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Year of Manufacture?

Updated: May 26, 2023

In Illinois — yes, you can display Year of Manufacture license plates on you classic or antique vehicles.

Did you know that you can use genuine vintage license plates on your classic car? These are called Year-of-Manufacture license plates because the year of the license plate matches the model year of your vehicle. Shown above, is a real 1957 license plate on a 1957 Chevy. In Illinois, yes, it is allowed to use them!

Why use year-of-manufacture license plates?

You can proudly show the model year of your classic beauty as your drive. Displaying year of manufacture license plates tells everyone who sees your car what year it is from. No one has to guess and it is a great conversation starter for telling old stories.


If you are the kind of person who wants everything in your classic baby to be authentic and original, the actual license plate from your model year is the perfect finish.

How can you use year-of-manufacture license plates?


It is easy in Illinois. No, you don’t have to turn in your existing plates. And, no, you don’t have to register the year-of-manufacture plates. We quote excerpts of the Illinois law on the reverse side but, basically, it is this:

  • Attach the historical license plates that match the year of your vehicle.

  • Keep your regular EA or AV license plates inside your vehicle.

  • Keep your current registration inside your vehicle.

That’s it!!


Read the statues below for details. (Print this blog and keep it your car - it might be handy to help explain the code to an officer who has never encountered it before.)


Chapter 625 Vehicle Code of Illinois

Sec.

5/3-804 Antique Vehicles (VA plates)

5/3-804.1 Expanded-use antique vehicles (EA plates)


5/3-804.1 Expanded-use antique vehicles (EA plates)

The owner of a motor vehicle that is more than 25 years of age or a bona fide replica thereof may register the vehicle as an expanded-use antique vehicle.

1) from January 1 through March 31 and from November 1 through December 31, the vehicle will be driven on the highways only for the purpose of going to and returning from an antique auto show or an exhibition, or for servicing or demonstration; and

2) the mechanical condition, physical condition, brakes, lights, glass, and appearance of such vehicle is the same or as safe as originally equipped.

From April 1 through October 31, a vehicle registered as an expanded-use antique vehicle may be driven on the highways without being subject to the restrictions set forth in subdivision (1).

(b) Any person who is the registered owner of an expanded-use antique vehicle may display a historical license plate from or representing the model year of the vehicle, furnished by such person, in lieu of the current and valid Illinois expanded-use antique vehicle plates issued thereto, provided that the valid and current Illinois expanded-use antique vehicle plates and registration card issued to the expanded-use antique vehicle are simultaneously carried within the vehicle and are available for inspection.

(Source: P.A. 100-956, eff. 1-1-19.)


5/3-804 Antique Vehicles (VA plates)

(a) The owner of an antique vehicle may register such vehicle for a fee not to exceed $13 for a 2-year antique plate. The application for registration must be accompanied by an affirmation of the owner that such vehicle will be driven on the highway only for the purpose of going to and returning from an antique auto show or an exhibition, or for servicing or demonstration and also affirming that the mechanical condition, physical condition, brakes, lights, glass and appearance of such vehicle is the same or as safe as originally equipped.

(b) Any person who is the registered owner of an antique vehicle may display a historical license plate from or representing the model year of the vehicle, furnished by such person, in lieu of the current and valid Illinois antique vehicle plates issued thereto, provided that valid and current Illinois antique vehicle plates and registration card issued to such antique vehicle are simultaneously carried within such vehicle and are available for inspection.

(Source: P.A. 91-37, eff. 7-1-99.)


Happy Cruising!

Barb Sistak and Tom Baur

The License Plate Gal and The License Plate Guy

at License Plate Garage


P.S. If you are looking for year of manufacture license plates, try our online stores here and here.



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