Saskatchewan classic car community looking for update to insurance regulation

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WATCH: A classic car collector in Saskatoon has started a petition calling for the province to update its regulations around modified vehicles – Jun 11, 2020

Vintage car owners are calling on Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) to update its regulations concerning classic and modified vehicles.

It stems from an experience one Saskatoon owner had after being pulled over by police at the end of May.

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Stephen Betker was given two tickets during one of his weekly drives in his 1964 Ford Falcon along the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon — one for his car being too loud and another for an SGI inspection.

A week later, he took the car he’s owned for 38 years into a shop.

“(The SGI inspector) looked at the car and said it’s unsafe. He said the parts I have on it, I can’t have on it,” Betker said.

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The inspector flagged the car’s front suspension, the sub-frame connectors and the adapted fuel cell — all of which Betker modified to the car.

After failing the inspection and being told SGI would not insure the vehicle after July 25, Betker started a petition that as of June 10 had more than 23,000 signatures.

Kelvin Janzen is the president of a car group and a vintage car mechanic and said Betker’s Falcon sets the bar for Saskatoon’s vintage cars.

“If that car doesn’t meet standards, we need to figure out the standards because that car is stronger and safer than my 1962 Chrysler was the day it was built,” Janzen said.

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“There are specific equipment exemptions for vintage and modified vehicles and SGI’s vehicle standards and inspection team is willing to work with customers before and after they make changes to their vehicle to ensure it meets safety standards,” the insurer wrote in an e-mail to Global News.

Janzen and Betker agree the issue stems from out-of-date regulations.

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The current rules mean hot rods from the 1960s fall either under vintage cars built before 1958 or current day standards, which leaves a grey area for classic cars built after 1958 and to the discretion of inspectors on how to determine what modifications are allowed.

“I mean if we’re installing better steering and better brakes and better everything, it would only make sense to change it to that,” Betker said.

Janzen said talks are in place with provincial officials and Betker said he has been in contact with members of the Department of Transportation.

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