Antique Car Licensing

by Herschel D. -

Recently, there has been some discussion amongst club members about what you can, and cannot do with your 25 years old, and older VW, after you tag it with permanent Antique car license plates.

First, here is how The Tennessee Antique Motor Vehicle Law, Section 55-4-111-TCA is stated:

(b)(1) Upon receipt of an application on a form prescribed by the commissioner, applying for registration and certifying that the motor vehicle for which registration is being applied, is an “antique motor vehicle”, the commissioner may issue license plates to owners of antique vehicles in accordance with the provisions of part 2 of this chapter. Such license plates shall bear the word “ANTIQUE” in capital letters at the bottom of such plate, and a unique identifying number in the center of the plate. For the purpose of this section, an “antique motor vehicle”, is a motor vehicle over twenty-five (25) years old with a non-modified engine and body which is used for participation in club activities, exhibits, tours, parades, and similar uses as a collectors item, but is in no event used for general transportation.

(2) Such registration shall be valid so long as title to such vehicle is vested in the applicant and shall not be subject to the provisions of this chapter requiring annual registration.  

(3) Any person violating the provisions of this section or operating an antique motor vehicle for general transportation purposes shall forfeit such antique motor vehicle registration, shall be liable for the regular registration fee for that vehicle and shall be barred from applying for or holding antique motor vehicle registration for five (5) years from the date of such violation.

Class (E) Antique Vehicles---registration Fee------$25.00

You have to get a policeman to certify that your car is an antique that has not been hotrodded, too, to be able to get antique plates, also. An application form is available at all County Court Clerk offices.

You can see that the law does not tell you when you can go out and drive your car, it, basically, just says don’t use it for things like going to work every day. A policeman told club member, Mark H., that you are not supposed to drive your antique licensed car on the weekends. Which is patently absurd! Remember, policemen are only enforcers of the law, not trained interpreters, that is what judges are for! 

The tradition (I’ve been in the antique car hobby since the 1960’s) is for antique car owners to mainly get out on the weekend, because that is when the majority of people are off work and most car events take place. I believe that most policemen understand that, too! But even on a weekday, the law does not stop you from going down to the parts store, the repair shop, a joy ride around the city, a run down to the restaurant, etc. Your regular neighborhood cop might notice it, if you drive to work everyday, though. That did happen to me, years ago, when I often drove a 1930 Model “A” Ford to work!