Is a Smoky Burnout… But Not For Long
I take comfort
in the fact that I can still drive old cars instead of new ones.
I dont have to have six air bags, stability control, back-up
cameras or OnStar. If I like, I can use an old F100 pick-up as my
daily driver. Or enjoy the computer-free rowdiness of my ancient
muscle car. I do not want all the Stuff that todays (and surely,
tomorrows) vehicles are fitted with, by order of DC.
I dont feel the need. Its expensive, often absurdly
complex and a lot of it is simply overbearing. I dont
like being assaulted by a belt minder buzzer if I choose
not to wear my seat belt. I dont have any use for a back-up
camera (never having run over a child). And most of all, I like
being able to squeal the tires without being countermanded by an
electronic Mrs. Doubtfire. I definitely do not want a vehicle fitted
with any sort of data recording device or GPS transponder
which pretty much all new cars now have.
signing the check, Ill do what I like with the damn thing.
But I fear
this window is closing. At some point, probably within the next
five years if not sooner older, pre-computer vehicles will
be forcibly decommissioned. It will become a crime to use
them for anything other than parade or cruise
events strictly monitored and enforced. It will be done in
the name of the environment or safety.
have passed laws making it much harder to register and drive an
older vehicle on public roads. In my home state of Virginia, for
instance, the police have the authority to conduct roadside inspections
of any vehicle wearing antique plates. If, in the opinion of the
cop who is a cop and not a mechanic
the vehicle does not meet either safety or emissions requirements,
he may physically seize the cars plates and registration on
the spot and have the vehicle impounded. Its then up
to you to prove your car has not been unlawfully modified
(just as its up to you to disprove whatever charges
are filed against you by the IRS).
have repealed laws that once exempted antique vehicles more than
25 or 30 years old from the emissions inspections required of modern
cars even though the number of cars over 30 years old in
regular use is so low that their impact on air quality is nil.
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columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2012 Eric Peters
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