The SVAO: Dedicated to the protection and preservation of Specialty Vehicles

Newsletter March 2003

Attention: (Car Club recipients) Please ensure that this newsletter is forwarded to your club editor for reprint in your club publication. Any and all content of our newsletter may be reproduced and we encourage you to do so. Text files are available by email in Word format. Call the hotline or email r.g.spencer@rogers.com Ray Spencer - Editor


DON’T FORGET THE AGM

We need your attendance and support. AGM is at the Ford Motor Company of Canada head office in Oakville once again, but remember the old building is no more. The AGM will be in Ford’s new headquarters building on Saturday, April 12, 2003 commencing at 1:00 PM and will run until approximately 3:00 PM. Please support the SVAO.

ALERT ALERT ALERT

Legislation Alert
Chris Whillans - svao

The following was published in Old Autos

The SVAO would like to alert all old car hobbyists to a proposed piece of Legislation introduced for first reading in the Legislature before the Christmas Recess was called.

Bill 241 was proposed as a way of dealing with street racers but could become a major problem for performance enthusiasts. A quick overview of it leads us to believe that it is poorly worded and open to gross misinterpretation by enforcement officers.

Section 172.1- would basically give a police officer the non-reviewable right to impound a vehicle or issue an immediate license suspension if the officer is satisfied that the vehicle and / or person has been involved in street racing. (An opening for abuse?)

Section 172.2- would ban from operating on public highways a motor vehicle which has a part that could be used in racing. (Do mag wheels or a spoiler constitute racing parts?)

The actual bill can be viewed at www.ontla.on.ca/documents/Bills37_Parliament/Session3/b241 or through the our website www.svao.org

Neither the Ministry of Transportation nor our elected government officials saw fit to consult with the SVAO or any other car group regarding this proposed legislation. No sane person is against getting street racers off our roads but Bill 241 is the proverbial sledgehammer chasing the fly. The rules and regulations that would spell out the details after this legislation is passed could spell the end of many businesses and parts of our hobby.

We urge all concerned clubs and individuals to contact their MPP to get this legislation quickly derailed and sent back for consultations with the appropriate groups. The Ministry of the Environment has a stakeholders advisory group that it meets with and the SVAO is a member of this body. Perhaps it is time for the Ministry of Transportation to do the same?

The SVAO is a provincially based coalition of car clubs, businesses and individuals that was organized back in 1994 to act as a representative of the specialty vehicle community in matters of provincial and municipal concerns. The executive of the SVAO is made up of volunteers from its member organizations and meets monthly throughout the year as well as publishing a quarterly newsletter.

Bruce’s Musings
Bruce Stewart - svao

Bill 241

The SVAO is concerned that the Province of Ontario will inadvertently remove a sizeable portion of our hobby. This is being accomplished through well intentioned but, for the collector car community, poorly written legislation. Bill 241, the legislation in question has passed first reading at Queen’s Park and, quite frankly, the situation worries us.

Section 22, Part X of the Highway Traffic Act is to be amended by adding the following section: “Prescribed substances, equipment for racing prohibited 172.2 (1) No person shall drive or permit to be driven on a highway a motor vehicle with a prescribed part, containing a prescribed substance or equipped with prescribed equipment in prescribed circumstances."

If this Bill passes in its current form the love and joy of the automotive hobby may end for some of us. The amendment to this section of the Highway Traffic Act is prompted by the laudable objective of eliminating street racing. However, an officer’s interpretation of the current wording could provide the ammunition to remove many of our cars from the road.

Press coverage, thus far, has centered on Nitrous Oxide injection. If Nitrous Oxide, and its related paraphernalia, is the only “prescribed” substance the Bill will have minimal impact on a minority in the Street Rod community. But, one has to bear in mind that our community embraces antique as well as modified vehicles. Historically, as one moves from the simple to the more complex “antiques”, the application of “racing potential” equipment becomes more prolific. In fact, some of the more exotic cars (including new ones being built today) would qualify as little more than street legal racing cars. In its present form, Bill 241 has the potential to outlaw many of these vehicles.

There is far too much needed and valuable content in Bill 241 for people using our highways to request the government to kill the Bill.

The Bill deals with a number of important areas with respect to commercial vehicles, protection for children and adds provisions regarding safer use of Series 400 Highways. This is needed. We, however, feel that the above mentioned section 172 provisions should be held up until further thought is given to the Bill’s wider repercussions.

We have requested a meeting with the Minister and understand that the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association and, presumably, the major automotive manufacturers will be approaching the Ministry on this issue.

A petition is being mounted online at http://www.petitiononline.com/sect1722/petition.html. While the value of online petitions is, at best, debatable, the signatures of you and your members may add to the groundswell. We therefor urge you to sign the petition and to contact your local MPP to outline our concerns.

More Bill 241 (Sort of)

The introduction of Bill 241 has highlighted an organizational shortcoming that we should have corrected months ago. From time to time, we are faced with breaking news and experience the need to relay news to members with the least possible delay. To that end, I would like to make a suggestion and a request.

