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How to Register a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Texas

Like most other motor vehicles, custom-built and antique vehicles must be properly registered and titled in the state of Texas. However, the process of registering an antique or custom-built vehicle is different from registering a regular vehicle. If you have brought an antique or custom-built vehicle into Texas for a first time registration, or if you have custom-assembled a vehicle in the State, you will be referred to a County Tax Office near you.

WHAT ARE ANTIQUE AND CUSTOM BUILT VEHICLES?

  • In Texas, an antique vehicle is defined as any motor vehicle that has at least a twenty-five year old body, frame and motor.
  • The State defines a custom-built/assembled vehicle as any motor vehicle that has been reconstructed using three basic parts (body, frame, motor) and does not look like a known brand. Assembled vehicles are registered with the make as "assembled." The model year will be determined by the year of the body used to build the vehicle. A 'Replica' is an assembled vehicle that uses manufactured prefabricated body and resembles a known brand.

HOW TO REGISTER AN ANTIQUE OR CUSTOM BUILT VEHICLE

You will have to visit a County Tax Office near you to register your antique or custom-built Vehicle. When registering a custom-built or antique vehicle, you will need to bring the following materials to the renewal office:
  1. A completed and notarized Title Application, when obtaining a title for a new, custom- built/rebuilt vehicle.
  2. The Certificate of Title or manufacturer's certificate of origin, for antique or custom/rebuilt vehicles that have already been titled.
  3. A Bill of Sale showing vehicle ownership and also of all components used.
  4. A completed Builder's Affidavit, for custom-built/rebuilt vehicles. If a motor, frame or body has been changed in an existing vehicle it has to be recorded by correcting the Title certificate. For rebuilt vehicles, you will need pencil tracings of body, motor and frame number, duly filled Form VTR-68-N (for reassigned vehicle identification number), weight certificate, proof of financial responsibility and a vehicle photograph.
  5. A completed application for Vehicle Identification Number for vehicle located out of Texas.
  6. An Inspector's Report, certifying that the vehicle is safe to take on the road is required for "classic" vehicles. The Department of Safety's Safety Inspection Station will provide the report, following the vehicle inspection. Depending on the age of the car, some parts do not have to be inspected unless the original parts have been retained. Rebuilt vehicles will also need safety inspection.

FEES

When registering an antique or custom-built assembled vehicle, you will be required to pay the appropriate titling fees. Accepted modes of payment are cash, money orders, checks or credit cards ($1 is charged as processing fee for this option).

RENEWING A CUSTOM-BUILT OR ANTIQUE VEHICLE REGISTRATION

Your custom-built assembled or antique vehicle's registration will clearly indicate when it will expire. The process for renewing the registration on a custom or antique vehicle is the same as renewing the registration on a regular motor vehicle.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Reviews of How to Register a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Texas

Having just done this today...

Before you go to your local TAC, you will either need to get liability insurance or go to local DPS office and use form SR-2 to have them authorize insurance exemption. The exemption only allows you to drive to car shows, club events parades and maintenance. If you insure the vehicle you can drive it anytime anywhere.

Take your proof of insurance, or the filled out and notarized SR-2, title and check book to the TAC and pick up your antique tag. (only one required)

Edited to add: you will also need the antique license plate form VTR-54.

Why does the 5 year antique registration ask you to include insurance card if insurance isn't required?

The antique license plate link is incorrect. It links to the classis license plate form, which is different. You cannot apply for custom antique plates.

I want to reclaim a 1982 Ford Bronco II I sold to a neighbor after I moved from Indiana to Texas in 2005. I was misinformed that antique cars in Texas had to be at least 30 years old before they could be called "antique." Your website said the age only needs to be 25. The right exhaust pipe flange rusted away where it was bolted onto the engine; so no shop would weld it together. Any advice?

We have an antique jeep but the Arlington police department keeps trying to tell us it is inoperable and threatening to tow it. We can't drive it around the city because it's registered as an antique and is for shows only so I don't understand why they keep trying to tell us it's inoperable! This is the second time in two weeks that we've received an erroneous towing warning. I have no idea what to do now.

I have re titled my 69 mustang as an antique in Harris County. My question is, do I need proof of registration? I thought I was retitling it and registering it. What do I do if I get pulled over to prove it is registered? All I have now is a insurance card and a copy of the title.

