California Department of Motor Vehicles
Vehicles of Historic Value

5004. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, any owner of a vehicle described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) which is operated or moved over the highway primarily for the purpose of historical exhibition or other similar purpose shall, upon application in the manner and at the time prescribed by the department, be issued special identification plates for the vehicle:

(1) A motor vehicle with an engine of 16 or more cylinders manufactured prior to 1965.

(2) A motor vehicle manufactured in the year 1922 or prior thereto.

(3) A vehicle which was manufactured after 1922, is at least 25 years old, and is of historic interest.

(b) The special identification plates assigned to motor vehicles with an engine of 16 or more cylinders manufactured prior to 1965 and to any motor vehicle manufactured in the year 1922 and prior thereto shall run in a separate numerical series, commencing with "Horseless Carriage No. 1".

The special identification plates assigned to vehicles specified in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) shall run in a separate numerical series commencing with "Historical Vehicle No. 1".

Each series of plates shall have different and distinguishing colors.

(c) A fee of twenty-five dollars ($25) shall be charged for the initial issuance of the special identification plates. Such plates shall be permanent and shall not be required to be replaced. If such special identification shall become damaged or unservicable in any manner, replacement for the plates may be obtained from the department upon proper application and upon payment of such fee as is provided for in Section 9265.

(d) All funds received by the department in payment for such identification plates or the replacement thereof shall be deposited in the California Environmental License Plate Fund.

(e) These vehicles shall not be exempt from the equipment provisions of Sections 26709 [mirrors], 27150 [mufflers], and 27600 [fenders and mudguards, if weight >1500 lbs].

(f) As used in this section, a vehicle is of historic interest if it is collected, restored, maintained, and operated by a collector or hobbyist principally for purposes of exhibition and historic vehicle club activities.

Last ammended Ch. 918, Stats. 1984, Effective January 1, 1985.

California Vehicles of Historic Value are exempt from biennially smog check requirements.

News Flash: On October 8, 1997, California's Governor, Pete Wilson, signed SB42, thereby exempting any motor vehicle manufactured prior to the 1974 model-year from smog check certificates of compliance or noncompliance biennially, upon transfer of ownership, or upon registration of a vehicle previously registered outside the state. After January 1, 2003, this exemption will apply to any vehicle 30 or more model-years old.