old cars and lawmakers

July 30, 2006

I finally got the new computer up and I’m getting ready to go to my volunteer post at the Bix Fest. I can tell when it’s time because it’s on the hottest day. Anyway here’s an article from this month’s SEMA newsletter that I thought was interesting. While Iowa isn’t mentioned, Illinois is.

Old Cars Get New Life
States Line Up to Pass Pro-Hobby Antique Legislation

Lawmakers across the country are again showing their support for the antique automobile hobby by enacting new laws to reduce the burden of owning and registering these vintage vehicles. These measures, which range from one-time registration fees to expanding existing “limited use” restrictions, further on-going efforts to highlight the importance and historic significance of the antique auto hobby.

“Legislators everywhere continue to recognize the immeasurable amount of time, money and effort automotive hobbyists invest in their cars. These new laws represent a continued commitment to the hobby,” said Steve McDonald, SEMA vice president of government affairs. “These SAN-supported initiatives not only encourage increased participation in the auto hobby but also will ensure that the hobby will be enjoyed by future generations.”

One such measure in South Carolina to provide an exemption from property taxes for motor vehicles licensed and registered as antiques was signed into law by Governor Mark Sanford. The new law defines an “antique” as every motor vehicle which is “over 25-years old, is owned solely as a collector’s item and is used for participation in club activities, exhibits, tours, parades and similar uses, but in no event used for general transportation.”

Another initiative to provide for a one-time registration fee of $50 for vehicles at least 60 years old was passed by the Maryland State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Bob Ehrlich. Under the measure, the one-time registration is not transferable to a subsequent owner.

Pro-hobby legislation has also been enacted in West Virginia through a measure that would amend the state’s current law governing antique motor vehicles to permit their use on Friday evenings. Under the previous West Virginia law, use of antique vehicles was strictly limited to club activities, exhibits, tours, parades, testing, obtaining repairs and for recreational purposes only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. A similar law was passed in Tennessee which would allow registered antique vehicles to be used for “general transportation purposes” on Saturdays and Sundays.

In another positive move for hobbyists, lawmakers in Kansas decided to extend the state’s antique vehicle provisions to qualifying military vehicles. Signed into law by Governor Kathleen Sebelius, the measure defines an “antique military vehicle” as a vehicle, regardless of the vehicle’s size or weight, which was manufactured for use in any country’s military forces and is maintained to represent its military design. In Kansas, “antique” vehicles must be more than 35-years old, and propelled by a motor using petroleum fuel, steam or electricity or any combination of these three. All antiques are afforded a one-time registration fee of $40.

In addition to seeing these pro-hobby bills signed into law, enthusiasts were also successful in defeating harmful proposals directly targeting antique vehicles.

Enthusiasts in Illinois defeated two measures which would have further restricted the ability of vehicle hobbyists to maintain inoperable vehicles on private property as the bills were not acted upon prior to the adjournment of the legislature. The first bill would have removed historic vehicles over 25 years old from a list exempting them from inoperable vehicle ordinances. While the second bill would have changed the definition of “inoperable motor vehicle” to include those which, for a period of at least 7 days, had the engine, wheels, or other parts removed, altered, or damaged so that the vehicle was incapable of being driven under its own power. The current law allows 6 months as opposed to 7 days.

Hobbyists in West Virginia defeated a harmful measure that would have redefined “abandoned motor vehicles” to include vehicles or vehicle parts which are either unlicensed or inoperable, or both, are not in an enclosed building and have remained on private property for more than 30 days.

Ohio enthusiasts were also successful in stalling consideration of a bill that would further restrict the ability of state vehicle hobbyists from maintaining inoperable vehicles on private property. The bill would have provided authority to townships to remove inoperable vehicles deemed to be “junk,” including collector cars, from private property.

“The SAN is truly grateful to all the car clubs and individual enthusiasts who contacted their elected officials on these important issues,” said Jason Tolleson, director of the SEMA Action Network. “Their tireless efforts reflect the continued commitment to preserve the antique auto hobby.”

