> There were no federal standards for emission controls prior to
> 1968. As far a I know, no car produced before 1968 model year is
> subject to emission test anywhere in North America.
Having a standard for emission controls has little or nothing to do with
actually testing for emissions. When I bought my 1959 TR3A here in CA
around 1984, the law at that time did require emissions testing of all cars
when title was transferred.
I was rather panicked at the time, never having gone through an emissions
test before; so I tuned it to be as clean as I knew how. Amusingly, I got
it so clean that it actually flunked ! The initial test report said that I
had to have an exhaust leak, because it was too clean!
So, I took it home, tuned it "by the book", went back and passed with flying
colors. 3 of the 4 measurements were several times lower than the law
allowed, and the 4th was still well below the limit. This was on a
well-worn engine, later discovered to have visible rust pits in one of the
They would have also done a visual inspection for any required emissions
control devices, but since there were none, they only checked that I had an
original type engine and carburetors. Had it been a newer engine, I would
have had to meet the standard applicable to the engine year.
Also FWIW, if memory serves, CA had requirements for emission control
devices as early as 1965. Until the early 70s, these were retrofit devices
installed by dealers on cars to be sold here; but they were still required
to pass the test (and to be installed on used cars brought into the state).
For my Plymouth Valiant, the required retrofit device was basically a
calibrated vacuum leak, installed in place of the vacuum advance (so the
advance also was rendered inoperative).
Soap box alert: Yes, CA's emission control laws are a PITA. But the
improvement in air quality since I moved to the LA smog basin in 1978 has
really been incredible. Back then, the air was always brown, even looking
straight up. Now, even on bad days, it's just a little haze in the
distance, and on most days the mountains are clearly visible.
My plans are to add PCV and a carbon canister to my 57 TR3.
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