Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
SEMA Action Network Legislation Battles - Web Exclusive!
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Congressional Legislators - Quotes
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL)
"It started when I was just a child. We lived in California, and my Dad took me to races at a track in Encino. I loved it, and we had a great time together. I became involved in midget races at around the age of five. We would go to a track in Culver City and other places around Los Angeles. I started racing motorcycles at about the age of 13 or 14. By this time I knew I was a guy who really loved racing--it was in my blood. I bought my first car in 1962. It was a 1951 Ford flathead. Back then, you had to be 16 to race. I was only 15 and would sneak in and go a few laps before they stopped me. I have owned 20 or 30 race cars over the years. I'd get them, fix them up, and race them.
Sen. John Tester (D-MT)
"Whether it's fixing the clutch on my tractor or working to improve local schools or going to the Senate to help repair the energy deregulation that hurt Montana consumers, workers and businesses, I do my best work with a little grease and dirt under my fingernails."
"Car guys have every bit as much of a right to make their voices heard as the special interests and their lobbyists."
Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL)
"I have had a personal interest in sports cars, especially in my younger days. The interest in cars runs in the family. My brother is a member of the SEMA Action Network (SAN) and a street-rod enthusiast who helped secure passage of SEMA's street rod/custom vehicle legislation."
Rep. John Campbell (R-CA)
"...older cars are not transportation. They are pieces of history. We don't make historic buildings meet all current building codes. Neither should we make historic cars meet current vehicle regulations. I am in favor of further reducing smog. But the extremely small amount of additional pollution from historic cars is more than offset by the addition to our culture and history by leaving them in their original form."
"I have gasoline in my veins. My dad raised me around his cars, which included a '57 T-bird, a supercharged Corvair and a '67 Porsche 911. I have two sons aged 19 and 17 who have attended Skip Barber Racing School and love cars as much as I do. They are constantly putting aftermarket performance items on their cars and doing it themselves."
"My main driver in California is a new 2005 red Corvette convertible. I have three-piece HRE wheels on it that are plus-oned. I have a set of Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s, Brembo brakes all around (14 inches in the front) and a Corsa exhaust--all aftermarket. In Washington, I drive a new 2006 Audi A3 with TSW 18-inch wheels and PZero Nero for the snow back east. I also have a 2005 Mini Cooper S as an extra car. I am also starting the process of restoring a 1941 Chevrolet pickup, which has been in my wife's family for almost 50 years."
"My dream car is an Aston Martin DB9 Convertible. I love sports cars. And, to me, it's not a real sports car if the top doesn't go down. Aston Martins are beautiful and a great brand."
Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN)
"I call federal legislating "a full-body-contact sport." What I mean is that you must be face to face with decision makers and, to put it in SEMA terms, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." You must be active and aggressive and turn people into a resource. Everyone loves cars, so make sure the Congress knows what you stand for and what you would like to have happen. If you demonstrate that a lot of people agree with your positions, Congress will respond."
"I believe that the entire automotive industry is one of those things in our culture -- like horses and baseball -- that just fascinate people. I have always loved cars, and I've had dozens of them. When I was young, I saved enough money to go buy a Triumph TR 4-A before I even turned 16 years old. I worked on it constantly, and I put chrome wire wheels on it. And then I had an MG-BGT. Later, I had this chocolate brown 1974 GTO that would flat scream. I have always loved cars. I had a TransAm when that was the thing to do, and it was all souped up and loaded with a Hurst four-speed, and that's about as much specialty equipment as you can have on the road without getting in trouble. I've always put specialty products on automobiles as I grew up."
"Even today, I drive a Chrysler 300M. It's a four-door business car, but it's also a sport vehicle and a lot of fun to drive. I still really love cars, and I love accessories and performance products. It's a lot of fun to drive."
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)
"I grew up in a wonderful small town in Tennessee. You had to drive to get anywhere. Since we lived about an hour outside of Nashville, some of my earliest memories center around car trips into Nashville. And, our family took car vacations to 48 states. Of course, as I got older, it wasn't just the excitement of the trip I enjoyed. I discovered I loved cars."
"My favorite car was my 1963 Chevrolet Impala convertible. I learned how to drive in that car. And it took me off to college when I headed to the University of North Carolina in the 1970s. It was tobacco brown, had a huge V8 engine and more than 150,000 miles on it by the time I gave it to my younger brother. I've had some great cars since then--a Ford F-150 Lariat, a BMW, several Ford Tauruses--but never one that I enjoyed more than that Impala convertible."
