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Block the next 'Clunker Law'

Old Cars Weekly readers are aware of how much Ron and I enjoy traipsing through salvage yards (if there’s any question regarding Ron’s dedication to the sport, check out what he did during his fall vacation on page 12 of this issue). There’s nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning, loading up the toolbox, throwing some sandwiches in the car and going out to meet the cool metal in a favorite salvage yard early in the morning. I have three local favorites: Gibson’s, a salvage yard in Appleton, Wis., with many 1980s cars from which I gather Caprice parts (and an occasional old Cadillac part); Zeb’s in Tigerton, Wis., for 1950s car parts; and when I’m in the St. Paul, Minn., area, I usually try to make a run to French Lake Auto Parts where I find parts for all my big cars and other vehicles I wish I owned. Without these yards, I wouldn’t be able to keep my fleet afloat.

My own interests in salvage yards are just one reason “clunker laws” really strip my threads. And now, several years later, we’re in imminent danger of another “cash for clunkers” program. According to the SEMA Action Network, lawmakers are expected to incorporate such a program as part of an economic stimulus package by Jan. 6 and have it approved by Congress Jan. 20. Their intention is to reduce the number of used cars and spur new-car sales by issuing credit to owners who turn in their “clunkers.” If this program is undertaken as it was in the past, those used cars that are turned in will immediately become scrap; no one will be allowed to remove parts or save whole cars, even if a desirable or unusually nice car is entered in the program. Recall, it wasn’t that long ago that such cars as Camaros and 1960s and ’70s MoPars were scrapped in California under similar programs.

If you’re as interested in protecting our country’s automotive history as the OCW staff and SEMA, contact House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at 202-225-0100 and your congressman. You can also find more details and contact information on my blog at

What SEMA sent:

Oppose Federal “Cash for Clunkers” Program

Washington lawmakers are drafting a large economic stimulus package to help create jobs and rebuild infrastructure. They want to include a nationwide scrappage program which would give U.S. tax dollars to consumers who turn-in older cars to have them crushed, as a misguided attempt to spur new car sales. The lawmakers need to scrap this idea.

The stimulus package is being drafted right now. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wants to introduce the bill on January 6 and have it approved by Congress by January 20, so that President Obama can sign it into law after he is inaugurated.

Contact House Speaker Nancy Pelosi IMMEDIATELY To Oppose Cash for Clunkers!
Call: 202/225-0100
Click here to send an electronic message:


Talking Points
Oppose the Use of U.S. Taxpayer Dollars for Cash for Clunkers

• I am [calling /writing] to urge lawmakers not to include a “Cash for Clunkers” provision in the economic stimulus bill. Owners who turn in vehicles for crushing would receive a "minimal" payment to purchase a new car. This is a misguided attempt to spur car sales and claim that the country’s air quality or fleet fuel mileage is being improved.
• “Cash for Clunkers” programs threaten enthusiasts nationwide with the loss of valuable parts and parts-cars for repair, restoration, and customization projects. The programs also risk destroying classic, historic and special-interest vehicles, our American heritage.
• Cars turned in for scrappage often barely run, or are rarely-driven second or third vehicles that have a minimal impact on overall fuel economy or emissions.
• “Cash for Clunkers” programs will reduce the availability of affordable transportation and repair parts used by low-income drivers. It will also compete with the Salvation Army, the Purple Heart and other charities that rely on vehicle donations to raise money.
• “Cash for Clunkers” ignores better policy options. If Congress wants to act, support for repair and upgrade is a better choice and a win-win for consumers, dealers, manufacturers and repair shops. Significant emissions and fuel economy improvements can be achieved in older vehicles through relatively simple and inexpensive means: repaired/replaced exhaust systems, tune-ups, etc.

• We hope we can count on you to reject “Cash for Clunkers.” Thank you for your consideration on this very important matter.
Please send a quick note and/or a copy of your message to Speaker Pelosi to:
Fax: 202/783-6024

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