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

 
Newsletter June 2002

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



Our Next Issue…

We will be reporting the minutes of our AGM plus an overview from the NAAACCC AGM.

Words from the Man from Nash
Chris Whilans - Chairman, SVAO

Hello to all of the rest of you car nuts out there. As I plunk away at this with my best two-fingered method, I am telling the rain Gods that I've had enough and would like a break so the dirt roads can dry up and the Nashes can roll down the highways and byways. I like living "out in the boonies" but mud roads are a drawback.

Just a couple of things to jog your memory on over the coming months.

One is to get all of us to properly license our vehicles so that the SVAO can continue to try to get a "specialty" tag or plate that will recognize all that our vehicles contribute to the living history of our country. Those few dimwits who misuse the historic plates don't help us at the negotiations table in our attempts to make life better for everyone. While the SVAO does not wish to become involved in the policing of these few lame brains I would personally encourage you to report these infractions to your local police or to me personally if you feel uncomfortable with the first suggestion.

Secondly, I had a few worried telephone calls on federal bill C-32 that our good friends in the NAAACCC have been keeping an eye on. Please see the following from one of their reports. Let's all help them in their work on this bill and its regulations.

NAAACCC Report - April 2002

On March 30th Environment Canada published the New On-Road Vehicle Emission Standards in the Canada Gazette. This document can be viewed on the Canada Environmental Web Site http://www.ec.gc.ca/CEPARegistry/the_act/ under the
title Participation. The new regulations provide information on why the government is planning to reduce emissions. The section on harmonization explains why Canada must align its emission standards with the United States.

The new proposed On-Road Engine Emission standards call for cleaner vehicles to be available in Canada starting September 1, 2003. The measures would result in progressively greater annual emission reductions of pollutants that form smog.

It is estimated that in 2020, the proposed regulations will contribute to the following emission reductions from new on-road vehicles in Canada: nitrogen oxides (-74%), particulate matter (-64%), carbon monoxide (-23%) and volatile compounds (-14%).

These new regulations will complement previously announced cleaner fuels initiatives including the proposed low sulphur diesel regulations and the existing low sulphur gasoline regulations, as well as the Benzene in Gasoline Regulations which are also part of the governments clean air agenda.

These new emission standards do not apply to existing or vintage vehicles, but we can expect the government to take some action on older vehicles as they work their way down on their priority list. The NAAACCC is prepared to work with the government, on any proposed regulations that would impact our hobby, before the proposed regulations appear in the Canada Gazette. The NAAACCC has already initiated contact with Representatives in Environment Canada to participate under the Public Participation Program.

Please pay close attention to the beginning of the first sentence in the last paragraph. Enjoy the summer but please check that your club has sent in the renewal for this year's membership. Numbers talk when dealing with governments - Chris Whilans.

Bruce's Musings
Bruce Stewart - SVAO

Web sites
For those of you who, like me, are afflicted with the British Car Sickness, the following is an interesting site. It has links to everything from parts to cars to clubs. www.britishcarlinks.com

Mike Eddenden, the Lotus Club newsletter editor sent me this. Turn your sound up and remember, it's an insanity test - you're not supposed to laugh.
http://iqx.ionichost.com/other/instest.html

Environmental Happenings
Pay attention children, your future driving may be affected.

Many years ago when the earth was young, Shelby Mustangs roamed the earth and the muser was in graduate school, a conference was held in Toronto by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I was ecstatic because I had the opportunity to drink beer with Ken Arrow, Paul Samuelson and other of my heroes at the time. Economic theory ruled the world and Vietnam was forgotten.

But on the "pure" scientific side, much was made of a relatively new concept - the greenhouse effect and global warming. It was a complete bust as far as the press and the great unwashed were concerned. Just not sexy enough. The skin-out biologists were shattered because not one person was interested in their postulations. You have to remember that a lot of really big things were happening including Watson, Crick, Vietnam and DNA. Global warming was so far in the back seat it was behind the rear licence plate on the trailer.

Fast forward a few years and all of a sudden global warming, emissions and the Kyoto Accord are the flavours of the month. Rain forests have been decimated to provide the paper for the environmentalists who inform us all that we are destroying the environment. Experts claim that mankind is destroying the earth. Other experts, eminently qualified, are of the opinion that the changes do not signify destruction but normal cyclical patterns.

Who is right? Are we getting a true perspective on the issue or have the radical tree huggers usurped the media for their own propaganda at the expense of truth? You sure don't see much in the popular press refuting Kyoto. The scientific press is a different matter. But who, other than scientists and students, read the scientific press? Newspapers have to sell to in order to produce advertising revenue. Doom and gloom sells more papers than rational thought.

