Freedom is a Smoky Burnout… But Not For Long

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I take comfort in the fact that I can still drive old cars instead of new ones. I don’t 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 today’s (and surely, tomorrow’s) vehicles are fitted with, by order of DC. I don’t feel the need. It’s expensive, often absurdly complex – and a lot of it is simply overbearing. I don’t like being assaulted by a “belt minder” buzzer if I choose not to wear my seat belt. I don’t 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.

If I’m signing the check, I’ll 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.

Maybe both.

Several states 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 car’s plates and registration on the spot – and have the vehicle impounded. It’s then up to you to prove your car has not been unlawfully modified ( just as it’s up to you to disprove whatever charges are filed against you by the IRS).

Other states have repealed laws that once exempted antique vehicles more than 25 or 30 years old from the emissions inspections required of modern cars – even though the number of cars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.

That’s the leading edge of the spear. Rigmarole such as the above can be a hassle – but at least, it can still be dealt with. Most old car hobbyists are fastidious about maintenance – and keeping their cars up to specification is already par for the course.

But there’s the rub: “… up to specifications.”

What happens when laws are passed requiring older cars to meet current safety and/or emissions specifications?

You know the answer. It will be the end of the road. Old cars will become true museum pieces. We will no longer be able to operate them on public roads – unless you’re rich enough to retrofit your car into compliance. At the very least, I expect the government to pass a law requiring that every motor vehicle be fitted with a GPS transponder. Progressive Insurance is already pushing for it – voluntarily, of course.

For the moment.

Don’t doubt it – the day is coming when it will no longer be voluntary.  The “safety” lobby and environmental fanatics will demand it. Government will be happy to oblige. It wants information, in real time – all the time.

And most of all, it wants control.

Your movements will be kept track of, the information stored in computer banks and cross-referenced against other bits of data to aid the state in properly profiling you. It is already happening. To expect that it will not happen to cars is wishful thinking.

The technology exists to erect the “intelligent highway” – one where transponders in your vehicle communicate in real time with satellites overhead and receiver/transmitters posted along the side of the road. It is possible to make driving any faster than whatever the speed limit is impossible simply by sending a set of instructions to your car’s computer. And if a cop wants to stop you, he’ll be able to shut you down at the touch of a button – literally. GM’s OnStar system already has this capability – and it has been used. So far, only against car-jackers and other deserving parties. But that’s just the opening chorus of the opera. Just as the “enemies of freedom” were – at first – only swarthy young men of Middle Eastern extraction.

Any old car that can’t be monitored, that isn’t subject to immediate control, will be outlawed.

Preventing you from doing a burnout is only the beginning.

Throw it in the Woods?

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  134 comments for “Freedom is a Smoky Burnout… But Not For Long

  1. Mitch
    December 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I own a 1977 Chevy caprice classic. It has historic plates on it. No I didn’t buy the car to pimp it out. I bought it because I wanted to avoid emissions, and inspections. The car runs like new. I take really good care of it. I just want to be left alone by the system. And by owning a old car gives me that sense of peace or the sense of freedom.

  2. April 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    This post covers a lot and it is clear how “old” cars can get in the way of implementing a “controlled” future. But, that potential for a “controlled” future is just as bad without old cars in the equation.

    I remember an AutoWeek story a few years back that envisioned the car 50 years in the future. Cars were part of an automated network and those non-automated cars were relegated for recreation. The anaolgy that was used was the horse. The horse was a form of transportation that, with the invention of the automobile, evolved to specialized and recreational use.

    One question raised in the post had me scratching my head, “What happens when laws are passed requiring older cars to meet current safety and/or emissions specifications?” I don’t know what would happen since the country would be suffering from bigger problems if that actually happened. If cars weren’t required by law to meet a requirement at the time of manufacture, how can they be required to meet it later? A more likely scenario along these lines is restricted use and that constraint has been around a while on “antique” cars.

    One last concluding reminder — the fight is bigger than just protecting older cars.

    • Jean
      June 29, 2013 at 5:31 am

      Steve,
      We know the fight is bigger than cars. We’re waking up from the “divide and conquer” that’s been used on us.

      The problem is, it may be too late for “polite redress of grievances.”
      In which case, the innocent will suffer along with the guilty, and there may come a time when the living envy the dead.

  3. methylamine
    April 9, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    The answer? Switching to a slightly more active form of resistance.

    To whit:
    Does anyone make an OBD cheater? The “inspections” (i.e. annual State money-grubbing coupled with the fear of losing your car) for OBD require them to plug into your OBD port, and if the computer returns “all OK” they’re happy.

    I haven’t looked into the protocols, but I seriously doubt they’re using any modern cryptographic authentication–things like public/private key with signatures to verify they’re talking to your CAR, not to some little black box programmed to say “all OK”.

    That said, producing such a black box should be pretty simple.

    Next up, catalyst cheaters. From what I understand, they’re widely available and applicable; they send back a nominally correct voltage from the oxygen sensor and the ECU thinks the cats are fine…even if they don’t exist (nor do the O2 sensors).

    GPS jammers–widely available from 25 bucks up. Even the cheapest one is sufficient to drown your car and every car in a 50 foot radius. GPS signals are incredibly faint; it doesn’t take much to dork them.

    Finally–what to do about the soon-to-be-mandatory tattletale black boxes?

    • Jean
      June 29, 2013 at 5:29 am

      Best thing to do with the tattletale boxes is to hack them and have the Mayor at the whorehouse.

      The GAY whorehouse (Bath house).

  4. John Illinois
    April 8, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    I own a couple “moderns”, a 2004 Ford Explorer with 322,000 miles on it–doesn’t use oil between changes, doesn’t drip on the garage floor, gets up each and every time I want it to, and WILL GET ON THE FREEWAY with the car trailer in tow. Other than maintenance parts, it has only factory installed parts. I( did have to charge the air conditioning last year–first time. Since I haven’t run it into things, the body looks good, and other than the scratches in the left side doors where my dress coat buttons scratched it, the paint is in pretty good shape. It is the best damn car I have ever had, even if it is a Ford. It is the absolute best tow vehicle I have ever driven, including the 1 ton dually GMC I once had. As a company car, I ordered a 2 wheel drive, V-8 with the heavy duty trailer tow package. 7,500 lb tow capacity. I have actually passed a Tahoe with a 350, towing a similar a car like mine on a trailer, going up hill in Vermont. Not just inched by him, I blew his doors off! I followed him for a couple miles on the 2 lane stuff, and when the truck lane opened up, he pulled right, and I stood up, and left. Later, he told me that he was down into first gear when he crested that hill, and he had turned off the air, but his temp gauge was climbing. His 350 may have 70 CI on my Ford 4.6 (280 CI), but I have 1000 lbs less weight to drag around, and my engine is 1992 technology, not 1955 with improvements learned from experience. I happen to like Chevy 350s. My pickup is a 3/4 ton Chevy with a 350 and a heavy duty 4 speed. I wrote an article for another website about my new GM car, some time ago. It uses Chevy 350s extensively. I mainly use it as a power wheelbarrow, Given a couple chances to jerk something, it will pull a 4 inch tree out of the ground. Obviously, this thing is long past value damaging incidents much short of severely running it into something.
    Then we have this 2003 KIA Sorrento. We got it because my wife decided she was tired of being “Mother Trucker”, and told sne would not drive the dually much longer–which I understood to be about next Friday. All of a sudden, the Crown Victoria I drove became not so great. I was having trouble getting out of the car 10 times a day anyhow, it was replacement time for the company car, and my last about to be 16 year old would soon need a car. We live in the country. A 16 year old who rides the yellow shake and bake is a pariah. They will drive a tractor without a cab in the winter time before they will ride the bus. The student parking lot is bigger than the football field. The KIA is a better ride than the Crown Victoria is, but has absolutely 0 trailer towing capacity. So that is why the Explorer came here.
    I do have some toys–31 Franklin, 49 Jeepster, 50 Ford, 51 Pontiac, 55 Mercury, 56 Imperial. 65 Sunbeam.
    I cannot believe that the power derived from ruling our toys off the road will rival the loss of tax revenue that would result from such action, however, political idiocy can not be over ruled.

