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"The Relay" Online Newsletter
June 2020 Issue

This is the monthly online newsletter for the car club council. All car hobbyist events are listed on this site under "Calendar." Just click on the link above to view the list of car shows and other activities.

President's Message

Just when I think I’ve heard of all the ways to tax vehicles there comes a new one. I got an email from a person who owns a 1995 car in a nearby county. The county said the car was only worth a few hundred dollars in 2019 because it was just an old car. But in 2020 that car was now 25 years old and a “classic”. So using a price guide the county determined that this used 24 year old car was no longer a $500 heap but now a classic worth several thousand dollars along with a much larger tax bill. What happened? State law says that localities can exempt vehicles from property tax under certain conditions one of which is it is registered as an antique. This car was not registered as an antique so the county took advantage of that and jacked the assessment thereby increasing the tax. The solution is of course to register the car as an antique. I live in Chesterfield where the county has wisely decided to not assess and tax any vehicle 25+ years old regardless of how it is registered. Which works for me because I have a 1985 work truck that looks like it has been worked. If I lived in that other county this beat up work truck would be a “classic” and worth several thousand dollars which of course it isn’t. But government doesn’t care about that – it cars about revenue. The antique vehicle law says that antiques are not supposed to be work vehicles and I’m obeying the law by not registering it as an antique – but if I lived in that other county guess what I’d be forced to do – break state law.

This brings us to what the General Assembly and Governor Northam dumped on us this year – plenty of new taxes. There is an article below the Hobbyist News that outlines all the new taxes we have been inflicted with this year and next because when you’re raising taxes why stop with just one year’s worth? Why all the new taxes – that’s easy – new spending. Plus Northam and the Assembly get another shot at us at next year’s session. In addition to the new taxes I thought the state would allow two casinos to be built; now it’s up to five. They need the tax money. This year the Assembly decriminalized marijuana. They are also studying how to legalize it – not because it’s the right thing to do but because they need the tax money.

And what are they doing with all this new tax money? They’re spending it on their pet projects while we need $12 billion to fix the roads and bridges that are in poor condition. Yes, they jacked the gas tax nearly 13 cents a gallon beginning in July but that’s not going to be enough. But those roads and bridges that everyone uses have to take a back seat to those pet projects.

~ Fred

She's still social distancing

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be Monday, August 24th at 6:30 PM at a location to be announced. The meeting info will be posted in the July newsletter. We will discuss our 25th anniversary show that will be on September 26. We will also discuss changes in law that will go into effect on July 1.

New Council Member

Ironguard Solutions LLC has joined the council. The company specializes in certified inspections of antique, classic, muscle, hotrod and specialty vehicles. Thomas Raup performs certified AAG appraisal inspections, vehicle search services, customizations, product distribution, technical enhancements and consulting services and solutions. Visit the website at www.ironguard.com.

Car Hobbyist News

If you check the calendar you will see just about every car event scheduled for June has been cancelled or moved to another date. The good news is large events that attract thousands of car hobbyists like Carlisle, Good Guys and NSRA are planning to hold events in July and August. We can hope that the virus and the lockdown will be long gone by July so we can resume the cruise-ins and shows. There are a couple of events that were scheduled for August that have been cancelled. It is tough getting sponsors of events to commit because the future is uncertain. The media continues to carry the worst case future scenarios for the virus and that scares a lot of people. I will continue to update the calendar so you can check to see what events are still a go. Be sure to check with the contact person to make sure the event’s details have not changed.

Gasoline prices are low compared to previous years. These are the lowest prices during Memorial Day weekend for the past 20 years. Prices are low because there is a lot of gasoline and demand is down. For weeks we’ve been able to go to the grocery stores, Home Depot and Lowes but not much else. Plus the fear of the virus has stopped a lot of travel. Prices are going up in July because the new Virginia gasoline and diesel taxes start kicking in.

In late April the General Assembly met for the nicknamed veto session. During this meeting some of the dates for imposing taxes were moved to a later date. However the 5 cents a gallon new tax on gasoline will still go into effect on July 1. In addition to that tax a regional transportation tax of 7.6 cents per gallon on gasoline and 7.7 cents per gallon on diesel will also be imposed. This means that on July 1 the tax on gasoline will now be 28.8 cents per gallon and 27.9 cents per gallon of diesel. Since everything moves by truck in this country you can expect the price of everything to increase along with you paying more at the pump. The problem is even with the additional tax the amount of money collected may not be enough to fix the roads and bridges. And when gasoline goes up some people will buy less. One thing the governor wants to do is increase the price of gasoline to increase sales of electric vehicles which of course do not pay gasoline or diesel taxes. Make sense? Nope. It would be really nice if the Assembly and the governor could come up with a budget to fix the roads and bridges – there is nothing written anywhere that says only gasoline taxes can be used for fixing the roads.

On October 1 of this year the Central Virginia Transportation Authority will be created. The regional fuel taxes imposed on July 1 are diverted to its control, and an additional 0.7% general sales tax (to 6%) is imposed on that date in: Counties of New Kent, Charles City, Hanover, Henrico, Chesterfield, Powhatan and Goochland, the City of Richmond and Town of Ashland. Yes, your sales tax on all the stuff you buy will go from 5.3% to 6%.

