Restoring an old house within the city limits of any sizable metropolis represents the pinnacle of hip, socially responsible decorum. Death to the suburban McMansions! It's the kind of thing that the apex specimens of humankind partake in, and ranks right up there with eating overpriced organic produce. Despite the parallelisms, however, the same doesn't apply to rehabilitating old cars. Incredibly enough, replacing old engines and drivelines with more efficient and environmentally friendly modern technology is frowned upon by well-meaning yet uneducated individuals. So what if the LS3 in that '66 Chevelle emits far fewer pollutants than the 283 it replaced, and can match a new Honda Accord V-6 in the gas mileage department? The 430hp LS3 is more often than not mistaken for the smog-producing machines of the past, and hot rod haters have no problem clinging to their blissful ignorance. As absurd as it sounds, this kind of lunacy runs rampant in the mainstream psyche. The question is: How much of it is merely an occasional annoyance, and how much of it genuinely impedes upon your ability to restore and modify your muscle car? Well, that depends on where you live.
Emissions laws vary tremendously...
Emissions laws vary tremendously by state, and counties within each state often have their own laws. For a complete breakdown of your local emissions laws, in addition to all automotive-related legislation in your state, log onto the SEMA Action Network website at www.SEMASAN.com.
Although practice often proves far different from principle, the United States of America is technically a federation. Each of the 50 states are free to function autonomously with its own set of laws within the framework of authority granted by the federal government. Consequently, laws that govern our hobby are enforced primarily on the state and local level. As such, regulations that affect hot rodding the most-such as emissions, safety inspections, registration, titling, scrappage, and storage laws-vary dramatically from state to state. Generally, heavily populated regions of the country have more stringent regulations and are naturally at a disadvantage in terms of hot rod friendliness. The higher the population of any given area, the more emissions it will produce, and the more people who go driving by your property, the more likely it is that someone will complain about the project cars parked in your backyard.
Picking the Top 5 most hot rod-friendly states based strictly on state laws would be a relatively simple task, but there are tons of other factors to consider. Who cares if it's easy to build a hot rod if there's nowhere to go hot rodding? The local hot rod culture, climate, caliber of driving roads, proximity to racetracks, and frequency of motorsport events all played a role in our determination of the most hot rod-friendly states in the country. Here's how they line up.
Casinos make Nevada a great place to party for the general public, but it's also the most hot rod-friendly state in the country as well. For the straight-line crowd, there's The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which hosts national NHRA events, PSCA races, Mopars at the Strip, and nostalgia drag events. For road race and roundy-round boys, the LVMS facility boasts a NASCAR oval and an infield road course as well. If that's not enough to relieve your road racing fix, the new 3.1-mile road course at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch should do the trick. One of Nevada's flagship motorsports events is the Silver State Classic open road race, which takes place every fall on State Highway 318. Hands down, the crown jewel of all racing in Nevada is the legendary Bonneville Speed Week and World Finals. Technically, the race takes place in Wendover, Utah, not Nevada, but the event credited as the genesis of hot rodding is only a stone's throw away from the Nevada-Utah border.