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  • Custom Built Car Registration in Montana

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    Custom-Built Car Registration in Montana

    You've spent months or years building your custom vehicle, and you finally finished. Before you can legally enjoy the fruits of your labor, you're going to need to work with the Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to get your assembled vehicle registered, titled, and prepared to operate on Montana roads.

    This page covers the basics of custom-built vehicles, and describes the entire process of registering and titling them in Montana.

    What Is a Custom-Built Vehicle?

    The Montana MVD defines a custom-built vehicle as one that:

    • Is more than 25 years old and is a model year older than 1948.
    • Was made to mirror a car or truck built after 1948 and at least 25 years before the current year.
    • Has been revamped from the manufacturer's original design, or sports a body constructed from unoriginal parts.

    Registering Your Custom-Built Vehicle in Montana

    If the above criteria applies to your four-wheeled prize, you can register it as a custom-built vehicle at your county treasurer's office.

    In order to do so, you will need to bring:

    1. Either a title or a Certificate of Origin (a vehicle's version of a birth certificate).
      1. If neither exist, you will to need apply for a bonded title. See "Applying for a Bonded Title" below.
    2. A completed Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (Form MV1).
    3. Proof of inspection.
    4. A completed fact sheet, depending on the decision of the county.

    After all forms are deemed in order, you will have the option of registering under regular or Vintage and Pioneer statutes. The latter will allow you to apply for a special Vintage or Pioneer plate.

    NOTE: Motorcycles cannot qualify for custom-vehicle status.

    Applying for a Bonded Montana Title

    When you purchase a vehicle without a valid record of title, you're going to need to work with the MVD to apply for a bonded title.

    To proceed, you must visit your local county treasurer's office and:

    • Bring any proof of ownership.
    • Present a completed Vehicle/Vessel/OHV Identification Number Inspection Certificate (Form MV20).
    • Complete an Application for Break/Bond Title (Form MV10).
      • Be sure to describe in detail how you came to acquire ownership of the vehicle.
    • Disclose any security interests/liens (if applicable), and include the vehicle's value.
      • If your vehicle is valued at more than $500, you will need to obtain a bond that is equal to the value submitted by the surety company.
      • If the vehicle worth is $500 or less, all you need to do is certify to its value. You will need to either:
        • Use the average trade-in or wholesale value using a national appraisal guide that is current as of January 1 for the application year.
          OR
        • If you do not have access to an appraisal guide, you'll need to certify to the best of your knowledge that your vehicle's value is $500 or less.

    The Title and Registration Bureau (TRB) will issue you a title with the words “BONDED TITLE." Pay attention to the expiration of your bonded title.

    If no one makes a claim for the vehicle within 3 years, the TRB will issue you a clear title.