Texas Antique Auto Laws

by Alan EdwardsUpdated June 06, 2023
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Enhancing pride of ownership in an antique or classic car in Texas is the ability to get plates that clearly show the car is a classic. Texas offers three types of plates for antique cars: the classic license plate, the antique license plate and the Year of Manufacture (or YOM). All three clearly describe the vehicle as special, and all have different requirements for obtaining them. The process of registering a car as an antique or classic in Texas requires that the owner must meet the age requirement--25 years or older--and the vehicle must be 25 years or older.

Antique Vehicle Registration


All types of vehicles qualify for an antique license plate: passenger cars, motorcycles and trucks. These license plates (antique) may only be used on vehicles for limited use. These uses includes exhibitions, car club activities such as a show, parades and other programs for the public to enjoy. In addition to being able to drive the vehicle to these events, the antique license plate allows for the car to be on the road traveling to and from a specific maintenance location. Under no circumstance may a car on the road with an antique plate issued by Texas have any commercial advertising. Antique plates are issued for a five year period and are exempt from auto safety inspections.

Classic Car Registration

Just as all vehicles over 25 years of age and owned by someone over 25 years of age are eligible for Antique Plates, so are they eligible for Classic License Plates. The deciding factor as to whether to register as a classic car or an antique car depends on how the car will be used. Antique cars have restrictions on them, cars with classic plates do not.They may be used daily, with no restrictions just as a normal plated car. If a vehicle is registered as a classic vehicle, it must be completely registered as is any other vehicle. The vehicle must be inspected annually, and display a current inspection sticker. It may even carry advertising. It must be renewed annually and have the proper tag on the rear plate showing the registration's expiration date.

Year of Make Option

The Year of Make (YOM) option is available to both classic and antique registered vehicles. To take part in the program, the year of the car and the year of the plate have to be the same. YOM plates must be in good condition, entirely legible and have the correct color scheme for the year of issuance. They must be Texas plates. Cars and other vehicles carrying a YOM plate and registered as antiques are exempt from inspection requirements and have the same restrictions as antique registered vehicles. Upon approval of the application, an expiration tab for attaching to the YOM plates is issued.

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