  5. Matt S.
    April 8, 2012 at 5:00 am

    It’s simple. People who love old cars have to become as vocal and organized as gun owners and homeschoolers. I think there’s more than enough people and commercial interests (think Jeggs and Summit, etc) to make up such a movement.

    • Chris
      April 10, 2012 at 3:38 am

      Here’s a good starting point, if I may:

      “The right of the Individual Citizens to own and bear Weapons shall not be infringed in any manner. Additionally, since Mobility is an essential aspect of Liberty in a mechanized society, the right of the Individual Citizens to own and operate Vehicles shall not be infringed in any manner.”

  6. Tor Munkov
    April 7, 2012 at 12:26 am

    The latest study shows that 99% Americans are precogs.

    Your smoky burnout precrime has been reported to the precrime hotline.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aebHqLvYjM8&feature=player_detailpage

    RUN!!!!!!!!

  7. Scott
    April 7, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Eric, you’re right about the tech and the direction; the era of private automobiles is rapidly coming to a close. Tomorrow you won’t buy a car, you’ll lease a pod. You won’t control the car on arterial routes, that’ll be done by remote control using technology developed for those Boeing drones Obummer is so proud of. Figure all Interstates and most if not all State highways will be equipped with automated vehicle control in the next 20 years. And yes, your 1969 Camero RS won’t be allowed to play with the civilized children of the future.

    So if you’ve been waiting to buy that ’89 BMW 6 series or that Porsche 928 you always wanted, do it now because in ten years driving one will be at least as bad as smoking pot, probably worse.

    It will happen. Count on it.

  8. Tom in Oregon
    April 6, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I still own my first car, a 1953 Chevy 4-door sedan. It is as old as I am. We were both 21 when I bought it for $85. I have rebuilt the engine three times, the last time I think I got right, replacing the babbited rod bearings with inserts. Otherwise, it is stock and now almost like new. It gets 22 mpg on the highway. I love that there are no seat belts or other safety features. It makes me drive safer! No GPS means I have to know where I am going or – heaven forbid – read a map. If I want to coast down the mountains in the moonlight with lights off and coasting with the engine off, it is my choice. The car does what I want.
    Last fall I registered it as an Antique Vehicle in Oregon. $12 for the plate and around $50 for registration. I don’t drive it much, but when I do I am a happy guy. The OR driver’s manual states that the antique vehicle is not to be used for transportation! HAH! The DMV lady said I cannot drive it to work. I said that we have a rally every morning in the parking lot. She said, “Nice try.” When I registered my 1958 Airstream Bubble travel trailer as a collector vehicle (not old enough to qualify as Antique), they told me I can’t take it camping! I said that everywhere I go with it is a parade and a rally. She just laughed at that. Time will tell. I figure any cop that pulls me over for “misuse” is, first of all, an ass, and second, has been possibly tasked with finding and removing from the roads, any old vehicle. I plan to give said cop as bad a time as I can, and accept the consequences. I will take the advice offered above about educating myself on my (remaining) rights, how to civilly disobey, etc. Thanks, Eric, for such a refreshing blog!

    • April 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm

      Ditto, Tom!

      I feel the same way every time take my old Pontiac out. Just me and the car – no Big Brother riding shotgun.

  9. Bob
    April 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Progressive Insurance is owned by a Progressive. It all makes sense.

  10. April 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Wonder what the safety guardians will want to do about my 194 mph Suzuki Hayabusa. Or my mint 60,000 mile ’95 Q45?

    Or all the guns I have in my Treadlock safe.

    Time for a secession movement. We need to saw DC off and set it and all its inhabitants adrift in the North Atlantic.

    • Jean
      June 29, 2013 at 5:25 am

      Firebomb the whole area. Pretend it’s Dresden and do Urban Renewal.

  11. D Bro
    April 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Instead of all this doom and gloom crap, get off your butt and get Ron Paul elected! Who the hell wants to do away with the EPA, One guess! Not just Ron Paul, your local officials. You put pressure on them and make them squirm. You don’t always win, but if you have enough local car enthusiasts bring the heat.
    If every one spent 1 hr. a week with emails or phone calls, you will make a different. Band together or sink in your muscle car.
    Push back does work.

    • April 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      Hi DB,

      Part of getting there is getting mad – and that’s what I’m trying to do with my articles. I suspect RP is trying to do more or less the same thing. He knows he’s not going to be president – but he also knows he is changing the debate, or at least, getting things debated that never used to be even mentioned outside of very small (and isolated) circles.

    • Jean
      June 29, 2013 at 5:24 am

      Or you could kill them one by one until they listen…
      You’re just “reducing the carbon footprint of the local government.” ;-)

  12. tim
    April 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I am an over the road truck driver, and I see the entire 48. Most trucking companies have GPS installed. My company is one of the last without it. The Republican ex-Congressman LaHood, now Secretary of Transportation, wants to require GPS in all commercial vehicles by 2014. The big trucking companies support it. It looks like it will happen. It’s one of the main reasons drivers are leaving this industry.

    Not all GPS can be defeated with tinfoil. Newer systems have antennas built into the innards of the dash. The proposed fines for defeating it are in the 10,000 dollar range for first offense, and suspended license. I would expect similar laws a few years down the road for non-commercial vehicles.

    And yes, they can shut down the trucks remotely, and they do it often. Drive over the allotted legal hours, and your truck shuts down. You can be on the George Washington Bridge in New York, or in some other dangerous place, and the truck will just die. It happens every day.

    My personal car is a 1980 Cadillac. I hate the buzzers in newer cars, the air bags I especially despise. I’ve had this car since 1986. The car has good manners. It does not scold me, buzz at me, or attempt to manipulate my driving. It does have some electronics. I refuse to buy a newer car, period.

    Love your writing, Eric. Keep up the good work.

    • April 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Thanks, Tim!

      I used to like the idea of being an OTR trucker… seemed like a way to live a sort of modern cowboy life. Your were free in your truck – just you and the open road. But not anymore. Now – as you’ve explained – it’s as bad as being in a cubicle farm.

    • Chris
      April 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm

      Fines aren’t a problem.

      Just wear a big sombrero and an area rug and claim you can’t speak English if you get caught!

      If they buy it, they’ll cut you loose and say there’s nothing they can do!

      • April 7, 2012 at 10:09 am

        Me gusta! Si, se puede!

  13. dogg
    April 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    They fuss about a few old cars’ emissions, but everyday on my 20 mile country road trip to work, I have to follow yellow government indoctrination road roaches (school buses). The fumes these diesel-spewing behemoths put out has to be way worse than old cars, and there are millions more of them.

