"The Relay" Online Newsletter September 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.
The council's 25th anniversary event and 1st Annual Breakthrough Car Show will be Saturday September 26. If you register by September 11 for only $15 you will get a goodie bag with the dash plaque pictured below, a $5 coupon off food from any of the three food trucks that will be at the event plus a chance to win an award. We will also have door prizes, a silent auction, a DJ, live entertainment, displays by Virginia Motorsports Park and Keystone Tractor Museum and more! We have acres of room - and I mean acres - plenty of trailer parking. If you can't enter the show because you can't stay for the whole event there is special display cruiser parking for only a dollar donation. The location is Pamplin Park, a 501<3> charity that has lost a lot of revenue due to the virus lockdown. The park is where one of the final battles of the Civil War took place and led to surrender after Union forces broke through the Confederate line, hence the Breakthrough name.
I urge you to go to carclubcouncil.com/carshow and register. This is going to be a grand event. Don't miss it! We could use some volunteers to aid with parking and if you'd like to help just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
I hope to see you at the 25th anniversary show.
Alice Huyler Ramsey was the first woman to drive across the United States from coast to coast on August 7, 1909
Our next meeting will be Monday, October 26th at 6:30 PM at a location to be announced in the October newsletter.
I spotted three bills that were auto related. In fact the very first bill introduced was HB 5001 and it deals with the current situation at DMV. Here is the bill summary: HB 5001 Motor Vehicles, Department of; customer service centers hours of operation: Requires all Department of Motor Vehicles customer service centers to be open and accept walk-in customers six days a week between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. This requirement expires upon the expiration or revocation of all states of emergency declared by the Governor related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
If you have gone to the DMV website and tried to get an appointment then you know why this bill is important. It can take weeks and even months to get a DMV in person appointment. I know of one person who needed to get a title transferred after buying a car and was given an appointment in October. Of course you can mail in a title – and DMV could lose it. DMV requires people who buy a car from a non-title state to mail in the docs and then DMV will process and mail you a title. I know three people who have purchased a vehicle from a non-title state and mailed in the docs. DMV lost ALL THREE of people’s the paperwork. And even if you do mail in a title DMV will take at least a month to get to it. Not good if you’d like to get some tags and drive what you just bought. Bottom line if other states’ DMV offices can be open then so can Virginia. California, which was hit harder by the virus than Virginia, actually has some open walk right in DMV centers.
This bill is in the House which has gone to online meetings. There have been some technical problems plus no citizen or lobbyist will be able to contact members about legislation except by email which is easy to ignore. The House leadership – unlike the Senate – decided to do everything online and then voted for $210 per diem for lodging. That makes sense if they were meeting in person in Richmond but they are on a computer screen at their home. Some members of the House are refusing to take the money.
The other two auto-related bills are:
HB 5004 Driver's licenses; discretionary requirement to conduct ceremony when issuing to person under 18: Makes discretionary the requirement to conduct a formal, appropriate ceremony when issuing original driver's licenses to persons under the age of 18.
SB 5011 Motor vehicle safety inspection program; abolishing state program, etc: Abolishes the state motor vehicle safety inspection program.
I find it strange that the inspection bill has been re-introduced right after it just failed in the regular session. I don’t know of anyone who supports this measure. Using the link in the first paragraph you can check and follow this special session’s bills and resolutions. I encourage all citizens to look at all the introduced legislation to see where the Assembly members want to take our state.
On September 26th we will hopefully have the first Breakthrough Car Show and a celebration of the council’s 25 years as an advocate for car hobbyists. The council was formed to monitor the state’s clunker bill that allowed the scrapping of old vehicles to allow stationary polluters credits. We got that bill repealed and since then the council has been successful in getting legislation that is friendly to car hobbyists along with having the best calendar of hobbyist events. The council has been instrumental in expanding the hobby and helping hobbyists earn the good reputation they have now and that has certainly helped with getting the legislation we have needed. I invite you to participate in this event. We’ve missed a lot of events this year due to the virus restrictions and all the rain we’ve experienced this year. It’s time to come out and make this a really great event. Info is at carclubcouncil.com/carshow
Oldies But Goodies Classic Cruizers Breakfast Cruise-in
Submitted by Kristi K. Higgins, "The Social Butterfly" Columnist & Multimedia Reporter for The Progress-Index
Jay Leno: Adventures as a Luxury Dealership Lot Boy
With all the free time as of late, I was thinking back to my days working at Foreign Motors on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. I wasn’t a mechanic so much as a lot boy who did new-car prep and deliveries. I got hired just by walking in and saying, “I’m the new guy,” and the mechanics put me to work. After three days, they figured it out, but they kept me on. We sold mainly Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Rolls-Royce, but it was a funny era when you could sell a foreign brand just by parking one in your showroom with a few brochures.
