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Political Events and Actions Threatening the Automotive Hobby - Can They Outlaw Street Machines?

The State Of The Union

By Tori Tellem, Photography by The Car Craft Archives

Big Win: The Aftermarket Reaction
Sometimes the challenges created by legislation turn into great opportunities for the aftermarket. McDonald tells us that in 2002, SAN was able to institute an exhaust noise decibel standard under the applicable SAE test procedure in California. "There was a notion that if manufacturers could build product that would comply with the California 95-decibel standard, their product would have a greater likelihood of being accepted in any of the other 49 states," he says. "So by virtue of giving them a very objective goal to reach-'Here is the test standard; you test the product, and essentially you can market it as being compliant with the current CA statute and regulation'-it created sort of a new marketing angle with manufacturers. They were able to tell their customers and installers that this is a system that was designed and built in compliance with the California standard." Another great example is GM Performance Parts' new 400hp, E-Rod, LS3-based crate engine, which has a clean emissions system.

Big Win: Collector Car Appreciation Day
Collector Car Appreciation Day-in clinical form, Senate Resolution 513-was put on the books for July 9, 2010. SEMA, SAN, and the Automotive Restoration Market Association council hoped to raise awareness of how important car collecting and restoration is in America, and obviously lawmakers agreed with that concept-a big score for our side. SEMA is now intending to work with the Senate or House, or both, to make it an annual event. To recap: a car day!

Big Win: Nitrous and Power Boosters
Can you guess which was one of the first states to try to ban nitrous? If you said Nebraska, you're correct and probably the only person who got it right. That legislator was attempting to limit any system or equipment that increased a vehicle's power; therefore, it wasn't just about nitrous but also focused on turbochargers, superchargers, and other performance parts. While the aim was to restrict nitrous the on road, the legislation's wording would have banned nitrous altogether. The solution? A collaboration between SAN and nitrous manufacturers. Model legislation was written by SAN to allow the car to be equipped with nitrous as long as the supply tubes were disconnected, or the canisters removed, when on public roads. Nebraska bit. Since then, SAN model legislation has been enacted in Arkansas, Mississippi, Maine, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, and even the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island.

Big Win: Best Bills of the '09-'10 Legislative Session
See, it's not all crappy legislation having to be fought-there have been many bills introduced this session that should get a thumbs-up from enthusiasts. These include Idaho's HB591, which sought to exclude vehicles driven fewer than 1,000 miles per year from the state's mandatory emissions exemption program-regardless of the vehicle's age. Maryland's HB252 bill would have excluded newer vehicles from the state's mandatory emissions inspection program for the first four years after production. Washington's SB5246 and Michigan's SB590 bills used SAN model legislation to prohibit cities or towns from enforcing any restrictions that prevent automobile collectors from pursuing their hobby. In other words, inop, wrecked, or beaters, including parts cars, stored on private property would only require being out of public view. "Once we get our argument across, we find for the most part, a fairly receptive legislature," McDonald says.

In other words-enthusiasts: 1, street machines being outlawed: 0

By Tori Tellem
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