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

 Newsletter January 1999

 Table of Contents
SVAO Annual General Meeting
SVAO Website
Blowin' Smoke! by Chris Whillans - Chairman - SVAO
Old Cars, $Money$ and the Government by Bill Aitken - SVAO
Old Cars and Safety by Bill Aitken - SVAO
Bruce's Musings by Bruce Stewart - SVAO

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

Note: The SVAO is actively pursuing methods of having car clubs do safety checks on their vehicles and, while we have had input from some clubs on their views, we would most certainly like to hear from other clubs on their views of how such a process could work, should work, or if they feel it is not workable - what do you see as the barriers to such a program.

SVAO Annual General Meeting

Coming Saturday April 17, 1999 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm is our fourth Annual General Meeting at the Ford Motor Company of Canada headquarters building in Oakville (QEW and 403) - exit at Ford Drive. Please pass on this invitation to all your club members and any other interested parties. Be there! Bring your collector car! Support your SVAO! We're anticipating an enlightening group of speakers and urge the attendance of at least one member of each club as well as corporate and individual members.
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SVAO Website

Visit our newly created web site at the following: We can link to your club in the membership listings of the newsletter page, and we welcome all clubs to forward us their URL so that we may offer to link to them as well. Please send to Ray Spencer at table of contents

Blowin' Smoke!
Chris Whillans - Chairman - SVAO

As I sit here plunking away at this old keyboard over the festive holiday season, I find myself reflecting over the past year and various events that in one way or another tied in to the SVAO. The first thing that I would like to do is to thank each and every one of you for your continued support and to also remind you to send in your renewals for 1999. The growth in memberships in the last year has been tremendous!

One comment that I heard a number of times during the first part of 1998 was that since "we" had made our point during the emissions' battle the organization could now disband and we car nuts could go back to enjoying life and forget about governments that want to interfere in our pursuit of happiness. Lordy, lordy, if that were only true yours truly would be the first one out the door and gone. Unfortunately I don't foresee the time when there won't be a need for an overall umbrella-type group such as the SVAO to represent us in dealings with governments and other special interest groups that all have their particular pots to boil. If we don't look out for ourselves, you can bet that no one else will until it is too late to do anything. It is just too much work to get an organization like this set up and running to let it go into hibernation until another emergency comes along that has to be dealt with.

The owners of specialty vehicles need to have someone out there who will look out for their rights and be a contact for various government agencies and the programs that are being implemented or considered. Examples of such situations are the current implementation of the "
DRIVE CLEAN" emissions program as well as ongoing consultations with respect to special types of licensing and vehicle inspection programs. When you also consider that municipal bylaws as well as coroners' inquests can really have an influence on our vehicles, there just doesn't seem to be an end in sight for the SVAO.

With that in mind I would like to encourage each of our clubs to consider creating an official position within their groups for someone who would relay news to their members regarding upcoming issues that they should be aware of. In addition this person could also be the contact person who could send areas of concern to the SVAO. The more hands on board, the better the lines of communication should be. A reminder that all of the executive of the SVAO are actively involved in their own clubs and that they are going above and beyond the call of duty in their extra work here. Many of these folks have been onboard since the formation of the group a number of years ago. If you are keen to help out in any manner, please contact us!

Here's to a great 1999 to each and everyone of you. Let each of us try to put a little more back into this world than what we've taken out of it and the rest should take care of itself. All of this philosophy from a guy who drives a bathtub NASH. to table of contents

Old Cars, $Money$ and the Government
Bill Aitken - SVAO

At one of our recent SVAO meetings we were kicking around some ideas to make our hobby more recognizable by the government.

We felt that the government understands money, (taxes) and community involvement (promotion). Old cars, modified classics and antiques, through their public appeal, generate a lot of interest and as a result are contributors to the preceding.

We spend considerable money on parts, repair, restoration, travel, meals and accommodation, plus our contribution to community events and charities.

We agreed that having these financial statistics would prove beneficial for lobbying the various Ontario Government Ministries and demonstrate
that the specialty vehicle hobby is a significant
contributor to the economy and would be greatly missed if our cars were confined to museums, or even worse, sent to the crusher!

We need detailed lists of expenses incurred by members and clubs to build a summary representative of the hobby. Note dates, location, item and amount.

Last year we had a test survey - you would be surprised at the results. CANATS 1998, CSRA National get together in Sarnia, Ontario generated $4,500,000 to the City of Sarnia. The Lincoln and Continental Owners Club accumulated $500,000 expenses at their event, and the list goes on.

I belong to a 35 member club and we average $1000 per member annually, not including our contribution to charities and community donations.

Please help us to send a message to our government and submit an expense sheet to be summarized with the others (confidentiality assured). If we stay together we win - divided and unorganized we lose. Old Cars + $ = WIN!
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Old Cars and Safety
Bill Aitken - SVAO

This past summer I volunteered, along with other Street Rodders, to assist Safety Director Dave Gerard and the CSRA (Canadian Street Rodders Association) as Area Safety Rep.

