Dale Amy
October 7, 2010

In the past year, scrappage initiatives have been defeated in North Carolina and Washington. Enthusiasts played a vital role in altering federal scrappage legislation in 2009, when an amendment was worked into the "Cash for Clunkers" program to spare vehicles 25-years and older from the scrap heap and expand parts recycling opportunities. Cash for Clunkers allowed car owners to receive a voucher to help buy a new car in exchange for scrapping a less fuel-efficient vehicle. Vehicle hobbyists eased the program's effects by convincing lawmakers to include a requirement that the trade-in vehicle be a model year 1984 or newer vehicle. This provision helped safeguard older vehicles, which are irreplaceable to hobbyists as a source of restoration parts.

Inoperable Vehicles-Don't Get Zoned Out!
Believe it or not, that project car or truck you've stashed behind your house until the new crate engine arrives, or the cherished collectible you've hung onto since high school to pass down to your kids, could very easily be towed right out of your yard depending on the zoning laws in your area.

Why is the long arm of the law reaching into your backyard? In an effort to look productive, some zealous government officials are waging war against what they consider "eyesores." To us, of course, these are valuable on-going restoration projects. But to a non-enthusiast lawmaker, your diamond-in-the-rough looks like a junker ready for the salvage yard.

Hobbyists are becoming increasingly concerned about the many states and localities currently enforcing or attempting to legislate strict property or zoning laws that include restrictions on visible inoperable automobile bodies and parts. Many such laws are drafted broadly, allowing for the confiscation of vehicles being repaired or restored.

For the purposes of these laws, "inoperable vehicles" are most often defined as those in which the engine, wheels, or other parts have been removed, altered, damaged, or allowed to deteriorate so that the vehicle cannot be driven. Sometimes it comes down to whether you have a license plate with an expired registration date or no license tag at all.

In the 2009-2010 legislative session, hobbyists defeated bills in Hawaii, Kansas, Nebraska, Virginia, and West Virginia that would have established unreasonable restrictions on backyard restoration projects. The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) drafted its own inoperable vehicle bill that's fair to restorers, while still considerate of neighbors who don't want a junkyard operating next door. The SEMA model bill simply states that project vehicles and their parts must be maintained or stored outside of "ordinary public view." States can adopt this model legislation as their own; in 2005, Kentucky did just that.

CAFE And CO2 Standards
While this magazine caters to owners of classic Fords, those same owners are also highly likely to need to buy the occasional new car for everyday use, so some of the potential changes affecting new vehicles are also relevant:

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards strive to achieve reduced green-house gas emissions through a reduction in the amount of fuel new vehicles burn. Manu-facturers are given a fuel economy rating (measured in miles per gallon) that their fleets as a whole must average in a given model year.