    • April 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      Of course – but rational reasons aren’t the real reason for these things. The real reason is the assertion of power over the individual by the government. Not “safety.” Not “the children.” Not “the environment.” Just – power.

      • April 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm

        I will have to disagree with you on this point Eric. Having had several politicians in my taxis over the years, I have found that they are not motivated by power lust… At least, to THEM it is not power lust. What drives them is, in it’s own way, even scarier. They are driven by a need to “improve the world”, coupled with a true belief that the system actually works (or can be made to work, if only their party is at the helm).
        This is coupled with an incredible arrogance. These men and women think that they know everything about everything, and if they don’t know, all they have to do is consult some experts. (Enter the lobbyists.) Then all they have to do is write the correct law, and PRESTO! life is suddenly better! Of course,they never repeal laws, even in the face of abject failure because they would have to admit that the system they so love and cherish has made a mistake. Often, they try to fix problems by making bad laws more draconian.
        These people are not power-mad wannabe dictators. No, instead they are easily frightened,arrogant fools who’s deep belief in the system of American democracy is blindly driving us toward tyranny. In short they are the priests of the God that Failed–Democracy.
        Oh wait, this column is about cars right? Sorry. If everyone out there would use their cars to run over just ONE politician….

        • April 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm

          I think we agree, actually – because it amounts to the same thing: Arrogance – the idea that “I know best” – and what naturally follows from it – ” therefore, you must do as I say.”

          It’s arguably the true Original Sin …. because it leads to every sort of horror imaginable and without which, most of the horrors of history could never have taken place.

        • Chris
          April 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm

          That’s why I say that The World Would Be A Better Place If There Weren’t So Many People Trying To Make It A Better Place.

  14. Doktor Jeep
    April 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    On the upside, people like my neighbors, whose whole lives are about their collections of muscle cars and they know of nothing else, will get a rude awakening.

  15. Dutch
    April 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    My only comment is that all those pictures of Trans Am’s doing burnouts is giving ME a hot-rod!

    Those old Firebird Trans Am’s are one of my alltime fave bad mofo muscle cars. I still watch Smokey and the Bandit at least a couple times a year (on Blu-Ray now!).

    • dom
      April 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      TMI ALERT! LOL

    • April 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      I’ve got one!

      A ’76, in Carousel Red (orange, really)… 455, Honeycombs…. 8-track, too!

  16. April 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    The article and comments speak for themselves. I simply wanted to thank you for this excellent site, which I discovered through Lew Rockwell. You come at things from a very interesting perspective. As a south Florida native, I grew up driving by 15 and have owned some wonderful cars – even learned to tinker on a ’69 Camaro’s simple and beautiful 327 engine. Now in NY, my license is expired, I ride cabs, the subway…in short, I’m an embarrassment! But I see the new cars (all of which look like 1990’s Accords – all of them, even Jaguars!)and wonder if I’m really missing out on much.

    Best regards,
    Sebastian

    • April 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Thanks, Sebastian – great to have you with us, too!

  17. hp
    April 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Back in 1972 or thereabouts I had a 1965 Honda 305 Dream. Black and beautiful it was.

    I never bothered to get it inspected or registered.
    I just rode it.

    More than a couple of times the Pa. state police pulled up beside me as I rode on down the hiway, gave me a thumbs up and keep on going..

    THOSE were the days!

    • April 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      I remember those days (and that kind of thing), too. Which is why the current era seems so bleak and oppressive in contrast….

  18. Tom
    April 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    If you have the money and mechanical skill, the cars from the 60s and 70s are a dream to own. I was quite broke in the early 70s but bought a used 69 Olds 88 with a Rocket 350 engine; huge, yellow and smooth. However, those cars needed new plugs and points every 6000 miles, oil changes every 3k and the rings/valves often failed at 60k. The right modern cars are far better performers and the maintenance is almost nil. Older isn’t better in this case. I concur with breaking stupid laws to keep personal freedom and GPS tracking would be first on my list. Would I buy an old Caddy or VW? Not me, but I love seeing them on the road and that’s where they belong.

  19. Dottie
    April 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    My husband has an ’84 Camaro that he pretty much built from the ground up. It has 2 speeds: park & haul ass. It rumbles when it idles. Very cool. The last traffic ticket he got was in this car – for peeling the tires. The cop commented about how nice a car it is. I think he pulled my husband over just to get a closer look at it.

    The cars they are building these days are so complex, as your articles states. Years ago the dealerships (or was it the car manufacturers themselves) were forced to share the information required to work on their vehicles, but the tools required are so expensive that many of the shops still can’t service them. Can we say “bailout”?

    My husband is a Master Technician and has just about every tool imaginable – until recently. He is over 50 and at his age he says he would never recoup the money he would put out for the tools required to work on the new models. He says a few of the younger guys have bought the tools, but it’s yet to be seen if the investment was worth it. We wish them luck.

    • April 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      “It has 2 speeds: park & haul ass…”

      Dottie, you are my kind of people!

      And yeah – your husband’s right. I have a buddy who is also a Master ASE Tech – and he tells me exactly the same things….

      • Dottie
        April 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm

        Thanks Eric! I’ve never driven the car, but I want to someday. Just letting off the brake is like letting go of a stretched out rubberband. Waahhhoooooo!!!!

        I made my husband put in his will who to give the car to, should he go before me. I told him I dodn’t want to be that little old lady that has a nice old car of value, then get ripped off because I didn’t know any better.

        I don’t know much about the mechanics or value of cars but I do appreciate…how would you put it? It should go to someone that will appreciate it and take care of it.

        • April 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm

          You betcha!

          And: Same here –

          My wife loves my 455 Trans-Am. If I croak first, she knows what it’s worth – and more importantly, how to keep it up (she knows my friend, who runs a shop that can work on it for her, if need).

          But, then there are my bikes…. she does not ride and knows nichts about motorcycles. I haven’t gotten around to putting down in writing what’s what, but I need to get that done.

          No telling when I might have an “accident” given the stuff I write about….

          • Dottie
            April 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm

            Yep! You know they’re watching you!

            It’s funny, I’m the one that rides bikes. I grew up riding dirt bikes and I have family and friends that would work on them for me.

            Hey! You can leave your bikes to me! Just kidding. I don’t ride on the road, nor have a motorcycle license. Just never had the need or desire for it. Although my dad, brother, their friends all have bikes and take road trips together all the time.

            • April 6, 2012 at 1:46 pm

              Get in line!

    • dom
      April 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      I worked on cars professionally for a little while back in the day. My initial investment for tools was around 7k and I was still borrowing tools ALL day long. This was around 15 years ago. Since then I’ve continued collecting tools (average about $500 a year in new ones). Nowadays I only tinker with my own stuff. Even so, I’m buying new tools constantly just to fix the vehicles I have. Just in the past six months I’ve dumped over $500 on a few one/two time use tools. How freaking aggravating! I feel bad for the new fellas trying to make a go of it at a mom and pop shop! There is absolutely NO reason to keep making shit so hard (requiring special tools) to remove. Well, other than stealing more money from people!

