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WP1934

Ohio Historical License Plate Problem

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I went to my local DMV to apply for Model Year plates - also called Year of Manufacture in other states. The requirements are simple - your vehicle must be registered with regular historical plates, you must present a plate of the model year that is the correct color combination for that year and pay a $4.50 registration fee. I took everything with me except my registration. I could not find it because I registered for these plate back in 1973. In Ohio, you keep these plates without any additional fees until you sell the car. Here comes the problem. The state changed to a new system for keeping records sometime ago and when the clerk pulled up my account, there were no records for my cars. That means for sometime, if I was pulled over in my Historical Vehicle, the police would not be able to find me in the system and probably have written me a ticket and towed my car. So, if you live in Ohio and have had your Historical Plate for some time, I would strongly suggest calling Columbus and find out if you are one of the lucky ones like me. Just some food for thought.

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You can win! A while back the Virginia DMV required holders of permanent antique plates to, in effect, re-apply for them and certify that the vehicle was up to the inspection requirements that were in effect when the vehicle was new, etc. I had a very low number permanent PORCELAIN plate, #4437, for my Cord, which the DMV had issued to me in the '60's. I had received their application forms for my other antique cars that had Va. permanent antique plates but none came for the Cord. I didn't bother going to the local DMV, I called "headquarters" in Richmond. SUPRISE... not only did they have no record of issuing the plates for the Cord, but the number 4437 had been re-used and issued to someone else. To make matters worse, they didn't even have a record of the title for the car which had been issued in 1958! Fortunately I had the title and the registration card for the tags. I sent copies in and received an apology and offer for a no-charge set of NEW (not porcelain) tags with a much higher number. Not a great victory. Dissatisfied, I went up the line in the chain of command there without any success in retaining my original tags that were the initial ones issued with #4437. Well, I felt I had done all that I could, and acquiesced to the reality that I had been had, and there wasn't much more I could do in any practical sense. BUT WAIT.... lo and behold, my plight DID reach someone at the DMV! I got a subsequent phone call from someone with a heart at the DMV telling me an exception had been made and I could retain my old tags after all!

So, skip dealing with the local DMV and try to reach someone as far up the line as possible at the "main office". In reality the fault lies with the DMV for purging their files because they THINK a car no longer exists, and deep down they have to know they are the real culprits. Best of luck to you.

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I've lived in Ohio for 12 years now. From what I know based on personal experience and reliable word of everyone I've met here Ohio does not require the production of a registration document when you are pulled over or in an accident. In both cases I was asked only for a license and "proof of insurance" for the vehicle, and have been told several times that that is all I would need (which proved true, although I still carry the registration papers in the car as I do occasionally leave Ohio!:)). However I suspect if you don't have proof of insurance, then the registration document would be of tantamount importance.

I believe a simple computer check is done by the police officer for all the registration info before he/she ever steps out of the car.

However I've never been pulled over or been in an accident in Ohio with either my antique or YOM plates. In the latter case (YOM) I suspect that may make a difference.

Edited by Dave@Moon (see edit history)

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Regarding Michigan this is what I've heard. Not sure if its the most recent info or not but previously been told the Secretary of State removes information from their database after 10 years. Sold a car I had owned (titled but not licensed) for 11 years to someone in Joisey. When he tried to register it had problems since Michigan wasn't showing it as an active title/vehicle.

And unless something changed recently, Year of Manufacture plates are not searchable by Mich police using their onboard computers. Last I heard, they still have to call the two ladies who work in an office handling Special Registrations in Lansing.

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Here is what finally happened at the DMV. I presented the clerk with the title, registration, the actual Ohio Historical Plates and the Model Year Plates. All of the information was faxed to Columbus so my records could be updated. These are the same records that were inplace went I purchased the Historical Plates back in 1973 BUT not kept. After approx. 2 hours and a few questions from the clerk in Columbus, I was issued a new registration. This new registration shows the Historical Plate number and the Model Year number. I was told that I MUST have the registration and the Historical Plates in the car at all times of travel if I display the Model Year plate. By the way, you only have to have ONE Model Year Plate in Ohio. Government sure does not believe in the KISS method! (keep it simple stupid)

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Happens in Maryland too. Police confiscated my plates saying there was no record. I guess I wasted about 4 hours of time a few years ago at DMV registering for them.

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