From:Matt Ludwig <>
Date sent:     Fri, 3 Mar 2000 12:58:22 -0600
Subject:Open letter reaction

In the USA we have also had buyback programs intended to get old "gross pollution vehicles" off of the roads. In the US, no rule was made that these cars could not be bought whole and retitled, but most large corporate buyers simply scrapped the cars as quickly as possible, destroying many salvagable or restorable cars. Most of theses efforts are in states with strict emissions requirements like California. Also, most of these efforts are heavily backed by large corporations. They support these programs for two reasons.

  1. they can get "pollution credits" for buying old cars, which is less expensive than cleaning up their factories. These credits allow them to keep polluting so long as they are getting rid of classic cars.
  2. The auto manufacturers also have something to gain from this. They are able to get old cars off the road, and then sell somebody a new car. These companies can also benefit from the first reason I mentioned, but not as much as other companies do.

Fortunately this is no longer a popular thing in this country, most companies have been forced to clean up their industrial sites and Americans are beginning to rediscover some of the older cars that they once tried to rid the roads of. Sadly there are still amazing and terrific cars being scrapped all the time. Most of them are between 15 and 20 years old, and are at their lowest point in value. Many of these cars suffer from obscurity (Lancia in the United States) or the stigma that is attached to cars that were not truly expensive when new (most Japanese cars, of which there are some interesting cars worth saving). My 1981 Beta Zagato (Spider) has already hit its lowest value, and in a year or so should begin increasing in value. I bought this rust free car at the lower end of the Zagato price range in the US, but with some interior and mechanical work this car could easily be in the upper ranges of the market if I choose to sell it (which I have no intentions of doing). Despite this, this car would considered a prime candidate for the buyback program in Italy right now. It is quite sad that people forget the things that are part of their histories.

Matt Ludwig,

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