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Thread: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

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  1. #1
    Yoda HealeyRick's Avatar
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    Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Nobody knows better than me that you can sue anyone for anything, but this has got some bad implications: https://pagesix.com/2019/09/21/kevin...-vintage-ride/ They want vintage car builders to put airbags in cars that never came with them? Put more horsepower in a car than it came with and you can be liable? Everyone who ever modified a car, even a little bit, could be liable under this theory of liability. And it's not to far a leap to find the owner of such a vehicle liable as well. Of course, a theory of personal responsibility for a driver of such a vehicle isn't even mentioned.
    Rick

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    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Might be a little different in this case. Seat belts were required by federal law starting in 1968, for new cars sold in the US. So his 70 Cuda had them originally and they have been removed. So if I'm not mistaken, the driver was breaking the law both by operating the car on a CA public road, and by not making sure his passengers were wearing their belts. It's lots easier to show negligence when they are actually breaking the law.

    ISTR reading that disabling safety devices for cars driven on public roads is also against CA law, which would suggest the designer was negligent too (if the design specified the belts be removed).

    This case may also hinge on whether it was still registered as a 1970 Cuda or not. Since it was obviously far from original, I'm guessing it at least should have registered as a kit car under CA law.

    We'll have to wait and see, but I really doubt this is going to result in "everyone who ever modified a car" being required to add safety devices. Big difference between having to add something, and not removing something that was already there.
    Randall
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    Yoda HealeyRick's Avatar
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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Good points about belts, Randall. The TMZ story also mentions air bags which definitely weren't required in 1970: https://www.tmz.com/2019/09/21/kevin...scle-injuries/
    Rick

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Couple of things.One, forcing safety standards on vehicles not designed with them hasn't worked up until now (emissions also).
    How is someone going to say a seat belt or harness attach point is engineered to hold? Or how would you get the crash barriers inside doors? Or 5 mph (ha!) bumpers?
    Even side markers and reflectors.
    In one group I hung out with, adding a cyclops (third light) INSIDE the rear window...some bottom feeding sum...err...lawyer sued one of the folks who had one, after an accident, as the car was not designed for that and somehow restricted his vision. Seriously. Never heard how that panned out.

    Next, I remember one of those car shows that customizes (heavily) got sued by the DMV for removing air bags and putting a TV monitor or something in place of them. You can't win with lawyers. I think I remember the shop..still seen on TV.

    Imagine, if some lawyer makes a stink, and the Late Great State of......decides to pass a law about airbags.

    Who is going to design them, test them (as in crash testing) manufacture them, and if they don't work, THEN who gets sued? Or collapsible steering columns? Or four wheel drum brakes?

    Wasn't it Wisconsin many decades ago tried to pass a law that your windscreen wipers could not change speed with changes in throttle? Directed at vacuum wiper systems. Lots of car clubs fought that one and won.

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    You want to see some of the stupidity in proposed laws, this is it. Yeah, 2011, but it never stops:
    https://www.sema.org/sema-news/2011/...year-in-review

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    Obi Wan
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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Ah yes - vacuum wipers. The faster you went and the more you pressed the gas pedal the slower they ran. Pull out to pass an 18-wheeler uphill on a rainy night and they would stop altogether unless you let off the gas pedal immediately. Not a great idea on a 2-lane road. My early Fords had them.

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    My Fords still have them. But compound fuel pumps.

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Quote Originally Posted by TOC View Post
    My Fords still have them. But compound fuel pumps.
    Definitely one of the stranger paths of automotive development. Ranks right up there with the vacuum tank fuel pump IMO.
    Randall
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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    The difficulty of engineering small enough motors to do electric. Same with starter motors.

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Quote Originally Posted by TOC View Post
    The difficulty of engineering small enough motors to do electric. Same with starter motors.
    Or put another way, lower cost. Especially on cars without a storage battery system.
    Randall
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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Quote Originally Posted by TR3driver View Post
    Or put another way, lower cost. Especially on cars without a storage battery system.

