A Texas custom car registration, as well as antique license plates, are necessary for owners of these types of vehicles to stay in accordance with the applicable motor vehicle laws. The TX Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues custom car registration documents, as well as antique or classic license plates to drivers who meet the imposed registration requirements and submit the proper documentation to the agency. Under state laws, motorists requesting a TX registration for custom cars or antique rides must first check whether their vehicle classifies as an antique, classic, assembled, reconstructed or replica car, among other types of motor vehicles, and submit the appropriate documentation for title and registration. Learn more about custom and antique license plates rules in Texas in the following sections.

Definition of a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Texas

Per state regulations, TX antique car tags are assigned to vehicles that are at least 25 years old, are collector’s items and are used for parades, exhibitions and other public events. DMV will issue classic license plates to drivers who own passenger vehicles that were also manufactured at least 25 years ago with a carrying capacity of 10,000 pounds or less. A custom car is a vehicle that is or was produced to resemble a car that is at least 25 years old and of a model year after 1948, and was altered from its original design. If a vehicle was manufactured prior to 1949 and was altered from its original look, it qualifies as a street rod. A replica vehicle may qualify for a Texas custom car registration or specialty license plates provided it meets the definition of a custom ride or street rod. The state DMV defines an assembled vehicle as a car that was built from a kit, new or used components and modified so that it no longer resembles its original configuration, thus qualifying for specific DMV license plates.

Steps in the Texas Antique and Classic Vehicle Registration Process

Antique car license plates in Texas may be issued for a period of five years to owners of vehicles that qualify as antique rides. The issuance of antique license plates generally requires applicants to submit a completed application form along with payment for the set fees. Motorists who have not obtained a TX antique vehicle registration within the last five years must also provide DMV with proof of ownership, proof of insurance (or an affidavit proving exemption from the insurance requirement) and payment for the registration fees. When applying for classic license plates in TX, drivers will also need to present an application form, payment for an annual registration fee, as well as a copy of the certificate of title or another document of ownership, provided the vehicle was not registered within the last five years. The registration of classic cars may also require a safety inspection on an annual basis.

Steps in the Texas Assembled, Rebuilt and Replica Vehicle Registration Process

Though the documents to title and register custom car projects in Texas may slightly differ depending on whether your vehicle classifies as assembled, rebuilt or replica, the common custom car registration items are outlined below:

  • An Application for Title and Registration (form 130-U)
  • ASE safety inspection (if applicable)
  • Bill of sale, Component Part(s) Bill of Sale or title
  • A Rebuilt Vehicle Statement and registration receipt (if your vehicle was last registered in a non-title state)
  • A certificate of weight and photograph of the vehicle
  • A vehicle identification number (VIN) verification
  • A current vehicle safety inspection (if applicable)
  • A Vehicle Inspection Report, if your vehicle was previously titled in another state
  • Proof of insurance coverage

Note: To obtain a registration for custom cars in TX, you may be subject to additional requirements. Also, certain types of vehicles may be exempt from specific steps.

Fees to Register a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Texas

Arranging payment for the allotted custom or Texas antique license plate fees is necessary so as to complete the registration procedure timely and properly. Prices for registering custom car projects or antique and classic cars may vary based on several factors, including the applicant’s county of residence, the type of vehicle, the vehicle’s characteristics (weight, year of manufacture) and more. For example, motorists obtaining antique car tags will need to pay a $50 fee (if their car was produced in or after 1921) or $40 for vehicles manufactured before 1921. In addition to the base price for a custom or vintage vehicle registration in Texas, drivers may also need to provide payment for additional requirements, such as passing a safety inspection. Contact a nearby TX DMV office and verify the exact registration cost pertaining to your case.

Note: Once your registration expires, you may need to initiate a renewal procedure as is the case with renewing your standard car registration documentation to avoid violating Texas motor vehicle laws.

Last updated on Monday, September 24 2018.

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