80s Mercedes-Benz SEL

A group of enthusiasts have started a We The People petition urging the Executive Branch in Washington to stop using what it says are Homeland Security funds to police gray-market vehicles. The petition also seeks to have the federal gray market exemption age reduced from 25 years old to 15 years old. As of right now, any vehicle imported into the U.S. must be able to comply with our government's safety and emissions standards unless they are 25 years old or older, making it nearly impossible for the importation of newer vehicles on an individual basis. The petition declares that the 25-year rule was originally adopted at the behest of automakers like Mercedes-Benz.

Automotive history buffs may recall that in the '80s, Benz only offered Americans the lackluster 380SEL while the rest of the world enjoyed the 500SEL. As a result, a massive gray market erupted for the more powerful sedan, and by some estimations, 22,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles floated in outside of the dealer network in a single year. That caused the company to lean heavily on lawmakers to shut the import door.

The White House has agreed to respond to any We The People petition that accrues 25,000 signatures in a month. So far, this particular effort has only gained just under 5,000 names. Head over to the We The People site to check out the petition and add your own name to the effort if you agree.