Lorne Gunter, a columnist for The Edmonton Journal and a member of the Editorial Board of The National Post wrote this article for the March 3rd issue.

Little evidence to back Kyoto: Even if computer predictions are accurate, changes may be natural

There is a supreme irony in the rush to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to avert catastrophic global climate change: The same supercomputer climate models that are our principal source of "evidence" of manmade global warming show little if any impact on that warming from Kyoto.

Even if adherence to Kyoto were airtight, the Earth would be spared less than one-tenth of one Celsius degree of warming over the coming century. If every developed nation followed Kyoto's rules to the letter, and no factory moved from an industrial nation to a developing one to escape Kyoto's regulations, we would save 0.1 C by 2100.

It's hard to imagine if Earth is going to be devastated - floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires and spread of tropical fevers -- by the predicted rise of between 2.5 C and 4 C, that it wouldn't be just as devastated by a rise of 2.4 to 3.9 C.

But that is all the supercomputer climate models predict from Kyoto -- less than one-tenth of a degree reduction in warming.

First of all, I'm not worried about the predicted warming because the computer models have yet to prove themselves very reliable predictors of anything. Several of them were recently given the task of recreating the 20th century's climate record. They couldn't do it.

Climate is a very sophisticated process made up of thousands of inputs. Scientific understanding of even the major ones, such as sunshine, ocean currents, air pressure, evaporation, precipitation and so on isn't all that complete. For instance, water vapour in the air absorbs solar radiation as fast as carbon dioxide, perhaps faster. Yet we have very little understanding of water vapour's role in climate change. And if the major inputs still elude us, the minor inputs confound us entirely.

So when the scientists who operate the major global warming computers attempted to program their models to reproduce last century's climate, they couldn't do it. They don't understand all the inputs well enough to program their models to replicate the 20th century's weather record. If they don't know enough to "predict" weather that has already occurred, how can their computer models be relied upon to predict climate change that hasn't happened yet?

Second, even if the computers are right, and significant change is coming soon (or has already begun), it may be entirely natural. At the turn of the last millennium, 1,000 years ago, it was 2.5 to 4.0 C warmer than it is now (and there were no SUVs to blame). There were vineyards in southern England. The southern coasts of Greenland were inhabitable. While perhaps not green (that may have been some Viking real estate developer's overstatement, like "just 15 minutes from downtown"), Greenland did support prosperous communities for about three centuries during what climatologists used to call the Medieval Optimal, before describing global warming as "optimal" became politically incorrect.

The great calamities, such as the Black Plague, the wars of the Middle Ages and the disappearance of the Mayan, Aztec and Inca civilizations, did not occur until after the planet began to cool, when resources, crops and arable land became scarcer.

So it's entirely possible the warming, if it is occurring, could be both natural and beneficial.

But let's pretend for a minute the computer models are correct. The warming is on its way. It will bring hardship or even disaster. And we caused it with our industrialization. Therefore, we can stop it by changing our ways. Kyoto doesn't produce that stop. Even if we devastate our economies to adhere to the Kyoto Protocols, even if we all accept a reduction in our standard of living and tens of thousands of us are permanently thrown out of work, our climate still turns on us, according to the supercomputer models.

Now here's the supreme irony: When the supercomputer models predict climate catastrophes from industrial activity, the United Nations, Environment Canada and all the NGOs and other assorted friends of big government (and foes of capitalism) rush about warning us that we must listen, or perish. But when those same supercomputer models demonstrate that the government interventions in Kyoto will have no impact, we hear not a word.

If, in the first instance, our reaction is supposed to be "My God, the climate will change; we must do something," shouldn't our reaction upon learning the latter be "My God, Kyoto will do nothing to stop climate change; we must do something else"?

The only reason I can think of that the same people who are alarmed by the first are not equally alarmed by the second is that between one and two, government stepped in to "save" us.

Most global warmers have supreme confidence in government and profound skepticism of markets and the rationality of individuals. So long as governments and the UN are involved everything will turn out all right, even if their own "evidence" predicts otherwise.

Hi, it's me again. I'm all for a clean environment. I hate zebra mussels and the folks who pollute the lakes. I believe in all emission controls, even automotive ones, although I'm not sure if I'm in favour of the added cost on both the acquisition and maintenance sides. I do not, however, believe that our vehicles, with their limited use, should be classified as gross polluters, blamed for greenhouse gasses and banned from the highways.

