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

Newsletter April 2000

 Table of Contents
Musings for the Millennium Bruce Stewart - SVAO
Historical and Specialty Vehicle Licensing Update Ray Spencer – SVAO
Ontario’s First Car and Its Celebration
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Musings for the Millennium

Bruce Stewart - SVAO

Thank You All

(full report in next newsletter)

The SVAO would like to personally thank the following people for taking time from their busy schedules and travelling many miles to talk to our members on April 15th. Your input is greatly appreciated. Thanks for listening to our gripes!

  • Dan Newman – Ontario Minister of the Environment
  • David Crump – Director – Drive Clean Program – Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
  • Andy Soutar – Senior Enforcement Policy Advisor – Ministry of Transportation, Ontario.
  • Harry Baergen – - Senior Enforcement Officer - Transport Canada

Harry Baergen came the furthest – from Calgary via Ottawa.

Thanks to all the members who attended!

Help Needed

A Manic GT has been purchased by a Canadian Street Rod Association member who needs information on the beast. Anything available would be greatly appreciated. The owner can be contacted through Mike Kalynko, the CSRA president at 905-571-1045 or by email at

Insurance and Licensing

Recently the Toronto Sun Driver Source ran a picture of a delectable early Mustang convertible that was described as the owner’s daily driver during the summer months. Prominent on the front of the car was an historic licence plate. This is bad guys – the province doesn’t allow you to use a car with an historic plate as a daily driver.

But what may be more serious is this: We recently heard from an individual who is insured with an "old car" policy. The company insisted on the car being historically plated as a prerequisite for the policy issuance. But what happens if the owner has an accident while using the car for something that is not allowed by the plate?

Think about it! Even better, check it out with your agent before it costs you a ton of money.


I’ve seen in the paper that the ministry is going to crack down on industrial polluters. This as Martha, also a Stewart unfortunately, would say, is a good thing. BUT, emitters like Ontario Hydro are going to be allowed to deal in the North American market for pollution credits. This may not be a good thing. The generation of these credits is one of the prime factors in the establishment of vehicle crushing programs in the US. Hydro, some time ago, instituted a pilot crushing program which SVAO fought against. We may have to get involved in this program.

How would you feel if every time you turned on a power tool do a job on your pride and joy someone in California crushed a car?

Our Impact on Ontario

As anyone who has read our newsletter knows, Paul Denter has mentioned the importance of our "hobby" to the Ontario economy based on data generated by LCOC with regard to the club’s Land Yacht Regatta and the need to quantify this impact for the entire community. I recently came across some data from a UK study of all cars older than 20 years which was used, in part, to obtain substantial governmental concessions for the hobby. These concessions include, by the way, free licenses for all vehicles over 25 years. These numbers are at least three years old but the data are still very interesting.

  • The "hobby" generates £1.6 billion annually towards Britain’s GNP.
  • "Historic" vehicles (older than 20 years) comprise less than 2% of the vehicle fleet total.
  • 64% of these are roadworthy and licensed.
  • 67% are "hobby" cars and are not used as regular transportation.
  • Average annual mileage for the above is 1224 miles vs. 10,000 miles for the average UK car.
  • And more.

The results of our little survey a few years ago appear to confirm similar usage patterns for the Ontario collector car community. On the surface it would appear that automotive hobbyists exhibit behavioral patterns that transcend national borders and even oceans.

One interesting part of this study was the emission testing of historic vehicles. One example given was a 1921 Model T:

  • CO was 1.2% vs. the EEC standard for new cars of 3.5%
  • HC was 68ppm vs. 1200 ppm limit.
  • CO2 was 3.5% vs. limit of 4.5%

Boy, has automotive science ever progressed!

We need to document the benefits to Ontario of our activities. Who’s interested in getting involved?

Good Old Canadian Apathy

See above:

  • Does anyone really care?
  • Does anyone care enough to get involved and help?

Drive Clean Is Not Going To Disappear

I have heard recently from two different clubs that their members have "been told by mechanics" that the drive Clean program is going to be discontinued. Don’t believe it people.

Cash Cows

This is an actual news story from the Sunday Mail in Australia. Maybe MOE is missing out on an idea that could produce more revenue for them and even more trouble for the citizens!

Tax Mooted for Flatulent Cows

by PETER MORLEY, Australia 27 Feb 00

So you think cattle just hang out all day grazing contentedly, getting fat, at peace with nature? Forget it! They're environmental vandals, all 26million in the national herd. The truth is that because of their complicated digestive system, cattle spend a good deal of their time belching and farting. They send so much methane into the atmosphere that they're damaging the ozone layer – the fragile mantle that protects us from being fried by the sun – and hastening global warming.

Don't panic. The Federal Government has a plan: It wants graziers to pay a gas tax. Farmers who can't teach their cattle better manners – there's a plan for that too - would have to pay the tax. The Australian Greenhouse Office reports that domestic livestock produce about 58million tonnes of greenhouse gas a year – at least two tonnes per animal. It suggests graziers pay between $10 and $30 for every tonne of gas their herds pass.

