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The "Show or Display" exemption that was enacted under Bill Clinton's tenure as president has been a godsend for collectors and enthusiasts who love certain European and Asian vehicles that were never officially certified for U.S. road use, cars like the McLaren F1, Bugatti EB110, Jaguar XJ220, Maserati MC12, Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM and GTR, and the Porsche 959. These are incredible cars that were never designed for American roads, and in turn needed some official "help" to get to these shores.

Some wealthy owners had taken it upon themselves to import these cars for their own collections even before the Show or Display legislation went into effect. Jerry Seinfeld was one of the first people to get a Porsche 959. He was joined by Microsoft partners Paul Allen and Bill Gates. Gates, in particular, was glad when the Show or Display went into effect so he didn't have to worry so much about blasting around Seattle in his Porsche supercar. Well, his days of no motoring worries may be over.

As part of an "environmental crackdown" in his home state of Washington, the Show or Display vehicles may lose their exemption. Governor Chris Gregoire is looking at ways to cut pollution and a prime target are catalytic converter-free cars like these exempted vehicles and their "gross emissions." Although Gates had recently joked that, "my Porsche days may be coming to a close," that was due to his wife Melinda's concerns more than any foreseen legislative problems. According to this Australian IT article, Bill's friends seem to think "he will not surrender his right to drive the 959 without a fight." Having seen a few of these in action over the years, we hope that cooler heads prevail and they work out a compromise.

[Source: Australian IT via Digg]


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  • 30 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      What a scam. One of my cars (1994 Supra Twin Turbo) passed every year in Las Vegas and it had no cats. I had a down pipe and full race exhaust, among other mods. The car blew quite clean without any cats. Here's why I say the smog testing is total BS. Even though my car passed, one official still gave me shit because it did not pass visual inspection...read: he saw no cats. Pure Gov't BS regs at work here people.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ban leafblowers instead. How about if tens of thousands of idiots (are you one of them?) started to use rake again? Radical thought huh? Well, as for me, I'd rather hear Bills 959 wailing through my neighborhood, then my neighbors' 40cc Stihl jetpack.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "10. Actually, if you want to save the planet, ban cows. They emit more greenhouse gases than cars, planes and all other forms of transportation put together, mostly through belching and farting."

      I do my part every week by EATING at least one cow.
      • 8 Years Ago
      WTF? Creating tougher emissions standards for trucks and SUVs will yield much better results than this BS. As an earlier poster said, I'm sure the 12 cars or so that'll have their exemption revoked will make SOOO much environmental difference.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hey, as long as I can still get a tax break for buying a Hummer, I'm happy. THIS IS AMERICA PEOPLE!

      What worries me is that the politicians believe that enough of the voting public is stupid enough to think this will actually make a difference to air pollution.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I believe there are more cars that have been made illegal through aftermarket tuners than there would be of these supercars.
      Let them run-around. They are amazing and they are way more fun to drive around than the stupid a$$ Prius!
      • 8 Years Ago
      exactly, this is purely a dumb political move to make the masses feel like they are sticking it to those wealthy enough to afford some fun.
      Jvijil
      • 8 Years Ago
      Bill will probably buy Washington state from the U.S., and then laugh at the hippies. And he will stil a bajillion dollars left by the way.
      • 8 Years Ago
      For 1988, the 959 was 10 years ahead of everything around. Now though, 18 years later, it's just a relic. A standard 997 Turbo will blow the 959 away these days. I drove a 997 Turbo on an Autobahn last week and had driven a 959 about 6 year ago. There's nothing in it in terms of performance.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm a liberal, love cars, concerned about the environment (not so concerned I'd get membership in Green Peace or Sierra Club)...and if the legislation is aimed squarely at vehicles like this then it is absolutely ridiculous.

      I'm also a CO resident and I've got a pathetic piece of junk called a 2000 VW Passat that has a check engine light ablaze with the daily reminder of "Emmissions Workshop" flashing at me. So I go to get new reg/plates and have to have an emmissions check done. It passed the test with flying colors. Best of all there is a test for "check engine light" and my ppwk says it passed that as well...the light hasn't been off in MONTHS! Maybe it's different in WA but here in CO it's a joke.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Rather than crushing these beautiful cars (they are really masterpieces... So beautiful, so wonderful.), Bill should sell them to the Porsche museum! So that everyone can admire the beauty of the car! When sitting in a museum, it can no longer pollute the air! Everyone is happy! Bill can get a Porsche 997 Turbo instead to drive on American roads!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Take a handful of supercars and the ridiculous prices associated with each vehicle, now in typical government form...tax them. There is enough cash within the sales tax and registration to purchase enough offsets to completely mitigate their effect on the evironment. Why make the exotic/supercar industry suffer needlessly? I like to think there is only one California.
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