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"Ask A Trooper" tackles question about collector plates

by Bonnie Amistadi

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

Question: I have heard rumors, urban legend, and even from the people at the county license center that vehicles with collector plates can only be driven on holidays and/or in parades. I have looked at the Minnesota state statutes online several times and I cannot find any restrictions on the use of vehicles with collector plates. I just recently got a 40 year old Rolls Royce up and running (with collector plates). It is fun to drive around but I dont want to be breaking any laws. I do have two other vehicles that require yearly tabs in the state of Minnesota. Any light you can shed on this subject will be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Good question because, as I write this, Im overlooking the highway and seeing several cars that I believe to be heading to Back to the 50s at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds. Here is what some of Minnesota State Statute 168.10 says;

  • (1)at least 20 model years old
  • (2)The vehicle is owned and operated solely as a collector's item and not for general transportation purposes.
  • (3)The owner shall also prove that the owner also has one or more vehicles with regular license plates.

Ive been in law enforcement for 17 years now (16 of them with the State Patrol) and I recall early in my career something about limited miles, parades, car shows only, etc. But I believe the statute was changed many years ago to what is currently listed. The statute is vague with regard to the use of vehicles bearing any of these classifications of plates, merely stating the vehicle for which the plates are issued must be operated solely as a collector vehicle and not for general transportation purposes. Nothing defines how a collector vehicle must be operated. The occasional use of such a vehicle for personal errands, etc., could be acceptable within the scope of the statute. However, commuting to and from work, daily trips to the grocery store, etc., would be in violation.

If you were in violation of one of those requirements listed above, you could be charged with improper use of registration misdemeanor (90 days and/or $1,000 fine) or intent to escape tax a gross misdemeanor (up to one year and/or $3,000 fine) depending on the situation. The license plates would also be subject to impoundment. So, if you are going to use it for other purposes, have regular plates on it.

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 ).