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  • Custom Built Car Registration in Virginia

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    In Virginia, custom-built cars, kit cars, street rods, and vehicles built from parts of other vehicles are known as specially constructed or reconstructed vehicles. There are no special registration or titling classifications for them except for antique vehicles and antique trailers. Certain foreign vehicles may require extra documentation for titling and registering.

    When titling and registering a hobby vehicle or foreign/imported vehicle, you must state on the application whether it is antique, specially constructed, reconstructed, or foreign/imported. The DMV requires evidence of previous registration, such as a certificate of title, and may require additional documentation to prove ownership.

    Special Rules for Antiques

    Registration and license plates for antique vehicles and antique trailers cost $50. You can get permission to use old-fashioned license plates without decals, if the plates are embossed with or from the same year of issue as the model year of the vehicle or trailer. You may also be able to use the metal tabs that were issued with certain model years in conjunction with license plates.

    Transportation Restrictions on Antique and Specially Constructed Vehicles

    While Virginia is friendlier to car hobbyists than other states, there are restrictions as to the use of hobby cars. Antique and hobby vehicles are not to be used for general transportation purposes. You can drive them for participation in club activities, exhibits, tours, parades and similar events; on highways to test their operation or get them serviced or repaired; and for occasional pleasure within 250 miles of your home.

    To use an antique vehicle for general transportation purposes, it must pass a safety inspection like any other vehicle, and you must pay the normal registration fee. You must also display current decals on the license plate(s).

    The Code of Virginia lists specific guidelines for the registration and use of antique cars and trailers.

    Titling and Storage of Hobby Vehicles

    Specially or reconstructed vehicles are titled according to their chassis numbers, if any, or by their motor serial numbers. Inspections are required according to the model year that is shown on the registration.

    You may store unlicensed operable or inoperable vehicles on your property if they don't constitute a health hazard and are hidden from public view (such as by a garage, fence, or trees). Local zoning ordinances still apply, however.

    When registering a specially or reconstructed vehicle, you will receive one license plate, which you should mount on the rear of the vehicle.

    Reconstructed Vehicles

    To title and register a reconstructed/custom vehicle:

    Submit your documents by mail to:

    • Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
      ATTN: Vehicle Branding Work Center
      P.O. Box 27412
      Richmond, VA 23269

    OR in person to:

    • 2300 W. Broad Street
      Richmond, VA 23269

    For more information, please refer to the VA DMV website.