Antique car collecting, and restoration is a favorite pastime for people all around the globe. For many, antique cars are a reminder of simpler times, especially from childhood or adolescence. Antique and classic cars give us a fond glimpse of the culture and history of automobiles. Owning an antique or historical vehicle requires patience and care in order to maintain its beauty and condition. Part of owning a piece of America’s history also requires special registration by the State of Texas. In order to acquire your Texas antique plates, you’ll need to meet the qualifications outlined by the state. Your registration and plates will depend on whether your vehicle is classified as a Classic, Antique, or Street Rod/Custom Vehicle. Learn the rules and regulations regarding antique vehicles in Texas and special tips on how to keep your baby looking and running well.
Antique License Plate
In order to qualify for Texas antique vehicle registration, your vehicle must be at least 25 years old, and can only be used on a limited basis such as car shows, exhibitions, parades, and travel to and from repair and maintenance facilities. Additionally, commercial advertisement on antique vehicles is strictly prohibited. However, vehicles registered for Antique Plates are exempted from state auto safety inspections. Once the plate is issued, it will need to be displayed on the rear of the vehicle and is valid for up to five years. Vehicles manufactured prior to 1921 are just $40.00 for registration while those manufactured in 1921 or thereafter are $50.00. Vehicle owners must provide proof of insurance or a Texas DPS affidavit, along with the application for approval. As the owner, you have the option to choose an antique plate or the original license plate issued by Texas in the same year as the year model of your vehicle. However, the plate must have the original color design and be in legible and good condition and be approved by your local county tax assessor. If approved, a plate tab and sticker will be provided to prove its validity.
Classic License Plate
Similar to the antique plate, to qualify as for a Classic License plate, your vehicle, whether passenger car, truck, motorcycle, or travel trailer must be at least 25 years old. The difference lies in how the vehicle will be used. Antique cars have restrictions that do not apply to the classic vehicle registration. Where antique cars may only be used for certain special events and are excluded from advertisements, classic vehicles can be driven daily, with advertisements, and without additional restrictions. The only caveat is that the vehicle must be inspected and registered annually.
Street Rods and Custom Vehicle Plates
Custom vehicles are classified as vehicles that are at least 25 years old and modeled after 1948 or manufactured to resemble a vehicle over 25 years old. This includes those that are produced after 1948 but have been altered from the original design or has a body created from materials unoriginal to the vehicle. A Street Rod is a vehicle that was produced prior to 1949 or after 1948 to take after a vehicle produced before 1949, that has been changed from the original manufacturer’s design or made with different materials, not original to the vehicle. Additionally, to obtain the specialty plate, an ASE Certified Master Technician must inspect and certify that the vehicle is structurally stable and safe to function on public roads. Once approved, however, it is exempt from the Texas vehicle safety inspection, and in some cases, emissions inspections. Finally, the systems that are inspected are based on the year model of the vehicle and need only comply with state and federal motor vehicle safety laws in effect from the year the vehicle emulates. For example, a 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air must only conform to vehicle safety laws of 1954.
Caring for Your Antique, Classic, or Street Rod
No matter what you drive, your vehicle will need care and maintenance. Vehicle owners of classic vehicles, though, must provide extra tender loving care to their vehicles to preserve their quality and appearance. To keep your beauty looking and running like it’s fresh off the car lot, follow our tips for maintaining your classic:
- Avoid exposure to adverse conditions. Rain, sun, or other inclement weather conditions can result in damages to the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Store the vehicle in a garage when not in use and provide shade at other times, such as at car shows, etc.
- Protect from the harsh elements. Prevent damage to the interior from the sun by using leather conditioners, vinyl cleaners, and UV blockers. For exterior protection, frequent washing and waxing, or detailing will help prevent the build-up of dirt which can damage the exterior paint over time.
- Take it to the street. No matter their age, cars desire to go! Driving the vehicle helps keep the engine in good shape, circulate necessary fluids, and more. Plus, you’ll be able to identify when the vehicle may be in need of repairs or maintenance.
- Maintenance is key. Extend the life of your classic vehicle by keeping up with routine oil changes, flushes, and other maintenance as needed to keep the vehicle running and protect the engine.
We’re Your Partner In Auto Care & Maintenance
At Sun Auto Service, we understand that your antique car is one of your most valued possessions. That’s why our technicians take extra care to ensure your vehicle leaves in better condition than when it arrived. Our Technicians are always investing in the future of automotive care, but they haven’t forgotten the needs of cars from yesteryear. We’re the experts because our Technicians are well-versed in all makes and models of vehicles, including vintage models. Sun Auto Service is the neighborhood automotive center you can trust for any of your automotive needs from advice on care, to questions and recommendations on how to keep your vehicle running for many more years. Get revved up about auto care with Sun Auto Service by scheduling your next appointment for maintenance or service today.