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Customs Registration advice in PA

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hellfish, Feb 20, 2018.

  1. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,482

    Hellfish
    Member

    I moved to Pennsylvania from IL about a year ago and have been putting off registering my car. I can't make sense of the PA registration... antique, collectible, street rod, etc.

    My car is a 1959 Chevy Bel Air... lowered 3" with a 350 and cosmetic changes (grille, paint, etc). It can be registered as an antique and not require inspection, but should it be registered as a "collectible" car if it has been "substantially modified". The "substantially modified" definition doesn't seem to apply to "low slung 50s type cars" but seems to be based on engine swaps... but a 350 isn't substantially different from the 235/283/348 available in 1959 models.

    Any advice from PA folks?
     
  2. Graystoke
    Joined: Mar 23, 2010
    Posts: 415

    Graystoke
    Member

    It would be easier to just get a regular tag. Many people do.
     
  3. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,482

    Hellfish
    Member

    True. I thought that might create hassles with inspections and emissions not required with vehicles registered as antiques. I'll have to look into it.
     
  4. '34 Terraplane
    Joined: Jul 11, 2011
    Posts: 261

    '34 Terraplane
    Member
    from Western PA

    A "regular" plate means that you must have the car inspected at an inspection station once yearly. One reason why "modified" antique vehicles are registered as an "antique" is to avoid the yearly inspection.(Not sure this is the "legal" way to go.) I'd stop-in at a local Notary, AAA or State Police office or talk to other street rodders and discuss with them the options and what they believe will work for your case. There are vehicle inspection station owners who are street rodders. It would be good if you could locate one.
    I have a "regular" but VANITY plate on my two street rods. Thus I must get them state inspected yearly.
     

  5. Graystoke
    Joined: Mar 23, 2010
    Posts: 415

    Graystoke
    Member

    As long as you have bumpers and brakes it will probably pass. There will not be an emission test for a car that old.
     
  6. I successfully avoided registering any cars when I lived in PA for a year because of the crazy regulations. In fact I renewed my Texas tags on two cars before finally moving to IL.

    I was told Bone Stock including wheels and ride height for antique, which I could not do with my 59.
    Good Luck
     
  7. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,482

    Hellfish
    Member

    The DMV says that "antique" vehicles do not require annual inspections, but "collector/modified" cars DO require inspections.

    The inspection requirements include windshield washers, etc and do not specify a year cut-off except for some brake components. It's a lot of info to sort through and interpret which is why I was hoping for some practical insight from other PA folks. It was a lot simpler in IL. :)

    Yes, I need to meet some locals, but I travel for work a LOT so I haven't met anyone yet.
     
  8. ol-nobull
    Joined: Oct 16, 2013
    Posts: 1,641

    ol-nobull
    Member

    Hi. I cannot quote Pa laws & policies but here in Texas we have 4 choices.
    One is Antique and another is Classic Car. Both must be a minimum of 25 years old. Antique does not require inspections while Classic car does to the extent that it must pass on all safety equipment that your model car was equipped with from the factory as standard equipment. Such as if it came with emission controls they must be included in the inspection. Classic cars that their model year DID NOT come equipped with emission controls or seat belts, etc, are exempt form those parts of the inspection. For Classic car tags you pay the regular price for standard plates and they issue the classic plate. The standard plates require full inspections. Standard plates have variations Texas calls Vanity plates. These have many themes that support certain organazations, or sports themes, etc. You can even design your own up to a certain extent. Vanity plates cost more.
    So in Texas the only plates that do not require any inspection is Antique, Classic car has some inspection items exempt and all other plates require full inspection. As Antique plates have a millage allowance only allowing a certain # of miles per year (many lie about this to get them but risk losing insurance coverage if something happens and millage is checked) I use the Classic plates on my 46 Coupe because some months I drive the yearly allowance.
    It is pretty much your choice to make which you plan to use but you should take into consideration the milage allowance if your state has that.
    Jimmie
     
  9. Bruce_C
    Joined: Oct 20, 2007
    Posts: 46

    Bruce_C
    Member

    I have antique tags for an OT car - (67 GTO) and for a car I didn't finish assembling yet. (28 Pontiac with a 400 CI Pontiac motor). Advantages - no inspection, and no yearly registration fee. You need to send in a picture of the car to show that its mostly stock so it can get approved for antique plates. Both were approved. It works good if you go to a tag place that has done this before
     
  10. There may be milage limits on antique plates.
     
  11. car doctor
    Joined: May 25, 2011
    Posts: 485

    car doctor
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Pictures not required any more to get antique plates. They stopped that a year or 2 ago. As far as mileage it's occasional use only, but no one will bother you unless you drive it everyday to work.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  12. PA Flash
    Joined: Jun 29, 2016
    Posts: 10

    PA Flash
    Member

    I have a 1956 Oldsmobile modified similar to your Chevy. I have Antique tags. $75.00 one time fee compared to $37.00 annually for regular tags. No safety or emission inspections. Car cannot be a daily driver. I drive about 2500 miles a year with the Olds.
     
  13. Hellfish, I sent you a PM. Check your Conversations file.
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  14. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,174

    oldolds
    Member

    Antique is for stock non modified cars. You no longer have to provide pics for registration. You do however sign a form stating that it is not modified, and only used for public display, ie. car shows. Also that you will be keeping it that way and in proper operating condition. No annual inspection. One time fee
    A Classic car plate (one time fee) and the couple other plates (annual fees) like that are also for public display. Not everyday driving. They have annual inspection.
    Regular plates Annual fees annual inspection. A car like yours need the basics. No rust thru, full exhaust, lights, wipers, ect. Basically all the things it had when new. The emission will be whatever equipment it had when new. None.
    You are in Williamsport? I think you should look around up there. There is a pretty good car enthusiast population up there. Find a used car lot with a couple old cars on the lot. Talk to them. They will tell you what you should do.
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  15. steeltappet
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 62

    steeltappet
    Member
    from PA

    Used to be antique -not supposed to be out after dark, classic -supposed to have headlights upgraded to halogen sealed beams.
    Find a local notary that is familiar with classic or antique tags and you will be all set.
    If you haven't already, look up Beaver Springs Dragway/Jalopy Drags.
     