      • April 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm

        My buddy Graves, the guy who owns the shop, was telling me the other day about the special puller he needs to do a timing belt change on a Dodge he has in the shop. It’s specific to this particular application – so useless for anything else. A big-cost tool if he buys it (cost transferred to his customers) and if he doesn’t buy it or have someone he can borrow it from, then he can’t do the work on the car… lose-lose.

        • April 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm

          Many of the auto parts stores in my area loan out tools for one-time jobs. You pay the store for the retail value of the tool, take it with you, and when you return it, you get your money back. If you want to keep it, you simply keep it. this is a great option for the DIYer fixing a car under an old shade tree in the yard. we use this service all the time working on our taxi cabs.

          • dom
            April 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm

            That is an awesome service! I know they have it at NAPA here in town too, but the tools they have on loan are all things you don’t need.

      • Dottie
        April 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

        My husband actually works for a large nation-wide chain. But it’s still hard to keep up. I feel bad for the new kids too, but my husband gets aggravated when they continually ask to borrow his tools. His motto is “If you use it more than twice, BUY ONE.” He understands not wanting to buy a tool you only use once, maybe twice, but any more than that, it’s obviously something you’ll use regularly.

        He’s talked about making a sign to hang on his toolbox that says “-name withheld’s- Tool Rental is CLOSED.” No, he’s never charged anyone for borrowing, it just expresses his aggravation.

      • dom
        April 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm

        I have a buddy named Phill. He has the largest toolbox and collection I’ve ever seen in my life. His box is like four huge boxes all put together. Measures like 12 feet long and 8 feet high by a couple feet deep. Anyhow, the box is packed with stuff. He has to have well over 250k in tools. He is still forced to purchase these mickey mouse special tools constantly! At least at the stealerships you get to use the tool a few times because you see the same cars. The mom and pops get all different stuff all day. I have a very decent tool collection now and I don’t let anyone borrow my tools, ever! If they want to use them they have to come over here and more times than not I use the tool for them.

        • April 6, 2012 at 1:46 pm

          I’ll let friends borrow my stuff – but only because these are friends who let me borrow their stuff!

          • Charlie
            April 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm

            My first car was a $100.00 junkyard special, 1950 Chevrolet. It had low oil pressure so my Dad told me what I needed to do. I borrowed his tools, ½”, 9/16” and 5/8” wrenches and sockets and a couple screwdrivers. At 16 years old I was in hog heaven. I screwed up the job (Got the old Babbitt type mains too tight even though I used plasti-gauge) and the engine seized up on me about 3 months latter but it was a valuable and cheap learning experience. That was in 1958.

      • BrentP
        April 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm

        Dom, Harbor Freight Tools. Seriously. A lot of it is junky, some of it is good. None of it is great. But for those tools you can’t justify the price of a quality tool for, they’ve worked just fine for me. Sure it’s all made in China. But some of the stuff I have now I would have lived without had I been able to get something usable for cheap. All of it bought on sales or with coupons to make it cheap enough so I’d buy it.

        There are things to buy quality tools for and there are things where cheap gets the job done.

        • dom
          April 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm

          Oh I hear ya. Just got $100 worth of Harbor Freight stuff in the mail yesterday. Didn’t help with my Harley transmission race puller, or my 4Runner timing belt tensioner holder tool, or my crank pulley holder tool for the 4Runner.. Just venting a bit! ha

        • April 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm

          I second that – it’s good and bad! I’ve bought several items that worked well; still have them in my toolbox – including a decent gear puller. Then there was the circlip plier set… complete crap! Threw it in the woods the very day it arrived…

          • BrentP
            April 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm

            I have the advantage of the store being close by. I just open stuff up where a seal doesn’t need to be broken and look it over before I buy it. Sometime I open a few to find a ‘good one’ :)

            Chinese quality through and through. Better than going without though.

    • Kevin Cederquist
      April 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Miss Dottie, I too was a Master Tech, emphasis Auto Electrical and at 45 I got tired of having to buy new tools and downloads to run my previous bought new tools to work on new model cars and trucks and spend hours of non-billable time to factory engineers and techs to figure out a problem that was not addressed in shop manuals. I have not regreted my decision. I now work on older cars and RVs in my shade tree shop, and make almost as much money without the hassle. I like your husbands car, park and haul ass!

  20. Brad Smith
    April 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    They can just bite me. I already don’t bother with plates registration or insurance on my older cars. I went over a decade without a license (I didn’t have it taken away, I just refused to pay). I sure as heck am not going to modify my cars for them. I don’t even know how much I “owe” the state of California in fines. Now that I moved back East I don’t care either.

    I live out in the sticks and as long as I don’t drive into town they leave me alone. If I feel like I must go into town I drive my wife’s car and fly under the radar.

    • Chris
      April 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      One cannot “owe” taxes to The State.

      The concept of “owe” only applies if the money originally belonged to The State, or you wronged The State by stealing from it.

      Taxes are NOT the dues an individual owes to The State for the privilege of being a member of society.

      Taxes ARE the fees members of society pay for government services. nothing more.

      Words matter, so let’s challenge this idea that we “owe” The State part of our haul every two weeks.

  21. David
    April 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    This editorial reminds me of the song “Red Barchetta” by Rush!
    Check it out on youtube

    • April 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Yup!

      I’ve got a “country place” – and a redneck Red (well, orange) Barchetta, too….

  22. olddude13
    April 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    If do not want to get pulled over for antique plate inspection doin’t not get them. its not mandatory.

    Clover

    • James
      April 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      olddude13 –

      There is much to recommend the use of an antique registration for one’s qualifying auto:

      1. As was stated earlier in this thread, issuance is usually once and done. After the fee is paid, it is never paid again.
      2. Proof of antique registration is sometimes required to insure the vehicle as an antique. The associated policy is usually very reasonably priced, relative to the coverage provided.
      3. (My favorite): An antique registration usually exempts the vehicle from annual state safety and emission inspection requirements. This is no small advantage if one’s older car (or bike) couldn’t immediately, or ever, pass such inspections.

      The driving restrictions that may be attached to an antique registration are easily managed. I drove my MGs whenever I wanted, whereever I wanted. The plod never bothered me.

      Mmmmkay?

    • April 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      Clover alert!

    • BrentP
      April 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Antique plates are to keep an older rarely driven vehicle without the expense of a full plates. It recognizes the fact that the car isn’t being used as a daily driver and thus does recognizes that the road use is very minimal.

      Making it ever more restrictive is to make old cars more and more something only richer and richer people can afford and enjoy. It is difficult to justify having an old car just to have an old car for the occasional drive or show when one has to pay the full load of another daily driver.

      • dom
        April 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm

        Antique tags in VA cost about $50 or more to get and must be surrendered when insurance is turned off. Then to get them again you have to pay again. Poifect!

        • BrentP
          April 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm

          In Illinois they are for 5 years for $30. Regular passenger plates are $99 for 1 year.

  23. April 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

    On the matter of GPS tracking of cars: I worked for a large cab company here in Arizona that had installed a GPS computerized dispatch system. We found that by covering the GPS antenna with a wad of aluminum foil, it blocked the signal. This forced the dispatch computer to go into a “default” mode, that enabled us to take any call in the city, instead of the one offered us by the electronic dispatch system. When we were caught we were all punished severely, with several of us being fired from the cab company. The point is GPS trackers can be defeated very easily, simply by wrapping the antennas in aluminum foil. And if it is not sending out a signal, then our minders in government won’t know it is there.
    The “OnStar” system is one of the reasons I simply will not buy a GMC product ever again. And if Progressive or any other insurance company wants to install a monitor in MY car, they can kiss my….pancreas.

