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You Can Help Pre-1981 California Cars to Become Smog-Exempt—Here’s How

Act Now! Support S.B. 1239

John Gilbert Mar 9, 2016
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Overview: Legislation (S.B. 1239) has been reintroduced in the California Senate by Senator Ted Gaines to exempt all motor vehicles prior to the 1981 model year from the emissions inspection requirement. Current law requires the lifetime testing of all 1976 and newer model-year vehicles. The bill will be considered in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.

There’s no question about it, California is where custom car culture got its earliest beginnings before the dawn of the automobile. To name just one L.A.-bred auto industry icon, GM’s famed lead stylist Harley J. Earl was born in Los Angeles November 22, 1893. Earl’s dad established Earl Carriage Works in 1889, a Los Angeles coach crafting shop that specialized in producing custom horse-drawn vehicles.

In 1908, the elder Earl renamed the shop Earl Automobile Works and produced custom one-off car bodies and cars. Around age 16, Harley Earl served as Earl Automobile Works’ stylist and color consultant where the firm constructed custom cars for Hollywood’s elite. In 1919, the elder Earl sold to television pioneer Don Lee, and Harley stayed on as chief designer. Mount Lee, Don Lee’s namesake is home to the Hollywood sign.

Harley Earl’s story is just one of many thousands of accounts that capture California’s automotive history as a major contributor creating employment for its citizens, and leading the world in automotive lifestyle and design. It’s a little known fact outside of SEMA member manufacturers that despite a mass exodus from California’s borders (that continues to this day) of industry in general, there are numerous automotive aftermarket companies that still reside in the state. Just to mention a few: Hedman Hedders, Coker Tire, Classic Performance Products, Currie Enterprises, and Edelbrock. The list extends to provision industries such as auto upholstery and paint and body shops to machine shops and many others. Increasing the pool of California’s fleet of collector vehicles eligible for a smog test exemption will ensure the future of these companies and keep its people employed.

It’s not only automotive enthusiasts that will benefit from S.B. 1239 becoming law, as Senator Robert Wieckowski, a Democrat from the 10th District known for his “Made in California Job Initiative” might explain expanding the cutoff date to include slightly newer cars means more jobs for Californians.

In 2004, California killed the 30-year rolling exemption and froze the year at 1975. We wonder if it ever occurred to the CARB and EPA powers that be a great alternative to demanding obsolete emissions devices are in place would be to test the car and see if it will pass. As most enthusiasts know, modern fuel-ignition systems and aftermarket carb replacement fuel-injection setups run cleaner.

We challenge CARB and the EPA where we’ll put up one of our modified vehicles up against a factory stock vehicle with its original, year-correct smog equipment, and would imagine our cars will produce less emissions, get better gas mileage, and blow their doors off. And now, how you can help support enacting S.B. 1239 into law.

012 Calif District Map All 2/13

Fresh from Northern California’s 1st District via Sacramento, Senator Ted Gaines’ office, S.B. 1239 is incredibly exciting news for Californians interested in pursuing the car hobby at entry level on the dollar scale. But you have to act now and request support from the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee by emailing each and every Senator on the list below and request their support. At the very least, please contact the Senator listed for your district and ask for his or her support.

You may use the following points in your email message to express your view.

* S.B. 1239 recognizes the minimal impact of 1976-1981 vehicles on emissions and air quality when used for weekend pleasure use only. It is extremely rare to find a 35- to 40-year-old vehicle used on a daily basis as a commuter car.

* S.B. 1239 acknowledges that pre-1981 vehicles constitute a minuscule portion of the overall vehicle population and are a poor source from which to look to for emissions reduction. Currently, California emissions laws mandate all 35- to 40-year-old vehicles leave their 35- to 40-year-old smog device technology in place. Relieved of this burden, California owners of up to 1976 model year vehicles typically install aftermarket upgrades that increase engine performance and at the same time reduce emissions.

* S.B. 1239 endorses the fact that pre-1981 vehicles are overwhelmingly well maintained and infrequently driven (a fraction of the miles a newer car travels each year).

* For years, legislators, regulators, and stationary source polluters have felt the heat from failed efforts to meet air quality goals and have looked to older cars as a convenient scapegoat, using false data and inflated annual mileage assumptions to further their case. S.B. 1239 helps validate the truth. The classic car hobby should not continue to carry the burden of past mistakes.

Passing Senator Ted Gaines’ S.B. 1239 into law is for Californians interested in seeing the creation of new jobs, expanding manufacturing in the state, and helping to preserve California’s contribution to automotive culture worldwide. Opening up four more model years for auto hobbyists to choose from and enjoy will have a tremendous positive effect on California’s economy. Not to mention, enacting S.B. 1239 will preserve rust-free California cars for Rustbelt and European residents to ship home and restore.

Contact lawmakers in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.

001 Beall 15 District 3/13

Senator Jim Beall (Chair) Democrat 15th District
Visit: http://sd15.senate.ca.gov/ to learn more about Senator Beall
Email: senator.beall@senate.ca.gov

002 Cannella 12 District 4/13

Senator Anthony Cannella (Vice Chair) Republican 12th District
Visit: http://district12.cssrc.us/ to learn more about Senator Cannella
Email: senator.cannella@senate.ca.gov

003 Allen 26 District 5/13

Senator Ben Allen Democrat 26th District
Visit: http://sd26.senate.ca.gov/ to learn more about Senator Allen
Email: senator.allen@senate.ca.gov

004 Bates 36 District 6/13

Senator Pat Bates Republican 36th District
Visit: http://district36.cssrc.us/ to learn more about Senator Bates
Email: senator.bates@senate.ca.gov

005 Galgiani 5 District 7/13

Senator Cathleen Galgiani Democrat 5th District
Visit: http://sd05.senate.ca.gov/
Email: senator.galgiani@senate.ca.gov
(Thank you, Senator Galgiani for authoring S.B.549)

006 Gaines 1 District 8/13

Senator Ted Gaines Republican 1st District author S.B.1239
Visit: http://gaines.cssrc.us/ to learn more about Senator Gaines
Email: senator.gaines@senate.ca.gov

007 Leyva 20 District 9/13

Senator Connie Leyva Democrat 20th District
Visit: http://sd20.senate.ca.gov/ to learn more about Senator Leyva
Email: senator.leyva@senate.ca.gov

008 McGuire 2 District 10/13

Senator Mike McGuire Democrat 2nd District
Visit: http://sd02.senate.ca.gov/ to learn more about Senator McGuire
Email: senator.mcguire@senate.ca.gov

009 Mendoza 32 District 11/13

Senator Tony Mendoza Democrat 32nd District
Visit: http://sd32.senate.ca.gov/ to learn more about Senator Mendoza
Email: senator.mendoza@senate.ca.gov

010 Roth 31 District 12/13

Senator Richard Roth Democrat 31st District
Visit: http://sd31.senate.ca.gov/ to learn more about General Roth
Email: senator.roth@senate.ca.gov

011 District 10 Wiechowski 13/13

Senator Robert Wieckowski Democrat 10th District
Visit: http://sd10.senate.ca.gov/ to learn more about Senator Wieckowski
Email: senator.wieckowski@senate.ca.gov
(Known for his Made in California Job Initiative)



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