How To Register Your Vintage Car, Truck or Hot Rod in the State of Florida


If you own a vintage vehicle (hot rod or classic), you have up to FIVE ways to register it for the road in the State of Florida. You may register it with a:


(1) “Regular” tag either “MyFlorida.Com”, with or without the county name, or one of the 100+ specialty tags (extra fees vary) such as “Save the Manatee”. It’s the same procedure for your everyday late model vehicle.  You’ll need your old registration/title, proof of insurance and a Florida Driver’s License.  RS-01*


(2) “Street Rod” tag with red background “STREET ROD - DMV” plate if the modified car or truck was manufactured before 1949 but fitted with engine, driveline, suspension, brakes or other major components manufactured after 1949.  Form HSMV 83045‡ needs to be filled out.  These are non-permanent tags and DO have to be renewed each year. RS-28*


(3) “Antique” tag with light blue background “ANTIQUE” plate if the modified or unmodified car, truck or motorcycle was manufactured in 1946 or later AND is 30 years old or more, AND equipped with an engine of 30 years old or more.  Thus they are post-war vehicles but with 30 plus year old engines and bodies.  These are non-permanent tags and DO have to be renewed each year. (Eg.: a 1948 Chevy with a 1977 engine can’t be registered with an Antique tag until the year 2007.)  [Permanent, non-transferable Antique tags are only issued for old fire apparatus, historical or military vehicles where Form HSMV 83045‡ applies.] RS-25*


(4) “Ancient” tag with red background “HORSELESS CARRIAGE  - DMV” plate if the unmodified car, truck or motorcycle, weighing 5000 lbs. or less, was manufactured in 1945 or earlier.  These are permanent, non-transferable tags and DO NOT have to be renewed each year.  Form HSMV 83045‡ is required.  See the detailed procedure below.  Vehicles over 5000 lbs. CAN NOT use this plate.  RS-25*


(5) or lastly, and the most prized, “Authenticated” tag in various colors, sizes and numbering systems, usually a “SUNSHINE STATE” plate, otherwise known as Year of Manufacture (YOM) tags. You need to find an old Florida license plate, made in 1975 or earlier, with any county code (first number) and class code (1-3 letters before the dash)° that matches the year your vehicle was made and you want to use it as your current valid license tag.  Thus your vehicle must be 1975 or older too, but does NOT have to agree with the county and class codes on the vintage plate.  The DMV makes no mention of modified or unmodified vehicles for these tags used on old vehicles.  See the detailed procedure below.  RS-25*


Thus, if you own a 1948 Ford with a 1965 Chevy engine in it, you have a wide choice of Regular, Specialty, Street Rod, Antique or 1948 “YOM” tag!   Our local Sumter County Office Annex on Route 466 near Morse Blvd. (use the rear entrance) can handle methods (1) (2) & (3) only.  Those are new-issue tags and a $10 charge will be added to the registration fees.  Regular, Specialty, Street Rod and most Antique tags will also need to be replaced every 5 years (another $10 charge each time). Vanity (personalized) numbers (such as “36 Ford”) can be requested† (use Form HSMV 83043) on any regular plate stock for an extra charge of $12 per year.  In those cases, temporary (paper) tags will be issued and the vanity tag will be made and shipped to that issuing office in a few weeks.  Methods (4) and (5) need to be handled in Tallahassee.  The “Initial Florida Registration Fee” of $100 will be waived if the vehicle is more than 30 years old or you can prove it was already paid before you owned the vehicle or you recently paid a state sales tax on it when purchased.  “Collectible” tags are no longer issued but are still seen on the roads.  Florida is a one-plate state.  Only one tag (on the rear of the vehicle) is required.  The front of the vehicle may have any other plate or sign except a real license plate from Florida or any other US state.  We therefore presume that a foreign plate on the front of the vehicle is OK.  I have a cool porcelain plate from Florida, Argentina on the front of my antique!


* The applicable DMV Procedure number is noted for reference.

‡ Get the form here:

°  See this site for “YOM“ Florida county/class code explanations:

† Check this site for your prospective personalized number:


Since the county offices don’t know how to handle (4) “Horseless Carriage” or (5)

“Year of Manufacture” tags, we put this detailed procedure together for you on page 2.




