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

 Newsletter August 1999

 Table of Contents
Who We Are.....Brampton Street Rods by Frank Malfara - SVAO
What's our Financial Contribution? by Paul Denter - SVAO
Bruce's Musings
We've Made Some Changes
by Ray Spencer - SVAO

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Following is an article on the formation of the Brampton Street Rods. As part of our mandate in, not only representing the collector car community to government, but also providing an avenue for all clubs to bring forward their ideas and ideologies regarding our hobby, we have started what we hope will be an ongoing series. We are looking for your input on the formation of and community involvement of your club…. and, photographs are welcome too! (all material will be returned as required).

Who We Are………
Brampton Street Rods
Frank Malfara - SVAO

n the latter part of 1988, Bob McKerron and Bill Aitken canvassed the City of Brampton and surrounding area to see if there was any interest in starting a rod and custom car club. The interest was so great that within the first month 40 to 50 families had put their names on the list to be contacted.

In the spring and summer of 1989 the club started in full swing with a board of directors and a basic constitution. A full blow-out Bar-B-Que was the first item on the agenda to get to know all the members. That year we cruised to every event possible and held our own cruise on Tuesday nights with the aid of the ACCCC. This event has been very successful year after year.

After growing solidly, we hosted the 1992 Canats with chairman Bill Aitken, and the 1996 Silver Anniversary Canats with co-chairmen Bill Aitken and Michael Raven. We think that both these events
helped establish CSRA's name for holding terrific events.

Many good members have come and gone and we have attained new members over the years. Twenty-nine family members now exist in the club and many of the original members (some living many miles away) are still on the roster. With seven board members directing the activities (the current President is Larry Sawchuk), the group also has a publicity person to keep the club in the news and in the eyes of the public.

Congratulations to the founding members and organizers and all the past and present members of the Brampton Street Rods. Happy Anniversary! to table of contents

What's our Financial Contribution?
Paul Denter - SVAO

Paul, in his other life, is the Administrative Manager of the Lincoln & Continental Owners Club, and has created initial research on expenses associated with our hobby. This information, as a data base created by all clubs, would prove to be extremely beneficial to our discussions and negotiations with the government. Volunteers please!

Last year the Lincoln & Continental Owners Club, (L&COC) suggested, in order to provide the SVAO with real information regarding the importance of the collector car community to Ontario, that a research project be undertaken. The suggestion received lukewarm response from other clubs so the L&COC decided to undertake the project itself. These results provide a thumbnail sketch of our importance financially and hopes are that it will inspire other clubs to undertake the project as well.

Our project does not conclude until October 31st of this year, so we have used one member's research to date as an indication of where we are going.

I have been tracking the expenses associated with my '51 Lincoln Cosmopolitan Sport Sedan and '78 Lincoln Continental Town Car since January 1st. The project entails recording the gas, oil, maintenance, repairs, admissions, meals and souvenirs having to do with the operation and enjoyment of my two cars.

Here are the results:
· Gas purchases - $248.02 (Toronto)
· Meals - $123.27 (Toronto, Mississauga, Thornhill)
· Maintenance / Repairs - $535.59 (Toronto)
· Souvenirs / Admissions - $50.00 (Whitby)
· Insurance - $240.00 (Toronto)
· Storage - $450.00 (Toronto)

Notice that I have tracked the communities in which the money has been spent as well. This will be important when the final report is compiled as we will be able to determine the communities that benefited from our cars. And, more importantly, we will be able to account for locally spent money and tourist money. Tourist money is important to communities because it is money not generated in the community - much like found money.

As of June 30th total expenditure is $1,646.88.

Here is where it gets very interesting. If we assume that each of our eighty L&COC Ontario members has spent the same amount to date the L&COC alone will have generated more than $130,000 in Ontario. Our busy season is yet to come as our members largest expense is the Land Yacht Regatta. Mrs. Denter informs me that last year our family spent in excess of $1,500 in Cobourg over the four days of the Regatta.

If the L&COC members alone generate $265,000 during the year, just imagine what the total collector car community generates! If we multiple this $265,000 by the 350 clubs in Ontario it is an astonishing $92,750,000. These numbers are what the members only would generate and does not take into account what the L&COC as a club generates.

Of course the $92 million is unsubstantiated, however it does show that car collectors do generate a sizeable bag of cash for the Ontario economy. It remains to the individual members and clubs to do the exercise.

By gathering this data, properly analyzing and reporting it we can present the provincial government with proof of our significant contribution to the province. As a result, when we approach the various ministries for support in projects to help us maintain our cars we will have their ear.

Here is what the L&COC is tracking: monies spent on gasoline, oil and general equipment; major repairs and restorations; admissions to events; meals at or in conjunction with events; souvenirs; monies donated to charities or communities; insurance; storage fees and the like. As well the Club is tracking where these monies are spent so that we can show the economic impact on communities around the province.

