Older Vehicles Still Under Threat From Pollution Legislation

We make no apology for returning to the subject of proposed Federal and State legislation which could affect your car, in fact the whole British sports car hobby!

Let’s just consider a few recent pointers and what they might mean to you down the road, (if you’ve anything left to drive down the road!) The latest idea from (where else?) California, would require every vehicle to display a “Smog index” along with EPA mileage figures on window stickers of both new and used cars sold in the state.

Under the proposal the smog index would be used to determine an “annual pollution offset fee” to be paid by the owner of the vehicle. The proposal presented to State Senator Robert Presley would be based on various factors, but George Kostryko of “Autoweek” magazine states that a higher pollution index vehicle such as a 1966 Cadillac with a pollution index of 12.94 would be assessed a fee of nearly S400.00 per year. Conversely the owner of a 1994 Ford Tempo, with an index of 0.87 would only be charged $26.10!

Presley is a major supporter of clean air legislation and his participation puts considerable clout behind the concept. The legislation, known as SB 1070, has already drawn support from both automakers and environmentalists. However cars prior to 1965 which arc already exempted from California’s smog check program would be relatively unaffected, but cars after 1966 would gradually be forced off the road as their owners paid higher and higher fees.

Supposedly revenue generated by the legislation would go into a fund to assist California residents with lower incomes to buy newer, less polluting cars! Election year in California would preclude any new taxes in the short term but Presley’s bill could become law sometime around 1995-1996.

And it doesn’t stop there! We recently received from Howard Wiles. President of the Red River Triumph Club down in Texas, a copy of his detailed reply to the proposed State Implementation Plan for the control of pollution in that great State. In the first instance Howard requested an extension to file his reply to the proposal, but this was denied on the grounds that “nothing should delay adoption of the plan”!

Howard then went on to state, “Our members as a general” rule do not drive their classic British sports car as their sole mode of transportation, and it is common for them to engage often in total rebuild that takes several years to complete. Anything that prevents them from this pursuit will have a devastating effect on the hobby. The number of vehicles we are discussing is very small, but the number of salvage yards that are crushing our cars is increasing at an alarming rate!

The classic cars we possess no longer have a dealer network or parent company to support the cars that were once so popular. To own one of these classic vehicles puts one in the difficult position of having few resources in repair and refurbishment. We do have at least three national parts specialists who manufacture and provide a supply of product for the older British classic car. but often parts are not available until another parts car surfaces or another source can be found. Anything that will take these cars out of circulation permanently will have a devastating effect on the hobby in general!

We are not afraid of, nor are we against the emissions standards and rests outlined, although it may not be the best use of public funds to ensure that technicians are educated on the intricacies of the SU and Stromberg constant depression, side draft carburetors that were used exclusively on these cars. Are you really going to train personnel at a referee station to be knowledgeable on SU and Strombergs?”

Get the drift.’-we thank Howard for allowing us to quote briefly, from his nine page, point-by-point reply to the 64 pages of the State Implementation Plan, for the control of vehicle air pollution!

So what can YOU do about impending legislation that could take YOUR British sports car off the road for ever? Well, we urge you, either alone or through your local club, to contact one of the associations that are fighting back. The Council of Vehicle Associations, a not-for-profit organization is devoted to protecting the interests of individuals, companies and organizations involved in the collectible vehicle industry. COVA states that we are all facing the demise of our hobby, (or in some cases livelihood) unless we can gain the ear of those who write legislation, and we will only gain the attention with a coordinated National effort supported by all those who stand to lose the use of their collectible vehicles.

COVA has issued an Automotive Hobby Survey, which all individuals, clubs and companies are asked to complete to enable them to present YOUR point of view to the bureaucrats. You can obtain a sample of the survey form by writing to COVA at 10400 Roberts Road, Palos Hills, II. 60465, or call them on (800) CARS-166 for further information.

Remember this is YOUR Triumph! YOUR MG! YOUR Austin Healey! …that we are talking about here, and

should you think this problem is exclusive to the United States we advise you that similar legislation is already being proposed in Europe. In fact the French recently announced that if you crush your older car, and then produce the crushing certificate to the authorities, you will receive a voucher worth around $700 to be applied to the purchase of a NEW vehicle! We urge you to please support the “save the old classic” movement in any way that you feel able!

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