You may have heard about ride share programs such as the one Hagerty runs. These programs allow you to rent a vehicle from an owner. Always wanted to drive some exotic car but can’t afford to buy one – you can rent from a willing owner. This is just like Airbnb where owners rent a cabin, home, or other real estate to people. Well the state has noticed this and beginning on October 1 there will be peer-to-peer vehicle sharing tax similar to the current vehicle rental tax. And yes the people who govern us are looking to tax everything they possibly can tax. There are additional taxes that will be imposed this year and in 2021 that you can see that article just below this one. And the bad news – the Assembly will meet in January 2021 and I’m betting we will see more taxes. One would think that the down turn in the economy due to the virus lockdown would slow the tax roll but it doesn’t look that way.


Taxes Are Going Up

By Stephen D. Haner of the Thomas Jefferson Institute
Spaced Out, Hidden, Here Come the 2020 Tax Hikes

The 2020 General Assembly, with its new progressive Democratic majority, passed nearly two dozen changes in Virginia tax laws that will begin to hit individuals and businesses in a few weeks on July 1. Because of the COVID-19 economic shutdown, a few amendments were made to the implementation schedule during the reconvened session on April 22, but no tax increase was repealed. Most are taxes that will be buried almost invisibly in various transactions, and their phased imposition will also keep many taxpayers from noticing them.

July 1, 2020
The statewide tax on gasoline increases from 16.2 cents per gallon to 21.2 cents per gallon (a 25% increase) and is no longer tied going forward to the rise or fall of wholesale cost.
The 7.6 cents per gallon added regional tax on gasoline, now imposed in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and along the I-81 corridor (see map), becomes a statewide tax. The total gasoline tax, statewide and regional, goes to 28.8 cents per gallon everywhere. That is a 21% increase where the regional tax already existed, and a 78% increase where it did not.

The green areas are regional transportation districts where additional fuel taxes are already being collected, 7.6 cents per gallon on gasoline and 7.7 cents per gallon on diesel. Effective July 1 those regional fuel taxes will be imposed in all the other Virginia localities. In combination with the 5 cent per gallon increase in the statewide gasoline tax, the total tax on fuel goes to 28.8 cents on gasoline and 27.9 cents on diesel.

• The existing 7.7 cents per gallon added diesel fuel tax in those same regions is also expanded statewide. The base statewide diesel fuel tax is already 20.2 cents per gallon and does not change on July 1. So outside of the existing transportation regions, the total 27.9 cents per gallon combined tax represents a 38% increase.
• The state tax on cigarettes rises from $3 to $6 per carton, a 100% increase.
• The state tax on other tobacco products (snuff, pipe tobacco) rises from 10% to 20%, a 100% increase.
• A new tax of 6.6 cents per mililiter is imposed on liquid nicotine products used for vaping.
• Counties without a tax on prepared meals may impose one, unless rejected in a recent referendum. (The county must wait until six years after a failed referendum.) The maximum allowed tax rises from 4 to 6% (a 50% increase), so some existing meals tax rates may rise.
• Counties may impose a local tax on admissions to movies, concerts and other amusements.
• Additional grantor's tax on real estate transactions is imposed in the Hampton Roads Transportation District for transportation uses.
• Higher taxes on public utilities may be imposed to fund operations of the State Corporation Commission (taxes which eventually are passed on to consumers.)
• A tax of $1,200 is imposed on those ubiquitous "games of skill" machines. The Assembly had originally voted to ban them, but the machines were reprieved at the reconvened session and taxed to create a fund for COVID-19 expenses.
• Eight localities are authorized to call referendums on increasing their sales and use taxes an additional 1% to pay for school projects. They are Henry, Charlotte, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Gloucester and Northampton counties, and the City of Danville.

October 1, 2020
The Central Virginia Transportation Authority is created. The regional fuel taxes imposed on July 1 are diverted to its control, and an additional 0.7% general sales tax (to 6%) is imposed on that date in: Counties of New Kent, Charles City, Hanover, Henrico, Chesterfield, Powhatan and Goochland, the City of Richmond and Town of Ashland.
• A peer-to-peer vehicle sharing tax, similar to the current vehicle rental tax, is imposed. Peer-to-peer sharing is like Airbnb for cars.

January 1, 2021
• All localities are authorized to impose a 5-cent tax on plastic bags, by local ordinance.
• Electricity generators begin to pay a carbon tax on emissions from fossil fuel plants, costs which will eventually be passed directly on to consumers. The amount of tax will be set by an auction.
All customers of the major electricity providers (Dominion Virginia Power and Appalachian Power) begin to pay a usage tax on their electric bills to fund the new Percentage of Income Payment Plan, providing subsidized electricity to certain low-income customers. The amount will be set in a State Corporation Commission proceeding.

May 1, 2021
• Any county not yet collecting a transient occupancy tax may do so.
• Existing transient occupancy taxes are raised in the Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia transportation regions for transportation uses, and the existing grantor's tax for transportation is raised in Northern Virginia.