It is a simple task to keep a log book in your car and at the end of the season have the books tallied. This is an important project and one that needs to be taken seriously - the ball is in your court. to table of contents

Bruce's Musings

Drive Clean

Some time ago we were asked to comment on the proposed Ontario Drive Clean regulation. We did so and, while an interesting dialogue followed and we seemed to have made progress, the players in the Ministry have since changed. Unfortunately, those that remain, while apparently knowledgeable with regard to the environment, are at a total loss to understand the automobile and the impact of their interpretations of the regulation on our vehicles.

Insofar as it impacts us, the regulation has changed with respect to definitions and the "simplification of the rules to make it easier for us". Ontario Regulation 361/98 as last amended by Ontario Regulation 86/99 is the latest version. The regulation will probably evolve as problems arise and are solved by the Ministry but for now - this is it!

""Hot Rod" means a motor vehicle in which the original motor has been replaced with a motor of a type not installed by the manufacturer on that model of motor vehicle for the model year designated for the motor vehicle by the manufacturer."

We attempted to ascertain whether modification of the OEM stock engine would qualify the vehicle for "hot rod" status but have not received any satisfactory answer. The view of the Ministry seems to be that the only way that you can modify a car is to use a different block.

""Kit Car" means a motor vehicle that has been constructed using a complete body of a motor vehicle supplied without a motor, chassis or drive train"

The question marks are ours. Does the definition make sense to anyone? A Caterham Seven comes from one manufacturer in a number of boxes and is not, therefore a kit car by this definition. Can somebody tell the Caterham owners what they are driving?

These definitions, according to Environment Ministry personnel, came from the Ministry of Transportation. We have traced these definitions to the source that was reported to us and said source claims no knowledge of providing this material. We will continue to pursue and hopefully get to the bottom of these definitions.

Section 1, subsection (2) of the regulation states:

"Despite the definitions of "model year" in subsection (1), the model of a grey market vehicle, hot rod, kit car or rebuilt car shall be determined as follows:

1. Before January 1, 2001, the model year of a grey market vehicle, hot rod, kit car or rebuilt car shall be deemed to be 1980.

2. On and after January 1, 2001,

i. the model year of a grey market vehicle or hot rod shall be deemed to be:

A. the model year designated by the manufacturer for the vehicle, if the manufacturer designated the model year of the vehicle to be 2000 or a later year,

B. the calendar year in which the manufacture of the vehicle was completed, if the manufacture of the vehicle was completed in 2000 or a later year and the manufacturer did not designate a model year for the vehicle, or

C. 1980, in any other case and,

ii. the model year of a kit car or rebuilt car shall be deemed to be the model year of the motor."

On the face of it, this seems fairly straightforward. Most of our vehicles will be classified as 1980 or earlier and will be exempt from emission testing as soon as 1980 cars exit the system. However, by some stretch of logic and legalese, Ministry officials interpret the above as stating that these vehicles are to be tested to 1980 emission standards. If there is a lawyer in attendance at any reading of this could he please call me and explain how the Ministry's interpretation is possible??

The original intent of this phrase, as it was explained to us, was to recognize the reality that there are very few collector vehicles in the province, they are part of our cultural heritage, they are in far better condition and state of tune than the average vehicle and they are driven an average of only 800 miles per year. In fact, the data that we have seen from tests of our vehicles indicate hydrocarbons higher than the standard but not particularly excessive, virtually no carbon monoxide and no oxides of nitrogen.

What does it all mean? A whole bunch of cars are now worthless. Kit cars and hot rods which were legally registered last year are now (if not now, then at the end of the term covered by a conditional pass) neither driveable nor salable. Retroactive legislation such as this is frowned upon in most jurisdictions and may, in fact, be unlawful in common law. Again, resident lawyers please comment - we need your help!!

What can we do about it? The Collector Car Community was probably the greatest booster of the Drive Clean program this side of the professional environmentalists. A great number of environmentally conscious people who are in total support of the Drive Clean Program for their daily drivers are incensed. Needless to say, my phone's been ringing off the hook. Suggestions thus far have encompassed the following (and these are the relatively tame responses);

- Letters to local MPPs, the Minister of the Environment and the Premier.

- A class action suit against the Minister, the Ministry and probably half of the bureaucracy on behalf of the Collector Car Community.
- Protests at Queen's Park (not in the least viable or effective in our estimation).
- An appeal to the Human Rights Commission on behalf of the Collector Car Community as a minority group.

While a number of individuals have contacted their own MPP's and are contemplating an approach to Tony Clement, the Environment Minister, we suggest that cooler heads be allowed to prevail in the short term. Let the SVAO try over the next three months to promote rational thought at the Ministry. If we get nowhere by November, we can use the HASC Flea Market in early December to institute a campaign against the Ministry on any or all of the above fronts.

