Anyone Register a Historic Car?

by Prince Of Petworth March 31, 2016 at 3:45 pm 15 Comments

Mustang Before

“Dear Popville,

I have inherited my grandmother’s 1965 Ford Mustang. Having not been driven in ~20 years the car is currently being restored. Once complete, I will have it shipped to DC so that I can enjoy it on Spring days like today.

I am begining to nagivate the process of insuring and registering the vehicle and am hoping that the PoPville community may have some insightful tips. It seems that DC allows vehicles to be registered as “historic” which, as a benefit, makes the car exempt from meeting any modern vehicular standards (e.g. exhaust, noise, fuel usage). As a drawback, I would only be able to drive my new/old car 1000 miles/year.

Additionally I am looking at insurance, and I believe the best option is to insure the vehicle as a classic car, which is less expensive and provides better coverage than standard insurance. However, classic car insurance that I have found requires each member of your household to already have a daily driver… so unless I force my bike riding wife out of our house that is a difficult requirement to meet.

Looking for some good pointers from people who have already gone through this.

Side note: Anyone in the H St area have an extra garage spot that they want to rent to a ’65 Mutang… seriously???”

  • Philippe Lecheval

    I don’t think you necessarily have to register this car as an historic vehicle. I believe the emissions inspection process takes into consideration the age of the car.

  • Woodridge

    Pre-68 vehicles don’t require an inspection: http://dmv.dc.gov/service/inspection-exemptions-and-waivers

    I would go classic insurance – I also had to show I had a ‘daily driver’, but since I’m the only one in the household I can’t speak to the “daily driver for every member of the household” requirement. I use Hagerty insurance and have been very satisfied with them.

    • driver

      I use state farm for a 1970 Z28/RS. That’s the only car on the policy with them, and they didn’t require any sort of proof that I have another car for daily use.

      Only pay about $250/year on a VA policy. Mileage limits are somewhere around 1,500 maybe, pretty much in line with all other classic policies, and you simply set an agreed-upon value with your agent. An appraisal can help, but I don’t think it’s necessary. They just asked for photos of interior/exterior/engine bay to prove it wasn’t a sitting pile of junk. I have VA antique plates on it since I used to live in Arlington, but kept them on since it’s cheaper and that registration never expires, nor do I ever (or ever in the past) had to get it inspected. A DC antique policy with them wouldn’t have been a lot more, somewhere around $350/year I remember.

      If I were to move over to a DC registration and policy, I’d have to get it inspected. And since it’s not pre-1968, that means some sort of emissions, which I’m positive it wouldn’t pass right now. Runs like a stinking pig at the moment… Another project for another day, perhaps. Will have to check out the capitol hill exon someone else mentioned.

  • Olivia

    What if the odometer has stopped working?

    • kbm

      I passed DC inspection without a working odometer. Is that what you are asking?

      • Olivia

        No really. If you can only drive the car 1000 mile each year, how will they know if the odometer is broken? Could this prevent a car from qualifying for historic?

        • ah

          You could get insurance coverage denied if they find you drove >1000 miles.

  • Troy

    My mom had received this very same make and model car as an anniversary gift from my dad. It was THE hot car of the moment back then, super slick and shiny as well as fast. I remember it like it was yesterday. But then again that was back when gas was under a dollar a gallon too. Ahhh, the memories!

    • anon

      Adjusted for inflation–gas in the 60’s was over $2 a gallon in current dollars. It is a very good time to own a classic car.

      • Troy

        Sounds about right costwise. Both parents worked but it was still a slight struggle to make ends meet, this particular car was the affordable ‘sports’ car of its time and super fast. We, my sister and I, were relegated to the backseat as always but it was fun nonetheless. The other car we had was a VW beetle with the non fully opening back windows. All you felt and smelled back seatwise was leather and stuffiness if you sat in the back and went anywhere…lol

        • Rich

          If you wanted to buy a real sports car in 1965, you bought an import, usually British like an MG or Triumph, or you spent a fortune and bought a Corvette. The Mustang shared most of its mechanicals with the Ford Falcon which like other first generation big 3 compacts, was not a particularly reliable or well engineered car. The Mustang began as a secretary’s car and the first series ended as a fast but bloated vehicles that had poor handling (my brother had one–you had to buy the very stiff racing suspension to overcome the poor handling, but it wasn’t something you’d want to drive over normal roads everyday). And they were outsold by the Chevy Camaro which had many of the same failings.

  • Steve

    I have had 2 cars registered as historic. There is no mileage restriction, but you can only drive it on weekends and legal holidays. But I don’t believe this is well known by the police. – and how could you bring it to a mechanic. You do have to go through inspection once before referring the car, and they now only check pollution, using standards for pre-1968 cars.

    I used jc Taylor insurance – 800-345-8290. They ask about other cars but do not require that you have another one. This is for a hobbyist, not to replace a regular car. Helps if you belong to a car club. And the insurance company limits usage to 1500 miles per year.

    If you need repairs I highly recommend Woody at Capitol Hill Exxon. He knows these old cars and is an expert at working on them. If it fails to pass the smog check he will adjust the carb so it passes and purrs like a kitten. He is great with any car, and completely fair.

    • BRKLND

      +1 on all of these and below on cjponyparts.com (they are awesome). I had my ’68 mustang here in the city for a couple of years. I parked on the street with a lockable car cover and never had any issues, however I know some people think that is totally insane I’m sure.

    • Anon

      +1 to Capitol Hill Exxon

  • kush

    my friend and his ’68 Mustang have been using them for years. americancollectors.com – and for Mustang parts…cjponyparts.com‎ in Carlislle, PA


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