Car hobbyists and related businesses scored a major victory when California Governor Pete Wilson signed SEMA-supported legislation into law last week. The new law (S.B. 42) will exempt older vehicles, including most "muscle cars," from the state's mandatory emission inspection program, moving the current 1965 exemption cutoff forward to include all pre-1974 vehicles.
Sponsored by Senator Quentin Kopp, the bill exempts all pre-1974 vehicles from the obligations of the biennial emissions inspection until the year 2003. After 2003, vehicles 30 years old and older will not require an inspection. The exemption applies to inspections required upon transfer of ownership and upon registration of a vehicle previously registered outside the state.
The legislation reflects the finding of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that most vehicles over 25 years old are driven few miles each year and represent a small segment of California's total registered vehicle population. Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) President Chuck Blum commented, "We are pleased Governor Wilson has recognized the waste and inefficiency of inspecting older vehicles. S.B. 42 represents major relief for vehicle enthusiasts throughout California and should serve as a model for state legislatures around the country."