July 1, 2021
The tax on gasoline rises another five cents to 33.8 cents per gallon, another 17% increase.
• The tax on diesel fuel rises another 6.8 cents to 34.7 cents per gallon, another 24% increase.

• Any county without one may impose a local cigarette tax. Existing local tax rates are grandfathered, and new taxes limited to $2 per carton.

July 1, 2022
The statewide taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel begin to rise annually based on the consumer price index.

Stephen D. Haner is Senior Fellow for State and Local Tax Policy at the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.


The Briefs

Glove box it’s not just a clever name. While most of us probably use the dashboard hidey-hole in our cars to hold our vehicle registration and a stash of fast food napkins, early motorists actually used them to house their driving gloves. Though Packard added the compartment to their vehicles in 1900, it was British race car driver Dorothy Levitt who suggested that it was a perfect place for “the dainty motoriste” to keep a pair of gloves, which, at the time, were more about function than fashion (many cars still had open tops and drivers needed to keep their hands warm in order to steer them properly).

Where did the Ferrari prancing horse logo originate? It was the emblem painted on the side of the plane flown by Italy's top World War I fighter ace, Count Francesco Baracca.

The National Weather Service issued a dust advisory on April 27 in eastern Washington after wind gusts of more than 40 mph kicked up a wall of sediment. "We have had reports of blowing dust near Dusty (seriously, near the town of Dusty) on SR 26 and SR 127," the NWS tweeted. According to Fox News, the Washington State Patrol reported that SR 26 was "fully blocked" about 3 miles outside of Dusty after a car and a semi-truck crashed. The highway remained closed for about six hours.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol officers stopped Lance Gordon, 32, on April 24, for speeding in a car belonging to Angela Lee, 47, of Holly Springs, whom Gordon said was an acquaintance. WRAL reported authorities grew suspicious after Holly Springs police were unable to contact Lee to confirm the story, and in a subsequent search of her house and car, investigators found Lee's body in the car's trunk. Gordon was charged with Lee's murder, along with stealing her car.

Early on the morning of April 15, an unidentified driver smashed his yellow Mustang into a fence in unincorporated Marin County, California, KPIX reported. California Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Barclay later recounted what followed: The driver tried to back out of the fence, but failed to realize he was in drive and crashed through a home instead. The homeowner came out to investigate and, noting the driver's impaired state, removed the keys from the Mustang and returned inside to call police. The driver then discovered the keys inside the homeowner's Toyota and tried to make his getaway, Barclay said, but he shifted the car into drive and barreled through the house once more, coming to rest alongside his Mustang. When the homeowner again tried to take the keys away, the driver allegedly hit him repeatedly, causing major injuries. CHP arrested the driver for suspicion of DUI involving drugs, battery and theft of a vehicle.

Civic-minded car designer Kanyaboyina Sudhakar of the Sudha Cars Museum in Bahadurpura, India, has built a one-seat vehicle in the shape of the coronavirus "so that awareness can be spread on social distancing," he told The Times of India on April 8. The six-wheeled Corona Car can go about 25 mph and took Sudhakar 10 days to build. "I have always made cars to give back to the society in my own way," Sudhakar said. "It is important to tell people to stay home and stay safe, and the coronavirus car is meant to convey the message."

A man in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, England, set out to build a deck in his back garden in early April and uncovered a mystery. As John Brayshaw, 40, began digging post holes, he unearthed an automobile buried on its side, Yahoo News UK reported. "I thought it was an old air raid shelter at first, then I saw the roof," Brayshaw said. "Then I kept digging and saw the door, the steering wheel and realized it was a full car, complete with the registration plate. The only thing that was missing was the wheels.” Brayshaw, who has owned the home for about six months, believes the 1955/56 Ford predates the previous owners, who resided in the home 50 years.

Furquan Muhammad, 22, started his very bad encounter with law enforcement on April 11 when he sped off after being pulled over in Monroe County, Georgia, for not having a license tag, authorities said. Georgia State Patrol spokesperson Lt. Stephanie Stallings told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that as the car sped by, troopers saw "there were other passengers in the fleeing vehicle that appeared to be children." The chase went on through four counties, until Muhammad crashed into a state trooper's car, which then caused a chain reaction involving four police vehicles and injured two troopers, according to authorities. Along with Muhammad in the car, deputies said they found four children (ranging in age from 9 weeks to 15 years old), marijuana, Xanax pills, a firearm and $2,000 in cash. Muhammad was arrested on multiple charges.

A trooper from the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) pulled over a white Dodge Journey on Interstate 15, suspecting an impaired driver. Instead, the police officer found five-year-old Adrian Zamarripa from Ogden, Utah behind the wheel. His explanation for his escapade? He flew the coop with the family SUV after an argument with his mom, in which she told him she would not buy him a Lamborghini. He had simply decided to take matters into his own hands, explaining that he was headed to California to buy one himself. Turns out, he may have had some difficulty actually procuring the Lambo once he got to California—he had just $3 in his wallet. The story has sparked an outpouring of support for the five-year-old’s ambitions. Adrians’ family has received multiple offers from Lamborghini owners inviting the young boy to come for a ride-along, this time in the passenger’s seat, and as KUTV reports, Adrian has since gotten the chance to experience what his three bucks and strong will almost netted him earlier this week.