I enjoyed it, and it was great fun, partly because selling those kinds of cars meant you were always meeting all kinds of weird people. Remember Arthur Fiedler, the famous conductor of the Boston Pops? He owned a Mercedes 220, and he wasn’t exactly a pyromaniac, but he loved fires. Whenever there was a big fire, he would call me and say, “Jay, there’s a fire, come pick me up and take me down to South Boston!” He had his fire hat on, and he thought it was the coolest thing to watch firemen do their work.
We used to deliver new Rolls-Royces to a family that owned a big alcohol distillery. One time I had to go out and pick up the wife of one of the family members, and in the car with her was this real, live lion cub. I remember sitting there with the lion looking at me. It was about the size of a terrier but weighed maybe 70 pounds, and it had these huge paws. When we got to the house, I gave it a tennis ball to play with, and it could flatten the thing with each bite. It was a mound of muscle with a head and teeth on top. I asked how long you can keep a lion, and the wife said, “Oh, we get new ones every six months.” I don’t know what happened to the old lions, but the cubs would just shred the upholstery in the cars.
Whenever we bought a new Rolls, my job was to fly down to Elizabeth, New Jersey, take it off the boat, and drive it back. When customers asked why their cars had 200 miles on them, the salesmen would say they were test miles the factory technicians put on to make sure the car was perfect, but it was just me driving back from New Jersey. I remember once I had to deliver a Rolls all the way to Houston. I pulled out onto Commonwealth and saw a guy hitchhiking. I said, “Where ya going?” He said he was trying to get to Texas, so I told him to hop in, and we drove nonstop 28 hours to Houston. Only in America can a guy go from having his thumb out to cruising in a Rolls.
Another time, I was following my boss, who was driving a beautiful new Mercedes 450SEL out to a customer. We were on the freeway behind a Trailways bus with a flapping panel. All of a sudden, this giant polyurethane bag rolled out of the back, the septic bag for the bus toilet, and my boss hit it dead on. Human waste exploded into every seam of this poor Mercedes, and he had to pull over because he was choking from the stench. Even though the damage from the impact wasn’t that bad, we had to total the car because the smell wouldn’t wash out.
It could have been worse. A guy bought a new, $34,000 Rolls Corniche convertible from us. I drove the car down to the customer near New York City and he gave me cash in a paper bag. I then took the bag with me to the docks in Jersey to pick up another Rolls. Then, as I was driving back, I thought it would be a good idea to stop in at the original Improv in Manhattan and see if I could do a set. In the worst part of Hell’s Kitchen. In a Rolls-Royce. With 34 grand in a paper bag. Like an idiot.
I placed “my lunch,” the bag, on the piano and did my set, and it went great. On the drive home, I was listening to the set on a recorder and all the people laughing, and it was when I got to the first tollbooth in Connecticut that I realized I had left the bag on the piano. I wheeled around and beat it the hour back to New York. By the time I got there, it was 1:30 in the morning, another comedian was on stage and maybe 16 people were in the audience. The bag was still on the piano, so I grabbed it, checked that the money was there, and took off. If the bag had been gone, I would just be getting out of jail now.
Audi has apologized for an advert showing a young girl eating a banana in front of a premium car, admitting it was "insensitive" and promising not to use the image in future. The German carmaker posted the advert for the Audi RS4, which was captioned "Lets your heart beat faster — in every aspect," on Twitter. But the image quickly drew criticism from people on social media, as some pointed out that the child — stood in front of the car's grill — was in a dangerous position.
A July 29 headline in the Ken-Ton Bee in Kenmore, New York, caught the attention of The Buffalo News: "Leprechaun spotted looting cars on Hamilton Boulevard." Kenmore Police Capt. A.J. Kiefer told The News a white male with orange hair and wearing a green shirt (and "possibly plaid pants") was reported to be looting vehicles on the street July 23. Police arrested the 36-year-old, who measured 5 feet 11 inches and had someone else's debit card, but no pot of gold, according to Kiefer. He was charged with petit larceny.
