Sunday Sundries

From an interesting story that, to me, once again demonstrates the flaw in the belief that government is, or ever can be, a panacea. Here, let me just paste parts of the article titled, “SEMA sues DoT over delay in replica vehicle rules.”


“Congress approved legislation in 2015 but NHTSA hasn’t followed with mandated regulations”

“As it prepares for its annual automotive trade show in Las Vegas, the Specialty Equipment Market Association [SEMA] says it has filed suit against the U.S. Department of Transportation for failing to implement a Congressional mandate for replica vehicle regulations.”

“Passed by Congress as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015 was a provision that would allow low-volume automakers to produce as many as 325 replica cars on an annual basis. Such cars would be new versions of vehicles last manufactured at least 25 years earlier.”

“Congress gave the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration until December 4, 2016, to issue any necessary regulations to implement such a law. The SEMA suit says the agency has yet to take any such action and thus SEMA has petitioned a federal appellate court ‘to require the government to allow replica car manufacturers to immediately begin production.'”

“‘Prior to enactment of the FAST Act, the United States had just one system for regulating automobiles, which was established in the ’60s and designed for companies that mass-produce millions of vehicles,’ SEMA said in announcing its suit. “The lack of regulatory flexibility prevented small businesses from manufacturing turn-key vehicles.‘” [emphasis mine]

“’Eager to produce replica vehicles under the new law, many companies made capital investments and took customer orders on the assumption that sales could begin in late 2016. However, NHTSA has failed to issue regulations or undertake any other action allowing the small automakers to produce and sell vehicles as permitted by law.'”

“’SEMA has made every effort to work collaboratively with NHTSA for over three and a half years, although the agency has taken no action to implement the replica car law, SEMA president Christopher Kersting was quoted in the news release. ‘Consequently, companies have not hired workers, businesses have lost money, and consumers have been denied their rights to purchase replica cars.’”


As I have written before the “one size fits all” approach of most regulation makes it inefficient and since resources are finite efficiency always matters. The ponderous nature of government (among other reasons) makes it unavoidably wasteful. The anti-gearheads—in their smugness, self-righteousness and arrogance—do not and will not understand that almost no collector cars are daily drivers and that we are not going to be driving an all-electric fleet anytime soon. Electric vehicles comprise less than one-half of one percent of the cars and other vehicles owned by citizens all over the world. (Besides, these low-volume replicas could be powered by electric drivetrains.)

The Nissan Leaf, the best-selling all-electric car in history, was introduced in late 2010. The US has been its largest market, with about 127,000 sold here through October, 2018. From 2011 through 2018, more than 128,000,000 new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks were sold in the US. That means Leaf sales in its largest market were about one-tenth of one percent of all vehicles sold. Let that sink in before one proclaims the death of the internal combustion engine.

By the way, if someone wants to buy an electric car that decision is their business. Just don’t tell me I have to buy one…that is an unacceptable infringement on my freedom.


Here is a most decidedly un-electric car:


See the source image


From a picture of a Ferrari 812 Superfast. The Superfast name is more than appropriate for this car. From Ferrari’s website: “…the 812 Superfast is the most powerful and fastest road-going Ferrari ever built (with the exception, of course, of the rear-engined special limited-series 12-cylinders).”

How much? How does that famous saying go, “If you have to ask, then you can’t afford it.” OK, the MSRP for the 2019 Superfast is about $360,000. I believe it was recently revealed that Ferrari’s average profit per car is about $80,000. Their profit is twice the average “transaction price” for a new vehicle sold in the US.

The Superfast can exceed 200 MPH and is powered by a 6.5 liter (396 cubic inches for Bill Stephens) V-12 with a maximum output of 800 HP/530 LB-FT of torque. It is also certainly not an ugly car. I mean, WOW!


See the source image


OK, why am I showing a picture of a 1958 DeSoto Adventurer which was offered at Mecum’s Monterey auction in 2010? Live and learn…here is something I just noticed in standard catalog of® American Cars, 1946-1975 by John Gunnell, “A new option [for 1958] was an electronic [emphasis mine] fuel injection system manufactured by Bendix. Cars so equipped wore special nameplates above the front fender medallions and were later recalled to the factory for reconversion into ‘standard,’ dual-quad carburetor form.”

Chrysler Corporation offered electronic fuel injection in 1958! Although it sounds like the system was not a success—this article claims that only 35 cars were equipped with Electrojector—it was a hell of an effort, IMO. Were any of you aware of this before I mentioned it here?

Live and learn…










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7 thoughts on “Sunday Sundries

  1. “and consumers have been denied their rights to purchase replica cars.”

    Is “the right to buy a replicar” part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? So why don’t I have the right to use cocaine or exchange in a consensual business transaction with a female? Conversely, why should I be subjected to some moron buying a death trap some high school dropout built in his driveway and calls a “replicar”?


    1. A lot of the world is gray, shadow and shade. It is my understanding, though, that these limited-edition replicars would not be exempt from all safety regulations. These would not be “anything goes” cars.


  2. The foot dragging on the Replica Car Rules is due to holdovers in the NHTSA from (ahem) … “a previous administration” … Write the White House at and ask the President to light a fire under the NHTSA bureaucrats. Bureaucratic foot dragging like this helps keep me in the small government category …

    I didn’t know that the Bendix electronic fuel injection system had been offered at Chrysler (whether only at DeSoto or at any other Chrysler division). Or, if I knew it, I had certainly forgotten about it!

    In the ’50s, Mercedes-Benz’s 300 series cars had Bosch mechanical fuel injection. The dabbling in fuel injection by automakers in the ’50s was a natural outgrowth of WWII when many aircraft engines had mechanical fuel injection.

    Packard planned to make mechanical fuel injection standard on the ’57 Senior series cars, which also would have had a 440 cubic inch V-8. Bendix would have been the supplier. The fuel injection angle was a natural for Packard, too, because of its aircraft engine business. I have it in my head but can’t at the moment find the documentation that Packard and Bendix were working on an electronic system as a development beyond the mechanical setup. IF that’s the case, it is likely the electronic system fitted to those few DeSotos was the system Bendix and Packard had been working on. Again, I can’t put this out as a certainty because I have hidden the material about the fuel injection system from myself! Be all of that as it may, here’s a ’56 Packard Executive fitted with the mechanical system:


  3. … Oh, and that Ferrari you show today is a real heart stopper! You probably know the Enzo Ferrari’s infatuation with V-12 power plants began with a Packard V-12 …


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