    • Strider55
      April 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      Back in the ’70s the feds forced every car to have an ignition interlock that wouldn’t let the car start until everyone buckled their seat belts. That was repealed after a year or two due to massive public opposition, plus enough people figured out how to disable the gizmo and spread the word — even at the “glacial” pre-Internet speed. If the jackboots forced GPS on us, I guarantee someone who knows about that foil trick will post it on YouTube or some other Internet forum, and it will instantly go viral. Nor will censorship help — there are ways to download videos to your PC (try this Firefox extension for starters).

      • April 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm

        Except for one thing: 30 years ago, America was a different place. And Americans were a different people. Large numbers still demanded their liberty be respected. Worship of “safety” and “security” had not yet permeated the culture. It has now.

        People now accept being fondled by a government goon – what will they not accept?

        • Sleepy
          April 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm

          Depends… you can use their system to fuck with them. My “this far no further” moment came when I was en route to Germany last year for a vacation and finally met one of their strip search scanners. I had a brief moment of asking myself if I was going to sheep, or not. “opt out” I said. I get Bubba. The purpose of the grope is to humiliate the victim into compliance. Its supposed to make you feel small weak and helpless. The victim does not have to permit their mind to be manipulated this way. Bubba was some big bearded guy. I’m a 140 lb semiprofessional skydiver in my off hours, the whole theatrical attempt to intimidate me just makes me laugh my ass off. Sorry kids, this one cannot be intimidated, amusing show you got here. I grinned at Bubba and told him “You get too personal, I’m gonna start enjoying it.” Bubba changed colors to a delightful shade of humiliated red, kept his patdown real brief, just a token nod to the idea and stayed the hell out of my crotch. Win.

          • April 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm

            Yup!

            This is gross, but it’s of a piece with what you did: If you’re a man, get yourself tumescent pre-grope. Obviously so. Then smile – leer – at the groper…..

            Or, just be as unhygienic as you can stand to be. Be literally dirty and smelly… apologize for the sores… tell them you don’t think you’re contagious….

        • BrentP
          April 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm

          Subversion is still alive and well when it comes to altering machines at least.

          Only early 1974 models got the interlock. It didn’t even last one model year. The buzzer system is another story… it continued on. But the 73-74 models were overly annoying. The system was softened to something more like today’s in ’75.

        • mike cunningham
          April 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm

          Since you seem to have a little fight left in you and some perspective……what do we do? Most of the sheep on this board just want to swap little stories. One more time….WHAT DO WE DO?

          • April 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm

            I do!

            First step, understand the situation; try to convert as many people as you can – or at least, get them thinking.

            Second step, evade, disobey and generally kick the system in the balls whenever, however you can.

            That’s a start!

          • Don
            April 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm

            Mike Cunningham asks, “What do we do?”

            Well Mike there are many things that each of us can do to fight govt tyranny.

            My quick list would certainly include – but not be limited to – the following:

            1. Read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

            2. Understand our rights.

            3. Watch the many excellent videos on YouTube and elsewhere that teach us how to constitutionally interact with law enforcement.

            4. Politely and calmly resist all unlawful orders. But not to the point of getting killed.

            5. Particpate in peaceful civil disobedience whenever possible.

            6. Educate others.

            7. Blog.

            8. Call talk radio.

            9. Write letters to the editor.

            10. Pass out leaflets wherever legally permissible.

            11. Speak out.

            12. Don’t be afraid.

            13. Put up banners in public places.

            14. Create an email list and mail them often.

            15. Wear politically controversial tee shirts.

            16. Put politically controversial bumper stickers on your vehicles.

            17. Peacefully protest.

            18. Wake up others.

            I could go on Mike, but this is just a quick list off of the top of my head, and it’s certainly not complete.

            And BTW Mike, you referred to some on this board as “sheep”. IMHO, the only sheep on here are the clovers, and having read Eric’s site for years, I would say that most here are already awake and aware.

          • clark
            April 7, 2012 at 2:23 am

            RE: #4. From reading Will Grigg’s blog I would suggest that simply politely and calmly resisting all unlawful orders Can get you killed. YMMV.

            http://www.freedominourtime.blogspot.com/

            The latest example: Kenneth Chamberlain, 68-year-old retired Marine from White Plains, New York.

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/109649.html

            Not that I’m suggesting submitting is a good plan either.

  24. April 6, 2012 at 5:49 am

    I understand your anger. I too hate the government involvement in ruining cars. I had to break down recently and buy a new car as my old one a 2001 Sable when I crashed it into a deer. Due to the gas prices I purchased a Toyota Prius which with inflation pushing gas prices higher and higher it made sense. But after reading this I remember why I hate some great technology advances that could really lead to great thing if they where not turned around and used against us by our own government.

    • April 6, 2012 at 9:52 am

      Hi Tom,

      Yup. It’s not the technology as such. I am not a Luddite.

      What I am is someone who despises control freaks – and technology used to control people. Like you, I am frustrated that so much technology is misdirected this way. We have the ability, for example, to manufacture 1,800 lb. cars with direct-injection engines that are capable of 70 MPG without complex (and costly) hybrid technology that could be sold for around $15,000 – but instead, we are effectively forced to buy 3,000 lb. hybrids that average 40-something MPG instead and which cost $25,000.

      • Chris
        April 10, 2012 at 3:34 am

        The Amish have the right idea.

        They don’t hate technology, they just evaluate it to ensure it doesn’t conflict with their preferred lifestyle.

        We should do that too, instead of latching onto every new gadget that comes along. Generally, technology is a liberator, but not all technology is so.

        Micro-cameras coupled with a meddlesome intent, for example.

  25. April 6, 2012 at 5:22 am

    I’ve been reading your site for a few months now (thanks Lew Rockwell) and stuff like this just kills me. My family owns one of the last independent auto parts stores and machine shops in Florida, the last one in Pinellas County. Our specialty is older rebuilds, especially flat head Ford V-8s. If laws like this go through, it’ll finally put my father and uncle out of business. Over the 25 years they’ve been open down here, I’ve watched the laws, especially the government mandated tech laws, make it harder and more expensive for them (and all other small automotive related business) to operate. When they tell me how life was from the 60s through the early 80s (I’m 35) and I compare that to how things are now, well, lets just say depressing as hell is a major understatement. South of the border is looking better and better. Keep up the good work, no matter where I end up in the world, I hope to continue to enjoy your site.

    • April 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

      Hi Raven,

      Stuff like this kills – infuriates – me, too. It’s what drives me to write, which is my form of primal screaming. I’ve got a good friend who, like your family, owns a small independent repair shop. He tells a similar story. He doubts he’ll be able to keep his doors open much longer. A big part of the reason why is the ever-increasing compliance costs as well as the equipment costs related to buying the things he needs to do even basic work – for example, AC repair work. As you probably know well, it is illegal to service older vehicles that have R-12 AC systems unless you have a special certification and the expensive as hell equipment. The refrigerant itself currently costs something crazy like $50 a can. It used to be less than $5 a can – and anyone could recharge their own system using a simple $10 fitting. Now, only a specially certified technician can do that – cost to him to become certified – using a $2,000 AC service machine (another cost to him)… all of which means costs to you, the vehicle owner. An AC re-charge that used to cost maybe $40 now costs $400 – or more – no exaggeration, as you know.