The chuck wagon is the official vehicle of Texas.

61 Corvair

11 Checks To Make Before Your First Springtime Drive

From Hagerty
When you finally can go to a cruise or show:

If you’re reading this, you almost certainly have a non-daily-driven enthusiast car somewhere in a locked garage. Coronavirus notwithstanding, it’s time to unlock the door, let that puppy out, fire it up, and drive it.

But you need to check a few things first.

I assume that the car has been sitting over the winter, say three to six months. If the car’s been sitting for years instead of months, you get into a whole other level of issues like bad gas, clogged fuel lines, corroded cooling system components, and failed brake and clutch hydraulic seals. But for a season’s sit, the list below should be pretty good.

Enabling the rollout

The cars that I store offsite are in rented traditional one-car-per-roll-up-garage-bay spaces and thus can be brought out at a moment’s notice, but at my house I have a shoebox-proportioned garage with a single door into which four cars are stuffed in two rows, nose-to-tail. The car immediately behind the door can be pulled out easily, and the one behind that (on the mid-rise lift) is next in line, but the other two are typically blocked in by a winter’s worth of tools and parts. Once that Maginot line is cleared, I need to slide a car to the right on wheel dollies. This turns my space from a four-car winter garage to a three-car three-season garage, which it remains until first snow. It also means that one formerly garaged car must go somewhere, creating a chain reaction that sets off a shuffle in the other places where I store cars.


If, when you roll open the garage door for the first time in months, one of your car’s tires is wheel-on-the-cement flat, you kind of have to start with the tires, so let’s. Obviously, if that’s the case, you need to air that tire up before you can move the car. If you don’t have a compressor in the garage, buy a portable compressor that runs off the cigarette lighter socket, or better yet, runs off 12V DC or a 120VAC adapter. I’ll air up the tire and then see what it’s going to do. If you immediately hear it hissing from a puncture or a bad valve stem, then you need to stop everything, jack up the car, pull the wheel off, and either swap on another wheel and tire or get this one fixed. But if you don’t, you can see whether the leak deflates the tire over hours or days. Just remember that it deflated over the winter, so it’s going to do it again.

Then, check the pressure of all four tires. While you’re doing that, it’s a good idea to inspect the tire sidewalls for cracking. Odds are that if the car is stored indoors, the tires aren’t going to get much worse over a single winter, but it’s easy for 10 years to go by one winter at a time and the tires to cross from old-but-OK to sheeh-I-don’t-want-to-drive-farther-than-to-the-gas-station-on-those.


We’ll come back to the battery in cranking (below), but here’s where I talk about what you should’ve done when you put the car away last fall. If the battery has been on a tender or trickle-charger for the winter, it’s probably fine. Since I store several of my cars in a remote garage without electricity, I can’t trickle-charge them, so instead I simply unhook the negative battery terminal over the winter. Most of the time, when I reconnect it three or four or six months later, the engine turns right over. But if you didn’t do either of these things, you’ll probably have a problem. You can take a multimeter, set it to measure voltage, and put the two probes on the battery terminals. If it reads 12.6 volts, or near it, the battery is fully charged, and if it’s in good health and the cable connections are good, it should turn the engine over. But with every 0.2-volt drop, the battery loses about 25 percent of its cranking power, so if it’s reading closer to 12 volts than 12.6, it’s unlikely to crank the engine over without being connected to a good three-stage battery charger for several hours. So measure it, and if you need to charge it, charge it.

Fluids inside

Check the oil, coolant, and brake fluid levels. I’m pretty bad at keeping track of which car had an oil change when, so I do it more by the seat of my pants. If the oil looks black, I make a note to change it soon. I give a quick look inside the radiator or expansion tank to both check the level and see if there’s any oil in there indicating a weakening head gasket.

Fluids outside

Next, look under the engine compartment for evidence of leaks. Hopefully all you find is a few dots of oil from where the car’s been leaking out the front timing cover for the last 40 years and nothing more. Anything green is antifreeze, and its source should be identified before you drive the car, as a minor leak can quickly mushroom into a gusher. Blue liquid can be either antifreeze or washer fluid. Clear liquids are usually power steering or brake fluid. I’m not above doing the pinky-in-the-fluid-and-tongue-touch-to-the-pinky test (antifreeze is sickly sweet), but I’m old and cannot be easily killed.

Move to the back of the car where the fuel tank is, skooch under, look, and sniff. Vintage cars have metal fuel tanks, and they can leak from age, particularly with Ethanol’s propensity for attracting water. Since it’s good practice to store a car with a full tank of gas (this eliminates the chance for humid air to get into the tank and contaminate the gas with water), if you find the tank leaking, it ruins your day, since you now need to drain it. Gas can also leak from rotted or cracked rubber fuel lines. Gasoline isn’t like oil or antifreeze; there should be a zero-tolerance policy for any amount of fuel leakage. You should also sniff in the engine compartment to be certain gas isn’t leaking there.

