Registering a custom car and obtaining antique license plates in Michigan are procedures that can be completed through the Secretary of State (SOS) office by owners of historical vehicles or custom-built cars. Therefore, you will be able to apply for antique vehicle registration credentials and plates or a custom car registration only if your vehicle meets the corresponding definition for one of these two procedures. Also, unlike the standard car registration process, during these special SOS transactions, vehicle owners will be required to complete certain additional steps. Learn more about the MI registration for custom cars process and the procedure to purchase vintage license plates by reading the sections below.

Definition of a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Michigan

The SOS will process applications for Michigan historic vehicle registration documents or custom car registrations only for vehicles that belong in one of these two categories. For example, historic license plates in MI can only be obtained for vehicles that are at least 26 years old and used as collector’s items that are driven during educational activities, such as car shows, parades and exhibitions. Custom auto registrations, on the other hand, are issued for several types of assembled vehicles. For instance, you can obtain a registration for custom vehicles in MI if you own a homemade car built from new or used components by an individual other than the original manufacturer. Your vehicle will also qualify for this registration if it has been modified to not resemble its original configuration, it has a body from a different vehicle or it was constructed from a car kit.

Steps in the Michigan Registration Process

Auto owners applying for antique car tags in Michigan will be required to complete different steps than applicants for custom car registrations. To complete either procedure, vehicle owners will have to submit a set of documents and pay certain registration fees. To register custom car projects, for instance, you will be required to complete the following steps:

  • Submit the vehicle to an inspection conducted by a police officer and obtain the TR-54 Vehicle Number/On-Road Equipment Inspection form.
  • Visit a local SOS branch office in order to submit:
    • Proofs of ownership for the components used to construct the vehicle, such as car titles, bills of sale or certificates of origin.
    • A filled out certification statement outlining the process of assembling the vehicle and the TR-54 form.
    • A title application form and payment for the new vehicle identification number, the titling fee and the due taxes.
  • Return to the SOS on a prearranged date to receive the special VIN and pay for the MI custom vehicle registration and license plates.

Note: You will also be required to present proof of a valid vehicle insurance policy.

Applying for historic car tags, on the other hand, is a procedure that can be completed in person through any SOS location or by mailing the completed application to the SOS office in Lansing. Applicants for vintage vehicle registration documents and plates will be required to submit the completed Application for the Michigan Historical License Plate, the car title and/or previous registration, proof of insurance and the fee payment.

Fees to Register a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Michigan

In order to successfully obtain a Michigan custom car registration or state-approved antique auto license plates, applicants will be required to provide payment for several types of fees, which vary based on the type of procedure they are completing. For example, the total cost for a registration for custom vehicles in MI generally includes a $10 payment for the VIN inspection, the titling fee, the due taxes and the license plate cost. When requesting historic vehicle tags, on the other hand, car owners will be required to pay a $30 registration fee. Note that the registration renewal procedure must also be completed on a regular basis. While custom vehicle registrations typically follow the standard renewal guidelines, antique DMV license plates only have to be renewed every 10 years.

Last updated on Friday, September 21 2018.

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