.org or www.midnightsunsra.org/index.html
May 4-6, Eagle River
22nd Annual Alaska Custom Car & Cycle Show
Sponsor: Performance Promotions
May 26, Anchorage
Corvette Spring Reunion Car Show
Sponsor: Anchorage Corvette Association
Info: 907-333-6993 or www.alaskacorvette.com
May 5, Tucson
50th Dragway Hot Rod Reunion
Sponsor: Tucson Timing Association
May 6, Chatsworth
30th Annual Car Show
Sponsor: Classic Chevys of SoCal
May 19, Canon City
Antique & Special Interest Car Show
Sponsor: Collector Car Council of Colorado
May 6, Bristol
43rd Annual Show and Swap Meet
Sponsor: Connecticut Street Rod Association
Info: 203-697-9113 or www.csra.com
May 12, Orange Park
Cars, Trucks, Bikes & Breakfast
Sponsor: Azalea City Cruisers
Info: 386-328-4904 or www.azaleacitycruisers.com
May 19, Moline
Quad Cities Cruiser's Cruise In
Sponsor: Quad Cities Cruisers Car Club
May 18-20, Nashville
35th Shelby Spring Fling
Sponsor: Shelby American Automobile Club
Info: 812-988-7146 or www.indianasaac.com
May 6, Greenbelt
21st Annual Capital Cadillac Car Show
Sponsor: Cadillac and LaSalle Club of Potomac Region
Info: 301-675-5438 or email@example.com
May 20, Charlton
Annual NSRA Appreciation Day & Open House
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
Info: 508-248-1555 or firstname.lastname@example.org
May 27, Attleboro
37th Annual Bristol Stomp Rod Run
Sponsor: Bristol City Street Rods
May 25-27, Springfield
Mid-America Street Rod Nationals
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
May 27, Epping
9th Annual Nostalgia Classic Drags
Sponsor: Down East Street Rods
Info: 800-322-1263 or www.newenglanddragway.com
May 5, Greece
Sponsor: Street Machines of Rochester, NY
Info: 585-303-5290 or www.streetmachinesofrochester.com
May 5, Pottstown
Nostalgia Nights Car Show
Sponsor: Pottstown Classic Car Club
May 5, Easton
Cruising at the Crossing
Sponsor: Easton Area Corvette Club
May 6, Center Valley
11th Annual Springfest Corvette Show
Sponsor: Allentown Area Corvette Club
May 19, Macungie
Sponsor: Wheels of Time SRA
May 19, Quakertown
4th Annual Show and Shine
Sponsor: Wheels of Time SRA
May 19-20, Bloomsburg
3rd Annual Ultimate Motorhead Show
Sponsor: Road Rebels Motor Club
May 28, Johnson
Annual Car Show
Sponsor: Rhode Island Street Rod Association
May 4, Knoxville
Street Rod Nationals South
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
May 18-20, Nashville
7th Annual Nationals
Sponsor: Goodguys Rod & Custom
May 27, Houston
18th Annual People's Choice Car Show
Sponsor: Texas Gulf Coast Oldsmobile Club
May 12th, Salt Lake City
4th Annual Granite District Car and Truck Show
Sponsors: Granite District Automotive Classes
Info: email@example.com or GSDcarshow@gmail.com
May 27-28, Everett
12th Annual Cruzin' to Colby
Sponsor: Seattle Rod-Tiques
Info: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.seattlerod-tiques.com/cruzin.html
May 19, Union Grove
Sponsor: Chicago Gearheads
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
Six Cylinder Glory
A Pair of Fords Steeped In Tradition
1952 Ford Customline Tudor & 1950 Ford F-1 Pickup
Owners: Ken Briers & Sally Donner, Washington, D.C.
The 1952 Customline was purchased new by my father and then passed down to me. It was his first new car and my very first car. I have the original invoice, the finance agreement and the receipts for service at 300, and 1,000 miles. I started driving the car in 1962 and the title was issued to me in 1965. I drove the Ford to high school and the decal on the windshield is my high school seal. After my brother went off to college in 1966, the car was stored for 41 years.
In 2007, it was returned to the road. Except for the repaint and some body work, it is an all-original car, down to the upholstery. It is powered by a 215 c.i., 101 hp OHV six cylinder engine with a Fordomatic two-speed transmission. This was Ford's first OHV engine and the second year for an automatic transmission.
Our 1950 F-1 truck was restored in 1995 as a tribute to the Pennsylvania Railroad utility vehicles. However, we added air conditioning and AM/FM/Satellite radio to make our long distance drives more enjoyable. The pickup has since clocked 63,000 miles and almost worn through three sets of tires. It is powered by a 226 c.i., 95 hp flathead six cylinder engine with a 3-speed floor-shift transmission. It has one wiper and one sun visor because the matching pieces were optional items. There are also no arm rests or dome light.
Have your car or truck featured in a future issue of Driving Force. Submit your high-resolution photos online at www.semasan.com
The Catawba Valley British Motor Club Rallies To Help A Family
Although many of the SAN's car clubs performed good deeds during the holiday season last year, this kind gesture could not overlooked. Each year, the Catawba Valley British Motor Club (CVBMC) donates a monetary gift to a non-profit organization that serves needy members of their community. However, this year the North Carolina group took a different approach by adopting a family rather than make a blind contribution to an organization.
One of the club's members shared a story about how Julie, one of her co-workers, had recently fallen on very hard times. Julie became a single parent and had to basically start over as a result of a long term abusive relationship with her spouse. She and her four-year-old son, Kevin, didn't even have a bed to sleep on.
Club members donated items to be auctioned or raffled off, including items like home-baked goods, hand carved statues, appliquéd sportswear, pottery, model cars, purses and even lamps. Fierce bidding during the auction and a successful raffle allowed the CVBMC to raise $642. Those funds were then matched with money from the club's bank account. A total of $1,284 was raised for Julie and Kevin, along with unsolicited donations made by several generous club members.
Tears welled up in Julie's eyes when she opened the envelope containing the check. "These people don't even know me," she exclaimed. "I just don't know what to say, except thank you so much! This is so wonderful of your club to do this."
The SAN salutes these charitable endeavors during the holidays and throughout the year.
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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.