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Historic License Plates

It takes a special kind of person to take care of a historic or classic car. After all, to keep them in mint condition, they need a little more TLC than most cars. From caring for the delicate exterior, keeping interior surfaces clean and dust free, and proper maintenance, a lot of time and money is often needed to keep an antique car running for car shows, cruising, or just plain showing off. Many of these time-honored classics are able to display the Arizona historic vehicle license plate as a badge of honor, but there are certain rules and regulations that one must follow in order to obtain the copper-colored plate. Learn how you can get your vehicle registered as a historic vehicle before you cruise the streets of Phoenix.

Classic vs. Historic

There is a difference between a classic car and a historic vehicle. A classic is a vehicle included in a list of Classic motor vehicles submitted to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division by the Classic Car Club of America. A historic motor vehicle, on the other hand, is any car with a model date of original manufacture that is twenty-five years or older and is recognized by a historic vehicle institution. The list is updated by the CCCA every five years.

Applying for a Historic Plate

Arizona historic plates are given in lieu of regular license plates and are made of Arizona copper. The plates feature a separate and unique numerical series in comparison to standard state-issued plates. Customized or kit cars are not qualified for antique license plates. In order to obtain this specialized Arizona historic license plate, the vehicle must be:

  • 25 Years old or older
  • Included and recognized as a historic vehicle or classic by an official vehicle organization.
  • Restored or reconstructed to retain at least the basic, original body style.

In addition to the requirements above, an inspection may be required. An application must be submitted to the MVD with a $25 application fee with an annual renewal cost of about $10. Additional fees may apply such as a registration fee and vehicle licensing tax.

Do Historic Vehicles in AZ Have to Pass Emissions?

Residents of Phoenix and Tucson metro areas and that commute to work, or school are required to have vehicles produced in 1967 and thereafter, pass vehicle emissions tests. Of course, vehicles newer than 6 years and others with certain exemptions are excluded. As of 2007, Arizona legislature and the EPA have agreed to allow collector cars, that are at least 15 years old but newer than 1966, to receive emission testing exemptions. Cars produced in 1966 and earlier are exempt from emissions testing altogether. There is one caveat to this allowance, however. The vehicle owner must acquire Collector-Car insurance. While less costly than traditional coverage, collector car insurance comes with its own guidelines, including limitations on the number of mileages allotted each year and is a confirmed limited-production vehicle. This law is ideal because many car collectors have difficulty with historic cars passing the emissions test, mostly due to their age.

Preserve the Beauty of Your Classic

Both classic and historic vehicles still require lots of care and attention. To preserve the beauty and run-ability of your classic, follow our helpful tips:

  • Limit outdoor exposure. Keep your vehicle shaded in a garage or with a vehicle cover to protect the exterior. Sun, especially in Arizona, rain, and wind can be quite damaging to your “baby.” Exposure to water can encourage rust to develop, wind can blow damaging objects and dust into the car causing dents and scratches. Direct sunlight produces extreme heat which can have an unfavorable effect on various components on the vehicle.
  • Protect it from the inside out. Use UV blockers, vinyl cleaners, and leather conditioners to prevent sun damages on the inside. On the outside, have it detailed or washed thoroughly, often. Dirt and grime build-up can damage exterior paint. Wax the vehicle for protection and appeal.
  • Take care under the hood. Keep up with maintenance to protect the engine with oil changes and other fluid flushes.
  • Hit the road and show it off. Driving your antique car not only impresses others on the road, but it’s also a good way to keep it running. Cars want to be driven no matter their age! Plus, by driving it often, you’ll recognize when it isn’t acting right cluing you into potential problems.

Whether you’re driving a new, old, classic, or classy car, Sun Devil Auto is your partner in vehicle care. Our many valley locations can provide the expertise needed for all repairs and maintenance services for your car, truck, or SUV. At Sun Devil Auto we understand that no matter what kind of car you drive, it means the world to you. We take extra special care of every vehicle that enters our shop and with our 2-year 24,000-mile nationwide warranty, your car will be well taken care of even after it leaves. Cruise on down to a Sun Devil Auto today for all of your automotive needs.