      It’s insane – but insanity with an agenda.

      A guy I used to know, Sam Francis, called all this “anarcho-tyranny.” What he meant was the system is ever more oppressive toward the harmless average guy, while doing nothing (or very little) about real criminals.

      The guy was spot on.

      • Brad Smith
        April 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm

        Freon laws burn my hide. It’s not just cars it’s everything. The military and NASA burn through it like no tomorrow. But I can get a 10,000 dollar fine and a year in jail for fixing my parent’s compressors? The tax alone on old school freon is nuts (if you can find it) and the new junk works like garbage. I wonder how many people a year get food poisoning because stores have lousy coolers? Scr^w them, let them catch me. Better yet bring your car to me and I’ll fix you up. I stocked up years ago.

        • libertyx
          April 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm

          >Better yet bring your car to me and I’ll fix you up<

          I've got two older Camaros that use R12 – are you in Florida?

      • Chris
        April 6, 2012 at 9:55 pm

        Here’s something they’ll never tell you about Anthropogenic Global Warming: AGW gives us too much credit.

        Man does not have the technology to alter climate. If we did, there would be a multibillion-dollar weather-modification industry. Guarantee it.

        Somebody would’ve figured out a way to make a metric shit-ton of cash ensuring that Chicago never sees single digits in February or Miami never hits triple digits in August.

        But we don’t have a weather-modification industry, and believe me, if there’s a buck to be made, SOMEBODY will figure it out.

        “Watermelon” describes environmentalism best: Green on the outside and red on the inside.

        So the next time you see some “concerned citizen” whining about the ozone or owls, remember, he’s playing from the same basic philosophy as Joseph Stalin.

        • Scott
          April 7, 2012 at 12:53 am

          My thoughts on AGW were best expressed on this site:

          http://zenbillionaire.multiply.com/journal/item/261

          Call me a moron if you like, but I think scientific arguments should actually be supported by science.

        • BrentP
          April 7, 2012 at 1:11 am

          There likely is a weather modification industry. It’s just secret. Congress has passed bills on weather modification that would not have a place unless weather modification were a reality or soon to be reality.

          The details of who, what, where, when, why and how is a matter that varies between sources. Some of which I find to be stories of fantasy. I will not state a belief in any of them, they are interesting to listen to.

          I do believe some group within the government or close to it is messing with or trying to mess with the weather and climate because congress just doesn’t pass laws regarding something that is impossible in the present but might be in the far away future. There’s nothing in it for them and there’s nothing in it for anyone to buy congress critters for. But if it’s already here or just around the corner… well that’s different.

          It would be like congress passing laws on to control traffic between the earth and mars. They aren’t going to do it until they can at least see there will be traffic between earth and mars.

          • Chris
            April 7, 2012 at 2:12 am

            Here’s the thing.

            I believe that global warming is real, but so is global cooling, and these two phenomena are completely natural and exist in an alternating cycle that has existed for as long as the Earth has had an atmosphere.

            I object to the idea of ANTHROPOGENIC global warming. Mankind didn’t cause the ozone layer to fluctuate, nor did we make the polar ice melt. And if it weren’t for global warming, we’d still be in the cold part of the Ice Age.

            The environmentalists are actually Marxists who found a way to make their cause more palatable to the tender-hearted and soft-headed.

            Instead of threatening us with a bloody revolution of the disinherited masses, they claim that air conditioners and automobiles and computers are going to kill all the wittle bunny wabbits.

            Rush Limbaugh said it best twenty years ago: “The environment is a great way to subvert people’s property rights to an agenda that favors central planning and an intrusive government.”

            • April 7, 2012 at 10:05 am

              Climate change is real – because climate is not static. Sometimes it gets hotter; sometimes it gets cooler. Sometimes it gets very hot indeed – or very cold. The question is whether man has caused climate change. And that remains unproven.

          • clark
            April 7, 2012 at 2:31 am

            Here’s an article, complete with .gov citations, which removes the word ‘likely’ from this sentence: “There likely is a weather modification industry.”

            http://foundingfather1776.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/what-the-hell-are-they-spraying-on-us-part-8/

          • Gail
            April 7, 2012 at 10:48 am

            And go here for George Carlin’s take:

        • Jean
          June 29, 2013 at 2:34 am

          So the next time you see some “concerned citizen” whining about the ozone or owls, remember, he’s playing from the same basic philosophy as Joseph Stalin.kill the dumb fucker.

          FIFY.

      • April 10, 2012 at 1:58 am

        I feel for your friend, the financial stranglehold for the people on the garage side is tightening all the time. Between inflation, rising insurance costs, tech costs (low priced scanners can still run into the thousands of dollars), draconian environmental regulation, government “fees” and “taxes” (or as I prefer to call it legitimized theft), along with the shrinking pool of younger people who want to become mechanics, it’s a wonder that independent repair shops exist anymore at all.
        I tend to agree with the “anarcho-tyranny” idea. I’ve heard Stefan Molyneux argue very persuasively that the systems we live under now are closer to the “anarchy” (Mad Max style where the guys with the most guns control everything) that people fear so much, than we ever could be without a government. I do see signs of things getting better, at least with people my age and younger. Most of the ones I run into don’t give a damn about the government, they don’t vote, most don’t even register, don’t follow it, certainly don’t trust it, and just generally want to be left alone. I don’t know if they can actually ignore it out of existence, but they sure seem to be trying to.

        • April 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

          Hey Raven,

          Yeah – I also know a few young 20-somethings and their attitude gives me hope. The dicks who created this system have also created an unintended consequence: They’ve made the system such a bad a deal for the young that the young don’t participate – they don’t have cars, or buy McMansions and live on a shoestring. And when you have little to lose, when you are not vested in the system…. well, then fuck the system!

      • soldierdad
        April 11, 2012 at 7:37 pm

        R-12 less that $5 a can. I can remember back in the early 70’s when Western Auto routinely advertised it for 88 cents a can.
        I believe that the “freon damaging the ozone in the atmosphere” scam, was contrived as a dress rehearsal for the global warming scam. Two reasons: money and control.
        Government is totally out of control.

        • April 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm

          And so are people!

          I find very few (outside of this Forum) who believe in live – and let live. Who do not have a desire to control others; who don;t reflexively screech for new laws to force their fellow men to behave the way they want them to behave.

          We do indeed get the government we deserve.

          Unfortunately, not all of us deserve it!

  26. DD
    April 6, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Makes me want to buy a 1968 VW Beetle….

    • April 6, 2012 at 10:06 am

      Get one while you can – before the cost skyrockets! (I’m planning to do the same myself.)

      • DD
        April 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm

        I saw a lady driving a restored 1960s VW Bus today….
        Blue and White.
        With the front split windshield open.
        Now…That’s got to be ill-wee-gal in Cloverdom, right?

  27. Jack
    April 6, 2012 at 4:14 am

    I guess Rush’s Red Berchetta is becoming true.

    The song describes a future in which many classes of vehicles have been prohibited by “the Motor Law”. The narrator’s uncle has kept one of these illegal vehicles (the titular red barchetta sportscar) in pristine condition for some “fifty-odd years” and keeps it hidden at his secret country home (previously a farm before the enactment of the aforementioned Motor Law).

