The process of applying for an antique or custom car registration in Illinois must be completed by car owners who would like to legally operate these types of special vehicles within the state. The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State (SOS) will issue classic or antique vehicle registration documents only to applicants who meet the full set of requirements for the corresponding procedure. Note that the steps in the application process for an IL registration for custom cars or vintage vehicles differ from those that apply for the standard car registration process. To learn how to register custom car projects and vintage vehicles in Illinois, read the following sections.

Definition of a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Illinois

Before requesting an Illinois antique car registration or a registration for custom vehicles, car owners must learn the difference between these two special types of motor vehicles. Under state law, IL custom vehicle registrations can be obtained for vehicles that were constructed based on models produced after 1948 and that are altered from the original design with non-original components. If the vehicle resembles a model produced prior to 1949, it will be classified as a street rod vehicle. Vintage vehicle registration documents, on the other hand, are issued to owners of vehicles that are at least 26 years old.

Steps in the Illinois Registration Process

Car owners can apply for an Illinois custom auto registration or a historic vehicle registration by meeting the specific requirements as set forth by the Secretary of State. Note that, while the procedure to register custom vehicles in IL differs from the process of registering a vintage car, applicants will still be required to submit certain documents and pay the applicable fees. The process of registering a custom car, for example, can be finalized by submitting the following items:

  • A filled out and signed SOS title/registration application
  • A signed statement describing the vehicle construction procedure
  • Photographs of the front, back and sides of the vehicle
  • Documentation that includes the vehicle identification number, such as the title of the car from which the body of the new vehicle was obtained or a certificate of origin
  • Ownership documents for the engine and the remaining major parts, such as bills of sale and/or invoices
  • Payment for the applicable fees

After submitting the application for an IL custom car registration to the SOS office in Springfield along with the items outlined above, the Secretary of State will mail you a 90-day Temporary Registration Permit (TRP) and an inspection form. You can obtain your registration for custom cars once you pass the inspection by returning the form to the SOS.

When applying for antique vehicle registrations in IL, car owners will be required to submit the standard application for title/registration, an Expanded-Use Antique Verification form, the vehicle title and the corresponding application form and fee payments. The extended-use registration and antique DMV license plates can be used to operate a vehicle on the state highways during certain months in the year without the restrictions placed on standard vintage license plates.

Fees to Register a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Illinois

An important step in the processes of registering a vintage car in Illinois or a custom-built car is arranging the payment for the applicable fees. The total payable amount for custom or antique auto registrations will vary based on several factors and it will include different types of costs. For example, applying for a custom vehicle registration in IL is a procedure that currently includes a $196 fee for the registration card and the vehicle title as well as additional sales tax costs. The cost to obtain extended-use antique car tags and registration, on the other hand, varies based on the type of antique plates you are requesting. The standard vintage vehicle registration and plates cost $51 with an annual renewal fee of the same rate. For vanity and personalized plates, however, applicants will be required to pay an additional fee.

Note: Car owners will be required to renew auto registrations procedure in Illinois on a regular basis as well.

Last updated on Tuesday, December 4 2018.

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