B-96807, SEPTEMBER 1, 1950, 30 COMP. GEN. 97

B-96807: Sep 1, 1950

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IS NOT BELIEVED FEASIBLE FOR APPLICATION IN ALL CASES. CONSTRUCTION WHICH ARE CHANGING FROM TIME TO TIME. MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS STATION WAGONS AS THAT TERM IS USED IN THE PURCHASE PRICE LIMITATIONS OF ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS. IN WHICH THERE IS PROPOSED A DEFINITION OF "STATION WAGONS" AS THAT TERM IS USED IN PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS RESTRICTING THE PURCHASE PRICE OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES. IS AS FOLLOWS: * * * A STATION WAGON SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD TO BE A PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE CHASSIS. UPON WHICH IS MOUNTED A PANEL-WITH-WINDOWS TYPE BODY OF WOOD. IN WHICH THERE ARE THREE SEATS. SUCH VEHICLE SHOULD HAVE AN ENGINE LOCATED IN THE FRONT WHICH IS READILY ACCESSIBLE FOR REPAIRS.

B-96807, SEPTEMBER 1, 1950, 30 COMP. GEN. 97

VEHICLES - "STATION WAGONS" - CHARACTERISTICS WHILE A DEFINITION OF THE TERM "STATION WAGONS" AS USED IN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS RESTRICTING THE PURCHASE PRICE OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES, EXCLUSIVE OF STATION WAGONS, ETC., IS NOT BELIEVED FEASIBLE FOR APPLICATION IN ALL CASES, IN VIEW OF THEIR DIVERSIFIED MODELS, DESIGNS, AND CONSTRUCTION WHICH ARE CHANGING FROM TIME TO TIME, THE KAISER VAGABOND AND TRAVELER, HAVING ALL THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A PASSENGER CAR AND BEING PRIMARILY CONSTRUCTED FOR USE AS SUCH, MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS STATION WAGONS AS THAT TERM IS USED IN THE PURCHASE PRICE LIMITATIONS OF ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS, BUT THE PLYMOUTH SUBURBAN, HAVING ALL THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A STATION WAGON, MAY BE SO REGARDED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL FISHER TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, SEPTEMBER 1, 1950:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 14, 1950, IN WHICH THERE IS PROPOSED A DEFINITION OF "STATION WAGONS" AS THAT TERM IS USED IN PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS RESTRICTING THE PURCHASE PRICE OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES, EXCLUSIVE OF BUSSES, AMBULANCES, AND STATION WAGONS.

YOUR PROPOSED DEFINITION IN WHICH THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CONCURRED IN HIS LETTER TO YOU OF JUNE 19, 1950, IS AS FOLLOWS:

* * * A STATION WAGON SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD TO BE A PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE CHASSIS, UPON WHICH IS MOUNTED A PANEL-WITH-WINDOWS TYPE BODY OF WOOD, STEEL, OR SIMULATED WOOD, IN WHICH THERE ARE THREE SEATS, FACING FORWARD, ACCOMMODATING EIGHT PASSENGERS INCLUDING THE DRIVER, THE TWO REAR SEATS BEING REMOVABLE IN ORDER TO CARRY CARGO. SUCH VEHICLE SHOULD HAVE AN ENGINE LOCATED IN THE FRONT WHICH IS READILY ACCESSIBLE FOR REPAIRS, AND IT SHOULD BE MOUNTED ON FOUR WHEELS, THE REAR TWO OF WHICH DRIVE THE VEHICLE.

YOUR LETTER STATES THAT, WHEN THE LIMITATION ON PURCHASING MOTOR VEHICLES FIRST OCCURRED IN LEGISLATION, A STATION WAGON COULD HAVE MEANT ONLY ONE THING TO CONGRESS, AS ONLY ONE TYPE OF SUCH VEHICLE EXISTED, AND THE PRESENT LANGUAGE SHOULD BE INTERPRETED IN THE LIGHT OF THE MEANING ORIGINALLY UNDERSTOOD. UNDER YOUR DEFINITION, A VEHICLE WOULD NOT BE REGARDED AS A STATION WAGON IF (1) THE BODY IS MADE FROM MATERIAL OTHER THAN WOOD, STEEL, OR SIMULATED WOOD; (2) THERE ARE OTHER THAN THREE SEATS FOR PASSENGERS; (3) THE SEATS ACCOMMODATE OTHER THAN EIGHT PASSENGERS; AND (4) MORE OR LESS THAN TWO REAR SEATS ARE REMOVABLE IN ORDER TO CARRY CARGO. IT IS NOT BELIEVED THAT THE FOREGOING FACTORS MAY BE REGARDED INDEPENDENTLY OF EACH OTHER AS BEING A FINAL CRITERION IN DETERMINING WHETHER A VEHICLE IS A STATION WAGON. THE PURCHASE PRICE LIMITATION IS ENACTED ANNUALLY BY THE CONGRESS AND THE CHANGE IN DESIGN OF THE STATION WAGONS IS OF SUCH COMMON KNOWLEDGE THAT IT MUST BE ASSUMED THAT THE CONGRESS IS WELL AWARE THEREOF.

IT THEREFORE IS NOT BELIEVED THAT THE ADOPTION OF YOUR PROPOSED DEFINITION WOULD BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INTENT OF THE CONGRESS IN ENACTING THE VARIOUS PURCHASE PRICE LIMITATIONS. NEITHER IS IT BELIEVED THAT IT IS FEASIBLE TO DEFINE "STATION WAGONS" IN SUCH A MANNER AS TO BE APPLICABLE IN ALL CASES IN VIEW OF THEIR EXTREMELY DIVERSIFIED MODELS, DESIGNS, AND CONSTRUCTIONS, WHICH ARE CHANGING FROM TIME TO TIME.

THERE WAS ENCLOSED IN YOUR LETTER DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE ON THE KAISER VAGABOND AND TRAVELER AND THE PLYMOUTH SUBURBAN. THE KAISER VAGABOND AND TRAVELER PROPERLY APPEAR TO FALL WITHIN THE CLASSIFICATION OF PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES. THEY HAVE ALL OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A MERE PASSENGER CAR AND ARE PRIMARILY CONSTRUCTED FOR USE AS SUCH. THEY RESEMBLE A STATION WAGON SLIGHTLY ONLY WHEN THE REAR DECK IS OPENED AND THE REAR SEAT IS COLLAPSED. HENCE, THEY ARE NOT TO BE REGARDED AS "STATION WAGONS" AS THAT TERM IS USED IN THE PURCHASE PRICE LIMITATIONS. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE PLYMOUTH SUBURBAN HAS ALL OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A STATION WAGON, THE ONLY PRIMARY CHANGES BEING THAT THE BODY IS ALL METAL AND THAT IT HAS ONLY TWO SEATS. IT WOULD NEVER BE RECOGNIZED AS A MERE PASSENGER CAR. THE PLYMOUTH SURBURBAN, THEREFORE, PROPERLY MAY BE REGARDED AS A "STATION WAGON.'

YOU ARE ADVISED ACCORDINGLY.