1. BEFORE purchasing a vintage YOM Florida plate, corresponding to the year your vehicle was made (Eg. 1957 plate on a 1957 car), you should first ascertain if that number can be registered in Florida.  Go to any County Office Annex or DMV Office that handles license plates and ask them to run a search on that plate number.  You don’t need to own the plate already.  Eg: If you want to buy a 1957 Florida plate bearing number "10W-30", ask them to search on “10W30”.  Someone else may have already registered a different year vintage plate with that number or someone may have requested a current "vanity" plate with that popular oil number.  Your number CAN NOT already be in current use and CAN NOT be a stolen plate number!  So, be careful when you buy.  Typical cost for a good vintage plate runs $10 to $40 ($20 average) depending on condition and low number desirability.  Some sources for clean plates are: swap meets, garage sales, ALPCA shows,,, Chuck Westphal at 948 CR 481, Lake Panasoffkee, FL (352-568-0982) and even on eBay!


2. The YOM plate must be an original Florida tag issued on or before 1975 (no later) with the year embossed not stickered.  It must not be bent or torn and MUST NOT  be re-painted or even touched up in any way.  Slight rust is acceptable if the plate can be read from 100 feet away.  Excellent restorations or clear coated tags will be rejected.  A 1929 replica car CAN NOT use a 1929 plate.  Motorcycles made between 1946 and 1975 are also eligible with a motorcycle sized vintage plate but these are tough to find!


3. For both HC (pre-1945) and YOM (pre-1975) registrations, your vehicle must first be ‘titled’ in Florida (with the VIN number verified in person at a DMV Office or County Office Annex, so you have to keep your old registration valid so you can drive or trailer your vehicle to that office), then Florida valid (PIP & PDL) insurance must be obtained. "Collectible car" insurance is acceptable if issued to your Florida address.  Two people may own the vehicle jointly but all paperwork must agree. It takes two weeks to receive your Florida title.  All this must be done before registering the vehicle.  Be certain that the owner’s name(s) and VIN number on the vehicle (some states used engine block numbers for a while), Florida title, Florida insurance card and current registration (if applicable) all agree exactly.  You must also already have a regular Florida or "Florida Only" driver's license, too.  WARNING:  Some states (like New York) require the return of the old plates or a warrant for your arrest will be issued!  Check with your former DMV.


4. For YOM, the vintage plate should be sent certified mail, return receipt, (insurance optional) to:

Florida DMV ; Direct Mail & Title Correction Section ; Bureau of Titles & Registration ;

Neil Kirkman Building MS #72 ; Tallahassee, FL 32399-0620. 

For YOM, request that the enclosed Florida plate be "authenticated" and your vehicle “registered” (or re-registered) with that tag.  Do not use the term "Antique Plate" - rather, "Year of Manufacture Plate".  No forms are available or required for YOM.  For HC registration, request that your vehicle be “registered” (or re-registered) as an “Ancient” vehicle and include Form HSMV 83045 using the same address.  The DMV will provide the new HC plate.  IMPORTANT:  Include ALL of the following in the letter:  Your full name(s), Florida address, Florida phone number, Florida driver's license number(s), date(s) of birth and gender(s); vehicle year, make, model, body style, VIN number & weight; current Florida title number; current plate number (if already registered in Florida); date of effectiveness (only if a renewal) and for YOM: vintage plate year; vintage plate number.  Enclose PHOTO COPIES of ALL of the following: Florida title; Florida valid insurance card showing 5 digit company ID number; Florida driver's license(s) and Florida current registration (if applicable).  Enclose: Either the vintage plate itself (washed clean, a return address sticker on the BACK side in case it gets lost at the DMV, and sandwiched in stiff cardboard) for YOM registrations or Form HSMV 83045 for HC registrations; a check for $50.00 (to “Florida Dept. of Motor Vehicles”) and the letter with the above info.  The $100 Initial Registration Fee will be waved since the vehicle is over 30 years old.  The process takes 7 to 21 days.  Your new HC plate or your old YOM plate with registration sticker attached to the front and new Florida Registration Certificate will be mailed back. They will calculate the total charge and refund the overage (about $4 to $20 depending on your DOB) by separate mail in a few extra days.  YOM plates are renewed yearly on your birthday, permanent and transferable with the vehicle's sale but CAN NOT be replaced by the DMV if lost or stolen.  HC plates are also permanent and DO NOT have to be renewed yearly but ARE NOT transferable.  I know someone who found a vintage 1960's plate with the number "2"; obviously originally issued to the Lieutenant Governor of the state in that year.  Unfortunately, it could not be registered after he paid a premium price for it, because number “2” is already issued to today’s Lieutenant Governor!  So check the number first!

Good luck and happy motoring!                   Rev. 8/22/06   Prepared by Rich Courmettes, 1942 Chrysler.