There is great concern in some quarters (especially British Columbia) that Bill C32 and the Kyoto Accord ratification will mark the end of our community as we know it.

People, we cannot allow our favorite pastimes to be destroyed by the media seeking profits and politicians seeking votes and publicity. If push comes to shove, and it might (only might at this stage - the sky is not falling yet) SVAO will fight. But we need the backing of the entire hobby. If you know of any clubs that are not yet members, get them aboard. If things go the way the doomsayers predict, we will need every ally and asset that we can muster.

We need recognition!
We recently sent the following to Sheila Copps, Canada's Heritage Minister. We feel that her past experience with environmental issues and her present position as the guardian of Canada's heritage could, if she and her ministry are interested, make her a powerful asset in our quest for just and equitable treatment.

1 March, 2002

Hon. Sheila Copps
Heritage Minister
Ottawa

Madame Minister,

I am a director of the Specialty Vehicle Association of Ontario, an umbrella group that has, for a number of years, represented the province's collector car community in dealings with Transport Canada and the Ontario ministries of transportation and the environment. Rather than bore you here with a long litany of our activities, I would like to draw your attention to our web site at www.svao.org for more detail on who we are and what we have been and are doing.

Your ministerial mandate, as I understand it, is to protect, nourish, draw attention to and educate the masses with regard to our Canadian heritage. The vehicles restored, cherished and exercised by our community's members are an important element of

this heritage. The "hobby" is vibrant in all parts of the country, effectively bridging gaps and disparities, whether regional, ethnic or political. An example of this is the fact that the SVAO, an Ontario organization, has had members from Quebec and is regularly in contact with other groups and individuals across Canada and even in the US and Europe.

The recent perceived emphasis on Bill C-32 has caused quite a lot of concern within our community. People are worried that their vehicles will be removed and that sources for parts will disappear. While the SVAO has been assured by the Ontario government (environment and transportation) and by Transport Canada that our cars are not under siege, there has been no "official" word to this effect. Our vehicles are Canadian cultural assets and federal government recognition of this fact could do much to alleviate our present fears. Collectors, particularly in British Columbia, are very concerned that the provinces will mandate their vehicles off the road. A statement of interest in our vehicles and what they represent to Canada by your ministry would make it a lot more difficult for the provinces to remove them.

Much has been made in the press about the fact that our cars are "gross polluters" and that they should therefore, be removed from the nation's highways. In fact, this is far from the truth. Data gathered on gross polluters was obtained from vehicles in the last stages of their useful life immediately prior to scrapping. We believe, in fact, that the majority of the worst emission test results were obtained from vehicles turned in to the scrapping programs in the US. These vehicles were scrapped so that major corporations, notably ARCO and Mobil Oil, could apply the pollution credits gained through scrapping to offset their own requirements for emission reduction as mandated by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

We know that you are well versed and experienced in environmental issues and would like to emphasise that:
1. Our vehicles do not fall into the category of potential scrap. They are better tuned and in much better condition than when they were in daily use. In fact, most are in superior condition to that in which they left the factories in which they were built.

2. We have tested quite a number of them and have surprised the Ontario Drive Clean testers with their low levels of harmful emissions.
3. These vehicles are not in daily use and are not used as primary means of transportation. A study done by the SVAO, completed in 1997, indicated that the vehicles in question travelled an average of only 705 miles per year. Even if the emissions were much greater than they, in fact, are the total amount of pollutants released would be minimal. Ontario's usage patterns for "toy cars" is surprisingly consistent with that of collectors in other countries. Studies conducted in the UK, the US and Europe attest to this fact.

We are dealing here with responsible mature citizens. As consumers we are unanimous in our concern for environmental issues but believe that our "toys" are being unfairly portrayed by both environmental activists and the media. We also feel that, in practicality, the provincial and federal governments cannot allow lower income citizens to be taken out of their lower cost transportation. Too many people, especially in Northern Ontario, Quebec and the BC interior need transport and, short of the institution of a functioning national passenger railway system, these folks have no transportation other than older vehicles. These older, daily drivers will succumb to the dreaded tin worm sooner rather than later and will be removed by attrition.

The greatest problem facing our community will, no doubt, be parts availability. As in the past, however, we have to assume that parts will be available stateside or from Europe with profits from the relevant transactions following the loonies in those directions.

