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How to Register a Classic Car

Buying and maintaining a classic car can get expensive. Before you buy, know your state's historic-vehicle registration laws.


  • Step 1: Go to your state's DMV website Go to your state's DMV or Secretary of State website. Classic car registration regulations vary from state to state.
  • Step 2: Learn if your car is a classic Find out if your car is classified as a classic. States sometimes have more than one historic-vehicle classification. Texas has "antique" and "classic" designations, each with its own regulations.
  • TIP: The state of New York classifies a vehicle that's more than 25 model years old as a historical vehicle.
  • Step 3: Know your state's classic car usage limits Know your state's classic car usage limits. Virginia will only allow you to drive your car within 250 miles of your home.
  • TIP: California only allows historic vehicles to be driven at antique car club events, exhibits and in parades.
  • Step 4: Gather required documents for the DMV Contact the DMV to find out what documents are required for registration. Every state is different. For example, Utah requires a certificate of title or a manufacturer's certificate of origin along with a completed application.
  • Step 5: Take your car to your local DMV Take your car to your DMV. Complete the registration application as well as any other required documents.
  • Step 6: Decide if you'll use your car for everyday driving Decide if you want to use your classic car for everyday driving. Virginia allows unrestricted driving privileges if you buy a standard license plate, not an antique plate.
  • FACT: In 1987, a 1931 Bugatti Royale, one of only six, sold at a Christie's auction for 5.5 million British pounds.

You Will Need

  • Internet access
  • Documentation
  • DMV or Secretary of State office
  • Registration application

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