Historic...and then not so much...

Starting this month, the Maryland MVA has been contacting the registrants of historic vehicles via e-mail.  Just in case you missed it, here is the e-mail in its entirety…

Subject: Important information about Maryland registered historic vehicles

Dear Historic Vehicle Owner,

As the owner of a historic vehicle, we want to make you aware of legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly that goes into effect on Saturday, October 1, 2016. It is important to know that this legislation will impact how historic vehicles may be operated.

Effective October 1, 2016, a Maryland registered historic vehicle may no longer be used for transportation to and from employment, school, or for commercial purposes.

In addition, historic vehicles with a model year of 1986 or newer may be subject to safety equipment repair orders issued at roadside by law enforcement.

Thank you for your compliance with this new Maryland law.

 Let’s bring 2 ends together.  Why do a few people have a beef with the legislation?  Here’s the current language at www.mva.maryland.gov… 

To be registered as a historic vehicle (class L), your vehicle must be a passenger vehicle, motorcycle or truck (with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less): be 20 calendar years old or older and must not have been substantially altered, remodeled or remanufactured from the manufacturers original design.

A vehicle registered as historic cannot be used for general daily transportation, or primarily for the transportation of passengers or property on highways. It can only be used in exhibitions, club activities, parades, tours, occasional transportation and similar uses. A trailer does not qualify for historic registration.

 When you think ‘historic car’, our minds go straight to what surrounds us on Saturday mornings in Hunt Valley.  Maybe think about the ’70 Chevelle, the ’52 Olds, the ’65 Jaguar XKE or the ’87 Grand National GNX.  Since autos with historic tags are expected to be driven less, the tags cost less.  I’ll lean on a former car of mine to display where the system may be abused.  If my ’96 Chevy Cavalier was still alive today, it would be 20 years old.  Maybe it’s sole purpose is as a high-mileage commute machine.  That workhorse - with a historic tag attached – goes outside of the state’s intent. 


There is some resistance whenever someone is told to pay more money and that’ll happen when the system abusers go back to traditional tags.  Generally, our historics are limited in use unless it’s a road rally regular…and that classifies as a club activity so you’re covered.  Will you get busted for driving your classic convertible to work on consecutive sunny days?  Doubt it.  This looks like a shakedown on those automobiles that aren’t quite historic.