"My dream car is a 1954 MG. It's a beautiful machine--and the year I was born. Of course, I couldn't afford one or to keep it up. My father had a 1958 Cadillac convertible that I wish we'd never sold, but we did. It had red leather seats."
"What a thrill to see the huge crowd and the infinite variety of customized pickups, muscle cars, midget cars, hot rods and vintage machines on the Hot Rod Power Tour. There were even motorized bar stools! The wheels, paint jobs and custom features were just the most visible add-ons. I think every significant manufacturer was represented."
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI)
"I had two jobs in the plants. My first was drilling front supports for roofs, and my second was installing front windows."
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)
"Americans see their cars as an expression of their self-image, and carmakers, aftermarket suppliers and consumers all benefit when competition is encouraged. One only needs to look at the cars built by the former Communist states in Europe and the Soviet Union to see what happens when innovation and competition are stifled."
Rep. John Duncan (R-TN)
"I've always been a big fan of cars, but recently I purchased my youngest son, Zane, a racing go-cart and have become more interested in NASCAR and other types of automobile racing. I've taken Zane racing all over east Tennessee to places like Asheway Speedway, Dumplin Valley and others. I've also taken Zane and my oldest son, John, to many NASCAR events throughout the South."
Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA)
"I currently own a 1999 Chrysler 300 and a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport. My dream car is a 1931 Packard Roadster, 100-point restoration."
Rep. Mike Burgess (R-TX)
"I've always had an affinity for automotive innovation. Growing up in what was rural North Texas in the 1960s, the roads were flat and a car was a necessity. As I grew older, the necessity of a car was overtaken by my general enthusiasm for driving great cars."
"My first car was a 1968 BMW 2002. I had it for many years until I was intrigued by the RX4 station wagon. When I entered my residency program, finances and common sense drove me to a Ford Escort."
"Later in life, I decided to purchase a car that felt as young as I did, and I bought a 1991, 35th Anniversary Thunderbird Super Coupe. She was beautiful. About nine years later, I went on to purchase an RX-7."
"With Texas Motor Speedway in my district, I'm a motorsports fan. I enjoy the fast-paced atmosphere and the true devotion of physical and mental strength the drivers must maintain. The crowds may be rambunctious, but they are loyal and knowledgeable about the sport. Truly American in scope, motorsports, be it drag racing or stock cars, are a part of our everyday culture. All it takes is driving with your family down to the local Dairy Queen with the top down on your convertible to feel you are part of an American tradition."
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)
"I wouldn't call myself the most talented at working on cars, but I enjoy a nice ride. I do drive a fully loaded Ford Expedition. I also want to tell you about my first car. My senior year of high school, a local car dealer, Wilkins Chevrolet, gave me a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle to drive as a "Safety Ambassador." This was a Chevelle SS 396 two-door, dual carburetor, 400-plus horsepower, four-speed manual transmission. It was silver with black rally stripes and a black hardtop with a cowl-induction hood. The interior had black vinyl bucket seats and console. The dealership wanted people to know that a teenager could drive a nice car and still drive safely, so Wilkins Chevrolet painted its logo, my name and my high-school's name on the car. They paid for my gas and allowed me to drive the car that year."
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
"I am a big fan of NASCAR, and I am thrilled to represent Mooresville, North Carolina, which hosts various NASCAR events. Motorsports are really a big part of American culture, and I am honored to serve so many fans in western North Carolina."
Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS)
"I'm proud my district includes the Kansas Speedway, a NASCAR track that is one of the state's top attractions. On a personal note, a love for fast cars runs in the family. My wife belongs to the Corvette Club of Kansas City. One of my sons is a SEMA member and is rebuilding the motor in his '98 Camaro. Another son drives his '95 Trans Am daily."
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
"I've always been an automobile enthusiast. I grew up at the end of the muscle car era and have been a fan of NASCAR for some time now. In the Florida legislature, I sponsored the bill that kept the autopsy photos of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. sealed from those who wanted to profit from the publishing of those private photos."
"I'm a former stock car racer. I used to race a '65 Mustang on dirt tracks when I was growing up. I currently drive a GMC extended-cab pickup. But I also own a Model A that is currently going through a complete frame-off restoration. It'll be mostly stock with a few upgrades to update its look."
"I've always liked American musclecars--1960s and '70s Mustangs, Corvettes, GTOs, Firebirds and the like. I got to ride in a bright red Olds 442 convertible last Fourth of July. I looked at those cars on Ebay for a month after that experience. I would love to have one of those in my garage."