For more information on these and other legislative proposals, visit Sema

computer gremlins

July 30, 2006

Due to circumstances beyond my control I’ve been without a computer since my last post. I thought it was the power supply, but the whole computer fried. I now have a new one and should be ok for a while. If anyone emailed me and hasn’t recieved a reply please give me a little time to get the bugs worked out of my new system.

I haven’t had time to check the other blogs so I won’t comment on recent events until I do as I don’t care for repetition.

Lenox Industrial Tool 300

July 17, 2006

The Lenox Industrial Tool 300 at the New Hampshire track was something to watch. Hamlin and Sadler ran out of gas, maybe due to overtime laps. Stewart and Newman tangled again. Stewart also gave a cool million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and encouraged others to do so also. Waltrip hit somebody during a caution, Earnhardt Jr. blew a motor.

I finally figured out why I really like to watch these races. It’s the same as going to city council meetings. A group of people who are supposed to be professionals act like children, throw fits, blame it on everyone else, and in the end act like they should be respected. When Jeff Gordon got booed during driver introductions, it spoke volumes on how fans are liking this new attitude. Drivers like Mark Martin, and others, lead by example. These other guys could learn a lot if they really wanted to, but that might make the race a little boring. If you want to know more about points standings or whatever go to Nascar.com

Ethanol class

July 16, 2006

With it being so hot outside I figured it would be a good time to find out a little more about ethanol.
Alcohol fuels are usually of biological rather than petroleum sources. When obtained from biological sources, they are sometimes known as bioalcohols (e.g. bioethanol). It is important to note that there is no chemical difference between biologically produced alcohols and that obtained from other sources.

Bioalcohols are not used in most industrial processes, as alcohols derived from petroleum are usually cheaper. Many economists argue that this fact illustrates the economic infeasibility of using bioalcohol as a petroleum substitute and argue that government programs that mandate the use of bioalcohol are simply agricultural subsidies.

Recent “full up” energy analyses have shown that there is a net energy loss for use of bioalcohols. Use of more optimized crops, elimination of pesticides and fertilizers based on petroleum, and a more rigorous accounting process will help improve the feasibility of bioalcohols as fuels.

Ethanol and methanol both have advantages and disadvantages over fossil fuels, such as petrol and diesel. For instance, ethanol can run at a much higher compression ratio without octane-boosting additives (its octane rating is 129 as opposed to approximately 91 for ordinary petrol). It burns more completely because ethanol molecules contain oxygen; carbon monoxide emissions can be 80-90% lower than for fossil-fuelled engines[citation needed].

However, ethanol is corrosive and has 37% less energy per litre than petrol. Methanol is even more corrosive and its energy per liter is 55% lower than that of petrol. High compression ratios and corrosion-resistant materials can overcome these issues, but require extensive engine modification.

Methanol has also been proposed as a fuel of the future. There has been extensive use of methanol fuel in Funny Cars for years, and it has been the fuel of Indy car racing in North America since 1965.

From Wikipedia.

Weekend stuff

July 15, 2006

Saturday, July 15, the River Valley Classics car club will host a cruise-in from 6 p.m. until everybody leaves. This is held in the northeast parking lot behind Sears. It’s a neat event that usually draws 300-400 cars and there’s a live band. The cost is usually $2.

Saturday, July 15
Walcott Day Car Show
Wescott Park, Walcott Iowa. 8:30-4 pm.
Call Diane at 563-284-9037.

Saturday July 22, the Quad Cities Cruisers are hosting a cruise-in at Maid-Rite in Bettendorf from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., this is a free event. Lot’s of cars and Maid-Rite shakes.

