It’s Official: Cash for Clunkers is Law


The Cash for Clunkers law we’ve all been dreading passed both houses of Congress and was signed by the President yesterday. Although funding was reduced to $1 billion from its original $4 billion, and is limited to a four-month window, there’s still a lot of damage to be done.

Due to reasons we’ve outlined before, only 1984 and newer cars are eligible for the (up to) $4500 credit towards the purchase of a new car, which must get at least 4mpg more. The “clunker” must be crushed, no junkyard purgatory. You can strip off anything but the engine block, but we don’t expect many owners to do that. Basically, if you see a restored AW11 MR2 or FC RX-7 in your future, you’d better act quickly.

Some, like Hemmings, say this is just the beginning, a trial for something more destructive later on. We’ve been hitting the ‘yards every chance we get to amass parts for our JNC Wagon, a 1986 Cressida. It’ll be interesting to see if the pick-a-part population of these cars drops in four months from now.

This post is filed under: laws.

19 Responses to It’s Official: Cash for Clunkers is Law

  1. Nathan says:

    Your arguments against cash for clunkers are a little thin here. Firstly, an AW11 MR2 won’t qualify, as it’s mileage is above the lower (18mpg) limit. Secondly, no one is going to pick up a junkyard car for this as you have to have owned the car for 1 year before you can trade it in.

    The RX7 will indeed be a loss though

  2. DIASISS says:

    They JUST WONT STOP UNTIL WERE ALL GONE WILL THEY!!! its like theyre looking for excuses to destroy out heritage! and they are hitting us “urban oriented style carclubs” where it HURTS,OUR WALLET!

    Its only A MATTER OF TIME before they find some CLEVER way to force this on us!…ive noticed lately that police are impounding old cars for seemingly NO REASON! my friends 1988 200SX SEV6 {only 10,000 EVER made and in america only} got impounded BY THE POLICE because he broke down on the SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY but it only sat there for around 4HOURS before they just TOOK IT!!! he had to pay around 400$ just to get it back! and im seeing this happen more and more…


  3. mister k says:


  4. Jeremy says:

    Funny, the 2002 Chrysler Voyager and Town and Country are on the list at Edmunds. Also, the 2004 Dodge Dakota, 2004 Ford Freestar etc. Now, I’ve not much love for domestic cars, but…these are clunkers?

    And the 2001 Honda Odyssey is on the list. That’s a clunker, fit only to be crushed?

    A 2000 Toyota 4Runner?

  5. Carl Beck says:

    I’ll tickled PINK…. my 1988 Chevy Pickup with 350,000 hard miles was worth about $200.00… Now it’s worth $4,500.00 on trade for something new that gets 25mpg average…

    I can get a new Suzuki SX4 Crossover, loaded – with a $1500.00 mfg rebate and my old junk truck for around 13K! Given the income taxes I pay, I don’t feel bad at all about getting the Fed. rebate on my truck. Besides, you can strip anything off the vehicle except the engine before it goes to the junk yard – and I don’t see anything in the law that requires the junk vehicle to be “crushed”… so lots more cheap parts at the you-pull’s for people…

    Maybe a VW instead….2.5L 170HP… hummm

  6. Brad D. (TSiSS350) says:

    I dont think there much to worry about. Two kinds of people own JNC’s, those that love them and those that can’t afford new cars. 4,500 of of a 25,000 dollar car does not make it much more affordable to that group and the ones that love them, wont scrap them.

  7. Ben says:

    But say you just need a car as transportation and your 1985 car is getting a little long in the tooth and you were planning to get a new one. You could sell your old car to someone who will love it for maybe $2500, but the government is offering you $4500 towards a new car… not a tough choice.

  8. karenc says:

    Cash for Clunkers has another negative consequence. It will decrease donations of cars to charity because the voucher is much greater than the tax deduction for donating a car. Congress could have stimulated car sales by just returning to allowing car donors to claim the book value as their tax deduction. Since most donated cars are recycled, there would be an environmental benefit as well.

  9. Still almost no Japanese Classic cars meet the requirements to qualify for the program. Honestly do you know any normal person who puts themselves through the pain of Daily Driving a rotary car? I see this as government waste. It serves no one. My brand new Evolution just squeaks by with a combined EPA MPG of 19. Two things may happen, this program will disappear after October or they will raise the MPG limits to cover more cars. I don’t see the dealership I work at getting much business out of this. Montero’s qualify but so many people love them and they command such a resale value. We would pay more than what the Government would want for them.

  10. Oyaji Gaijin says:

    Say goodbye to all those direct injection, variable valve timing, V6 engines that make such wonderful transplants from SUVs into cars, because they are all on the list. Naturally aspirated 250+ HP in stock trim. The world may never know what one of these could do in a 2,000 pound car with a little tuning. But at least all those wealthy guys in new sportscars at the traffic lights can breath a lot easier without worrying about being embarrassed so often.

  11. Ben says:

    Great points by all.

    Drew, the Hemmings article I linked to has a great summary of how all the competing interest groups (environmentalists, consumer groups, auto industry, and even us via SEMA etc) tore at the bill to make it not of much use to anyone.

    Also, looking at the Edmunds list it seems they only went back as far as 1990. There are plenty of 1984-89 cars that didn’t make the list but are technically eligible for the program.

  12. Oyaji Gaijin says:

    I am noticing some glaring omissions from the list: Acura NSX, Audi R8, Any Bentley, Dodge Viper, Any Ferrari, Ford GT40, Any Lamborghini, Any Lotus, Any Maybach, Nissan Skyline GTR, etc. Does this indicate that the legislation writers do not want to risk making Hollywood residents feel guilty so they intentionally omitted their favored modes of transportation?

    But they did put the Secret Service’s favorite GMC Yukon on the list. Will they all be rolling in Priuses next week? Will those little electric motors push a car with armor plating and bullet proof glass?

  13. Zukiru says:

    does the car have to be running? just wondering how many people would have their car trailered over.

  14. Zukiru says:

    I see now
    strip off anything but the engine block.

    lots of great 80s cars are gonna die. 🙁

  15. Elliot says:

    Found a link from C&D. Did not realize that the yahoo link was the same article.

    BTW… can any forum moderator send me my confirmation email because I can’t access the forums yet. Thanks, boyee – japanesenostalgiccar user name

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