Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
October 25, 2010
Photos By: The Mustang Monthly Archives

Seeing how you're holding a copy of Mustang Monthly in your hands, chances are good that you would describe yourself as an automotive enthusiast. Chances are even better that Mustangs are your vehicle of choice, and you likely own a vintage Mustang (or three, or four) as your hobby car and drive a new Mustang GT, Shelby GT500, or other late-model Mustang as your everyday vehicle. You participate in cruises and shows, decorate your garage, and demonstrate your loyalty by wearing Mustang-related T-shirts and caps. For you, Mustangs are a lifestyle.

Unfortunately-and this may be difficult to comprehend-there are others who don't appreciate cars the way you and I do. They don't understand the thrill of Cobra Jet acceleration, or the satisfaction that comes from restoring an old Mustang or simply repairing something as simple as a leaky exhaust manifold. In fact, they don't understand why we view Mustangs as something other than transportation from point A to point B. Many of you have even been hassled for working on your Mustang in your driveway or keeping a parts car in your backyard. Ever been ticketed for a modified exhaust system? And think about the potential parts cars that have been lost to Cash for Clunker programs.

And it reaches beyond vintage Mustangs. Right now, we're enjoying 412hp '11 GTs and looking forward to the '12 Boss 302, but as the government clamps down on emissions and fuel economy standards, we could be looking at a return to four-cylinder Mustangs like we had in the 1970s.

There are some big issues facing us as car enthusiasts, most of it coming from people in our government who don't relate to our cars. Many of these issues are threatening our lifestyle and even our very existence as Mustang enthusiasts. It can, and should, make you mad enough to chew header bolts.

While we should support cleaner air, safer vehicles, and independence from foreign oil, we can't let broad-sweeping, ill-conceived strategies impact our ability to freely use and maintain our Mustangs. From emissions to auto equipment standards, the government is making decisions about our cars, so the need for enthusiasts to stay informed and become involved is greater than ever. With the 2010 elections coming up, think if it as an opportunity to consider how actions being taken by federal and state lawmakers impact you, the auto enthusiast.

So what can you do? First, register to vote (if you haven't already) and exercise your right to support pro-hobby candidates. There are actually state legislators around the country who support the motor vehicle hobby through the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus, a bi-partisan group of around 450 state lawmakers, whose common thread is their appreciation for automobiles. Working in state capitals, these legislators seek to preserve and protect the hobby by seeking the amendment of existing motor vehicle statutes and creating new programs to safeguard and expand the hobby. On the federal side, there are close to 100 members of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus. If you want to know how to vote this fall, check out our list of caucus members at www.mustangmonthly.com.

You can also join the SEMA Action Network (SAN), which has been promoting legislative solutions for the automotive hobby since 1997. SAN is a partnership between enthusiasts, clubs, and members of the specialty automotive parts industry who have joined forces to promote hobby-friendly legislation and oppose unfair laws. With nearly 40,000 members and the ability to reach 30 million enthusiasts, SAN is the premier organization defending the rights of the vehicle hobby. Free to join (at www.semasan.com) with no obligations or commitments, SAN provides tailored action alerts with bill information, speaking points, and legislator contact information.