It's an exciting time for the auto enthusiast, be it muscle cars, hot rods, or in our case, classic trucks. Never before has there been such vast industry to support our hobby with technologies that rival the latest to come out of Detroit, Germany, or Japan. A massive reproduction industry also exists, making it easier than ever to restore that '53 Chevy back to its original condition, complete with all the badges, trim, and options. Heck, those Advanced Designs truck cabs are even being reproduced, so to say that there's a healthy interest in the classic truck market is putting it lightly.
Unfortunately, there also exists a fairly strong resistance seeking to destroy that industry and with it our hobby as a whole: ill-advised and poorly conceived government intervention. More than ever before, decision makers in Washington are being pressured to pass restrictive legislation geared to save the planet from those horrible, gas guzzling, ozone depleting, hoopties we like to call classic trucks. Under the banner of "global warming" (or is it "climate change" now?!), it seems that more energy is being expelled to reduce one's carbon footprint than was being expelled in the first place.
It's this "sky is falling" scenario that has prompted some of the most dramatic legislation and regulation in years concerning the classic automobile hobby. The misguided Cash for Clunkers program brought the "problem" of old, pollution-riddled cars into the national spotlight, albeit for all the wrong reasons. What were painted as smog-inducing eyesores by the mainstream media in reality are the classic cars and trucks that reside in our garages, pampered to a point beyond that of our children, and driven less than a few thousand miles per year. Not exactly the gross polluters they're made out to be.
The Specialty Equipment Market Association, SEMA for short, knows this all too well and has worked for years to defend the classic car hobby as well as the industry it supports on the national, state, and local level. And while there is no doubt that our hobby is in danger of becoming embroiled in bureaucratic red tape that causes one to wonder if such a lifestyle will even be available for future generations to enjoy, SEMA has cultivated a following of a fair number of sympathetic lawmakers who have introduced positive legislation that will relax even the most pessimistic gearhead.
The future of our hobby depends on you. The ballot box is one venue for making your views known. We also urge you to work collectively with your fellow enthusiasts. How? Join the SEMA Action Network (SAN). The SAN is a partnership between enthusiasts, car clubs, and members of the specialty auto parts industry in the U.S. and Canada who have pledged to join forces in support of legislative solutions for the auto hobby. It's free to join and the SAN keeps you informed about pending legislation and regulations, both good and bad, that will impact your state or the entire country. It also provides you with action alerts, speaking points, and lawmaker contact information if you want to support or oppose a bill. Join now at www.semasan.com.
We've put together a number of topics that concern the classic truck hobby when it comes to the possible changes in laws and legislation that may have an effect on all of us. They range from the moronic to the mundane, but without the fight that SEMA and the SAN puts up for our benefit, they all have the possibility of gaining support from representatives more interested in votes than voters.
For more information and to view a complete list of state legislators who support the hobby, plus the 10 best and worst bills of the 2009-2010 legislative session, log on to www.customclassictrucks.com.