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

Newsletter November 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 Ray Spencer - Editor

Ray Spencer - SVAO

The AGM was fairly well represented this year by the collector car community, however there was a lack of support noticed from the street rod people.

Chris Whillans did an introduction of the SVAO executive. This was followed by a Treasurer and Membership Report by Keith Corby (for your information, as of October 2002, we have 13 businesses, 77 clubs and 49 individuals as members and the treasury is at $5,161.10). Ray Spencer discussed the newsletter and the NAAACCC AGM which he had just come from.

Our guest speaker was Peter Campbell from the MOE Drive Clean Office. Peter covered changes, results and updates to the program.

Ted Jeffery did a presentation on safety inspections. In our next issue we will provide a reprint of Al Neufeld's article "Let's Get Hooked On Safety".

Ken Kroeker did a presentation on the hobby in general and a "let's work together" approach to resolve problems within the hobby and to work towards ending the bigotry and animosity that exists in some circles.

We finished up with a discussion on licensing, specifically directed at addressing the misuse of Historic plates. Our strategy for getting a collector sticker/plate rests within our hobby to address the misuse of the historic plate. The culprits know who they are.

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

Hello to everyone as we prepare to put our pride and joys away for that long winter's sleep. As I write this note to all of you, we appear to be having a late resurgence of summer so the fall events will be all that more enjoyable. Hopefully you were able to get together with some of your fellow club members for a few last tours. That sense of friendship is an important part of our hobby and you miss out on it if you don't belong to a club. Yes I know that the cruise nights allow many to take part without a commitment but does that really help our hobby out? Who puts on the various events? Who mans the gates and works the music? If we leave it to the owners of the various commercial establishments then don't be surprised when things suddenly end if the dollars and cents don't add up. Get involved and join a club!

On the emission scene, the SVAO has been monitoring activities in the USA where some states are trying to up the level that older vehicles must meet. There always seems to be jurisdictions where misguided proposals rise up as a threat to our hobby. How we learn lessons from these areas can really be helpful should similar material appear in Ontario.

Safety concerns are being worked on by many of our member clubs as they continue to push their in-club inspections. Some of our members have made these inspections a mandatory part of their club events. How does your group stack up? Speaking of safety, I've had a number of people comment on those nutbars that go squealing away from cruises, etc. If you run an event and this takes place, please don't let these low-lifes back in. If it is a problem at an event that you like to attend, seek out the organizers and express your concerns as to what the public will perceive our hobby. Let's all become active in stopping this behaviour now.

One thing that many people don't realize is that the SVAO is still quietly working behind the scenes to try and get a specialty vehicle tag / license in our province. The idea is that it would be less restrictive than the current historical plates both in qualifying and in usage.

Imagine how we feel when certain vehicle show up at events misusing historic plates and we're trying to convince the government that another specialty plate won't show even more abuse. We have to police ourselves and that means - you have to make sure that your vehicle is properly plated - you have to educate those who misuse historic plates - you have to turn away improperly plated vehicles from your event. If we all work at it, those few who choose to tar us with their improper actions will find that it comes back to haunt them. The rest of us can get on with improving our hobby. Bring some of these ideas up for discussion during your winter meeting and see what others think on the subject. The SVAO is willing to try to provide speakers if you are looking for a discussion at your group's winter meetings.

All of this from a man who drives a bathtub Nash!

Bruce's Musings
Bruce Stewart - SVAO

This news is a bit old, mostly due to the timing of our newsletters. Paddy Traycheff has left the UAP store on Jutland Avenue and has transferred to Orillia, Ontario. If any of you people reading this are in the vicinity of Ideal Supply in Orillia, drop in and say Hi to him. If there is demand in the Orillia area Paddy can probably set up our account there also. Ask and it will probably be done.

Our account 98-7703 is still active at the store on Jutland. The real good news is that the UAP/NAPA network is in the process of implementing a new computer system called TAMS. When this is operational - estimated at 12 to 18 months in Canada and a bit later in the US - the account discounts will be valid at all UAP and NAPA outlets in both the US and Canada.

Setright Set right
I was reading an old book by L. J. K. Setright recently - If you haven't read his stuff get it from the library and enjoy some quiet humour.