Ethanol lies

July 12, 2006

It’s known I’m not a fan of ethanol; it burns hotter so in older engines you need to install hardened exhaust valves and seats, it draws more moisture so in older cars in ruins gas tanks, it doesn’t burn as efficiently as other fuels could, and it’s just not as environmentally friendly as people would like us to think. From a story in toeays QC Times I’ll use a couple quotes-

“If every acre of corn were used for ethanol, it would replace only 12.3 percent of the gasoline used in this country, Hill’s study said, adding that the energy gains of corn-produced ethanol are only modest and the environmental impacts significant.” That means that even if we left no corn for food it would only be a 12% gain.

“Compared with gasoline, it produces 12 percent less “greenhouse” gasses linked to global warming, according to the study. But the researchers also said it has environmental drawbacks, including “markedly greater” releases of nitrogen, phosphorous and pesticides into waterways as runoff from corn fields. Ethanol, especially at higher concentrations in gasoline, also produce more smog-causing pollutants than gasoline per unit of energy burned, the researchers said.” So although it makes less greenhouse gas, the drawbacks are obvious. Why not just drill in Alaska, uncap all known wells for production and stop this ethanol nonsense.

To read the story go here.

Jeff Gordon win

July 10, 2006

Sunday’s Nascar race at Chicago Speedway was a great race until it came down to 4 laps to go. When Jeff Gordon hit and spun Matt Kenseth to take the lead I walked away. Being competitve is one thing but I have always felt if you want to claim victory, be the best. By hitting Kenseth’s car Gordon proved to me he wasn’t a better racer, just a greedier one. He couldn’t win the race without taking out the leader. If he really was a better driver with a faster car he could have drove around Kenseth instead of ramming him like he did. I feel Nascar was not severe enough with the penalties against Gordon and should have came down harder on him. For more on the story go here.

Weekend wanderings

July 9, 2006

Over the weekend we attended 3 car displays out of 4 and were impressed with the turn out at all of them. Friday we went to the Dick N Sons cruise-in in Blue Grass. I’ve always liked this one because it’s usually a smaller event. I like cruises better too because they’re more relaxed than a car show. Saturday morning we went to the car display at the Village of East Davenport. This thing seems to get better every year. Even if you’re not really a fan of classic cars or hot rods just to walk around, work up a sweat, and end up at Largomarcino’s makes it a fun time. The diversity of the cars, and trucks, is always something to see. Then Saturday afternoon we went to Eldridge for the cruise-in out there. With the carnival right next to the cars it was like one big party. There where alot more cars than in previous years it seemed to me. We spotted everything from Volkswagens to blown coupes, to a really nice 58 Caddy. At each of these events there where no spectator fees. I don’t know too many places with free admission that are more fun.

car events and local things

July 8, 2006

A car display will be held in the Village of East Davenport today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a cruise-in will be held tonight from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Southpark by Dillard’s. Also tonight in Eldridge a cruis-in will be held from 5 p.m. to midnight.

A nuisance abatement has been enacted on a rental property on West 15th. It has been a long time since I have heard of one. This must be a combination of out of town landlord and terrible tennants against the neighborhood. I’m glad to see the neighborhood won for a change. It seems neighbors who are unhappy with rental situations have few recourses. Couple that with a landlord with an attitude and things get trickier. If these absentee landlords would just remember that their tennants are guests in our neighborhoods things could go smoother.

The special election for 4 year terms on the city council is fast approaching. I am against this idea, will vote so, and will not be a happy camper if this passes. I believe it will just give some council members a reason to become more asinine than they already are. If you want my vote, earn it.

Moonshine runners

July 5, 2006

Happy 4th of July. I’ve been busy remodeling a house with my son and old Murphy was with us again. I’m refering to Murphy’s law of course. Since we took the afternoon off I did some thinking about American traditions. One that came to mind is moonshine. I believe moonshine and runners to be a solely American phenomenon. Whiskey runners were the first stock car drivers and the start of Nascar. One of the most famous of these drivers is Junior Johnson. For a story on these men and their tactics go to the story.