The critter check

If your garage has an affinity for rodents and they’ve made your car home, they can deposit a lot of material in the air cleaner in a short amount of time. It’s good insurance to pop the top off the air cleaner and have a quick look.

Hoses and belts

Give the hoses and belts a quick inspection. Squeeze the hoses. If any of them are pillow-y soft, order replacements. Inspect the belts for cracks and cuts and put a thumb on each of them to check the tension. If they’re obviously loose, take a moment and tighten them.

The crank-over

If the car has passed the above checks, the engine is ready to be cranked. As I said above, if the battery is fully charged and registering about 12.6 volts, it should crank when you turn the key. If it doesn’t crank, clean the battery and cable terminals and try again. If the voltage is a little low, you can jump-start the car, but if the battery is deeply drained (turn the key and you get a click of the starter but that’s all), or worse, flatlined (less than 10.5 volts, or the car’s dash lights barely even turn on), it’s best to replace it before you drive the car. Alternators aren’t designed to charge deeply discharged batteries. Although old analog cars often don’t seem to mind, post-OBDII cars with a proliferation of electronic control modules can do very odd things, including bucking and dying, if a deeply discharged battery is jump-started and the car is driven.

If the car is fuel injected, it will likely start in just a few seconds when the starter is cranked. If it doesn’t, the fuel pump may not be running, either due to a popped fuse, stuck relay, or the pump itself. Carbureted cars often take much longer to start due to the lower fuel pump pressure, the need to refill the float bowls, the far less precise air/fuel metering, and the lack of direct spray into the cylinders. A short blast of starting fluid into the carburetor throat can coax the engine to life. If a carbureted car still won’t start after sitting, the problem is often that an old fuel line has become dry-rotted and is sucking air rather than fuel.

The eyeballs-on idle

Once the engine is running, let it idle for about a minute. Then shut it off and look under the engine for any fluid dripping or streaming out.

Twice around the block

It’s common for brake pads to stick to rotors from sitting. If the car has been stored indoors, the rotors probably won’t have rusted much, but still you want to scope it out. Take the car for an easy lap around the block. Brake gently to verify that the brake pedal is firm and functional, then more firmly. Pick up speed and do it again. Note any brake pedal shudder (pulsation), pulling to one side, and steering wheel shimmy. Pull back into the driveway and check again for any fluid leakage.

A real test drive

Take the car up onto the highway or other road where you can build speed. Verify that it comes up to operating temperature in about the middle of the gauge and stays there. Continue to test the brakes for shuddering or pulling. If the brake pedal is still pulsating, there are still unwiped deposits on it. A series of hard braking exercises (first verifying that no one is behind you) may wipe the rotors clean, or you may find that it doesn’t go away and you need to buy new rotors. If there’s steering wheel shimmy that wasn’t there in the fall, it’s likely the tires are flat-spotted from sitting. It may go away. It may not. Come home, recheck for fluid leakage, and check again the next morning.

If the car passes these tests, I feel pretty good about thinking that it’s in about the same condition it was in when put away in the fall and beginning to enjoy it in the spring. But keep in mind that it doesn’t mean that the car has been healed of any known problems. Cars are not biological systems; they don’t mend themselves with a good long sleep.


Stolen Cars

I am writing to ask your assistance in locating cars that were stolen from me in 2018. The 27 T Coupe is a one off fiberglass car made in St. Louis, the roadster was the last of Allied Fiberglass in the Baltimore area. Both of these vehicles are distinctive by the innovative builds. If you have any knowledge of them please let me know.

Please forward to all the clubs in your organization.

Thank you
William Stinson

Stolen 27 T

Stolen roadster

Electric Small Block Chevy

Canada’s Webb Motorsports has built a unique hybrid: an electric motor the size of a torpedo keg, in the shape of a Chevy small-block. The trick part about Webb’s design is how it looks like a typical mouse motor from the outside, complete with stock Chevrolet bell housing and Chevy motor mounts. Beneath that veneer, however, is a High Performance Electric Vehicle Systems (HPEVS) AC35X2 motor and the pair of controllers needed to throttle it. The project is the brainchild of British Columbia’s Chris Webb. Webb’s “V-8” is currently a one-off prototype, but his goal is to build a kit that drops into most vehicles without major modification.

One of the greatest shifts in automotive modification over the past decade has been the increasing practicality of electric drivelines. But while electric swaps can be hugely appealing, the parts involved can diminish the visual impact of certain vehicles, especially hot rods. There’s just something about a proper tower of power that sets the right attitude—and a cable-laden electric motor rarely carries the same presence.

“If you wanna go electric,” Webb says, “you’re ruining the look of your engine compartment.”

After a conversation with his daughter, Emily, Webb landed on the idea of engineering a traditional V-8 to hold an electric motor. “She had seen a YouTube video on this electric VW van,” he says. “She was all excited. Originally being a gas-engine guy, I thought, That’s kind of corny, whatever, but kinda neat. And then she kept pushing me to do it.”

The elder Webb had relevant experience—he had recently developed a series of cast-aluminum parts to disguise a small-block Chevy as either a flathead Ford V-8 or V-12. “It really was a natural progression, to use his knowledge from creating shrouds to replicate the flatheads,” Emily says. “It was probably just over a year ago when I had the idea for an electric engine. Shortly after that, it was a no-brainer to build one.”

