As a member both ACCCC and Rods & Relics, I have a passionate interest in the needs of the specialty vehicle community.  While this interest in not quite mainstream, I believe everyone benefits from the existence of specialty vehicles like classic cars and hot rods.  For summer festivals like Fort Erie's Friendship Festival and Port Colborne's Canal Days, car shows are a key part of the event.  Stand-alone car shows (like the Rods & Relics Car Show) raise thousands of dollars for charities (like Tender Wishes).

Unfortunately, the government seems to think that the public will be fooled with sound-bite political statements.  As a result, they've eliminated the 20-year rolling exemption for emission testing that SVAO (Specialty Vehicle Association of Ontario) had worked so hard to achieve when the Drive Clean program was first introduced.  In 2006, the government grandfathered emission testing for vehicles 1987 model year and older.  Vehicles 1988 and newer would have to continue to participate in the Drive Clean program.  The Ministry of Environment's position is that older vehicles would just have to get historic plates in order to be exempt from emission testing.  However, historic plates are only available to vehicles 30 years of age and older which means that vehicle owners would have to somehow get their 20+ year old vehicle to pass an emissions test for an additional 10 years.  With OEM parts being obsoleted after 10 years, aftermarket (typically Chinese-made) generic parts make it very difficult for vehicles to meet their emission targets.  A further complication now is that tailpipe tests have been replaced with OBDII tests, which mean that if there is Check Engine Light (CEL), the car will fail an e-test even if the tailpipe emissions are clean.

The emission test implication for the specialty vehicle community is that older vehicles that can't pass an e-test will be scrapped out before they can reach the age where historic plates are available to them. This will reduce the total pool of restorable or customizable cars available for future car shows while doing next to nothing for clean air.

I have a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda and I continue to use regular license plates because I want to enjoy driving my car and do not be restricted in its operation (i.e., not even being allowed to drive on 400-series highways) as specified in OREG 628.  OREG 628 does not permit historic plated vehicles to go out on an unsanctioned Sunday drive or to see the fall colours in northern Ontario (because we'd have to take the QEW and Hwy 400 for a day trip).

“historic vehicle” means, despite the definition in subsection 7 (1.1) of the Act, a motor vehicle that,

  • (a) is at least 30 years old,
  • (b) is operated on a highway in parades, for purposes of exhibition, tours or similar functions organized by a properly constituted automobile club or for purposes of repair, testing or demonstration for sale,
  • (c) is substantially unchanged or unmodified from the original manufacturer’s product, and
  • (d) does not have attached to it year-of-manufacture plates; (“véhicule ancien”)

For the 2011 provincial election, SVAO wrote a discussion points paper for potential candidates.  See Election-2011-candidate-Questions for more information.  The Ministry of Transport has resisted providing SVAO with the motor vehicle data to prove or disprove its position.

I want the following:

  • The reinstatement of the 20 year rolling exemption.
  • Minor changes to the regulations governing Historical plates and recognition that Year of Manufacture plates are a sub-set of Historical plates.
  • A collector plate which would make Ontario licensing consistent with other North American jurisdictions.