The SVAO: Dedicated to the protection and preservation of Specialty Vehicles

Proper Use of Historic Plates

This time of year always seems to generate questions on the proper use of Historic license plates here in Ontario.  Already the SVAO has heard of some people having been stopped and cautioned about improper use of historic plates.  Along with the fact that hot rods should not be using these plates also goes the caution that owners of historically plated vehicles can be charged if they are just out for a “Sunday drive.”
Perhaps it would be wise to check the wording from the Highway Traffic Act (reg 331) on historic plates so you can see that historic plates are to be used in very defined circumstances:
“historic vehicle” means, despite the definition in subsection 7 (1.1) of the Act, a motor vehicle that,

  1. is at least 30 years old;

(b) is operated on a highway in parades, for purposes of exhibition, tours or similar functions organized by a properly constituted automobile club or for purposes of repair, testing or demonstration for sale,
(c) is substantially unchanged or unmodified from the original manufacturer’s product, and
(d) does not have attached to it year-of-manufacture plates;

 Many people seem to confuse the legal use of historic plates with the more liberal wording of specialty vehicle insurance that is widely available.  Generally this type of insurance allows pleasure use of the vehicles with a few restrictions such as not being used for work, shopping, daily transportation (ie: you must own another vehicle), etc. 

The SVAO wants the owners of properly historically plated vehicles to be informed and aware of this issue, so you can explain yourself if stopped by a law enforcement official.

Chris Whillans,
SVAO Chairman
(905) 649 – 2664



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