Webb’s block starts as four main castings that are then welded together. Due to the HPEVS motor’s size, Chris decided to have new parts cast for his project, instead of coring out an original small-block. The block, heads, and intake manifold are all purpose-built, but they share bolt patterns with the stock small-block, allowing front-drive accessories and even standard headers to bolt on. He used the pattern-making skills he’d honed with his flathead conversions to design the castings he needed.

Besides the old-school aesthetics, one big advantage of Chris’ design is its ability to use stock engine-mount and transmission bolt patterns, making it a drop-in solution for countless vehicles. Depending on the cooling system fitted, his motor is capable of over 300 hp and 400 lb-ft, but Chris is configuring his first install, an old family pickup, for a more conservative 126 hp and 257 lb-ft on 96 volts. That might not sound like much, but Chris plans to pair the motor with a four-speed manual, using gearing to take advantage of the available torque. The motor’s dyno curve looks like a quarter-pipe, with peak twist coming in a flat line from zero to 3000 rpm. The battery pack will consist of 30 3.2-volt lithium cells. The motor’s controllers—the electronic devices that pass for an EV’s throttle—will be mounted to a custom water block that ports coolant through a stock-location thermostat and water-pump housing. A faux intake manifold will hide a cooling fan.


Repair Mistakes & Blunders

From Rock Auto
Back in the 70s, I drove all over New Mexico for work in a 1966 Ford Galaxy. While driving, I found that the car was less and less able to climb the hills. As I arrived home one Friday night after a long and tiring week, I determined a compression check would be a good idea. I discovered some cylinders with almost no compression so I decided to do a valve job. I had never done one before, but since I had to be back on the road Sunday night, I started disassembling the engine.

Around midnight, I got down to removing the cylinder heads...but I just could not get them off the block. I tried everything including (I hate to admit) putting a bumper jack between them to pry them loose. After a frustrating time and extremely exhausted, I decided to stop and get some sleep.

Somewhat rested the next morning, I went into the garage and stood there for a while looking at the engine. And with a fresh pair of eyes and clearer head I noticed something...the bottom head bolts...that I had failed to remove. Obviously the heads easily came off the block without several bolts securing them. The repair went smoothly after that and the old Ford never ran better. The moral to the story--when confronted with a problem sometimes it is better to stop, stand back, take a deep breath, study the situation and then proceed before damaging something.

Larry in Oregon


Important DMV Info

From www.dmv.virginia.gov/general/#covid19.asp
The 75 DMV customer service centers were closed by the governor's executive order. Beginning May 18, 2020, certain DMV offices will reopen for specific services by appointment only as part of a phased reopening plan. Please visit dmvnow.com/reopening for more information. Be sure to click the link above to see the latest info from DMV.

In the continued interest of public health, DMV will make operational adjustments to balance social distancing guidelines with its mission to serve the needs of the public. To minimize customer volume at DMV offices, appointments will be required and will be available for specific services which necessitate a visit to DMV. To make an appointment click the link above on reopening. If an alternate service method, such as online or by mail, is available, customers should use that method.

DMV continues to encourage its employees and customers to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health in regards to personal health and social distancing.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Credential Extensions
Driver’s License/ID card and Vehicle Registration

The validity of driver’s licenses and identification cards expiring on or before June 10, 2020 is extended for 90 days, not to exceed July 31, 2020. This means that a customer whose credential expires between March 15 and May 1 will have an additional 90 days beyond the expiration date to renew and credentials with an expiration date from May 2 to June 10 will expire on July 31, 2020. This includes credentials for individuals aged 75 and older who are typically required to visit a DMV office to renew.

Vehicle registrations that expire in March and April are extended for 90 days, and those expiring in May are extended for 60 days.

All renewal fees (driver's license, identification card and vehicle registration) will remain the same and no late fees will be assessed for customers who renew during the extension period. The month in which your new credential expires will also not change from the original date of expiration. For example, a customer with a vehicle registration originally expiring in May 2020 will have until July 2020 to renew, and the new credential will be valid until May 2021.

Virginians eligible to renew their licenses, identification cards, or vehicle registration online are encouraged to take advantage of those services. Mail-in options are also available for a number of transactions, such as vehicle registration, original title transactions, and driver's license renewal, if mailed a notice.

CAUTION!!! - if you mail anything to DMV be sure to keep a couple of copies of everything! DMV will lose your stuff! Keep copies!!!