Simple maths shows this would add $20 to $60 a year to the production cost of each beast – nationally, between $560million and $1740million a year.

"What a lot of hot air," snorted State Opposition primary industries spokesman Marc Rowell. "It's madness ... a balloon full of hot Canberra air that has to be pricked before it takes off."

Under the international Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse emissions - signed but not yet ratified - Australia will be required to reduce methane and carbon dioxide gases.

The AGO says it is easy to identify landholders whose tree clearing operations contribute to greenhouse problems. But it is harder to gauge how much gas a beast produces. It says the flatulence tax should be based on saleyard movements or abattoir kills.

Scientists are working on a food additive that reduces bovine emissions. Trouble is, they need to take it every three days – a problem for vast outback properties.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics says the burp tax could also lead to an 8% reduction in the national herd by 2010. And raise the price of beef, warns Mr Rowell.

Produced by News Interactive © News Limited 2000

More MOE Stuff

The following sort of evolved due to:

  • An amicable meeting with senior MTO officials who listened to and understood our concerns regarding licensing and safety.
  • A series of phone calls and emails from a number of frustrated hobbyists.
  • An even more frustrating series of emails to and from MOE.

The original Drive Clean regulation was put together by knowledgeable people from MOE after consultation with concerned elements of Ontario’s population and with MTO to ensure that it was both legal and viable.

As we have stated before, the regulation has lost some of the original intention, not in the way it is written, but in the way it is interpreted and enforced with respect to kit and modified cars. We understand that it is again being looked at with the possible intention of exempting kit cars and changing the standards for modified vehicles that fall in the test window to be tested to the ’79 standards instead of ’80 standards.

Dan Newman, the Ontario Minister of Environment attended SVAO’s AGM on April; 15th and, both sides received much needed input regarding the concerns of each. We feel that a corner has been turned and are cautiously optimistic about the future of our hobby in Ontario. Watch the newsletter for further developments.

Even More Drive Clean

What has happened to reporting facts? Is it only a priority in big city, national papers such as the Washington Post and old time editors like Ben Bradlee?

The Wheels section of the Toronto Star, on January 15, 2000, carried a front page article by Mr. Paul Coninx documenting a test of Ontario’s Drive Clean facilities. A vehicle was tested at approximately 25 locations where it passed at some and failed at others. The discrepancies were blamed on faulty test procedures and the desire of the testers to sell service to the driver.

Mr. Coninx is, as stated in the Wheels article, "a recognized Canadian authority on automobile emission testing programs".

David Crump, the director of the Drive Clean program wrote a letter to the Star refuting the "study". This letter was published, not on the front page, but buried within. Mr. Crump states in his letter that Paul Coninx admitted to him that the car had an intermittent fault in the EGR system. This fact was conveniently omitted from the Star article.

As most of us know, intermittent faults are very difficult to diagnose and, often, are found as much by luck as investigation. I experienced an intermittent fault in the ignition system of my GM car. The dealer advised waiting until the fault was more prevalent as the diagnostic costs could be exorbitant. Fortunately, the next time the problem arose, I was visiting a friend who builds race cars. It took a race-trained mechanic (who possessed a heck of a lot more equipment than the average shop) and myself in excess of seven man-hours of labor to locate the problem. The probability of the average technician locating this kind of fault during a one hour diagnostic analysis is slim.

The publishing of this article does not do a service to the readers and, in our opinion, needs to be either proven with facts or a front page apology written to the Star’s readers. By using a car with an intermittent fault, this story has trivialized all the legitimate complaints by the driving public. Most readers still regard the Wheels section as a source of facts rather than purely as a sales vehicle. This, in our opinion, aggravates the seriousness of this matter.

While we have found legitimate faults with Drive Clean, we don’t feel the need for this confusion. If you agree with us please write or Email the Star’s editor and let him know!

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Historical and Specialty Vehicle Licensing Update

Ray Spencer – SVAO

As many of you have already found out, Full Year Validation has been implemented. This means the process that MOT provided us two years ago to change the vehicle end date on the plate portion of the ownership to reduce licence renewal costs has been eliminated. This, of course, was an interim step until we could get a Specialty fee established. In conjunction with this the MOT has informed us that our proposal for a Specialty fee has been rejected. Double whammy!!!

During our last three meetings with the MOT they have promoted their graphic plate program as a means of "advertising" the SVAO. This would be using our logo on a graphic plate. This would cost $54. Of course, we are not trying to increase our cost of licence renewal!

We have countered this with a proposal to use the graphic plate in conjunction with the Historic Sticker, at the Historic renewal price for specialty vehicles. This would be with limited mileage, etc. but no where near the limitations placed on current Historic plate ownership. They are analyzing this proposal and will have a response by September 2000.
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Ontario’s First Car and Its Celebration

Reprinted from the Continental Connoisseur of the Lincoln & Continental Owners Club

When might you think Ontario’s first car hit the streets? In 1898 or perhaps 1900? Would you be surprised to learn that it was 1893?

