Parts car or junk? It depends...
Parts car or junk? It depends on your perception, but either way, no one should have the right to haul it off of your property simply because they don't like it.
In all of politics, vehicle scrappage programs are perhaps the most misdirected attempts at environmental protection. Most scrappage programs allow smokestack industries to avoid reducing their own emissions by purchasing older vehicles and crushing them into blocks of scrap metal. Hot rodders and restorers alike end up suffering from the indiscriminate destruction of potential projects and parts resources. America safeguards its artistic and architectural heritage against indiscriminate destruction, and our automotive and industrial heritage deserves the same protection.
Scrappage programs focus on vehicle age rather than actual emissions produced. This is based on the erroneous assumption that old cars are "dirty" simply because they are old. The true culprits, however, are gross polluters-vehicles of any model year that are poorly maintained and driven frequently. Scrappage programs ignore better options like vehicle maintenance, repair, and upgrade programs that maximize the emissions systems of existing vehicles.
In the past year, SEMA has helped defeat scrappage initiatives in California, North Carolina, and Washington, but it was enthusiasts who played a vital role in altering the federal Cash for Clunkers program in 2009. Cash for Clunkers allowed car owners to receive a voucher to help buy a new car in exchange for scrapping a less fuel-efficient vehicle, opening the door for the destruction of classic and antique cars. SEMA and concerned hot rodders were able to introduce an amendment into the legislation to spare vehicles 25 years and older from the scrap heap. This provision helped safeguard older vehicles, which are irreplaceable to hobbyists as a source of restoration parts.
Inoperable Vehicles: Don't Get Zoned Out!
Have you ever come home to find a ticket on your project vehicle that's parked on your property? Unfortunately, we have. In some areas of the country, state and local laws-some on the books, others pending-can or will dictate where you can work to restore or modify your project vehicle. Believe it or not, that project car or truck you've stashed behind your house until the new crate engine arrives, or the cherished collectible you've hung onto since high school to pass down to your kids, could very easily be towed right out of your yard, depending on the zoning laws in your area.
Why is the long arm of the law reaching into your backyard? Some zealous government officials are waging war against what they consider "eyesores." To us, of course, these are valuable ongoing restoration projects. But to a non-enthusiast lawmaker, your diamond in the rough looks like a junker ready for the salvage yard. If you're not careful, that's exactly where it will wind up.
Hobbyists are becoming increasingly concerned about the many states and municipalities currently enforcing or attempting to legislate strict property or zoning laws that include restrictions on visibly inoperable automobile bodies and parts. Often, removal of these vehicles from private property is enforced through local nuisance laws with minimal or no notice to the owner. Jurisdictions enforce, or seek to enact, these laws for a variety of reasons, most particularly because they believe inoperative vehicles are eyesores that adversely affect property values, or inoperative vehicles pose a health risk associated with leaking fluids and chemicals. Many such laws are drafted broadly, allowing for the confiscation of vehicles being repaired or restored.
For the purposes of these laws, "inoperable vehicles" are most often defined as those on which enough parts have been removed, altered, damaged, or allowed to deteriorate so that the vehicle cannot be driven. The following are some common conditions that cause vehicles to be in violation of these laws: missing tires, vehicle on blocks, front windshield missing, no engine, steering wheel missing, license plate with expired registration date, or no license tag. Which one are you guilty of?