Petrolisti Unite! Time to Rewrite a Foolish Law
Photography by Rémi Dargegen and Daniil Matyash
Alright, Petrolisti, time to mobilize the community! I need your help, and all of your auto enthusiasts’ friends help (and their friends, and their friends' friends too) in overturning an unjust law. On Monday, we asked you what car you'd like to import, never sold in the US, that is more than twenty-five years old.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, the United States has an almost blanket ban on importing all vehicles younger than twenty-five years old. Land of the free, my foot! With very few exceptions, you can’t just import a car from another part of the world until it has turned twenty-five years old. And it's about protectionism. But not about protecting occupants or even the environment. The law was passed in the 1980s when fluctuations in the currency exchange rates could provide massive profits to an importer over the manufacturer that originally made the car. Remember the term “grey market”? Well, the automakers didn’t like it, and so lobbied our government to make it much tougher to do this. How much tougher? You’d have to really want a particular “unobtanium” car. Like really, really want. And you’d have to have the money, time, and resources (read that as $$$$) to get it federalized to drive it legally on our roads. I won’t go into the specifics, but the maze of bureaucracy made me give up the dream. But as a well read, and perhaps well travelled car enthusiast, there will probably be a time when you too hear the call from a car built in a distant land. But currently there is no easy way to do this. Unless we overturn this law.