I Just bought a 1971 Chevelle from Tucson, AZ, on the title it is registered as a "1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Custom Coupe" the vehicle is stock inside except for a B&M Megashifter. The Engine is a brand new GM small block Ramjet 350 and a brand new 700r4 transmission both with only 500 miles on it. Would that be defined as an Antique or a Classic, I'm not sure if it would pass emissions test, but would pass a safety inspection. So what are my options, and what forms do I need to fill out to get it registered in Texas, by the way I live in Fort Bend County.

After several phone calls and reading the wording in the TXDMV laws, I believe the answer to be as follows: 1) Antique cars (25 years and older) that you want to put an antique plate on do not require annual inspections. They may only be used in car events like parades, club meets, etc. and do not require insurance either. Here is the kicker....you have to trailer the car to these events as they are not allowed on the road legally. 2) If you want to register as a Classic Car, all that does for you is get a plate that says Classic Car. Yearly Inspection and registration is required. As an option on any car at least 25 years old is to find and purchase on your own, plates of the same year issue as the car. Take them to DMV for inspection at the time of registration and if they are in readable condition, you can register the car with those plates. Inspection of cars at least 25 years old do not get a tailpipe emissions check, only a check of the emissions equipment on the car (like PVC valve, air pump (if originally equipped), etc.). Make sure you have seat belts (lap type) and if originally equipped with an automatic shoulder belt (i.e. attached and part of the lap belt system, not a separate shoulder belt and separate buckle), make sure you have those. Hope this helps. Rich in Missouri City TX (Fort Bend County)

Rich, your information is wrong. If you were only allowed to haul a vehicle on a trailer there would be no reason whatsoever to even register it. The vehicle can be used for limited use, meaning it can be driven to and from car shows, driven to a shop to have maintenance done, parades, and such. It cannot be used for regular transportation and cannot carry advertising. Also "Antique" vehicles do not require any inspection at all after they have been registered. Only vehicles registered as "Classic" still require the safety/emissions checks.

Here's the statute so you can read it yourself: Sec. 504.502. CERTAIN EXHIBITION VEHICLES; OFFENSE. (a) The department shall issue specialty license plates for a passenger car, truck, motorcycle, or former military vehicle that:(1) is at least 25 years old, if the vehicle is a passenger car, truck, or motorcycle;(2) is a collector's item;(3) is used exclusively for exhibitions, club activities, parades, and other functions of public interest and is not used for regular transportation; and(4) does not carry advertising.(b) The license plates must include the words "Antique Auto," "Antique Truck," "Antique Motorcycle," or "Military Vehicle," as appropriate.(c) A person eligible for the license plates may instead use license plates issued by this state in the same year as the model year of the vehicle and approved by the department, provided that a passenger car must bear passenger car or truck license plates and a truck must bear passenger car or truck license plates. The department may require attachment of a registration insignia to the license plate in a manner that does not affect the display of information originally on the license plate.(d) License plates issued or approved under this section expire on the fifth anniversary of the date of issuance or approval.(e) The fee for issuance or approval of license plates under this section is:(1) $10 for each year or portion of a year remaining in the five-year registration period if the vehicle was manufactured in 1921 or later; or(2) $8 for each year or portion of a year remaining in the five-year registration period if the vehicle was manufactured before 1921.(f) The department may exempt a former military vehicle from the requirement to display a license plate or registration insignia if the exemption is necessary to maintain the vehicle's accurate military markings. The department may approve an alternative registration insignia that is compatible with the vehicle's original markings.(g) A person entitled to specialty license plates or to department approval under this section may register the vehicle without payment of any fees paid for or at the time of registration except the fee for the license plate. (h) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a vehicle issued license plates under Subsection (a) shall be required to attach and display only one license plate on the rear of the vehicle.(i) In this section, "former military vehicle" means a vehicle, including a trailer, regardless of the vehicle's size, weight, or year of manufacture, that:(1) was manufactured for use in any country's military forces; and(2) is maintained to represent its military design and markings accurately.(j) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1296, Sec. 247(16), eff. January 1, 2012.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1320, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.Amended by: Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1318, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1296, Sec. 196, eff. January 1, 2012.Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1296, Sec. 247(16), eff. January 1, 2012.

