New registration rules for vintage and classic vehicles in India announced

    The Ministry of Road Transport has announced a new set of rules which will see vintage and classic cars get special format registration plates.

    Published On Nov 27, 2020 12:08:00 AM


    New registration rules for vintage and classic vehicles in India announced

    Rules for registering a vintage or classic vehicle in India are set to undergo a major revamp. The Ministry of Road Transport has published a draft for a new set of rules with regards to registration, certification of any passenger car or two wheeler that is at least 50 years older than its original first date of registration. Under the new law, the issue of a new certificate will cost the owner Rs 20,000 per car and will be valid for a period of 10 years. Subsequently, the renewal of said registration will cost the owner an additional Rs 5,000.

    • Valid for cars and two wheelers older than 50 years
    • New plate format will have VA lettering to differentiate
    • New registrations will cost Rs 20,000 and will be valid for 10 years

    What will these new plates look like

    According to the new rules, classic and vintage vehicles will now sport a new registration format in the 10-digit alpha numeric format that all new vehicles in India receive. The new format will be in the form of ‘XX VA YY ****’ where XX will stand for the state code, VA stands for vintage vehicle, YY will be a two-letter series and **** will be a four digit number between 0001 and 9999 that will be allocated by the respective state registering authority. So, for example, if a classic car is to be registered in Maharashtra bearing the number 3112, it will read ‘MH VA AA 3112’. Unlike modern cars, this new unique series will not have a separate number in their registration plates to denote certain area RTOs but will instead be a state-based plate.

    Unlike electric cars that have been given green coloured license plates to differentiate themselves from regular internal combustion engines, these new vintage and classic registrations will follow central motor vehicle or CMVR regulations and will be a standard white background with black numbers or letters. The vehicles will have to display these plates both at the front and at the rear and these new plates will be according to the HSRP or high security registration plate format. Details of this new registration will also be fed into the national Parivahan portal.

    Owners will also be allowed to retain the original documentation of their earlier registration numbers as this paperwork is an integral part of a vehicle’s identity and often a prized possession amongst vintage and classic car owners.

    Disqualification Criteria

    The new draft rules also states that age alone will not be the sole qualifier for the vehicle getting a new registration certificate. The vehicle will need to be in it’s original form without any substantial modification to its chassis, body shell and engine. The state Vintage Motor Vehicles State/ Union Territory Committee(VMVSC), which will oversee these registration formalities could reject the registration request if a vehicle is found to not meet the criteria under thee specified rules.

    New buying and selling regulations

    In addition to these new registration rules, which will most likely come into effect later this year, a new law for sale of these vintage and classic cars has also been outlined. The law states that sale or purchase of these vehicles will be allowed, provided the buyer and the seller inform their respective state transport authorities within a period of 90 days from sale or purchase.

    Restricted Usage

    The notification also states that these vintage or classic vehicle will henceforth be subject to restricted use but will be allowed to run on Indian roads only for display, technical research or taking part in a vintage car rally, refuelling and maintenance, exhibitions and vintage rallies.

    In our opinion, considering the fact that the government will charge a premium for registering these older cars of which 5,000 that meet the criteria are known to exist, the restriction of usage for non-commercial purposes is too harsh. These cars are largely used by enthusiasts who maintain them immaculately. To clamp down these cars that are an integral part of India’s historical motoring heritage by curbing their usage will be detrimental to the vintage and classic motoring community on the whole. 

    Several clubs have also spoken out against the restricted use policy that has been set by the government. Viveck Goenka, President of WIAA and of VCCCI (two of the oldest car clubs in the country) expressed shock at the notification. He urged all clubs and associations to write to MORTH asking that they be allowed to use their vintage cars and bikes without restriction, but not for commercial purposes. Almost nowhere in the world is there a restriction to their use he said, given the history and heritage associated with these automobiles.

    These are only a draft proposal and the MoRTH is open to hearing suggestions and objections to said rules. Any objections and suggestions to these draft rules, if any, may be sent to the Director (MVL), email :, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Transport Bhawan, Parliament Street, New Delhi-110 001 within 30 days of the date of notification. OR YOU CAN ALSO WRITE TO THE WIAA or VCCCI. 

    Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.


    sreekanta` Shastry - 170 days ago

    It's a good news to hear the authority is ready to allow the decades older cars n bykes . Charges for Cars Rs. 20k is ok but for bykes (2 wheeler) let this be Rs.5k is sustainable, but commercial vehicles to be totally excluded from this option n offer.

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