IN THE BEGINNING - TODAY - TOMORROW
In the “Beginning” – A Very Brief History
The ISRA (INDIANA STREET ROD ASSOCIATION) was established in 1971 by a group of "hot rodders" with a concern that, due to certain pending legislation and revised statutes, they would not be permitted to drive their vehicles on the highways and back roads of Indiana. Due in a major part to their efforts, the hobbyists turned the heads of the Legislators and these early "Rodders" were able to continue driving their vehicles as do we, today! To them we owe a hearty “thank you”!
There were 58 founding members. “Old” was then 1946 and could include most any altered vehicle. In an attempt to make the hobby “acceptable” to the public, Hot Rods became "Street Rods" in the 1970’s. (“Hot Rodders” had a less than perfect reputation no thanks to the film industry and a small percentage of the “Hot Rodders”!) 1948 and older vehicles became “Street Rods”, a line which holds true today – a line which is growing very dim.
By the 1980’s a new angle to the imaginary line came about in a big way – “Street Rod” pre 1949 (1948 and older) vs. all the other hobby vehicles 1949 and newer. And, of course there were a lot more of these “newer hot rods” than the “older hot rods” which, again were designated as “Street Rods”. There were some very defining lines drawn even within our ISRA.
There was and is a place for “segregation” of the types of vehicle as there are some very logical differences. Obviously there are Antiques, Hot Rods, Customs, Street Machines, Muscle Cars, Classics, others and now Tuners. And, a lot of hobbyists like them all - 1948 down and 1949 up. Yes, it was becoming unnecessarily complicated!
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and it was realized that all these categories had one very common potential “enemy” and problem – unwarranted, unnecessary, intrusive laws curtailing the practice of our hobby, lumping altered/classic vehicles together with regular personal vehicles! There had to be one, strong, single-purpose Indiana Association to monitor the law makers, ecologists and “tree huggers”. That has become the purpose of the ISRA (Indiana Street Rod Association) of today.
Today and Forward into the 21st Century
Today (2009) "old" is 1984 by Indiana Statute. The ISRA draws no lines for qualifying year of manufacture or type of vehicle. In fact, the vehicle is not at issue here –the overall hobby is our concern!
Even more so today than in 1971 there are huge threats, from greater numbers, that we will only be permitted to drive in parades and set at car shows with our vehicles.
We are fairly unencumbered – under the radar. We are to date very fortunate that we are left alone, for the most part, to have our fun and enjoy our hobby; out of mind – out of sight. This makes the issue much more difficult to recognize and oppose!
Unfortunately there is way too much apathy or lack of concern even within our hobbyist ranks as to what can and will happen in Indiana. And, unfortunately, because of this apathy many don’t see the problem! But, it’s very much there and all around us! Hot Rod, Street Rod, Street Machine, Muscle Car as well as Antiques to Tuners. We are all in the same boat! And, we have but one means to protect what we like to do – what we take for granted we will always be able to do - hit the streets! Go Cruzin’. Go on a tour. Drive our “vintage” cars and trucks.
Here’s the “Pitch” - The 80/20 Rule
LET’S BE BLUNT!
The threat is here! We are in the minority more so today than 30 years ago! The bulk of the voters today (the 80%) look at us as “those people”. Some like to look. Some will point a threatening finger. Many don’t understand our passion. Why should they? They see “cars as just a means to get from one place to another”. Transportation is a rolling device – something to get from where they are to where they are not. They think we are a “strange lot”.
By way of their apathy, they carry a lot of negative (80%) influence to the lawmakers simply as voters. They are unified only as voters.
We are the “20” in the 80/20 equation. Our strength, our defense, must be that we are unified.
Though there are thousands of us in Indiana WE ARE A MINORITY! BUT…
Through membership in the ISRA we can all become unified in our focus – a strong unified minority - “keeping us on the street” and not in the local Christmas/4H Fair/Festival and other parades. We won’t be shoved off into parks and parking lots to “enjoy” a (yawn) “good day of automotive adventure”!
The ISRA is all about a great big, long list of automotive hobbyists of all persuasions. When needed, that list can be our best tool to defend our hobby against the uninformed law makers and neighbors. We must be the “organized/unified 20%. Our defense is a unified strength.
And, we must be good stewards of automotive history and heritage. Along the way we have to take every opportunity to educate the public, gaining their needed support. At every opportunity we must enlighten the lawmakers about our “American love affair with the automobile” – gaining their support as their constituents and voters.
We have to come together – Unify our strength OF numbers into “Strength IN numbers”!