First the suggestion. Most clubs and organizations have phone committees to facilitate the rapid dissemination of information. How many of you have email lists to serve the same function? It’s quick and eliminates quite a number of phone calls; those being required only for members without email facilities. If one person in your group assumed the responsibility for relaying messages; sort of a designated information driver, then any news sent to that person could be quickly relayed to the group.

Second, the request. Please make sure that SVAO has that person’s email address.

More Computer Stuff

Do you have a web site? Are you linked to ours? If not, why not? A link to our web site would ensure that any queries coming to us could reach you that much more quickly. Or even reach you at all if we have no email address. Contact the web master at www.svao.org and the links can be established.

More Newsletter (Sort of)

An abridged form of our newsletter, minus any pictures, is available on our web site very shortly after it is published. The same person designated above could access the site and forward the newsletter to the rest of the group. It’s quicker than waiting for newsletters to be published and, getting the information to more of you could result in more feedback than we have received in the past. AND – WE NEED FEEDBACK

A little tale about the car club I’m in….you might be in a car club…if you’re not, here’s why maybe you should be.

Brotherhood of the Damned
Jean-Pierre Matte

The “Brotherhood of the Damned -” What is it and what can it possibly have to do with Ontario Z-Car, or for that matter Datsuns/Nissans? Could it be some men’s only organization? No, all genders are welcome, it’s just that “Siblinghood" doesn’t sound right, and besides, it’s not even a word. Is it some kind of occult thing? Don’t think so, to the best of my knowledge, Aleister Crowley wasn’t much of a car guy, let alone owning a Z or a 510. Let me tell you a little story about the “Brotherhood of the Damned” that will help clear all this up. It may ramble a little, but I promise it will all make sense in the end. Where do I start….well, the whole “Brotherhood of the Damned” thing goes back many years, but I only became reacquainted with this interesting notion after this years Drag Event in St. Thomas.

You see, around the time of this year’s Drag Event, there was one little glitch with my Z that needed straightening out before I could possibly drive it any significant distance. Problem was, that I am a big fan of ducts and louvers, think 1969 GT 500 Shelby Mustang hood, and you’ll get the idea. Over the Winter I had Frank Villa of FS Steelkraft carve up my 240’s hood to my exact specifications. He did a great job, and after he was done… I had a hood with an intake duct, some heat extractors on the passenger side, and louvers punched over the hottest spot in the engine… just over the intake, where if you look down, you can see the exhaust headers. Everything worked as planned, except I overlooked one small detail. The vent on top of the valve cover, exited right under the hood louvers, so that not only did heat get evacuated out from under the hood…. so did that oily vapour which was originally plumbed back into the car’s intake back in the days when it was stock. I now had the distinct displeasure of breathing this stuff as the hood louvers liberated these noxious fumes, and they came in via either the cowl vents or an open window. The villainous Nazi engineers of World War II would have been proud of me. My car, had itself become a rolling gas chamber, an accidental tribute to the Third Reich. There’s no way I am driving this thing to St. Thomas. What to do? I talk to one of the clubs leading Turbo Demons, whose car wasn’t ready either, Edmarc Arendoque, and ask if Teddy, a small white dog I share a house with, and I, can ride with him in his Nissan Frontier.

Graciously Edmarc says yes, and subsequently, Teddy and I are treated to a leather upholstered, air conditioned, Pink Floyd blaring ride to St.Thomas.
From a little piece of automotive damnation comes a positive life affirming moment. Not bad!

Or how about this, during the Summer months a few years ago, my friend Nigel White, casually mentions that he might need a little help taking a Turbo motor out of a 280ZX parts car, what are friends for? Count me in! Jump forward to the month of November, to a windswept Saturday on a lakeshore up near Peterborough, next door to our esteemed Eastern VP, Bill Husar’s cottage. The work began, the wind was raging…leaves were flying, the Sun was out, but the temperature was dropping. Several hours later, Nigel (another Turbo Demon) and I, are both giddy, enveloped in a sense of true maleness, immune to the elements, or, perhaps too numb to realize how miserable we truly were feeling. It was only after we came in for a delicious supper served up by Bill’s wife Vandy, and later left the warm cottage, to go back out to finish the job in the dark, that we both realized how the cold had penetrated us down to our very bones. At this point the air is still, and we can see our breath, but we can’t feel our fingers. In a state of hypothermic agony, Bill, Nigel and I, hoisted that motor out of the car and got it in the back of Bill’s truck where our VP secured it. What Bill can do with some rope has to be seen to be believed. Those folks who are into Bondage, could stand to take a few lessons from Bill. On the way home on that crisp starlit November night… frozen muscles aching, Nigel and I basked in our automotive triumph. Upon arriving, I basked some more…in a hot shower for 20 minutes to relieve those frozen aching muscles. It hurt, being hunched over an engine for 7+ hours in the cold will do that to you, but it sure was satisfying.