    • April 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

      It is… I never thought it would actually happen…. but here we are….

    • MoT
      April 7, 2012 at 1:41 am

      This is exactly the tune that popped into my head when I read this article.

  28. clark
    April 6, 2012 at 2:32 am

    Because “they” couldn’t get laws through at the state level to basically outlaw older cars, perhaps they will go the national route?

    Sure, it would be unpopular, but so was T.A.R.P..

    It does not seem very difficult to imagine the goberment setting up VIPER roadblocks all over the country with this as part of a justification for doing so. They have said they plan to increase the number of these roadblocks.

    Global carbon cops?

    It would explain the need for them to buy 800 million plus rounds of ammo and who knows how many bullet resistant check-point sheds, complete with stop and go lights.

    After all, global warming is a serious national security risk. Just ask People such as Al Gore, he’ll say the oceans will rise and wipe out cities. He wants to be on the cutting edge, that must be why he bought a beach front house on the California coastline?

    It’s about moving us out, so they can move in? So-to-say.

    … Just thinking out loud.

    • Don
      April 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      Clark, on a side note about those VIPER roadblocks you mentioned… now that our administration has just ordered about 750,000,000 rounds of ammo: for DHS, ICE, and the Dept of Agriculture (WTF?), they just recently ordered a large order of small checkpoint guard shacks (like the kind you see at gated community entrances) – except these are all manufactured as “bullet resistant”!

  29. RichB
    April 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Yes, Eric, just admiring my beast made on your side of the water is a large part of the satisfaction of owning it. I love driving it too of course, but those old Detroit motors of the fifties and sixties were styled. Some people don’t like the look of the excessive fins and chrome but there’s no denying that the cars did have style. That was the whole point of GM’s art and colour department. Good advice. Go on James, you will feel much better.

  30. jesse bogan
    April 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    They just tried this in the Peoples Paradise of Maryland. They wanted to roll the 20 year “historic” designation back to 25 years, and they wanted to mandate having “historic” insurance,( No classic car insurance w/o a garage as far as I know) and no “pleasure driving”. The classic car community rallied big time, and the state “rulers” had to back down, and the bills died in comittee. One person received a response from the bills sponsor that tried to explain that the number of “historic” vehicles in Md has risen from 60K to 100K in the last 3 years. I sent the DMV an email asking for the total number of registered vehicles in the state and never received an answer. I am SURE that 100K is nothing more than a blip. I make my living from the classic car business, and I for one would really not be amused by such legislation. I made that fact plain in my response. I am tired of compromising with the leftist control freaks. Fvck ‘em. When they outlaw old cars….

    • Scott
      April 6, 2012 at 5:05 am

      “When they outlaw old cars….”

      Only outlaws will drive old cars…

    • BrentP
      April 6, 2012 at 6:55 am

      What is amusing is that the increase in numbers means to this political office holder that people are by default abusing the system some how. No real evidence. Just that because there are more. Why are there more in the last three years? Because it’s a recession and people who carried regular passenger plates on their older cars they don’t drive everyday were looking to save a couple bucks. No big abuses… just more cars that sit in garages having antique plates.

      • April 6, 2012 at 9:46 am

        “No big abuses… just more cars that sit in garages having antique plates.”

        And thus, less revenue for the state. At least, in my state – and I assume others, too. Antique tags are perpetual – no annual renewal fee. Saves hundreds in fees after just a couple of years. No state inspection – save you another $15 a year. Or, looked at from their perspective, the antique tags are costing the state “revenue.”

        That’s the real reason for the complaining.

        • April 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

          In Georgia, the antique plate cost $85 a year MORE than a regular plate.

          But in most southern states other than the seatbealt laws foisted on the states by the imperial fedgov, and agreed to by the spineless states, they elected elite pretty much leave us alone vehiclewise.

          I installed a backup camera on my worktruck, makes hooking up to trailers,(which I do about 4 times a week) much much faster since I’m always at a jobsite alone and with the camera I can line it up just right in one shot.

          • April 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm

            $85 a year – every year?

            Gawd! That’s almost $1,000 over 10 years just for the %^#@@ plates!

    • BB
      April 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      In California the car age use to roll with the years, 30 years or older. But they then changed it to 1976 or earlier and there are all sorts of incentives to get you to get rid of your older cars.

      • Scott
        April 7, 2012 at 12:35 am

        Yep, I just got screwed by that one. My 928 turned 27 this year. I was really looking forward to that…

    • Dave
      April 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      If we are lucky, then no more legislation like this comes out of Annapolis until the current left-wing governor is gone. We might get a break for a while if a more moderate one gets in to buffer the overwhelmingly dem state legislature.
      Maryland state government in general is so left wing liberal now it is frightening.

  31. mikehell
    April 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    It’s been years since I’ve entertained any interest in car repair. But last month I bought a little ’94 toyota pickup that must have the last of the simple engines (the 22R-E) that Toyota produced. Pretty quickly I downloaded the mechanics manual for this generation of pickup, not Chilton’s or similar, but the actual manual that is consulted at the shop. Looking through it I can see that anyone with a little time, patience, and just a few special tools can perform a considerable percentage of repairs and maintenance procedures that are normally encountered. Liberating? You bet, and perhaps even entertaining and rewarding.

    And while I’m thinking about it, if any of y’all are good with a wrench and have some business sense, I think there’s a decent demand for small trucks of this era, ones that are fixable under a shade tree and get good MPG. Buy up a few for cheap, get them running and maybe make some cosmetic repairs, and I’m pretty sure you’ll sell. In other words, it’s a niche market that an enterprising person can profit from. During my search for a little truck I didn’t come across anyone doing this.

    • Charlie
      April 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      I have been thinking the same thing for my retirement business, entertainment, recreation or whatever you like to call it. Just buying old trucks and getting them in decent shape for sale. Where I live in western Tennessee there are lots of older vehicles still on the road and many of them are old trucks that are still in pretty good shape. The smaller trucks (Toyota, Datsun or Nissan) would be good stock. I bought a 1973 Datsun Lil-Hustler in 1979. It was the best vehicle that I have ever owned as far as maintenance goes. It had 140,000 mile on it and I did a good overhaul (Not because it needed it but just to put it in good shape) replaced the stock carburetor with a Weber and installed some old Volkswagen bucket seats. When I finally sold it with 384,000 miles it was still running strong but the body was beginning to rust around the fender seems. I’d like to have another one but they are scarce as hen’s teeth.

    • Kevin Cederquist
      April 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      Mr Mike, I too love old Toyota P/U and would like to download the mechanics manual, where did you go or what website provided this? I have had several pre 94 toys and wish I had them today, I am currently looking for a pre 94 p/u myself, the ones I have found around here are pretty beat up, but I know I will find a respectable one soon. Respectable enough to want to put the time, money and skill into to restore it enough to make it a daily driver. Thank you!

    • April 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      look at our website,www.bd2thbn.com and tell me what you think.thank you

  32. will
    April 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Getting an older vehicle is very good advice.
    I did something similar when I bought an ’89 MR2 (supercharged), it is electronically controlled but compared to today’s systems it quite rudimentary. I spent a year pulled the motor and replaced almost everything mechanically and even though it isn’t a tire-roaster it moves quite well and will be even better once everything is broken back in and the new suspension settles.
    Not having all those unnecessary devices is very liberating and it is quite troubling that it could be forcibly moth-balled by govt decree.