Alluding to designers and the current state of the automobile he said that "All that today's motorist seems to require is currently fashionable ostentation in styling and the knowledge that his car will survive being driven at 13 mph into a block of concrete. The age of artistry in car design, like the age of chivalry, is gone.

And he wrote that in 1976 before the age of the truck!

Historic Plates
We have written in the past with regard to the unlawful misuse of historic plates. While many of the "antique guys" believe that all misuse rests with the "modified crowd", nothing could be further from the truth. There are flagrant abuses on both sides.

According to the Highway Traffic Act, "historic vehicle" means a motor vehicle that is at least 30 years old, and is substantially unchanged or unmodified from the original manufacturer's product.

Unaltered means any part that was not on the car as it left the factory or was available on a similar car ordered new from the factory can not be used. SVAO attempted to have this changed to allow upgrades for safety (hydraulic brakes etc.) or for environmental reasons (newer engine that was cleaner and more fuel-efficient) but were turned down flat. The people we met with were sympathetic but could do nothing.

The historical plated vehicle is legally able to be used for parades, club functions and to take it to a shop for work to be done. That's it - no further usage is legal. Usage other than this can result in fairly heavy fines. There are no mileage restrictions or barring from any provincial road or highway as long as the above is followed rigorously.

What most people do not realize is their potential for financial loss.

1. If the vehicle use does not conform to the Act's restrictions there is a fine if you are caught.
2. There can be and often is an additional fine for "providing false information on your license application.
3. There is a very strong probability that your insurance contract could be voided because the use of historic plates implies that the vehicle is being used in a manner consistent with the applicable laws. If the usage is illegal under the definition of historical vehicle usage, the policy, a contract, can be voided at the option of the injured party, in this case the insurance company. This is simply the common law of contracts. So now you have no insurance.

Some insurance companies will insist on historical plates for old cars whether the owner wants them or not. This is the company's covert way of limiting the vehicle's usage and its (the company's) risk under the policy. The guys misusing historic plates are playing with fire and they don't know it. And, from our experience with them, they don't want to know about it.

Some Protests Work
Enthusiasts in the UK are upset with the growing metrification of their environment. Recently, one Tony Bennett, not the singer but a member of ARM - Active Resistance to Metrification, was arrested in Kent, England and charged with criminal damage to metric road signs. The result of the case was the notification of every local authority by the DOT that "Any sign which incorporates metric distances is not a traffic sign within the meaning of section 64 of the Road Traffic Act of 1984….This includes all private roads used by the public such as car parks, stations and airports."

I love it. Maybe we can protest for a collector plate!

Let's Show a Bit of Consideration
In the August issue of Driving Force, the SEMA newsletter, the following guest editorial appeared. I think that it should be required reading for all of those who seem to forget that the great unwashed do not always hold near and dear the same values as those in our community.

What you do and what I do impacts those people in the vicinity of our acts, be they profound or otherwise. It reflects on every one of our cohorts in the collector car community and tempers the opinions of the great unwashed with regard to every one of us.

Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?
By Del Albright, Blue Ribbon Ambassador
The other night a rodder friend of mine let me know the paint was dry on his '52 by making plenty of noise as he pulled into my driveway. Rubber marks were visible the next day. Unfortunately, my neighbor was also plainly visible. Apparently, my neighbor did not appreciate hearing someone burn rubber after lights out.

I had a similar experience the last time I was out in my Jeep doing some four-wheeling. Some knuckleheads were on the same trail leaving trash and burning rubber on the surrounding rocks. Not only did this leave a bad impression of four-wheelers, but it was also illegal.

Not too long ago I was enjoying a peaceful evening in my fishing boat in a nearby lake when some yo-yos on a jet ski whipped by me at 60 mph and nearly tipped me over (causing me, by the way, to lose a nice fish). It was completely inconsiderate of them (and probably illegal, too).

Why are there knuckleheads in every sport? Why do I run into them so often?

More importantly, does my congressman know about these knuckleheads? Yes, he knows. The other day I had a chance to corner him about lift laws, access to trails and after-market vehicle equipment. He was very sympathetic and interested, but he wanted to know who was doing something about the yo-yos, goof balls and other folks who give us all a bad name. Not only do they jeopardize our sport/hobby, but also this bad image makes it nearly impossible to get very far with looser vehicle equipment laws.

