Arkansas proposal would reclassify classic cars as those 45 and older

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Under an Arkansas proposal, classic cars would not be given special registration designations until they are at least 45 years old. | Pixabay photo
Under an Arkansas proposal, classic cars would not be given special registration designations until they are at least 45 years old. | Pixabay photo

A proposed act in the Arkansas legislature would change the state’s definition of classic cars. Current law defines vehicles produced 25 years or more ago as historic but Act 368 would change that requirement to 45 years.

State Rep. Jack Fortner told KSFM-TV he is concerned that people are getting unequal treatment under current state law, which allows registration of a classic vehicle for a one-time fee of $7.

“I wanted to make it more fair and equitable,” Fortner said. “We all pay registration, we all are required to have insurance on our car and we register every year. This is the only tag in the state of Arkansas that is not renewed ever.”

The act would leave a requirement in place that classic car owners register at least one other vehicle they use for regular transportation.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association argued the act, should it become law, would affect the classic car hobby, especially those interested in future classics.

“Should this legislation become law, such modern classic vehicles as the 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, 1994 Toyota Supra, 1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z, 1991 Acura NSX, and 1991 Dodge Viper would no longer meet the criteria required to be considered an historic vehicle,” Christian Robinson, SEMA’s director of state government affairs, wrote in an email to the ClassicCars.com Journal.

Robinson said current law only affects a small fraction of the 2.6 million vehicles on Arkansas roads and the act would restrict that even further.

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Act 368 has passed the Legislature and is on Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk. SEMA said its members and other automotive enthusiasts should encourage Hutchinson to veto it.

Fortner introduced a similar measure in 2017. He rescinded it after public backlash.

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Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

7 COMMENTS

  1. 99% of these classic autos that are in the garage all winter, they are only driven one or two thousand miles a year. The state collects more gas tax on these cars because they often use hi test gas, the state collect more sales tax because the owners buy many expensive parts for these cars as these it is very to have $40,000. to $50,000 in these cars. a 1955-57 Chev restored is about $80,000. so if one looks at the tax the State collects, they would loose money with this law.

    • This isn’t about money, there are only 66k cars currently having antique tags that meet this criteria, so we’re only talking a few hundred thousand in revenue. This guy just doesn’t think an unrestored ’89 Prelude counts as a classic. Well, to him, maybe not. But my ’87 M998 is certainly classic and collectible to me.

  2. For politicians like Fortner, this isn’t about automobiles, or ensuring "fair play"; despite what he tells the press. For him it’s all about money. The more tax dollars he can squeeze from the voters, the better. I encourage the people of Arkansas to write to their representative to encourage him/her to vote against this bill. Then vote this gentleman out of office on the next election cycle.

  3. I RARELY see true classic cars with those plates, just people ripping off the system with their rusty heaps of junk

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