    Maybe. But that far back, no storage battery, hence no starter, the wiper generally was operated from a lever or crank on the inside of the windscreen.

    BTDT!

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Good take by Steve Lehto:

    Rick

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Basically what I said. But, this IS California, who wants to make laws, and have their laws apply nationwide. Will Sacramento try? Maybe. Will they succeed? Who knows.

    They WILL open a Pandora's Box by doing so.

    Because now, all those Metra trains, Light Rail, even the vaunted California High Speed Rail to nowhere....if there is a crash....and people are injured or killed.....where were the air bags, flame retardant suits, 5-poit harness and helmets.
    The Law of Unintended Consequences.

    Prius with a 700HP engine is what we'll get.

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Keep in mind too, that there are those who will do anything to remove old cars from the road for safty, pollution or other reasons. Maybe even as a first step eliminating personal transportation as a whole.

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Keep in mind, we haven't even seen the actual lawsuits yet; this is only speculation by TMZ, an "entertainment" rag that thrives on rumor and innuendo. With that much money involved, it's SOP to get lawyers yelling at each other; only TMZ has jumped to the conclusion that they will actually file in court, let alone what the court filing will actually say. Like I said before, it's going to be a lot easier to sue over the existing laws that were broken, than to try to get a court to create new laws out of one car crash.

    As far as California wanting their laws to apply nationwide, I feel that is a gross distortion of the facts. California wants to dictate emission rules within the state of California. It's the car makers that want to have the same rules nationwide, so they don't have to be bothered with producing two versions of every car.

    Because of geography and the sheer number of vehicles involved, the Los Angeles area does have a severe problem with air pollution. This is a naturally smoggy area to begin with (oil seeps, like the La Brea tar pits, emit a lot, not to mention the natural forest fires), but it's much worse when people get involved. When I moved here in 1978, almost every day was a first stage smog alert and the air looked terrible. Early in the morning, you could see the brown tunnels of smog forming over each and every freeway; making it abundantly clear that car exhaust was a significant portion of the problem.


    Out past Palm Springs, there is a fairly narrow mountain pass; from the desert side you could see the brown air pouring through the pass and dissipating into the desert.



    And as much as gear heads hate emission equipment, it has worked. In spite of even more people and more cars, the air in the Los Angeles smog basin is a lot cleaner now than it was. I'm inclined to disagree with many aspects myself; but there can be no doubt that overall, the rules have succeeded in cleaning up the air.

    Randall
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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    uh....no. They want first emissions nationwide. Easy, right? Refuse to allow new cars in unless they meet California Emissions Standards. Then other states (mine for one) adopt said standards.

    Cell while driving? Copied right from California, right down to "one finger, one time".

    Water standards.

    The list is long, but that's what they want.

    They want mileage and emissions nationwide. Not just California. Hence the latest Federal pushback.

    Even freeway onramps. California cuts them off quick, forced merge. Around here, long, plenty of time to merge. Oh, no, have to adopt California standards, so now they cut off like California.

    Sacramento Arrogance, some call it.



    Now, on to lawyers and safety.

    Used to be you needed seat belts, you went to a junkyard and bought what you needed.

    15 years or so ago, nope, not any more.

    Lawyers. Decided you couldn't trust junkyard seatbelts (even if they were in far better shape than what you currently had).

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    <censored>
    Randall
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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    I saw a post on AHX that really confused me. Seems a guy from Colorado failed the emission test on his '67 big Healey. I couldn't believe they did emission testing for cars that weren't originally subject to testing and for which there were no federal emission requirements, but it appears they do. There appears to be an exemption for cars with collector plates, but they still require a sniff test at the time of transfer of ownership or if the collector plates are allowed to expire.
    Rick

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Quote Originally Posted by TR3driver View Post
    <censored>
    As long as you understand I was born and raised in beautiful controlling California. Native. I am allowed.

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    Re: Bad Lawsuit for Custom Car Builders

    Colorado must have seriously changed since I moved, they used to not do emissions testing on old cars.
    All this seems an ex post facto issue and so unconstitutional. Maybe I am a bit simple though.
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