Say goodbye to all those beautiful classic cars for which California is known. This almost makes me want to cry after seeing a '57 and '56 Bel Aire convertible, two '57 Tbirds and assorted hot rods this weekend.In California, home of the strictest car emissions regulations in the U.S., cars produced before 1976 do not need to undergo smog testing. California State Senator Dean Florez has proposed legislation that would remove that exemption for cars registered in the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District.
What would that mean if it were passed into law? It would mean that as of January 1, 2009, any car registered in a rather large swathe of central California -- from the 1974 Maverick to the 1929 Model A -- would need to pass every current and future smog test. If it didn't, it couldn't be driven.
It is theorized that the move comes because state authorities have missed their air quality goals and are now looking at targeting a tiny fraction of cars. Living in LA, we can't speak for Central California, but most of the pre-1976 vehicles we see here sound and run better than the glut of 80's Toyotas puttering down the streets. What vintage car owners fear is that if the legislation becomes law in the San Joaquin Valley, then it's only a matter of time before it gets adopted everywhere.