The Washington registration for custom cars process and the procedure to obtain antique vehicle registration documents and plates can be completed through the state Department of Licensing (DOL). However, prior to submitting an application for a custom car registration or getting vintage license plates in WA, applicants must ensure that their vehicle meets the corresponding vehicle type definition. Also, unlike the standard registration procedure, these special transactions are comprised of several additional steps. Learn how to request WA antique license plates or register custom car projects by reading the following sections.

Definition of a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Washington

Car owners applying for a Washington antique car registration and plates or a custom auto registration will successfully complete the corresponding procedure only if their vehicle fits in one of these two special categories. Vintage car tags, for example, can only be obtained for vehicles classified as horseless carriages or collector’s items under current state law. Collector item vehicles will meet the state definition if they are older than 30 years, whereas vehicles older than 40 years are classified as horseless carriages. Note that cars that display historic license plates in WA must be road worthy and they cannot be driven for general transportation or commercial purposes.

Custom auto registration, on the other hand, can be obtained for assembled and homemade vehicles. Vehicles built using a cab, frame or body from more than one vehicle for purposes of resembling an already existing car make and model are classified as assembled vehicles. The process of registering custom vehicles in WA can also be completed for cars that were constructed using new, secondhand or homebuilt components and whose appearance is different from any vehicle produced by an official manufacturer.

Note: Owners of antique vehicles can obtain vintage vehicle tags only after completing the standard car registration procedure.

Steps in the Washington Registration Process

During the process of registering a custom car in Washington or obtaining antique car tags, applicants will be required to submit a set of documentation and pay the applicable fees. Note that obtaining a custom vehicle registration is a more complicated procedure than the process of obtaining tags for your historic vehicle, as applicants will be required to complete additional steps. For example, to successfully register custom vehicles in WA, you will be required to:

  • Submit your vehicle to an inspection conducted by the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and submit the WSP Inspection Request, a certified weight slip, a valid ID and title certificates and bills for the vehicle’s major component parts.
  • Visit a local DOL licensing office and submit the DOL Vehicle Title Application along with the WSP certificate of inspection, a declaration of the vehicle’s value and the DOL Homemade/Assembled Vehicle Use Declaration.
  • Provide proofs of ownership such as the certificates of title, bills of sale, invoices and receipts of the various parts used in the vehicle construction.
  • Pay the applicable registration fees.

Note: To obtain a custom car registration in WA, applicants may also be required to submit an odometer disclosure form, a scale weight document and a frame and/or bumper certificate.

Ordering special vintage license plates, on the other hand, is a procedure that can be completed by submitting the Specialty License Plate Application and fee payment in person through a nearby DOL location or by mail to the DOL Special Plate Unit.

Fees to Register a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Washington

When registering custom vehicles in Washington or purchasing historic car tags, applicants will be required to arrange payment for several types of fees. Depending on whether you are applying for a vintage or custom auto registration and the number of steps you have to complete, the total payable amount will vary. For example, while the initial fee for antique auto tags is currently set at $56.75, applicants will be unable to obtain them unless they have previously paid the standard registration fees and costs. Therefore, registering a vintage car in WA is a process that can be completed by paying a $7 titling and registration fee, several service fees as well as the applicable vehicle taxes. Inquire in detail about the costs for custom car registrations as well as historic license plates prices that apply to your specific circumstances by contacting a local DOL branch office. A DOL representative can also inform you whether or not you have to complete the car registration renewal for these special documents.

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