Editorial note: This article is advisory in nature, and is not a legal authority. We won’t pay your fine if some information in this article turns out to be incorrect or out-of-date. It’s always best to do your own research.
There’s been a lot of talk about the changes being made to the registration options for those with historic or modified cars. Cheap rego with minimal driving restrictions has always been the dream for motor enthusiasts, and it would seem that we are finally getting our wish. While we eagerly await the final details of the modified scheme, I thought I’d take this opportunity to give a few details about the already-operational historic scheme.
I used to have two cars in the driveway: my daily driver and my Mopar. A couple of years ago, my wife needed her own car for getting to work, and despite her enthusiasm to start taking the Mopar every day, we eventually decided we would need to buy a third car. But rego and greenslips for three cars is a huge pain in the back pocket, so I also decided to put the Mopar onto club rego (also known as “historic” or “conditional” registration).
I know that there are a lot of Regals members already on club rego (and I also know there are a lot with a shitload more than 3 cars) but for those of you who might be considering the change, and would like to know more, I thought I’d put together a bit of relevant information about the scheme, and the recent changes.
There is a significant savings to be had by going onto the conditional registration scheme. The first time you do it, you will need to pay for your plates as well as the rego, which will bring you to around $100. Every year after that, the cost is around $60. And as for the compulsory green slip, that’s included in the price too (no need to shop around). It used to cost me close to $1,000 per year for registration and green slip for my Mopar, so you can clearly see the appeal.
As just mentioned, when you’re on the historic scheme you’re issued with ugly historic plates (also knows as “H” plates). It’s a real shame because I liked the look of my old custom plates (and I’m sure the Roads and Maritime Services miss charging me for them too!).
The RMS did away with rego stickers on the windows of cars a couple of years ago, but this doesn’t include historically registered cars. You’ll still need to put a sticker on the windscreen of your historic car every year.
Club rego has some pretty heavy eligibility restrictions:
- The vehicle must be as close to original condition as possible with no alterations except for safety features (such as seat belts and turn indicators), period accessories or period improvements. Put simply, this means your car has to be true to the period. If you decide to pull out your slant six and replace it with a small block V8, you can only do so if this was a factory option available for your vehicle at time of manufacture. Modern wheels, scoops and blowers are all off limits. Having a left-hand drive converted to the right is okay (this is considered a safety feature) but almost all other mods are out. Regardless of your personal views on modifications to classic cars, the Roads and Maritime Services’ views are clear — the conditional registration scheme is about preservation, not modification. If you’re not sure whether your vehicle would qualify, the best thing to do is contact our club registrar Raf Jelicich at the next meeting for clarification.
- You must be a financial member of the club. This means that you have to pay your membership renewal fees on time. If your membership isn’t up to date, your historic vehicle won’t be registered, which can result in some hefty fines if you get pulled over. As you already know, we provide plenty of membership renewal notifications, so there’s no excuse for not paying on time. If you’re not getting your notifications, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure that we have the right contact details on file.
- The vehicle must be 30 years of age or older, as from the year of manufacture. If you own a Valiant, you have nothing to worry about given that they ceased production 35 years ago.
- As with the normal registration, club rego vehicles must be roadworthy. You’ll need a pink slip, and you’ll need to get a new pink slip every year when you renew. The only difference is that the club rego vehicles aren’t part of the RMS automated computer system, so you’ll need an old-fashioned paper pink slip for your annual renewals, and you’ll have to physically go into the RMS to renew.
- You’ll need to get the historic rego form signed and stamped by our club registrar Raf Jelicich before you renew your registration each year. The form will be posted with your renewal, so just fill it in and bring it to the next club meeting and Raf can take care of this for you, on the spot. If you’re changing over to the historic scheme for the first time, Raf can provide you with the required forms.
So if you think that all sounds okay, lets look at the vehicle use restrictions.
Since the introduction of the trial log book scheme for historically registered vehicles, the main restriction is that you’re limited to 60 non-club travel days per year. Here’s the exact wording from the RMS log book form.
- Registered operators must comply with all conditions applicable to the Historic Vehicle Scheme, and the Certificate of Approved Operations.
- Log Books allow up to 60 days of general use (i.e. maintenance and personal use) per registration year, outside of club organised events. Before the start of each day’s use, the driver must record the start time and start location in the Log Book. Only one entry per day is required, regardless of the number of trips taken that day.
- Log Books must be carried in the vehicle when in use.
- Log Books must be made available on request by a NSW Police Officer or Roads and Maritime Services Officer and may be subject to audit.
So the first item basically refers to the eligibility restrictions already mentioned in this article. The second item has that interesting statement “…60 days of general use…outside of club organised events”. Put simply, this means that you don’t need to use one of your 60 days if you’re involved in a club event (see details below). It’s my understanding that you won’t need to make a log book entry if you’re just filling up with petrol either, but for any other purpose, you will need to make an entry in the log book before you depart. It doesn’t matter how many trips you make in a single day, it’s only that first entry that needs to be in the log book.
You may have the green light from the RMS to take your historic vehicle out for a spin, but it’s probably not a bad idea to check the fine print on your insurance as well. For example, the NRMA have a classic car insurance policy, the terms of which state the following:
We cover your vehicle when it is used for:
- hobby or recreational purposes and it is driven 10 days or less per month, or
- special occasion/wedding hire.
We will not cover your vehicle if it is:
- used as a primary mode of transport – for example, shopping, commuting to and from work or transporting friends and family, or
- driven more than 10 days per month.
So be wary. The police might be okay with you going out to do the grocery shopping, but the NRMA isn’t! If you’re driving to a shopping centre in your historic vehicle and you’re covered with the NRMA, make sure you grab some lunch or a coffee, or do something else “recreational” while you’re there!
If you’re not sure if 60 days a year is enough for you, you can make this last a little longer by going on club events. You won’t need to fill in the log book if you are attending:
- Events organised by the Regals, or any other club, as long as they are listed on the “Events” page of the Regals website.
- Regals club meetings.
For me though, even when I had full rego I never took my Mopar out more than 60 days in a year, so I consider this scheme more than adequate (apart from those ugly plates).
The club’s expectation of members
By offering club rego, there is always the danger that people will join the club, just for the cheap rego, with no intention of being an active member and getting involved in our club’s events. To avoid this, we have imposed the following limitations and requirements.
Regals club members who have club rego are expected to:
- Attend a minimum of 4 club events in a calendar year. This can be a club run, a meeting or a show, or any combination of each. We figured that if a club member is getting cheap rego through our club, and can’t participate in club activities just 4 times in 365 days, they really don’t deserve the privilege.
- Attend the Shannon’s Sydney Classic at Sydney Motorsport Park each year in August. This event is specifically designed to showcase historically accurate classic cars. Your car doesn’t need to be pristine, just original.
What to do next
If you want to participate in the scheme, the very first thing you should do is check that your car is eligible. Contact Raf Jelicich and arrange a time for him to give it a once-over. This isn’t a rego check, just a quick check for club rego eligibility. If your car isn’t registered yet, give Raf a call to see what can be arranged.
If your vehicle is already on full rego, just wait until your renewal is due. Go and get a pink slip, as per usual, then grab the required forms from club registrar, Raf Jelicich. Fill in the forms, get them signed and stamped by Raf and then take the paperwork to the RMS. Don’t just assume that they will put you on the log book scheme automatically though. At this time, you still need to tell them that you want to participate, then they will provide you with the log book (which is actually just an A4 piece of paper).
So while we anxiously wait for the details of the new modified log book scheme, you may already be able to get cheap rego for your Mopar with the Historic Conditional Registration Scheme.