Altering or Removing a VIN

18 U.S. Code §?511.Altering or removing motor vehicle identification numbers

(a)A person who—
(1)knowingly removes, obliterates, tampers with, or alters an identification number for a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part; or
(2)with intent to further the theft of a motor vehicle, knowingly removes, obliterates, tampers with, or alters a decal or device affixed to a motor vehicle pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

(1)Subsection (a) of this section does not apply to a removal, obliteration, tampering, or alteration by a person specified in paragraph (2) of this subsection (unless such person knows that the vehicle or part involved is stolen).
(2)The persons referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection are—
(A)a motor vehicle scrap processor or a motor vehicle demolisher who complies with applicable State law with respect to such vehicle or part;
(B)a person who repairs such vehicle or part, if the removal, obliteration, tampering, or alteration is reasonably necessary for the repair;
(C)a person who restores or replaces an identification number for such vehicle or part in accordance with applicable State law; and
(D)a person who removes, obliterates, tampers with, or alters a decal or device affixed to a motor vehicle pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act, if that person is the owner of the motor vehicle, or is authorized to remove, obliterate, tamper with or alter the decal or device by—
(i)the owner or his authorized agent;
(ii)applicable State or local law; or
(iii)regulations promulgated by the Attorney General to implement the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act.

(c)As used in this section, the term—
(1)“identification number” means a number or symbol that is inscribed or affixed for purposes of identification under chapter 301 and part C of subtitle VI of title 49;
(2)“motor vehicle” has the meaning given that term in section 32101 of title 49;
(3)“motor vehicle demolisher” means a person, including any motor vehicle dismantler or motor vehicle recycler, who is engaged in the business of reducing motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts to metallic scrap that is unsuitable for use as either a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle part;
(4)“motor vehicle scrap processor” means a person—
(A)who is engaged in the business of purchasing motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts for reduction to metallic scrap for recycling;
(B)who, from a fixed location, uses machinery to process metallic scrap into prepared grades; and
(C)whose principal product is metallic scrap for recycling; but such term does not include any activity of any such person relating to the recycling of a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle part as a used motor vehicle or a used motor vehicle part.

(d)For purposes of subsection (a) of this section, the term “tampers with” includes covering a program decal or device affixed to a motor vehicle pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act for the purpose of obstructing its visibility.

The only people who alter VIN numbers are those who want to make a car more valuable by making the car into something it never was. Popular VIN changes are made to make Mustang fastbacks into Shelbys or Chrysler products being altered to have a more desirable engine. You can legally put a VIN plate on your vehicle anywhere you wish as long as it is the correct VIN and matches the VIN on the title. If the VIN on your vehicle and title do not match you will need to contact DMV to get a title that matches the VIN on the vehicle (go to REGISTRATION-VIN-BUSINESS CHANGE FORM). Virginia DMV used engine serial numbers as VIN numbers until about 1955. And DMV did so even if the vehicle had a VIN or serial number plate - the engine serial number was still used. If you have a vehicle that has the engine serial number and that engine has been replaced you can install a plate with the VIN number on the title on your vehicle. Many states are checking vehicles from other states to make sure the VIN on the vehicle matches the VIN on the title. Virginia currently does not do this which has led to vehicles from out of state with title VIN and car VIN not matching. The other reason is that someone at a DMV customer service center put the wrong info on the title. Before leaving DMV check, not once, not twice, but three times to insure all the info on the title and registration is correct. If you find an error later it will cost you both time and money as DMV charges to correct errors - even their own.


Support the RPM Act

Sign at this link: www.votervoice.net/SEMA/campaigns/45394/respond

The RPM Act is common-sense, bi-partisan legislation to protect law-abiding citizens who convert cars, trucks and motorcycles into racing vehicles. The bill clarifies that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to a street vehicle for the purpose of converting it into a racecar used exclusively in competition. It also confirms that it is legal to produce, market and install racing equipment.

UPDATE TO THE RPM ACT - click link below

The Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Final Rule for Model Years 2021-2026

From The EPA
EPA and NHTSA, on behalf of the Department of Transportation, are issuing final rules to amend and establish carbon dioxide and fuel economy standards. Specifically, EPA is amending carbon dioxide standards for model years 2021 and later, and NHTSA is amending fuel economy standards for model year 2021 and setting new fuel economy standards for model years 2022–2026. The standards set by this action apply to passenger cars and light trucks, and will continue our nation’s progress toward energy independence and carbon dioxide reduction, while recognizing the realities of the marketplace and consumers’ interest in purchasing vehicles that meet all of their diverse needs. These final rules represent the second part of the Administration’s action related to the August 24, 2018 proposed Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule. These final rules follow the agencies’ actions, taken September 19, 2019, to ensure One National Program for automobile fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions standards, by finalizing regulatory text related to preemption under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and withdrawing a waiver previously provided to California under the Clean Air Act.

DATES: This final rule is effective on June 29, 2020. Judicial Review: NHTSA and EPA undertake this joint action under their respective authorities pursuant to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and the Clean Air Act. Pursuant to CAA section 307(b), 42 U.S.C. 7607(b), any petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Given the inherent relationship between the agencies’ action, any challenges to NHTSA’s regulation under 49 U.S.C. 32909 should also be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

You can read the entire rule in the Federal Register at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-04-30/pdf/2020-06967.pdf.

Yard Art
He had time on his hands because of the quarantine

Smithology: To dream, but not to keep.

From Sam Smith at Hagerty

We have been down so long that I’m making plans.

