This will mean less to the rest of the world than it does to us here in California, but the state senate is voting March 27th on a bill that would move the exemption cut-off year from 1975 to 1981. I read about it here. This is BIG news if you are a vintage car enthusiast in California. If it passes, it will have some interesting ripple effects. The obvious change is a greatly reduced stress level if you happen to drive a car from this time period. Getting 75 – 81 cars to pass emissions is notoriously draconian and expensive. More subtle effects include: registrations of cars that were previously PNO’d or just plain off the record should increase -adding revenue for the state; the value of some cars from this period will increase (78 Ferrari 308, Lotus Esprit or Alfetta GTV anyone?); there will probably be an uptick in local repair businesses when these cars begin to filter back out onto the road.
A 1976 Lancia Beta coupe in the Italian countryside. In California, it used to be that if you wanted one of these you searched, (usually in vain) for a 1974 or 1975 model – or deal with the heavily painful emissions tax and hoop jumping. Now, if this bill passes, just about any Beta coupe you find will be a no-smog deal. Don’t get me wrong -I grew up in California in the 70′s and remember driving in San Bernardino when the mountains a few miles north were not visible through the brown smog -emissions standards are great, and have done a wonderful job of cleaning things up.
What would I buy from this era? Lancia Beta coupe, Alfa Giulietta 1.3 (the one with the GTAJ style over-square engine), Lotus Esprit, Porsche 928, Alfetta GT or Sedan, Ferrari 308 GTS, Fiat 131 or X1/9, Jaguar X? many VW’s etc.
If you are in California and the idea of this bill passing excites you -get the word out and write to your senator or who ever it is that votes in these committees.