The Area Safety Rep is a relatively new concept to the CSRA but it has a lot of merit. After all is said and done we all want to make sure that our specialty vehicles are mechanically safe for the road.

I attended many Cruise Nights and shows in my area and assisted with the safety lanes at CANATS in Sarnia. Two hundred fifty street rods, classics and antiques passed through these safety lanes at this event alone! We were pleasantly surprised by the high quality of construction and safety standards on the Classics.

However, we were very disappointed with the number of vehicles that did not take advantage of these safety lanes.

I asked myself, why? If you know that your car is missing one of the safety criteria for one reason or another, have it inspected for the remaining areas anyway. You may very likely find a way to correct your cars weak areas. A pair of unbiased eyes can possibly look at the problem from a different perspective or, enlighten you about a potential problem that you may have overlooked. In the end we all come out winners - safer old cars to enjoy - for us and the public.

We are not there to condemn or criticize your old car - we are there to help you make our hobby as safe as possible.

The members of the board of the SVAO have differing opinions on how safety inspections should be done and who should be doing them, but we are unanimous in our belief that safety of our vehicles is a top priority.

If you wish to have your vehicle inspected contact me at 905-840-3796 for the CSRA for modified cars. Lets be ahead of the government and do safety inspections on our own initiative. to table of contents

Bruce's Musings
Bruce Stewart - SVAO

Web Page
The SVAO has almost joined the 20th century - hopefully not to run afoul of the Y2K bug. We are now on the Web at Please check out the site.

We would like to extend the thanks from all at the SVAO to Fred Kuzyk and the Morgan Club for carrying us until we could get our act sorted out.

Ensure we have your email address so that information can be disseminated rapidly in times of need.

Methyl tertiary-butyl ether, referred to commonly as MTBE is causing quite a commotion in the US. A national panel has been formed by the EPA to study the health and environmental risks of MTBE, a toxic gasoline additive, that has been found in underground water supplies in a number of states. MTBE is used under a US federal mandate to help reduce air pollution. State environmental regulators from Maine to California are attempting to have the chemical removed from the oxygenated gasoline supplied to those states.

Does anyone know whether the Canadian oil companies are using it? Maybe our environment ministry should be concentrating on this in view of the importance of clean water to the Ontario economy and to protect the Great Lakes from pollution.

We have held discussions with MTO regarding the possible issue of a "collector" licence plate which would more closely serve the needs of the collector car community. It will be appreciated that the licensing regulations / laws in other jurisdictions may have some impact on the ministry's view of our request. Our primary contacts with provincial and state governments are through the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. While some jurisdictions have responded to our request for information, many have not and, unfortunately, much of what we think we know of other jurisdictions is based on hearsay and rumor.

Could you poll your members, friends, contacts, etc. to ascertain the actual legal details of specialty vehicle registration in other provinces, states and even countries. Of particular interest in this exercise are the following:

a) Classes of registration (historical, collector, year of manufacture plate) in all jurisdictions where the automotive hobby manifests itself.

b) Is the use of a year of manufacture plate in place of an historical/collector plate allowed?

c) Annual cost of each class, usage restrictions, safety testing requirements and emission testing requirements, if any.

d) Any other pertinent information regarding the licensing of collector vehicles, whether historical or modified.

An interesting item appeared as a result of our discussions with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators regarding licensing. When asked by that body whether there would be any changes to the province's inspection system, Ontario Ministry of Transportation replied: "Possibly we may implement a vehicle emissions program (annual or biennial). We will implement salvaged vehicle inspections in 1998 and may implement periodic safety inspections for all vehicles in 1998/99".

I keep carrying on about safety inspections at the club level and, while everyone to whom we have spoken at MTO denies any interest in periodic safety inspections, somebody at MTO gave the above answers to the folks in Arlington Va.

It takes less time for a letter to get from Whitehorse to Toronto than from Mississausage. We know it happens this way but why? The Northwest Territories has approved the use of an historical plate. The plate is actually a reproduction of the 1941 plate, the first issued by the Territories. However, nobody has, as yet,
asked for one. Collector cars are not a big thing in the great white far north.

Emission Testing
There has been a lot of misleading advertising of late regarding emissions testing. Vehicles do not have to be tested until MTO says to do so on licence renewal. Vehicles older than 19 years do not have to be tested at resale, in spite of the contrary advice which has been given to some mechanics (sorry - automotive technicians) at the courses given to potential testers.

If you come across obviously misleading advertising please contact Peter Campbell at the Ontario Ministry of Environment so that appropriate action may be taken by the government.

Telephone - 416-314-7891, Fax - 416-314-4160, or email -
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