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My Biggest Complaint About Antique Vehicle License Plates

As much as it annoys me, my home state, Virginia has an annual safety inspection. It covers basic things like ensuring that your car actually stops, that it won’t carbon monoxide poison your kids in the back seat due to leaky exhaust, that your brake lights work so that the cars behind you don’t slam into you because they can’t tell that you’re stopping. Little things like that.

I personally think this is good thing. I see the results when I drive into West Virginia (which to my knowledge doesn’t have an annual safety inspection), and see those pieces of crap they drive down the road over there. I’ve seen cars driving down the road in West Virginia with windshields smashed so bad that spiders try to take up residence in them. Honestly, some of them are so crashed up that it looks like they just “won” the local demolition derby at the county fair and the prize was getting to drive them home.

So what is the deal with “Antique License Plates” in Virginia? If your car is over a certain age (25 years I think) you can get antique license plates in Virginia, and if you have them, you don’t have to get an annual safety inspection. So guess who gets the Antique license plates? The people driving death traps down the road towards you and me. The pieces of crap won’t pass inspection so Virginia gives them antique plates. Granted the law states that cars with Antique plates (and no safety inspections) are only supposed to be used in car shows and parades and that sort of thing. But come on, when some clown is driving a 1978 Toyota Corolla with no floorboards down the road with Antique Plates, we all know what is going on.

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  1. WV does have an annual safety inspection. If a car has antique plates (in WV /or/ Virginia) it is legally prohibited from driving more than 3,000 miles per year. There are also special exceptions for seasonal-use and farm vehicles (in both states). It shows a lot about your biases that you perceive a dramatic change when you cross the state border - sorry, you won’t find everyone driving a new Mercedes in rural/impoverished communities, wherever you go.

    I use an antique car (WV plates) for daily transportation and therefore have the standard “Wild, Wonderful” plates on it and am legally required to keep in compliance with all safety regulations.

  2. I own an antique car in Virginia and you do have to get a safety inspection every year ( if you will be driving the car), but you don’t have to get an emmisions test

  3. In Virginia, if you have antique plates and are NOT in the military, do you pay personal property tax on the antique? If so what do they use to value the car?

  4. I just got antique tags in VA. You are not required to get a safety inspection. Your use is limited and you must provide proof of registration of another car as a daily driver. If your car is valued less than $1000, you are exempt from personal property taxes in my county. They use classic car guides to value your car. So, if you own a 70s Jag XKE you pay taxes on a sizeable value. In the last 3 years my car has not been driven 100 miles and most of them were to get it inspected.

  5. Bob, what county do you live in?
    In the state of Virginia, if the vehicle is classified as an antique or vintage and has permanent license plates issued as specified in Va. State Code Section 46.2-730, then the vehicle is not subject to taxation.

    in 1997 we got the law changed. Here is the link to the Code of Virginia: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+58.1-3503
    If you register a vehicle as an antique it cannot be taxed as personal property. Antique vehicles are considered to be household goods under Virginia law. We got it changed because of unfair assessments of antiques.

    Speak to someone at the Commissioner of the Revenue or the Treasurer of the locality where you live always say “antique” and never use any other terms. Sometimes they get confused so always say you have antique vehicles registered as antiques.

    You shouldn’t have any problem with personal property taxed on antiques.

    I don’t know who you dealt with but both DMV and the localities are aware of state law.
    I own a 1932 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Victoria registered in VA with antique plates valued at 750K and I pay $0 in personal property tax!

    You got robbed.

  6. They need to change the “Antique” law to serve cars that are 20 years old and not 25. that’s just unfair. As well as any kind of car tax. Do you have to pay yearly tax on a bicycle, toaster, tv? no, so if the car is paid for, there should be no taxes on it. Whoever made the car tax law or stands behind it needs to go to jail for fraud & larceny.

  7. I’ve lived in two states that did not have state inspection, Tennessee and Georgia. Those states are a dumping grounds for vehicles that wouldn’t pass inspection in other states.
    Georgia had an inspection until 1979. However, the Georgia Dept. of Safety had so many complaints about garages running up bogus charges for repairs that the state decided to do away with the inspection completely as they did not feel that it was the proper place for the state to drum up business for private enterprises.
    Tennessee feels that way not only about auto inspections but also auto insurance as well. So when you’re driving there watch out! If someone in an old rust bucket hits you, more than likely you’ll be calling your own insurance carrier!
    As someone who has a car registered as an antique in Virginia, I have the car inspected annually even though I’m not required to do so. I can assure you that most people who care enough about a car to register it as an antique are going to take care of it. I’m sure that the few who try to use antique registration to dodge inspection will most likely be pulled over by local police for something. If I’m not mistaken, local police do have the authority to site a driver if there is a problem with a vehicle whether it has an inspection sticker or not.

  8. Its funny that it would have taken you less time to look up the things you were ranting about than it probably did to type and post your rant, since you were incorrect about basically everything you asserted.

    And as a West Virginian, I take offense that you just assume we don’t have state inspection. As hard as it is to believe, yes, we have state inspection, and yes, we wear shoes. Just because we don’t live in a fascist state like VA where you are taxed out your ears, forced to pay $40 for smog every year, where your annual budget to catch speeders MUST be more than your annual budget to solve real crimes (judging from your crime rate and the number of cars I see pulled over on VA highways), and in general, you are coddled to the government’s breast while it shoves its thumb up your ass.

    Glorious, I’m sure, but I chose to live somewhere a little more reasonable.

  9. You’re stupid. You can’t drive the thing more than for occasional use anyway if it has antique plates. Safety inspections are retarded and a way for the state to make money off of you anyway. You’re just mad because you can’t afford to have a toy to play with apparently.


    Inspection a way to make money for the state???? Check you facts buddy….vehicle inspection in Wv for cars and light.medium duty trucks is only $12.66. Of that $12.66, only $1.00 goes to the state for the cost of the inspection; the other $11.66 is the fee (madated by law) for the inspecting garage to charge. And .66 cents of that is sales tax.

    As far as being stupid….how is it stupid to make sure cars are safe and ready to be on the public highways?

    My only guess why you think its stupid would be 1) your car failed an inspection and you got a rejection sticker; 2) your too cheap to make sure your car is fit to be SAFELY driven on the streets; or 3) your simply a moron.

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