Pueblo, Colorado, police were intrigued to find a young man sleeping in a car parked behind a motel on Aug. 2, "since motels have rooms, with beds, that you can sleep in," said Capt. Tom Rummel in a tweet. Upon running the car's license plate, he continued, the officers found it had been stolen in an armed carjacking, and "there on the front seat was a sawed-off shotgun, just like the victim said was used yesterday!" KKTV reported the sleepy thief, a juvenile, was taken into custody and the car was returned to its owner.
When you gotta go - An Amazon delivery driver in Nuthall, Nottingham, England, is out of a job after Sharon Smith, 53, discovered him defecating in her back garden in late July. Smith said she saw the man run toward her garden and went to investigate. "I asked what the heck he was doing," Smith told Metro News, "and he just remained pooing whilst asking me what my problem was -- the cheek of it." The driver told police he wasn't feeling well and was desperate, and he didn't realize he was in a private garden. Smith agreed to not press charges as long as he cleaned up the mess and his employer was informed; Amazon promised a gift voucher as a goodwill gesture.
A roving gang of baboons in Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside, England is known to vandalize cars and otherwise alarm visitors, but lately, The Sunday Times reported, they've been seen carrying knives, screwdrivers and a chain saw, which workers believe they've acquired from visitors. "We're not sure if they are being given weapons by some of the guests ... or if they're fishing them out of pickup trucks and vans," an employee said. Park officials have pooh-poohed the reports, saying, "We believe that many of these stories have grown in exaggeration as they've been retold."
A man attempting to elude police in a stolen Toyota Land Cruiser on July 5 in Newberg, Oregon, crashed into a woman driving a Buick Regal that had been reported stolen three weeks before, giving police a two-fer. Newberg-Dundee police said they arrested the driver of the Toyota, Randy Lee Cooper, 27, and then found the driver of the Buick, Kristin Nicole Begue, 25, to be under the influence of intoxicants and arrested her, too, KOIN reported. Neither driver was injured.
What started as a report of a naked man running down a road hitting cars in Owensboro, Kentucky, on July 16, soon turned into a home burglary in progress, reports WFIE. Daviess County Sheriff's deputies said they arrived at the home around 1:30 a.m. to find John Stefanopoulos, 41, standing inside, naked and covered with mud and blood. Authorities said the suspect rushed the officers while repeatedly telling them he had used "mushrooms with Jesus and that they were playing a virtual reality video game together." Stefanopoulos was eventually tased and taken into custody.
Robert Berger, 25, of Huntington, New York, was scheduled to be sentenced last October after pleading guilty to possession of a stolen Lexus and attempting to steal a truck, but in an effort to avoid jail, he tried faking his own death, prosecutors charged on July 21. The scheme, they said, unraveled when authorities discovered a spelling error and inconsistencies in the font styles and sizes on the fake death certificate submitted by his lawyer. Further, The Associated Press reports, while Berger was "dead," he was arrested in Philadelphia for providing a false identity to police and stealing from a Catholic college. "It will never cease to amaze me the lengths some people will go to avoid being held accountable on criminal charges," Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said. "It's never a good idea to submit phony documents to the district attorney."
Richmond and Virginia vehicles stolen:
Total vehicles stolen, Richmond (2018): 1,168
Total vehicles stolen, Virginia (2018): 10,778
Most stolen vehicle, Virginia (2018): Honda Accord
Chesterfield, Richmond and Henrico police agencies, along with Virginia State Police, finished another speeding and aggressive driving operation on Chippenham Parkway, which they say is the subject of complaints from community members. Officers and troopers made an extra effort to address the problem from Sunday, August 2 through Saturday, August 8. In total, 279 drivers were pulled over and 205 summonses were issued for a variety of traffic-related violations, including speeding, reckless driving and driving with a suspended or revoked license. There were also seven DUI arrests and 16 warrants were served.
1968 Camaro RS
Idaho Community Is Restoring a Teen Cancer Patient’s 1964 Mercury
To some it may just be a car, but to Coleman Medcoff it means the world. Which is appropriate, considering that restoring Coleman’s 1964 Mercury Monterey is the central focus of his friends and family in Parma, Idaho. And that circle keeps growing.
“We knew that Coleman had the brain tumor when he bought this car—and it’s a pretty cool car,” family friend Scott Reynolds tells NBC affiliate KTVB7 in Boise, Idaho. “He needed something to drive, and it started out as, ‘Hey, can we maybe just throw a quick paint job on it and maybe some wheels and tires—get it running and driving good? Well, the next thing we knew, we put a crew together.”
What a job that crew has done, too.