Vented Gas Caps

An interesting aside for all of you without ECMs and sealed fuel systems. The Drive Clean test administered in 1999 and 2000 requires that all hot rods and kit cars have a non vented gas cap. We are trying to get this changed so that you can drive your car to the test centre for testing. You have to admit, though, it's a novel way of reducing emissions.


The regulations allow a mechanic (only Drive Clean certified, of course) to certify in writing that no work costing less than $200 will bring the vehicle more nearly into compliance with the maximum emission standards by a significant amount. The Ministry feels that mechanics will bill you no more than one half hour for the letter.

Air Conditioning

I had to have some work done on the air conditioner last month. According to a friend in the trade, R12 (freon) is now selling for $35 an ounce in downtown Toronto and for up to $1,500 a pound in Chicago. In addition, the EPA has ascertained that the CFC problem was vastly overstated and is contemplating the removal of the ban on freon.

Apparently, you can still get freon charging of units at a reasonable cost in Mexico. At these prices, it would almost pay for the trip. - except if your air conditioner is out of freon it would be a very hot trip!


As most of you know, there have been ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Transportation with respect to the licensing of our "fleet". It was suggested by MTO that an attempt be made to standardize specialty vehicle licensing across the country and we were asked by Gabriel Sekaly, MTO's Director of Licensing and Control Branch -Operations, for a formal proposal so that it might be discussed at the next meeting of the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators. The following is a brief outline of what was requested.

Historical Plates

* The vehicle must be a minimum of twenty-five years old rather than the present thirty years. This would bring Ontario into line with other Canadian jurisdictions and the international community.
* The vehicle must be substantially unchanged or unmodified from the original manufactur-ers specifi-cations with the exception of modifi-cations made specifi-cally for safety and/or environmental improvements.
* The vehicle may be mainly used on public highways for exhibitions, tours or similar functions or-ganized by properly constituted automobile clubs and for parades.
* No renewal of license is required. The license is valid for as long as the vehicle exists and continues to be operated by the current owner as an antique motor vehicle.
* The regu-lations covering historical license plate should be strictly enforced.

"Specialty" or "Collector" Plates

The Specialty Vehicle Association of British Columbia was instrumental in the institution of a "Collector" plate in BC and over 10,000 vehicles were plated this way in 1996. We feel that the time has come for Ontario to follow this lead. We have been informed by MTO that it is impossible at this time to issue a new series of plates but possibly an arrangement could be made through the use of MTO's Graphic License Plate Program

The following regulations are suggested for collector plates.
* Annual renewal should cost no more than 10% of that of a regular plate.
* There should be no age restriction on the issuing of these plates.
* The annual mileage of specialty or collector plated vehicles should be strictly regulated.
* A collector plated vehicle plate can not be for primary transportation.
* A collector plated commercial vehicle can not carry a load for profit.

Year-of-Manufacture Plates

A number of "Old Car" owners would like to use a plate of the same year as that in which their cars were manufactured. Use of these plates is allowed in some Canadian jurisdictions and it is felt by some collectors that their use adds authenticity to restored vehicles. Agreement in principle to the use of original or restored year of manufacture plates would do much to advance the cause of this small number of collectors.

We will keep you apprised of developments on this table of contents

We've Made Some Changes
Ray Spencer - SVAO

Chris Whillans has been our dedicated Chairman since our beginning. He has provided us with a steady, clear path for the organization and development of the SVAO. Due to other commitments Chris cannot continue to devote the time and effort he has been doing and as a result has decided that it is time to step down as Chairman. He will continue to work with us actively as a Director so we will at the very least still have him sharing his views and providing his healthy, objective position on our hobby and helping to define the path we should follow to maintain our hobby in the continuing presence of threatening legislation.

Paul Whitaker has been a Director with the SVAO for the past three years and an active representative of the Ontario Handcrafted Vehicles Club as well. Unfortunately the OHVC has become defunct and Paul, having other more pressing commitments as well, has tendered his registration. Paul was very active with the SVAO attending a Coroner's Inquest and, working with Bruce Stewart, provided so much needed input to the process to prevent our car
collector hobbyists from the "broad brush approach" that can so easily be applied without representation.

Paul has been kind enough to recommend his replacement. More on this in our next newsletter.

As we are currently "Chairmanless" I have volunteered to fill the roll as Acting Chairman until we get to a position of determining who will assume the roll on a permanent basis. This should prove interesting - Chris has been attempting to get someone to take over the roll from him for the past three years!

In our next issue we will also have a report on our AGM. Due to schedules we were unable to get it documented in time for this issue ….and, you may have noticed that this issue is late too. We will try to get back on track for table of contents

 SVAO MEMBERSHIP - 1998-1999

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