The benefits of our community to Canada are manifold.

a. Historical and Cultural
Motor vehicles have played a significant role in Canada's economic and cultural development. While Ontario and, to a lesser extent, Quebec have enjoyed the major economic benefits, there is no region, with maybe the possible exception of the high arctic, where motor vehicles have not participated in and/or precipitated significant events and changes.

b. Tourism
i. The money our people spend.
While members of the collector car community participate in overnight trips, most activities are limited to an afternoon or evening cruise or show. No attempt has been made to quantify the funds spent on cruise nights. Most of this would be for snacks and automotive consumables. The average amount spent on overnight trips per year was said to be $350 per person.
ii. The money people spend to come and see the cars.
We have no estimate for this but anyone familiar with the levels of attendance at auto shows, automobile races and other events of the type knows that it has to be significant. At the Toronto International Auto Show, from time to time, a gallery of older cars has been presented and it has drawn very large crowds. Vintage racing draws large crowds in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.
iii. The impact of historical and special interest vehicles as a draw to tourists and in parades etc.

c. Economic
Our community supports the trades involved in restoration and maintenance as well as providing a drawing card for travel and tourism. This is of particular importance in view of the current soft economy and recent corporate economic problems such as Nortel.

In a survey conducted by the SVAO the average cost of a restoration was reported as $8,700. This is understated as a sizeable number left blanks where specific financial information was sought. Allowance must be made in any financial data for this phenomenon. In most cases, the respondent did not want to know himself the total cost of the restoration and definitely did not want his wife to know. The average amount spent annually per vehicle on maintenance, storage and insurance was reported as $2,270.

d. Educational
The questions from the general public at car shows and cruises indicate a fascination with "old cars" and a lively interest in our mechanical past.

e. Political
Our community and our vehicles are a powerful force for national unity within at least that part of the population that our "hobby" touches:
i. The owners of the vehicles.
ii. People who get enjoyment at parades etc.
iii. People who love history and historical artifacts.
iv. The "hobby" is particularly vibrant in the province of Quebec and our vehicles are a common bond, thus promoting national unity.

Can we meet with you? We would welcome the opportunity of meeting with you, preferably in Hamilton rather than Ottawa, to discuss the challenges currently facing our community.

Can you talk to our people? The Specialty Vehicle Association of Ontario is holding its Annual General Meeting on Saturday, April 20th, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at the Ford Motor Company of Canada's head office in Oakville. Would it be possible for you to attend this meeting and briefly present the Heritage Ministry's and federal government's view (if any) of our community and our vehicles? Weather permitting, we usually have some interesting vehicles turn out and I am sure that you would find the people and vehicles of interest.

Yours truly

We received a letter from Ottawa stating, as expected, that the environment minister would not be able to attend our AGM. The object of the exercise, however, is a meeting with the folks who can provide some recognition. To this end, we sent the following e-mail back to Ottawa.

Ref: Specialty Vehicle Association of Ontario
Attn: Frances Frost Marquis - Scheduling Assistant

With reference to your letter of April 3, 2002, we are disappointed but not surprised that the minister is unable to attend our annual general meeting in Oakville. The invitation was a long shot and we realize that federal ministers have much higher priorities than a small group such as ours.

More important than our AGM, however, was our request for a meeting with Ms. Copps. Would it be possible to schedule an informal meeting at her Hamilton constituency office when she is next in the area? The SVAO's miniscule budget does not allow us the luxury of trips to Ottawa but a drive to Hamilton, while sometimes frightening traffic-wise, is affordable.

We wish to discuss the challenges facing our community and the possibility of ministry recognition of our efforts in preserving a part of Canada's past and in effectively bridging regional, ethnic and political gaps and disparities.

The heritage benefits to the Canadian community more than offset the small amount of pollution caused by our limited use vehicles. These benefits include:
- Historical and Cultural
- Tourism.
- Economic.
- Educational.
- Political.

We are providing links to the past at our own expense and enjoying ourselves in the process. Our vehicles are Canadian cultural assets and Federal Government recognition of this fact could do much to alleviate the fears created by the recent perceived emphasis on Bill C-32. We feel that Ms. Copps position as Heritage minister, combined with her experience relative to the Kyoto Accord, uniquely qualifies her as an expert in the area of our concerns.

At the time of writing, April 24th, we are awaiting a response from the ministry. I propose that we do the following:
1. We will put the original letter up on our web site.
2. We encourage, in fact urge, each of you to print off a copy and forward it with a cover letter to your federal MP asking for his/her assistance in getting some recognition from the Heritage Ministry.
If any of your friends or acquaintances have access to a federal Member of Parliament please urge them to bring this matter to the attention of their MP and have them ask Ms. Copps for action.

Email ? - send to r.g.spencer@rogers.com

Mail ? - SVAO, 3007 Kingston Road, PO Box 142, Scarborough ON M1M 1P1

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