Retro Motors USA Blog

Many of us traditionally set new goals around this time of year, and one of my New Year's Resolutions is to spend more time behind the windshield! My goal of attending the annual Turkey Rod Run in November seems doable, given that I have to swap bodies on my '68 Ford before this can happen.

Inspiration for this came in the form of a few articles recently in Hemmings Motor News - the first is about "the mother road" turning 90 this year, the other about great alternates to Route 66 that provide a similar glimpse into life before the inter webs... or the interstate for that matter.

This happened at the same time as I was planning my annual New Year's "Revolution". Permit me to also share the tool that I use for this, as it differs from the typical goal setting advice I'd heard in the past. Though the last two years this method has served me well.

Follow the links here, then come back and comment about your plans to get behind the windscreen in 2016. Going to more car shows? Hitting the track? Participating in Hot Rod's Drag Week? How are you planning to have more Fun on Wheels in the year ahead?

Route 66 Turns 90: http://bit.ly/1OMtEVE | Route 66 Alternates: http://bit.ly/1mBQsv9 | Goal Setting: http://bit.ly/1VIkw3R

We believe that every American has the right to drive a cooler car and with the passage of H.R. 2675, it just became a little easier. This bill exempts small manufacturers from the onerous requirements of the National Highway Traffic Safety Association for items not typically found on classic cars, like five mph impact-resistant bumpers. Ugh!

And so it is with much rejoicing that we learn that the language of H.R. 2675 (a bill sponsored by SEMA) was incorporated into a larger bill funding highway construction, which has subsequently been signed into law by the President. Cooler cars AND the roads to drive them on! Only in America! Some highlights:

  • Low volume manufacturers now have the option of selling up to 325 replica vehicles in the U.S. each year.
  • A replica is a vehicle that resembles the body of another motor vehicle produced at least 25 years ago (ex: ’32 Roadster, ’65 Cobra, etc.).
  • Previously, companies were unable to sell turn-key cars since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulated these vehicles as if they were current model year vehicles, not vintage cars.
  • The new law treats these replicas the same as kit cars, subject to certain equipment standards (lighting, tires, windshields, brake hoses, etc.), recalls and remedies but not vehicle standards (roof crush, side impact, etc.).
  • Enthusiasts still have the option of building replicas and specialty constructed vehicles from kits.
  • Vehicles produced by the companies will have a current model year engine package certified by the EPA or California Air Resources Board and are exempt from emissions testing.
  • NHTSA and the EPA have one year to issue regulations to implement the new program. SEMA will work with these agencies to speed the process, which should take effect in early 2017.

Congrats to all of the Manufacturers, Builders and ultimately the Buyers of these vehicles. And thanks to SAN - the SEMA Action Network for their hard work in getting this law passed. Learn more here: http://www.semasan.com

Five Million of anything is a lot. When that number represents weekly viewership for a premium-tier cable network it borders on phenomenal, yet serves as testament to the growing popularity of classic and custom cars. From the article on the SEMA website:

"Beginning Monday, November 2, and continuing through Friday, November 6, Velocity’s week-long primetime event reached an audience of 4.7 million people—the network’s second best week of 2015 in both primetime delivery and in ratings across key target demographics." You can view the complete article at SEMA.org

Whether your interest is in automobiles or media, this is an impressive feat. If you are interested in both as we are, it is pretty damn cool. Here's to seeing more quality automotive programming in the years to come!

Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, WI was my favorite client before moving to Florida. I handled radio adverts and promos for Broadway Bob back in the early nineties.

Drag Racing has been and continues to be my favorite form of motorsport.

Hot Rod magazine has been one of my favorite magazines since my youth; for better or worse, much of my writing style has been honed by studying their pages over the years.

So imagine my joy when Hot Rod brought their infamous Drag Week event to "Da Grove" this summer. Only my overlong commute kept me away, but I was able to catch the action on the inter webs, and you can, too.

For those unaware, Drag Week is one part road trip, one part drag racing series and one part tribal rite of passage. Participants compete at 5 different drag strips over five consecutive days, covering the 1500 mile round trip in the cars they are racing. This transcends impressive and barrels headlong into ludicrous when you learn some of these drivers cover the quarter mile in under seven seconds, running over 200 miles per hour! Yikes!

This event is on our bucket list, and when you check out the video on YouTube you'll understand why. 

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