Coleman, 15, is a bit of an old soul in that he wanted his first car to be a classic. Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor last year, the search proved to be a welcomed distraction. He scoured Craigslist and Facebook before finding exactly what he wanted not far from his home in Parma: a 1964 Mercury Monterey project car for $1500.
“We saw the car on the side of the road,” says his father, Josh Medcoff, “and Cole was like, ‘Dad, that’s it. I gotta have it. That’s the car.’”
Coleman, knowing the Mercury needed some TLC and expecting to work on it himself, learned from his father that Reynolds would be picking up the car instead. Progress on the Monterey, which Coleman has nicknamed Maria, has been steady, as has the chemotherapy treatment required to fight Cole’s brain tumor.
“The chemo the last few months, the last four months, has really started to get to him,” his father says. “I think it wears on him more than he likes to show. He stays strong for myself and for his mother and for the other little kids at the hospital, and for everybody around him.
“Just seeing the pain and everything he goes through with this, it’s really tough. As a parent, you want to fix everything, take care of it, take away the pain, kiss the boo-boo—and you can’t.”
Coleman says fate brought him and Maria together, and perhaps fate also led Reynolds to become involved. He just happens to work at Harold’s Auto Body, whose owner also agree to get involved.
After giving the car a once-over and realizing it needed a lot more than body work, Reynolds suggested contacting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Coleman refused.
“He said, ‘’I’m not going to do it.’ He’s not one to take charity, he’s very selfless,” Reynolds says. “He said, ‘Every week, I go to chemo, and I see these little kids with tubes plugged in, and no hair, and they are throwing up and sick, and their families are suffering with them. He told me, ‘I don’t need a car; those kids need to go to Disneyland, they need to go to Hawaii, they need their wish worse than I need a car.’”
Reynolds was so floored by Cole’s selfless attitude that he took it upon himself to ask the Parma community for assistance. He also created a GoFundMe page, which to date has raised $8741 of a $20,000 goal.
“My guys around here have just been amazing, thousands of hours of sacrifice,” Reynolds says. “How often do you get the chance to change someone’s life? And this is life changing. It’s worth it for all of us. It’s a lot of hours, a lot of time, a lot of money, but why not?”
Coleman, who still has more treatment ahead, can’t believe the community’s generosity. He wants to pay it forward.
“It will mean everything in the world to me,” he says of the car, which Reynolds hopes is finished sometime in September. “And it will mean everything in the world for me to give something back to people.”
General Assembly August Special Session
The governor called a special session of the General Assembly on August 18. Below are auto related bills of interest:
HB 5001 Motor Vehicles, Department of; customer service centers hours of operation: Requires all Department of Motor Vehicles customer service centers to be open and accept walk-in customers six days a week between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. This requirement expires upon the expiration or revocation of all states of emergency declared by the Governor related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Bill info is at this link HB 5001.
HB 5004 Driver's licenses; discretionary requirement to conduct ceremony when issuing to person under 18: Makes discretionary the requirement to conduct a formal, appropriate ceremony when issuing original driver's licenses to persons under the age of 18. Bill info is at this link HB 5004.
SB 5011 Motor vehicle safety inspection program; abolishing state program, etc: Abolishes the state motor vehicle safety inspection program. Full text is at this link SB 5011.
SB 5029 Marijuana and certain traffic infractions; possession, issuing citations:Changes from primary offenses to secondary offenses the possession of marijuana and the traffic infractions of operating a motor vehicle (i) without a light illuminating a license plate, (ii) without an exhaust system that prevents excessive or unusual levels of noise, (iii) with certain sun-shading materials and tinting films, and (iv) with certain objects suspended in the vehicle. A secondary offense is one for which a summons can only be issued if the offender is stopped for another, separate offense. The bill also provides that no law-enforcement officer may lawfully search or seize any person, place, or thing solely on the basis of the odor of marijuana, and no evidence discovered or obtained as a result of such unlawful search or seizure shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding. Bill info is at this link SB5029. This bill has passed the Senate and now heads to the House - the other bills are in committee.
True Science: Driving a Car to Work is Better for the Environment Than Walking
From Daily Mail
It may have many health benefits including cutting the risk of catching coronavirus. But walking to work could produce more greenhouse gas than driving, a study has found.
The carbon footprint of producing the extra food a walker needs as ‘fuel’ for the journey would be more than that of a car travelling the same distance.
Researchers estimate that, in a country with high calorie diets such as the UK, walking for one kilometre would require food that would have generated around 0.26kg of carbon dioxide compared with 0.21kg of CO2 for the petrol used by a car.