Off-highway vehicles (OHV) are attacked from all sides, whether its land use, vehicle equipment or generalized social skepticism. Import enthusiasts and rodders are painted in the same negative light. There are folks out there who don't like our pursuit of happiness and it just makes it worse when our own ranks behave badly.

Hot rodders would obviously have more success with looser vehicle equipment laws if they would quit laying 50 feet of rubber across residential intersections at 3 a.m. OHV enthusiasts know the same is true for them on the trail.

I told my congressman that WE were doing something. Yes, us, the users. In this case, I told him about the four-wheelers who are policing their own trail - the famed Rubicon Trail of California. Using the Internet and e-mail, hundreds of volunteers have formed a Volunteer Trail Patrol to look for and report the idiots who ruin it for us all. We're going to document the violators and report it to law enforcement authorities. We also plan to plaster their names and photos all over the Internet.

But the real point is that enthusiasts, no matter the hobby, must police their own ranks and set the example for others to follow. We must pick up our own trash, obey the law, drive responsibly and teach our kids to live responsibly. Law enforcement is not enough to curtail the knuckleheads. We should not be our own worst enemy. We must do our part.

Del Albright is State Environmental Affairs Coordinator for the California 4 Wheel Drive Association.


We have received confirmation that our AGM will be at the Oakville Ford Headquarters once again and it has been booked for April 12, 2003. Please make your club members aware of this. Also, with this advanced notification, it would be appreciated if we were to get your input for any topics you would like covered or any guest speakers that you would suggest that we could have to address any of our issues and/or concerns.

NAAACCC August Update

John Carlson, National President

The 2002 year has been extremely positive for the NAAACCC. Collector vehicle clubs across Canada were very supportive of the Canada-wide survey concluded in May. We are still collating data and should have all of the information complied by yearend. It is apparent that collector vehicles are driven on average less than 500 miles per year. Many collector vehicles are not driven at all while others are driven only four to six times in a calendar year. The Federal Government was completely wrong when it stated that collector vehicles are driven 8000 miles per year. (It is very disconcerting to find how information can be so completely misinterpreted. This 8000 miles figure originated from the SVAO in our request for Specialty Vehicle Licensing by the MOT. The request for the licence was taken forward by the Policy Office Director, Gabriel Sekaly, to his semi-annual Canada-wide meeting of all the provincial transportation policy office directors. What we had requested was a specialty licence with a driving restriction of 5000 miles or 8000 kilometers. This information was mis-interpreted at that meeting to mean that this was the average mileage driven per year - far from the truth! - Ed-svao)

We held our AGM in Toronto on April 20, 2002. A dedicated slate of representatives from across Canada gathered to explore ways to improve our relationship with the Federal Government. Ray Spencer, representing the SVA Ontario, gave a very informative and in-depth report on their group's involvement with both the Federal and Provincial Governments. Their group hopes to put together a safety inspection program for collector vehicles. However, liability concerns must be addressed before anything can be put into action. The SVAO and the NAAACCC have formed an alliance with each other, so that they can work together to strive for fair legislation.

Bill C-32 was a major topic of discussion regarding future Canadian emission requirements. It was noted that some Provinces have already started discussions to implement proposed legislation and it was strongly suggested that every province should have NAAACCC, SVA or Collector Vehicle enthusiasts attending "Clean Air" environmental meetings. Joe MacDougall from Nova Scotia, pointed out that he had already had discussions with local politicians regarding future emission testing and was told that Bill C-32 was definitely on the horizon. A recent proposal suggested at the Lower Fraser Valley Clean Air Commission in British Columbia, was to have the Federal Government ban all pre 1985 vehicles by the year 2005. This could be done in stages by having buy-backs and using both emission and mechanical testing as leverage. There were no provisions mentioned to safe guard Collector Vehicles in this proposal!

It is strongly suggested that the collector vehicle community in every Province in Canada establish a working committee to deal with proposed emission legislation as has been done in British Columbia. The NAAACCC web site under the direction of Wilfred Moase (PEI) has been instrumental in keeping the membership updated, The site has links to Alliances and member clubs across Canada. It provides a forum for communication for interested parties and displays the reports of the past 20 months. It also provides a complete set of Judging Guidelines, as well as a set of Safety and Restoration Guidelines, among its many offerings.


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