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Will a “Green Deal” Make Your Classic a Dinosaur?

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Who doesn’t like the roar of a GM 396, Ford 427, or the purr of a 426 HEMI engine? I know, it’s music to my ears. But it appears that sweet sound is like fingernails on a chalkboard to other people’s ears. There’s a group of people that want to make these roars of horsepower become the next fossil along with the dinosaurs. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you more than likely have heard rumblings on the news of the Freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or AOC and her “Green New Deal.” The bill not only wants the the US to be run on 100% renewable energy, but goes as far as calling for the elimination of the internal combustion engine, no air travel, and even controlling farting cows with an unimaginable estimate of 7 trillion dollars. Total elimination of fossil fuels! Even in my own state, Minnesota, DFL Jamie Long introduced HF700 that wants to make MN 80% renewable energy by 2035 and 100% by 2050!

Now “saving the environment” isn’t a new thing. When I was in 5th grade, in the 1970’s, I was big into science - I still am. Back then it was all about saving trees and paper use. Not only was this the time that I received an education into other’s viewpoints, but it was also the time of one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. My dad was talking to some guys and one of them had a t-shirt on with a “funny quotation” on it. I thought it was a good time voice my viewpoint on the assumed statement of the t-shirt. I didn’t understand the true meaning of the guy’s t-shirt at the salvage yard with an image of a tree and a, let’s say, a wood eatin’ varmint… I’m not saying any more, but it was a long ride home in the truck, with Dad’s blunt explanation and telling me to know my issues. I learned my lesson fast that day, that I fully didn’t understand everything the world had to offer.

That embarrassing moment lead me to look at various viewpoints. But seriously, this legislation goes WAY too far. I’m all for a happy mix of green energy and oil, but don’t go forcing this onto everyone without options. The internal combustion engine was patented in 1876 and changed the world forever. Its development made possible the advancement of: the automobile; manufacturing; defense; commerce; travel and more. The automobile lead to many social revolutions and allowed the common man to expand his travels further than any horse allowed. The internal combustion engine’s history created millions of jobs and the hobby that we all love so much.

Automobiles are also a status symbol and a reflection of the individual who owns them. Can you imagine Elvis without a Pink Cadillac? How about Smokey and the Bandit without the Trans Am? Animal House without the Lincoln Continental “Cake of Destruction?” I didn’t think so! Insurance companies already tell us that we can drive our classics only 2500 miles per year. Numerous emission standards have made it difficult for our classics to comply. It seems that classic cars are being thought of as a part of the “old energy” past by certain groups. They should be revered as icons of progress.

I called my MN legislature and got the response, “We don’t care about those old cars. They pollute the environment.” Well, that just made my hair stand on end. This reminded me of 2009, where the federal government had the “Cash for Clunkers Program” to get people to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles as well as stimulate sluggish vehicle sales-post recession. Our family owns Nordstrom’s Auto Recyclers in Garretson, SD and was a participating yard in the program. Nordstrom’s received the trades or clunkers from area dealers. Over 1700 vehicles were driven to the yard and destroyed. Dishwashing soap was put in the motors to seize them and make them inoperable. Many square body Chevrolets, F150 Fords, Monte Carlos, Cutlasses, and more fell to this program. There were thousands of good cars meeting their demise across the United States. My brother hated the program because ALL had to be crushed. He donated the money to feeding the homeless in our area. It also created a shortage of certain parts and increased used cars prices.

Electric vehicles have been around since 1832 with the invention of an electric carriage by Robert Anderson. Tesla and others have been working to develop electric vehicles hoping consumers will actually enjoy driving them. There’s one problem though, there is no joy in driving them. The styling and lack of soul has been engineered for a group of the population that feels a car is just a tool to go from point A to point B, and in the end, quite disposable.

A the same time, the Big 3 have been working to bring back the joy of driving and the future of collector cars with the Challenger, Demon, Camaro, Mustang, and others. What will the future hold for these cars if legislation is dictated by the “100% Green” mindset?

Tesla has made some wonderful electric cars, but even the electric cars have their faults and do not seem to play nice with Mother nature. The Star Tribune noted that during the recent record cold of the "Polar Vortex" that settled over the Midwest, that Tesla drivers noted a 40% decrease in driving distance due to the cold temperatures draining the car's batteries. The distances between charges were not that far to begin with. Subtract 40% of their capacity and...that’s not very far! At the same time I jumped in my 2019 GMC Duramax and it drove off easily, with lots of power, to ice fish many miles away in Northern MN.

Another question needs addressing as well. I live in a farming community. Do these mandates take into account such communities? Times are already hard for folks in these areas. Are we to replace all the semis and tractors with new machines with expensive batteries? Is the charge time and limited distance capacity taken into account? I don’t know. But I do know, everyone should pay attention and not sit by the sidelines. Call your legislatures, write letters, and let your voice be known. Like I said, I don’t mind a happy mix of "Green Energy" with traditional energy sources, but I don’t want to be forced to park my dream cars, or worse yet, have them merely a static display of days gone by. I also don’t want to lose my pulling power of my Duramax. To me, a vehicle is not just a tool for going from point A to point B. I love to drive! I know you do too.

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Yvette VanDerBrink- The Salvage Princess
The Lil’ Nordstrom’s Gal
VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC

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