Yes, in 1893 Frederick Barnard Featherstonhaugh, a Toronto patent attorney, had a motor carriage built for him by Dixon’s carriage Works powered by an electric motor designed by Toronto electrician William Still. Still also designed the batteries.

It was Still’s application for a patent on these batteries that sparked (pardon the pun) Featherstonhaugh to commission the car.

Interestingly, Featherstonhaugh’s Mimico Point home, west of Toronto, was one of Canada’s first homes to get electric lights.

According to Bill Sherk, in his book The Way We Drove (Boston Mills Press 1993) the Featherstonhaugh car was quite advanced for its day. It boasted electric lights, pneumatic tyres and a folding top. Sherk further relates that Featherstonhaugh demonstrated his unique vehicle at the 1893 Toronto Industrial Exhibition (today’s Canadian national Exhibition) where he took nervous dignitaries for a ride around a circular track in front of the old grandstand.

The car further boasted a top speed of 15 miles per hour for an hour’s duration. Not bad for this seven hundred pound carriage.

To refuel, or in this case, to recharge the car Featherstonhaugh was given permission of the Toronto & York Radial Railway Company to connect onto the trolley wires running past his home at Lakeshore Boulevard and Church Street (now Royal York Road). Later he purchased his own stationary gasoline engine and generator.

Featherstonhaugh seems to have sold the car sometime after 1912. After that the car’s whereabouts have remained unknown.

As for the Dixon Carriage Works, it carried on building horse-drawn carriages surviving well into the twentieth century. In 1920 the facility became a Nash showroom. A year later the building was demolished to be replaced by the General Assurance Building which still occupies the site at 357 Bay Street.

Mr. Featherstonhaugh’s car has never been properly commemorated in Ontario. It was, to be sure, commemorated on the $100 gold coin issued in 1993. That however, was limited public exposure.

The story should not rest there. Bill Sherk did yeoman’s work in researching the Featherstonhaugh story. Recognizing the importance of this car to the history of Ontario and its capital, Sherk approached the owner of 357 Bay Street seeking permission to mount a plaque commemorating this important milestone in Canada’s automotive history. Permission was granted.

Next Sherk approached the then Toronto Historical Board for the purpose of having them add the plaque to their plaquing programme. And, indeed, the plaque was approved.

Here’s where the hitch crops up. With all the cutbacks in funding the THB’s plaquing programme wouldn’t have gotten around to creating and mounting the plaque for years. Now, with amalgamation, the THB no longer exists. A plaquing programme is still extant, however, there is so much confusion within the City’s staff the collector car community would be foolish to leave as important a project as this to whatever fate the City of Toronto might hold for it.

So, the LCOC has discussed, with others in the heritage and collector-car fields, the possibility of undertaking the project ourselves. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Here’s our proposal: To create a plaque that will commemorate, in words and illustration, the Featherstonhaugh car, F. B. Featherstonhaugh, William Still and the Dixon Carriage Works. To re-establish permission to mount the plaque on the building presently occupying 357 Bay Street, Toronto site and to hold a suitable ceremony/celebration in conjunction with the unveiling of this plaque.

To date the Lincoln & Continental owners Club has pledged $100, as have the Specialty Vehicle Association of Ontario and the Brampton Street Rods.

Further funding will be sought from other car clubs and car enthusiasts – yourself for instance – interested in commemorating our history. Estimated cost of the plaque is $2,000.

The following is an outline of the proposed celebration in conjunction with the unveiling: That a motorcade of collector cars be staged to drive from a staging point north of Toronto City Hall south on Bay Street to park along Bay Street near to 357 Bay Street for the duration of the unveiling ceremony. Thence to proceed to a point south on Bay whereby it may turn to access Yonge Street. Proceeding north on Yonge Street to Queen Street turning westbound to approach Toronto City Hall whereat the motorcade will turn into Nathan Philips Square wherein a display will be staged.

Invited to participate in this motorcade and unveiling ceremony will be: the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; the Presidents or CEO’s of Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited; General Motors of Canada; Daimler-Chrysler Canada; and the presidents or CEO’s of other motor car companies operating in Ontario. As well, the Mayors of the cities of Toronto, Oshawa and Oakville will be issued invitations as will the Premier of Ontario.

The City of Toronto will host a reception in City Hall Rotunda for the participants and guests.

Your thoughts and observations re the above is appreciated. This project is to be brought to fruition in 2001. The date is open for discussion.

We are indebted to Bill Sherk for inspiring this project. And further indebted to him for the information contained in his book; The Way We Drove, Toronto’s love affair with the automobile in stories and

photographs. And to the authors of Cars of Canada, Hugh Durnford and Glenn Baechler.

If you, or someone or organization you know, would like to make a donation to this project please make cheques payable to the Lincoln & Continental Owners Club and noted to be directed to the Featherstonhaugh Commemoration Project.
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