Forgive me for mentioning the calendar. Where are we now—four weeks? A hundred? Time flies when you’re having fun. When you’re stuck indoors during a global health lockdown, time wobbles a little on takeoff, then suffers structural failure at the wing roots before pinwheeling into a tree. Last Wednesday felt like a month. Friday deeply resembled an entire year. Saturday grew whiskers and sat in a corner talking about its great-grandbabies to anyone who would listen. Which is partly why I walked into the kitchen on Sunday morning and proceeded to cook three eggs, a stack of bacon, and a family-size frozen pizza, then applied that whole mess directly to my face.

Whatever gets you through the night, as John Lennon said. Or in this case, whatever gives you hallucinogenic indigestion for breakfast the next morning. Distracting you, however briefly, from the present. Even if that distraction later results in your six-year-old daughter poking you in the stomach every five seconds and laughing maniacally as you lie groaning on the couch. (“Mom, why is Daddy pretending to be sick?” “He’s not pretending, dear. But the problem is mostly in his head.”)

Oh, those other distractions. The plans. They are many, and they involve cars or motorcycles or Insert Obsession Here, and they perhaps keep me sane. In the beginning, an idea spins up. There are executables, a timetable, a result. Maybe it’s a purchase, maybe I reach for the tools and build something. Regardless, the result is always a trip, time on the road from one place to another.

Or at least, that’s the plan. Reality (and pandemic) means that nothing happens save the planning.

Perhaps you know the feeling, and the planning, and the feeling of planning. The idea starts as a whisper. A tiny voice under your daily routine. Time passes. Details are considered and solidify. A sense of wonder descends—could it really be this easy? Lifelong contentment, if you just pull the trigger? The soul stews a bit. Facts cohere—signs point to yes! A future of joy is pictured: pandemic over, new freedom leaned into! Across the smoky boardroom table of the mind, there are back-slaps, cigars, celebratory harrumphs! I wander the house for a bit, feeling satisfied—no, happy—no, thrilled—with the braining my good brain has done!

Happy dreaming spurred by epiphany. These are the salad days of the operation. Who knew the answer to my problems lay in buying a Porsche 914 with no floors and schlepping it to the Yukon? (Action item: Acquire snow boots in which you can heel-and-toe.) Now that you mention it, haven’t I always wanted to build a rat-motor Nissan RB26 and shove it in a riding lawnmower? (Action item: Buy connecting rods in bulk.) We are going to ride-or-die a BMW E46 and an oilhead R1200GS to Tierra del Fuego and I’m taking the dog with me. (Action item: We are going to need a dog.)

The next steps are maybe the best part. I fire up a computer and order a stack of books. Titles as varied as the idea. Practical Woodworking for Machines of Internal Combustion. A Directory of Motorcycle Parts Houses of the East Upper Congo. One Hundred Uses for Your Homebuilt Tyrrell P34 Replica. You get the idea. Book-learning for to make better the plan.

Then. Then! Always, there is a then.

A calming begins. Maybe it’s the day-to-day sameness of pandemic isolation. Enthusiasm fades. I get distracted or whatever and eat half the pantry. The plan falls from favor, and darkness descends.

Until moments later—Days? Weeks? Minutes?—when a fresh plan appears. The world is again bright and new.

And the cycle repeats, soup to nuts.

Six weeks into quarantine, it’s happened so often as to seem rote. The troughs are boredom-stress-eating enough breakfast to feed a county. The peaks are basically a superset of human revelation: Archimedes yelling “Eureka!” in the bath crossed with Alexander Fleming accidentally discovering penicillin and that moment where Kim Kardashian realized she could make a lot of money by not wearing pants.

How intoxicating the threat of motion now seems. The idea of departure. Exit from a defined space.

I wonder, he said rhetorically, why that is.

Do not mistake this effect for hubris. I cannot pretend to Kardashian genius. (Who can, really?) These plans are all simple, from a simple person: buying stuff and traveling with it, engine swaps, dumb stunts, a thousand permutations thereof. Motorcycles are occasionally featured. There are from time to time other secondary-object interlopers. (Light airplanes, farm tractors, tame elephants, guitars, custom kitchen appliances, housecats in fancy costume jewelry, large-bore artillery.) Longtime loves crossed with ideas for fun stupid. (I deal with cars for a living. Lord knows I’ve got a stack of old loves and fun stupid.)

Some of these plans may see reality. Most won’t, but that’s not the point. I refuse to be anything other than fine with it.

A friend recently suggested that our current societal moment echoes life in prison; the idea, he said, is that we are all under a yoke, and maybe we’ll come free of it with a better appreciation for ordinary freedoms. Frankly, this struck me as half smart and half dumb. The luxury of pandemic quarantine has about as much in common with the penitentiary as the sun does with a banana. If you’re fed and healthy at home right now, you are lucky beyond words.

But that second bit, no? What a lovely thing to hope for. And why those silly plans make me feel good, in a way. The old idea—when in doubt, shoot for the moon.

Something’s been ringing in my head lately, a specific cadence, almost a mantra, when those plans come up. A reminder to go and do and see whenever you can, but also just a song, hummed, to make the days a little shorter:

When I

Get out of here

I am going to get

the hell out of here

And above all

No matter what

It is going

to be


Do it yourself repairs because of the quarantine

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