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
"I gained an interest in classic cars and motorsports while refurbishing my vintage truck, and a good friend of mine, Jack Chisenhall of Vintage Air--who helped me install my air conditioning unit and has also done work for stars like ZZ Top--urged me to get more involved. Automobiles and the open road are a unique part of our nation's history and heritage. They remain treasured symbols of the freedoms we enjoy in America. Anything I can do to help preserve them for the future is important to me."
"I have a 1949 Chevrolet pickup truck that my grandfather gave me just before he passed away. It is my most prized possession. I spent several years restoring it, taking it completely down to the frame and rebuilding it. I tried to keep it as historically accurate as possible, but with our hot summers in Texas, air conditioning was a must! My house only has a one-car garage, so my wife's car and mine usually get the driveway. That's not to say we don't get a lot of use out if it--I think my truck has appeared in as many parades as I have."
"Automobiles and the open road are a unique part of our nation's history and heritage. They remain treasured symbols of the freedoms we enjoy in America. Anything I can do to help preserve them for the future is important to me."
Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA)
"I love cars! Being born and raised in California, I grew up around cars--how could you not? In high school, I developed an appreciation of driving down the road behind the wheel of my Chevy Nova 396. Now that was a beautiful car--a four-speed and all cherried out. That car cooked. Of course I spent all my extra money to restyle the body and would spend the weekends tooling around with the headers, mags all around and all that good stuff."
Representative Sander Levin (R-MI)
"Americans--Michiganians in particular--have a powerful affinity for automobiles. We've loved cars since the first production Model T was assembled at the Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit in 1908. Ninety years later, America's love affair with cars has not waned. The evidence is indisputable. The history of the automotive industry in Michigan profoundly influenced and defined the development of the state."
"Carl [Levin's brother, Senator Carl Levin] and I like to say we have the auto industry in our blood. As kids, we used to go to the Motor City Speedway. It was a small racetrack so we always sat close to the action. The driver that I remember best from those days is Izzy Katona. The August unveiling of the new cars also made a lasting impression on me. All of these memories as a kid intensified when I worked a summer at the Dodge Main plant."
Representative Gary Miller (R-CA)
"I enjoy motorsports and high-performance vehicles. I want to do what I can to support the growing automotive performance and motorsports industry, which has many members in my district."
Representative Joe Barton (R-TX)
"I try to get out to the races at the Motorplex at least once a year and know there is a good deal of interest in automotive and motorsport issues in my district. Like many Americans I do enjoy high-performance vehicles."
"The first car I ever bought--and the best car I ever owned--was a 1967 Mustang. It had the high-performance package with a 289 V8 engine and a double-barrel carburetor. That was a great car to drive, and I had a lot of fun with it."
"When I was growing up, I always wanted a Corvette, and I guess if I was 10 years younger than I am now, I'd want a Viper. It's a high-performance vehicle and would be great fun to drive, especially on the winding country roads near my hometown."
Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS)
"My dream car--if I had to pick just one--would be a '69 Shelby Mustang, but this comes just in front of a '67 convertible Corvette."
"I am very enthusiastic about cars. I own four, and I enjoy thinking of all the others I've owned over the years. Anyone who loves the thrill of driving or restoring automobiles understands that being in touch with others who share that passion is a must."
"I drive a supercharged Mercury Cougar most of the time, but nothing compares to my '69 Cutlass convertible. I currently do have aftermarket products on my cars, and if I had my preference, all my cars would have the aftermarket touch."
Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL)
"I recognize the importance of the automotive performance and motorsports industry to our economy and to our culture."
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
My idea of a dream ride is a nitro-burning, double-engine Harley Davidson Super Glide with twin blowers. Not a machine for extensive touring, but most other feelings would be superseded by complete exhilaration and absolute terror."
Rep. Jean Schmitt (R-OH)
"My father was Gus Hoffman, known by friends and associates as Old Timer. My dad loved racing. He loved the thrill; he loved the challenge; and he had a great competitive spirit. He founded Hoffman Auto Racing in 1929. Many drivers have come and gone from our team. Some are now famous. Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kenny Irwin, J.J. Yeley, Johnny Parsons Jr, and others have raced for Hoffman. It now competes on the USAC Sprint Car and Silver Crown Series racing circuits. Hoffman Auto Racing is currently the winningest team in USAC sprint car history. My dad raced midgets in the 1950s and began with sprint cars in the 1960s. It wasn't until the 1970s that Hoffman Auto Racing competed at Indianapolis. Their first year at Indy was in 1973. Our team is still based at our family farm in Southern Ohio, and my brothers, nephews and now their children continue to carry the tradition that my dad, Old Timer, began."
Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH)
"I'm fortunate that for my 40th birthday, my wife bought me my dream car--a 1964 Cadillac DeVille two-door convertible. Now my dream car is a new Cadillac XLR convertible. So, I guess my dream would be to have antique and new Caddy convertibles."
Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA)
"Automotive recreation has always been something I have enjoyed. Growing up in a small town near the mountains, there is always plenty of fun to be had in a truck off-road. I would love a Jeep Wrangler and the time to drive it around the ranch."
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA)
"My first car was a 1940 Ford 4-door sedan that was 14 years old at the time. I wasn't able to afford any aftermarket equipment. Next I had a 1955 Ford pickup that I owned with my dad and brother. We put some special tail lights on it, and a custom tarp on the bed."
State Legislators - Quotes
State Senator John Brueggeman (R-MT)
"I've been interested in everything mechanical since I was a kid. The things I imagined became reality with Legos and I couldn't get enough motors, gears or pneumatics. I started riding at a young age and earned a motorcycle endorsement for my driver's license by 15. I remember sitting in the coffee shop with my dad hearing stories from his biker buddies about putting blower belt assemblies on bikes before anyone had heard of an open primary drive. In college I worked for a CNC machine shop while studying engineering, which gave me a great understanding of manufacturing and boosted my CAD/CAM skills. I also took the time to get my 6G certification for TIG welding stainless tubing as 304's my metal of choice."
"There is nothing I enjoy more than going to shows and talking with the owners and builders, as they're still the embodiment of what makes America great."
"When it comes to cars, my favorites are the '65 GTO and the '65 Shelby Cobra. The lines on the '65 GTO have the same straight, square profile as the previous years, but Pontiac started using stacked headlights that year and it was a one-year car. I'm still looking for a GTO project, and a Cobra kit is probably in my future, but motorcycles command most of my attention right now."
"Threats are everywhere. I've seen bad legislation attempted every session and some of it had more traction than deserved. Any constituent can come up with an idea, no matter how off the wall, and some legislators will run with it to pacify their base. I've had folks ask me to carry mandatory mud flap legislation for every vehicle on the road because they got a rock chip in their paint or window. This person's perspective had no understanding of custom or classic cars, and though I told them no, another legislator submitted the bill and we had to fight it."
State Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R-NY)
"My love of automobiles was inherited from my father. Although he never worked on cars, especially to the extent I always have, he would always end up at the car dealership looking at the newest models and almost every year ended up with the latest model. Cars and my love of them goes way back to my early days of my pedal car. I think nearly every car enthusiast can remember that first day they were hooked."
"I can remember approaching the legal age to drive when I would spend much of my time imagining what my first car would be. That first car was actually a gift from my brother. It was a '64 Plymouth Valiant that required a great deal of work due to the rust and age of the vehicle. That car, however, inspired me and also provided me the opportunity to learn both mechanical repairs and body work. I not only worked with fiberglass as I placed a huge hood scoop on the hood, I also learned how to paint a car. I finished the Valiant using a technique popular at the time called "spider webbing" which involved layering silver over the black paint."
"I believe that car enthusiasts realize that modifying newer vehicles and restoring older ones is a hobby that can be enjoyed by both the young and the old. This not only allows us to express out personalities through our vehicles, but allows us to regain our past, just as I was able to do by obtaining a '73 Mustang Mach 1. The Mustang was a car I used to dream about while in high school, but at that time was well beyond what I could afford. Protecting the rights of hobbyists to restore or enhance their vehicles will ensure that future generations will be able to fulfill their own car dreams."
"America's love affair with the automobile started long, long ago and will continue as each young child dreams of their first car. America's appetite for obtaining a vehicle is as significant as the desire to own a home. It is a slice of the American Dream and the automobile is deeply embedded in our American culture. My advice would be for hobbyists to stay informed and engage their lawmakers on the issues that matter most to them. From state laws to city ordinances, it is important that individuals get involved so they can educate elected officials on the impact these laws may have on this great hobby of ours."
State Representative Tony Mendoza (D-CA)
"We need to work to legitimize nonprofessional racing through programs and events sponsored by auto manufacturers, by the Society of Automotive Engineers and by creating statewide racing tournaments at public race courses. SEMA's RASR program is a great example of how we can try to engage youth and channel their passion for racing to safe and legal track alternatives."