  16. Rocky72
    Joined: Nov 22, 2008
    Posts: 191

    Rocky72
    Member
    from Pa.

    Find an inspection station that does the enhanced inspection and give them a call , they'll give you the info you need .
     
  17. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,294

    5window
    Member

    Hellfish, first, welcome to central PA. Lots of car stuff around here. I live in Lewisburg, but do surgery up at the SPCA in "Billtown". There's a lot of car shows around-try the Susquehanna Valley Carts cruise in across from the Lewisburg Walmart on the third Saturday of summer months.

    You'll be fine with the Antique tag and your sealed beam headlights after dark. But, how much you can drive is restricted although, how would they know? Forget the Classic tag, no advantage. You will be okay with the Regular registration, too. The emissions testing hasn't made it to central PA,yet. I'll PM you the name of some car guys who inspect my '31 not too far from you and a good insurance agent in Lewisburg. The AAA is Lewisburg is good to work with on DMV matters (the manager has a restored 396 Chevelle).

    One thing you don't want to do is delay things. Our good friends, the Pennsylvania State Police, are not very lenient when it comes to registration matters. Must be the "chin straps" if you know what I mean. :)
     
  18. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,294

    5window
    Member

    You'll only need an enhanced station if you are registering the car as a Street Rod. A regular or antique tag won't require an "enhanced station"
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
  19. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    I'm in Pa with several Antique registered cars and motorcycle. It used to be that you had to submit photos that were put through a review to qualify for Antique plates. I knew a guy who photoshopped original hubcaps on photos, and I know another guy who was denied for having lake pipes on a Shoebox Ford.
    Those days are gone. It's now on the "honor system". There are no photos, no reviews, no inspections. Get yourself an MV-11 online and read it. My cars are mainly stock (at least they look it), but I do see a lot of wild stuff out there with Antique tags. Seems the only real qualification is age anymore.

    There are no mileage restrictions, except your insurance company may impose one. You are limited to shows and displays and "occasional personal use". Occasional use is defined as one day per week. You pick the day. I'd pick the day that the cop pulls me over. :rolleyes:
     
  20. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,482

    Hellfish
    Member

    Thanks for all of the advice! The use restrictions are similar to IL. My main confusion was the large gap between stock for antique and "substantially modified" for collectible car. I'm not too worried about passing inspections, but it sounds like a hassle. :) It just sounds like a big gap in interpretation that could lead to a big ticket. :p
     
  21. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    Yeah, it's confusing when Antique means substantially stock and Collectible means substantially modified. Most of our cars are somewhere in between. Don't even ask about Street Rods.
     
  22. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,294

    5window
    Member

    I've seen a ton of what are clearly highly modified street rods running with regular plates. I "thought" I needed Street Rod Plates because my windshield was chopped more than the minimum height for a regular registration. A long story but the DMV ended up vacating my original title and VIN plate and sending me a new title and VIN plate-still the same '31 Model A. All this, fortunately, was before the "enhanced" inspections. Four photos and proof I'd paid taxes on the parts and I got a SR plate. Curiously, though, until quite recent law changes, the picture of the hot rod on the plate wouldn't have passed a DMV inspection.
     
  23. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    By far the hardest registration I ever had was a "kit" utility trailer that I purchased online. The same unit sells at the big box stores, but I had to be "smart" and buy it online (saved about $500). It was drop shipped to my house, I assembled it in about an hour, then spent the next two weeks trying to get it registered. Besides some title issues, I had to submit to enhanced inspection (took half a day) and then make a 60 mile trip to certified scales to get it weighed.
     
    5window likes this.
  24. bscc50
    Joined: Nov 17, 2013
    Posts: 100

    bscc50
    Member
    from n.e.

    pa. also offers the option of using a year of manufacture license plate. in your case you could find and use an original plate from 1959. i like the way they look.
     
    Elcohaulic likes this.
  25. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,294

    5window
    Member

    Since PA only uses a rear plate, I have my Official Street Rod Plate on the rear and a '31 PA plate on the front. Same with my OT '65 Mustang-PA Antique plate on the rear, PA 1965 plate on the front. Never been an issue.

    What might be an issue is that Pennsylvania has done away with the little glue on stickers to designate your registration is current. Now we get a piece of paper with a scan code on it. But those stickers are virtually impossible to get off and I have heard of quite a few folks, especially when out of state, who have been stopped for an expired registration. Ah, progress.
     
  26. I, too have recently moved to Pa. what can I expect when I want to get my roadster / Avatar registered ? thanks, nick.
     
  27. '34 Terraplane
    Joined: Jul 11, 2011
    Posts: 261

    '34 Terraplane
    Member
    from Western PA

    You thought you asked a sensible, logical, easy question, didn't you. Well, when PA legislators are involved, there is no sensible, logical, easy answer!! So sorry to say.
     
  28. Go to a tag place and pay a little more and avoid all the hassles.
     
  29. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,414

    southcross2631
    Member

    I registered a 62 Nova wagon in Pa when I worked for the park service. It was from Az. I just had it inspected and got it registered no big deal.
    Funny thing about Pa. At the time no rust hole bigger than a quarter ,you could not put duct tape over the hole unless you painted the tape then they would pass it.
     
  30. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,294

    5window
    Member

    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018

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