We just purchased a 1960 Airstream Travel Trailer that had vintage plates on it and we wanted to keep those plates as they were already registered. The Bastrop County Tax Assessor has said we need to remove them because they do not say "Travel Trailer" on them. The challenge is that as far as we can determine, Texas did not put "Travel Trailer" on plates until sometime in the 1970's. She showed us the rule saying it has to say Travel Trailer. Obviously, we want a 1960 plate on our 1960 Airstream. Travis County allowed it but Bastrop County is not. How can I proceed?

i have a 1971 chevelle that i am completing the rebuild on. basicaly a frame up restoration with a big motor and a blower. beautiful car. red white interior. lady at local tax office is telling me i can't register as a classis. im wanting to know on what grounds she has to stand on. it is a classic and will be driven only 100-200 miles per year

"Classic" vehicles have no limit on how much you can drive the vehicle. However, there is nothing different from a regularly registered vehicle and a vehicle registered as "Classic" other than the issued plates will say "Classic Auto" and you will pay more to register the car. "Antique" autos are the ones with the limited use, the three year registration and no inspection requirements.

It says here that Antique Vehicles are exempt from Inspection, but the Travis County Tax office is telling me that I have to get an inspection done on my 1922 motorcycle. It says Classic vehicles have to be inspected, but it does not define Classic vehicles. The tax office is classifying my 1922 motorcycle as a classic vehicle, when it is an antique. So I took my 1922 motorcycle to an inspection station and he said he has no guidelines that cover my vehicle and cannot inspect it. How am I supposed to register my 1922 motorcycle??? I bought it in Europe. I have sent forms back and forth to Europe several times. I have paid for Homeland Security inspections, EPA inspections, paid EPA penalty fees (Carbon Tax) on my 1922 vehicle. I have bought a title bond. I have taken it out to Manor and paid for County Inspection by the Travis County Vehicle Theft unit way out in Manor. I have gotten copies of forms I was never provided with from New York and Houston. Every time I have tried to complete this process, I have talked to either someone that did not know what I needed or else told me that I needed another form which someone previously has told me that I do not need as it doesn't apply to my vehicle. Is there anyone anywhere in the government of the State of Texas that actually knows what is required to register an antique 1922 motorcycle.

You will have to have it inspected ONCE, in order to obtain title. They will probably only need to check the brake and headlight/taillight. It will be like a moped inspection. The inspectors are idiots, they may need to phone their supervising DPS officer or look up what to do in their manual. They should be able to hand you the sticker for you to put in your wallet. Just throw it away. What you need from them is called a "green sheet," but it is a white form now. It is an extra $1.00 charge in addition to the inspection which should be $14.50. After your title transfer is completed you will not need an annual safety inspection.

I am thoroughly impressed how "the inspectors" are globally referred to as "idiots". After having been a vehicle safety inspector for the past 20 years and knowing the inspection manual from cover to cover and taking the amount of pride in correctly performing, for my state, the duties required, I am now reduced to a mere idiot. WOW.

And what you need from them is not called a "green sheet". It is rather known as the form VI30 which is a vehicle identification form you will have us fill out for you so that you may present it to a competent staff member at your local tax office for continuation of the registration process, that is, of course, if us "idiots" filled it out properly.

are you saying that they wont let you register it as an antique?and issue antique plates? that seems strange, they shouldnt have any chioce if your title says 1922 unless there are no antique motorcycles. however, travis county is one os the worst in texas, williamson co. is the worst. you might think about another county, dont know if there are any residency requirements though. if you dont have a title yet, that might be the problem. title application can be filed for without insurance and inspection if you fill out the form(dont remember the number) and state that it isnt operable.

I have tried on three separate computers and I am unable to open the form for antique license plates

Having read the HB 890. the steps of this process is a little clearer. But the Belton Office told me it had to be an assembled vehicle and the Year would be based on the Year completed(built. I see the bill became effective 1 Sep 2011. You make no mention of Street Rod(pre 1948). I have built a BoBBer 1945 Studebaker PU and was told it would be licensed as a 2012 when i was done I will put a book of information together to get this thing Titled and Registered. I just think State could be more outlined and consistant. Reading HB 890, Title procedures should reflect the registration Law?

hb 890 should have gone into effect 9/01/11 but it hasnt in bell co yet. the instructions for this local branch is "continue status quo until we are set up to implement the new act,, sounds like bad to me. i tried to contact gov's office to let him know the act isnt being used even though they are instructed to do so.. some else should complain also

 

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