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1920s car as a "driver"?


Bob Zetnick
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I am looking to buy a car from 1924 that didn't come with bumpers or windshield wiper originally, much less seat belts and emissions controls. I am in Texas and antique plates are offered, but hear that they only allow the cars to be on the road when going to shows. I would like regular plates that allow me to go on nice rides more frequently, but not really consider the car as a daily driver. In getting regular plates I will have to get car inspected. My question is, for fellow Texans, will a car of my age without typical features in today's cars pass inspection in order to get regular plates for it?

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  • 2 months later...

I can't answer specifically for Texas;  but in general,

cars built when features were not required are not

forced to have those later features.  For example, the

center rear high-mounted brake light came in the 1980's,

but cars built before that are fine without it.

 

And for your question of driving the car occasionally

but not going to shows:  Most states allow occasional

use of an antique car for other purposes, such as 

maintenance.  Cars must be driven or they will deteriorate!

So an antique plate may be fine for you.  Check with

someone knowledgeable at your A.A.A. or state office;

or better yet, phone or e-mail the president of the nearest A.A.C.A.

region in Texas, and he should know.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

Bob,

I live in the Austin area and regularly drive my 1921 Franklin (with Antique plates) on long weekend drives as well as for occasional shopping or dining trips. Never had a problem.  TxDMV says antique plates are for:

 

"Motor vehicle that are at least 25 years old AND a collector's item. The motor vehicle must be used exclusively for exhibitions, club activities, parades or other functions of public interest. Motor vehicles displaying Antique plates may not be used for regular transportation or advertising. The motor vehicle may be driven to and from a location for routine maintenance."

 

Just be able to show that your car is equipped with the safety features when it was new. My '21 doesn't have a brake light - I was prepared to show proof but the DMV inspector never asked."

  

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On 4/14/2017 at 10:12 PM, John_S_in_Penna said:

I can't answer specifically for Texas;  but in general,

cars built when features were not required are not

forced to have those later features.  For example, the

center rear high-mounted brake light came in the 1980's,

but cars built before that are fine without it.

 

And for your question of driving the car occasionally

but not going to shows:  Most states allow occasional

use of an antique car for other purposes, such as 

maintenance.  Cars must be driven or they will deteriorate!

So an antique plate may be fine for you.  Check with

someone knowledgeable at your A.A.A. or state office;

or better yet, phone or e-mail the president of the nearest A.A.C.A.

region in Texas, and he should know.

 

I think you intended to say in the bolded section that states allow antique PLATES to be used for the purpose of maintenance outside of holidays and weekends.

 

Half of my cars have standard registration and have have antique.  Theoretically I could take one of the ones with regular registration to work every day for the summer.  There are no laws stopping you from using an old car every day.  Yet.

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  • 5 months later...
On 10/27/2017 at 2:18 PM, broker-len said:

the problem with driving a antique car to much is not getting stopped by police, unless your car looks unsafe, but if you put in a claim your insurer will look at where you were at time of incident and may try to refuse coverage----------------------read policy

 

Yes make sure you have correct coverage.

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  • 1 year later...

Not sure about Texas, but I have years of experience doing that in Nebraska (very conservative state even requires a title for a Model T!). I’ve driven many classics (1954-1959 Buick’s and Chevys mostly) as daily transportation (work, shopping, etc from rusted out hulk to almost trailer queen). As a child of the 80s to me I got a much stronger respect for the engineer teams building cars that really are more like suvs today then cars. I’ve never had any issues with law enforcement (in fact they intentionally leave you alone, and are less likely to give you tickets (ask me how I know haha). I drove all over the state, blizzards, downpours, everything. The cars were ALL in as built condition (unmodified) and actually got a lot of attention (the ones not rust buckets 😂). As long as you have turn signals or use the hand gestures for signals, a brake light, and headlights you are fine. Being able to hop in your car and go whenever wherever you want is the whole point of having a vintage car. Car washes, part supplier, etc are there for a reason, unless it’s a very, VERY rare or valuable car, take it to work, shopping, etc whenever and enjoy it. Makes the whole driving experience more rewarding to. Hope that helps 👍

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/14/2019 at 8:43 AM, Jayzee said:

Not sure about Texas, but I have years of experience doing that in Nebraska (very conservative state even requires a title for a Model T!). I’ve driven many classics (1954-1959 Buick’s and Chevys mostly) as daily transportation (work, shopping, etc from rusted out hulk to almost trailer queen). As a child of the 80s to me I got a much stronger respect for the engineer teams building cars that really are more like suvs today then cars. I’ve never had any issues with law enforcement (in fact they intentionally leave you alone, and are less likely to give you tickets (ask me how I know haha). I drove all over the state, blizzards, downpours, everything. The cars were ALL in as built condition (unmodified) and actually got a lot of attention (the ones not rust buckets 😂). As long as you have turn signals or use the hand gestures for signals, a brake light, and headlights you are fine. Being able to hop in your car and go whenever wherever you want is the whole point of having a vintage car. Car washes, part supplier, etc are there for a reason, unless it’s a very, VERY rare or valuable car, take it to work, shopping, etc whenever and enjoy it. Makes the whole driving experience more rewarding to. Hope that helps 👍

Thank you. I have since moved from big city "run an old car over" Fort Worth, Texas to smaller city "old car friendly" Pueblo, Colorado. People are very considerate w/ old cars here and have been driving for fun, doing errands and going to shows. Problem solved!

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  • 3 weeks later...

In TX toss on an original year plate and whenever driving your on your way for parts or to a shop for maintenance. I drive my 49 Roadmaster and 46 Dodge this way all the time.  Read the clause in your insurance. Mine allows "minimal" pleasure driving BUT not as a commuter or daily driver.

 

Now think about this.  My 1997 Ford dually diesel I have owned since new is a second vehicle on the policy and basic insurance per year is a 200 buck add on.  My work car is a daily driver 187 dollar a year add on bare bones 233k mile HHR.  My new truck which I drive maybe twice a month is 165 a month !  The stupid safety features these days.  I am looking for a 46-48 plymouth 4 door sedan to replace my HHR as a work car.

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I never had a problem in 59 years and 400,000 miles.  I have been in every state west of the Mississippi and all over Canada west of Fort William.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In Michigan,  from my understanding if you put regular plates on the car and regular insurance you can drive the car all you want. If you put year of manufacture plates on it you will restrict the amount of driving and especially every day back and forth to work.  The amount of coverage for medical is different depending on the type of insurance you select.

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  • 1 year later...

Years ago New Jersey had very strict rules for driving with antique plates. These days the state only inspects cars less than 25 years old. Even so, I have regular plates on my '37 Buick and drive it frequently every day of the week.

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Every state the laws differ .Just do a search of topic in Texas DMV and you will find your info.

Many states have lower tax rates and low reg fees with historic car plates and have the" not for primary transportation restrictions.."some don't

Just try for regular registration for a daily driver..but some states require turn signals ,double tail/ brake lights and some require seat belts installed..

Watch out for tax changes.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/11/2020 at 3:00 PM, Flivverking said:

Every state the laws differ .Just do a search of topic in Texas DMV and you will find your info.

Many states have lower tax rates and low reg fees with historic car plates and have the" not for primary transportation restrictions.."some don't

Just try for regular registration for a daily driver..but some states require turn signals ,double tail/ brake lights and some require seat belts installed..

Watch out for tax changes.

 

 

 

There are states that require you to install seat belts in to a car not designed for them?

 

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In Texas you can choose between an antique or a classic plate. Antique plates have restrictions, classic plates are for daily use. 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.

 

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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