The scientists, from Otago University in New Zealand and Oxford University, said a carshare scheme over short distances could produce less greenhouse gas than one person walking.
Cycling was more energy efficient than either.
Food is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and the scientists calculate that in developed countries like the UK, eating extra food has a huge impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
Growing food requires a lot of energy to be used, for fertiliser, transport and packaging.
The information should be considered by companies or governments encouraging people to walk to work compared to other options.
Repair Mistakes & Blunders
From Rock Auto
Having been an auto mechanic in my early years, I get called in by friends when they are stumped on their car repairs.
A friend with a 1989 Chevy Suburban was having trouble with his back window not closing correctly after trying to repair it. We dug into the tailgate by removing the access panel on the inside. He operated the window using the key in the tailgate lock. The window moved up, down...and sideways! I looked around and found one of the six bolts that mount the window assembly was still in place. The other five were nowhere to be found. We remounted the assembly with all of the correct bolts, and the window then moved correctly.
My friend reinstalled the access panel, closed the tailgate, raised the window, and it stopped short about 1" from the window gasket! The access panel was removed, inspected, and installed a couple of times, always with the same result. I then sat inside with the panel off to watch how the window moved while he operated the window. It went up and sealed perfectly!
I took one of the access panel mounting screws and screwed it into its hole in the tailgate without the panel. I had him raise the window a little at a time. Sure enough, the screw caught the mechanism and stopped it short, leaving the 1" gap. He admitted that he lost the original screws, and grabbed the first ones that "fit" the holes for the access panel.
How the Appointment System Works
Three months of appointment slots are available at any time on the calendar. Each day, a new day of appointments is added to the end of the available 90-day period.
New appointment slots will be posted multiple times every hour. Cancellations can also create earlier availability in the calendar. If you do not see availability, all the posted appointment slots are currently booked.
Scheduling through the website is the most direct route to obtain an appointment. While our DMV Direct call center agents are able to schedule appointments, they also use this website and will see the same availability that you see. Our representatives do not have the ability to create new appointments outside of what is available on the calendar.
We encourage you to check back regularly for updated availability and newly opened locations. DMV is working hard to equip and safely reopen offices as quickly as possible.
CAUTION!!! - if you mail anything to DMV be sure to keep a couple of copies of everything! DMV will lose your stuff! Keep copies!!!
DMV has a 90 day window on appointments but there may be cancellations. Be sure to check every day and you may be able to get an appointment sooner.
Some cities, towns and counties have satellite DMV offices with limited services. These are walk-ins so you might be able to find one near you. Call ahead and check to see if a satellite office is open and can handle your transaction.
Some dealerships can handle title and license plates if you purchase a vehicle from them. Usually they have a limited choice of plates but you can always go online later and get a set plates that you want.
Virginia Bridge and Road Conditions
Virginia spends an average of about $5.1 billion on its highway system every year -- or $867 per licensed driver, the eighth most of any state. The higher than average spending is contributing to some positive results, as just 14.7% of roadway in the state is in poor condition, well below the average of 21.8% of roadway in poor condition nationwide. The higher spending is also likely necessitated by high usage as Virginia roads are more likely to be congested than those in most other states, particularly in and around the D.C. metropolitan area.
Bridges are also generally well maintained in Virginia. Less than 5% of bridges in the state are considered structurally deficient, compared to 7.6% of bridges nationwide.
Compared to other states:
Roadway in poor condition: 14.7% (18th lowest)
Structurally deficient bridges: 4.6% of bridges (13th lowest)
Locomotive derailments from 2015-2019: 109 (3.5 per 100 miles of track -- 19th fewest out of 49 states)
State highway spending per licensed driver: $867 (8th highest)
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.
Tesla Is Now The World’s Most Valuable Car Company
Tesla’s stock jumped to a new record high which means that it is now the most valuable car company on the planet. The electric-vehicle pioneer's market capitalization is now more than $320 billion.
Tesla has announced a five-for-one stock split, set to go into effect on August 31.
Tesla (TSLA) noted in a statement that the split is intended to "make stock ownership more accessible to employees and investors."
A stock split creates more shares of a company without changing the underlying dollar value of any single investor's holdings. By increasing the number of shares available, the company can attract new investors who might otherwise be put off by the high price of a single share.
Tesla's stock is on a roll this year, despite challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Shares have risen more than 200% since January to $1,374, and its market capitalization has surpassed the likes of Disney (DIS), Toyota (TM) and Coca Cola (KO).
Many experts are predicting Tesla stock will go even higher.