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"Ask A Trooper" talks about plates on vintage vehicles

by Bonnie Amistadi

ASK A TROOPER by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: I have questions about registering a car Im in the process of restoring (early 1970s vintage) with an original Minnesota license plate from the same year as the car was made. Here are my questions:

Q1. Does the original license plate have to be one that was issued to that vehicle or can it be another prior issued plate which is in good legible condition and no longer showing to be in use?

A1. The original plate must be in good condition and cannot be repainted or restored. It can be another plate, as long as the plate is the same year as the vehicle you are registering.

Q2. Does the original license plate have to be one indicated for personal registration or can the original year plate be a Dealer or a New Vehicle In-transit original plate showing the year of vehicle manufacture?

A2. The original plate has to be of a type originally issued to the type of vehicle (e.g. passenger plate). No Dealer plates or In-transit plates.

Q3. What determines if an original license plate conflicts with a license plate series currently in use or reserved for use by the Department of Public Safety?

A3. Plates that are all numbers are reserved for collector and tax exempt categories. You may contact DVS with the plate number to see if it would conflict with a series that is in use or reserved for future use.

Q4. Do I have to display the original license plate on both the front and rear of the vehicle?

A4. If the vehicle is 1972 or older or registered in the collector class, the owner has the option of just displaying one plate on the rear of the vehicle.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us ).