Wherever this image of Hell being a hot place originated, is unknown to me, but I think popular culture owes it to itself to rethink this notion. It’s funny though, despite one’s best efforts, when you’re an automotive hobbyist you keep finding yourself caught up in some awkward and uncomfortable situation. Like in a 280 ZX carcass in Bill’s graveyard, taking out an ignition switch, on a 33 Celcius Summer day. Under normal circumstances it’s a little awkward, but when the sweat is pouring out of you as if from a faucet, making everything you touch very slippery, stinging sweat creeping into your eyes, blurring your vision… I found myself thinking, I must have had some real fun in another life… cause I am in Hell now! But you know what, you look back on it after a time, and laugh about it. We all go through these episodes, time after time, and yet oddly enough, they seem to add to the quality of our lives, and quite likely make us better people.

The pattern of automotive “Damnation” is likely becoming quite evident by now, and I’m sure you all can relate.

“ Brotherhood of the Damned”, A concept is born. In the Fall of ‘95 when George K was President, and I was VP, among other duties, I was between jobs and things
were looking rather dark, and I don’t just mean a lack of sunshine, though the Fall could use a bit more of that. George and I had talked about coming up with some ideas for T-Shirts, Club Wear and the like. I came up with the “Look Cool, Go Fast” concept that ran on the cover of the newsletter for a time, but the idea that I held dearest, never got off of the ground. I was driving over to George’s one night when it came to me. You know, one of those crisp moonlit Fall nights, when you smell the wood burning in the fireplaces, leaves are blowing across the street and tumbling in your wake as you drive by. It was then that it came to me, an idea so clear… coming forward so urgently, the Brotherhood of the Damned. Yeah that’s what we are, a Brotherhood of the Damned. Now I am not talking Brotherhood as in a guys only thing. No, we, and I mean all of us, men, women, significant others and wives or husbands of us car nuts, racers, posers, cruisers, we are all in this thing together. At any given time, one of us is going through some type of automotive hell. I mean we are asking for it, aren’t we? Dragging home some wreck of a car, with a gleam in our eye. We see a wicked car, and I know when I towed mine home, with the fenders in the trunk, what my mortified mother saw was junk. Anyway, what an idea! George hated it, “too dark”. Oh well, that was that. But years later this idea, the “Brotherhood of the Damned” concept, came rushing back to me after the Drag Event. I recalled all the Weber tuning issues George had helped me through, as well as some wiring disasters he worked on. In turn I assisted and cheered George on with some of his ugly situations, not just on his Z, but the “Taurusaurus” wagon his Topaz, and even the Pool. Nigel has helped me with a variety of issues, further sorting out more wiring problems (my car is an electrical Twilight Zone) as well as helping me reassemble the Z’s braking system. In turn, I help Nigel get his newly completed Z back to Toronto from Windsor. In a moment of despair, Bill Husar comes to the rescue with affordable car parts from his Z Graveyard and some valuable hoist time. I wish I could do more for Bill, though there is a standing offer to help him do a major garage clean up. I take Pat on noisy, non air-conditioned trips in the Z, and she buys me a racing seat for Christmas. That’s when I realized how much she really loved me. There’s the time our Z convoy, returning from an enjoyable incident free day at this year’s Z-Fest, ended up stranded under an overpass on the 401. While leading myself, Nigel White and Michael Sherwood, Edmarc’s Z decided to blow a heater core. Seconds later his interior is filled with white vapour which then poured out of his open T-Tops. Driving blind for what must have seemed like an
eternity, Edmarc quickly hauled it down from speed and onto the shoulder, followed by the rest of the convoy. We sat under a noisy overpass with cars whipping by at 120km, mere feet away, for nearly an hour waiting for a tow truck. It turned into a kind of impromptu club meeting, with elements of danger, wind and noise thrown in. Sure, we were going to get home later than planned, but the “Brotherhood” doesn’t abandon one of it’s own.

Anyway, all this came rushing back to me after the Drag Event (I am writing this months later, so more recent events have been included) this whole notion of camaraderie… friendships, adventure and memories. Ugly mechanical gremlins popping up and friends you have met through the club, offering information or assistance. Not just a car club, it is all about so much more than just the cars. It’s something worthwhile that exists outside the realm of our “normal everyday lives”. For all the bad situations, there was always a positive outcome. I know so much more than I used to, and yet I still know so very little. Fortunately, there have been wonderful, helpful people (you all know who you are), all part of this “Brotherhood”, that I have met along the way, who have become good friends and have helped me get closer to realizing my automotive dreams.

I am not done with the car just yet, as there is still quite a ways left to go. What I will need to go through to get there, is another matter. As well, I know that many of you are in the same boat as me, and that we will encounter some trying moments together, albeit in different garages and at different times. So, remember when you stand there covered in grease and filth, on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, with a car that won’t start… when you are in a fit of rage, and you are about to throw a wrench at the wall in anger and frustration… when dropping a lit match down the fuel filler neck seems like a viable option… when Yugo ownership is starting to look attractive… remember this one important thing. Man or Woman we are all part of the “Brotherhood”, and no matter how bad it might get, at least one of “us” will be there to help out when you need it most. Or, at the very least, we’ll commiserate with you as to just how bad the situation really is… and help you tow your car to the wrecker’s.

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