  33. Chris
    April 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I seem to remember in ST III when Scotty disabled the Excelsior’s transwarp drive and then told McCoy that, “The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.”

    These monitoring systems are awfully overthought plumbing, don’t you agree?

  34. James
    April 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    This article makes me want to purchase a pre-safety era car, just on principle. I’ve owned (and sold) two such vehicles, actually, because my motorcycle habit keeps winning in the Great Accounting Wars. Purchasing another little sports car wouldn’t sit well with my finance manager. :(

    • April 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm

      Do it – it’ll make you feel much better!

      I sometimes just sit in my garage admiring my old Trans-Am, which sits next to my five bikes (three of which are antiques).

      • Paul Repstock
        April 6, 2012 at 4:17 am

        Or don’t…”Do it”.
        In the current political climate, all that would be required to ground your old car, is some bureaucrats signature on a regulation stipulating that cars beyond a certain age are dangerous….(Metal fatigue, polution, poor saftey features, you name it). Mission accomplished. The government really doesn’t care if yu personally drive.

        • BrentP
          April 6, 2012 at 7:25 am

          The attempts to eliminate old cars have been on going since the 1980s. There was maybe still is a regular column in hemmings on the attacks on old cars. That’s how bad it was at one time.

          Ever wonder why hollywood destroys so many old cars? Sure most of them are dressed up beaters (but that’s the raw material), but why do they pick pre 1982 cars? Certainly they could find an early 90s worn out BMW to use. Well back in the early 90s I read that they get pollution credits which they can sell to utility companies etc by destroying pre 82 cars. I can’t find a reference online to this. So the law may not exist any longer, but it seems like it does.

          • April 6, 2012 at 9:37 am

            Yeah…

            Much as I enjoyed The Dukes of Hazzard, that one show was responsible for destroying literally hundreds of ’69 Dodge Chargers….

        • April 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

          Exactly – it’s a sword of Damocles hanging over the head of every old car owner. The precedent (and thus, the principle) is well-established already. Why wouldn’t the same arguments successfully used to outlaw, say, fireworks that explode or fly, be used against “dangerous” old cars? The only thing that has prevented this from happening is the large and motivated old car hobby itself. When a “bill” pops up, they rouse themselves to action and – usually – kill it in its crib.

          But one of these days….

          • Olaf Koenders
            December 16, 2012 at 6:35 am

            In Oz they outlawed fireworks back in the late ’80’s because kids did stupid shit with ‘em in the name of saaaaaffff-tee- except in the state of Canberra- where the pollies live!

            About the above story tho: “It is possible to make driving any faster than whatever the speed limit is impossible simply by sending a set of instructions to your car’s computer.

            It’s been my argument for years that if they were SO damn concerned about safety like they constantly lament, then every speed limit sign would have a transponder making speeding impossible.

            The fact they haven’t yet means they never will because they’ll lose revenue ($1bn annually in Oz). You’ll just have a fine waiting for you when you get home, or worse, have the money deducted from a tollway account automagically.

            I really shouldn’t be giving them ideas..

            • December 16, 2012 at 9:39 am

              In many U.S. states, including mine, it is illegal to buy (and possess) any firework that explodes or flies – which means, why bother?

              Besides – what’s the celebrate?

              For me, the 4th of July is a sad anniversary. I lament the death of liberty every year on that date.

        • spiritsplice
          April 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm

          This has been the case in Japan for decades. Also look for “double insurance” (in which the car and the driver have to both insured separately) and “dual fault” in ALL accidents. Insurance companies in Japan assume fault of *both* parties in an accident (yes, even if you parked and get rear ended) and then fight over the percentage each will pay (50-50, 90-10, etc). This is because in Japan, it takes a year of training and about $5000 to get a driver license. Therefore, all drivers are considered “experts” and if you get in an accident as an expert, you must be at fault.

          Oh, and they also make you register your parking spot (yes even the one at your home and yes, for a fee) every year.

          • MoT
            April 7, 2012 at 1:37 am

            I lived in Japan for nearly four years and the one thing I observed was that the automobile “tax and safety” was merely a cloaked assault on ownership and also a means to provide steady profit to the manufacturers. I never owned a vehicle there because of their onerous and overbearing taxes and regulations. Especially when even if you happen to use their so-called highway system you’re faced with tolls every step of the way. It’s obscene.

          • dom
            April 7, 2012 at 1:42 am

            MoT you ain’t joking. I lived there for nine years and my wife is Japanese. The police actually go to your home or where you live and inspect your parking space when you decide you are buying a car. Shaken aka Japanese car insurance (basically a state inspection) is freaking over a grand a pop too!

          • Chris
            April 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm

            So in the Japanese view, the Expert Driver is at fault because, what, he “allowed” the crash to occur?

            Whereas in America, the Expert Driver might be looked at as too skilled to have caused the crash?

            Sounds like that bit from The Simpsons: “In America, you reward intelligence. In Japan, we punish ignorance.”

          • MoT
            April 8, 2012 at 4:47 am

            @dom. My wife is Japanese as well and we just had our 23rd anniversary. How time flies! But back on topic… Shaken was the most criminal thing I’d ever seen (at least it was when I was there back in the late 80’s) and resulted in scads of vehicles being sold overseas to the East Bloc and Russians. These were perfectly functional and near mint vehicles that juuuuussst didn’t quite pass the ridiculous governmental inspections. If you ever saw them do one of these at the garage you’ll see where they even paint bolts to indicate they were inspected. It was so crazy! Then you have you K class which is nothing but a motorcycle engine tucked inside a death cage. But since you rarely ever get above 30mph the thing to watch out for are always the truckers because they don’t seem to give a damn and YOU’D better keep your eyes open. Of course the absurdity really hits home when you see Japanese cops driving their cruiser and they’re wearing what look like helmets WHILE DRIVING!!! Oy Vey!

          • Chris
            April 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm

            I just recently read about how the Japanese, at least in urban areas, are sort of giving up on car ownership as a cultural artifact. And the Japanese Big Three are concerned about it.

            No kidding. What do you expect after generations of shaken, sky-high fees for every imaginable aspect of ownership, mandatory proof-of-parking-space to even BUY a car and outrageous highway tolls, coupled with the fact that public transportation is actually a viable option and a culture that strongly distrusts personal freedom?

            Of course people are going to stop wanting to own cars. It just makes economic sense to them.

    • James
      April 7, 2012 at 2:14 am

      I have the best of both worlds – a 2000 Crown Victoria. New enough to have a modern, fuel injected, computer-controlled powertrain, but old enough that it never had any of the tracking/spying/controlling nonsense so prevalent on today’s vehicles.

      It’s still in very good shape – still shines, even – not a single dent or ding anywhere. I’ve upgraded the ECU to one from a decommissioned cop car of the same year, improving performance and ridding me of the 106MPH governor.

      Not to mention that, during or after whatever SHTF scenario may or may not unfold on us, I’ll be able to scrounge parts for that car in literally every single city, town, village and hamlet in North America.

      Next on the list: a Ford F-150 or maybe even Ranger of the same era.

      • April 7, 2012 at 10:03 am

        Hey James,

        Big fan of the Vic here. Any big RWD boat makes me smile… I still kick myself when I think about the one-owner ’75 Caddy Fleetwood I could have bought three years ago for $3,200.

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