NEWS: Arkansas changes historic plate cutoff from 25 to 45 years

We at JNC have always had a rolling 25 year cutoff for what is considered a classic. That’s because 25 years is when the US allows cars to be imported, and when most states allow for historic registration plates. Sadly, that is no longer the case for Arkansas, as the state has passed a new law that moves the cutoff for historic registration from 25 to 45 years. That means the state no longer considers any car made after 1973 to be a classic.

According to Hemmings, the bill was introduced to the state legislature by State Representative Jack Fortner, who actually tried to introduce a similar bill in 2017. Back then, he was interviewed by Little Rock’s KATV and was quoted as saying, “There are no historic cars from the ’90s.” Before the Arkansas state legislature, he also stated on the record, “I don’t think anything good happened in the auto field after ’72,” although he then claimed he was joking.

Outcry from classic car enthusiasts forced Fortner to change his mind back in 2017. As Hemmings reports, “Three days after introducing H.B. 1547, Fortner withdrew it, citing opposition from Arkansas car collectors. ‘Regardless of my personal feelings, I must go with the will of the people,’ he said at the time.”

This time, not so much. Earlier this year Fortner re-introduced a very similar bill, and it was subsequently passed into law, making all cars built after 1973 ineligible for historic plates (1973 and newer cars with existing historic plates will be grandfathered in). Fortner claims that the historic plates were subject to abuse, but the law already stated that proof of registration for a daily driver must accompany their application.

The crazy thing is, Fortner himself is a car collector. “I have 14 vintage cars right now,” he told KATV. About 43 percent of the cars in Arkansas with historic registration were built between 1974-94. With this new law, Arkansas becomes the state with the most restrictive historic registration rules in the country.

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14 Responses to NEWS: Arkansas changes historic plate cutoff from 25 to 45 years

  1. Mark Newton-John says:

    Are there even any JNCs in Arkansas? Or just a bunch of old guys with Camaros?

  2. LB1 says:

    That RX4 is to die for.

    • Gary Tubesing says:

      I definitely agree. Mine (owned in Canada at the time) looked just like that except for the wheels (mine were stock) and the color (mine was metallic dark olive green). Miss it still, but it wasn’t practical at the time in a big city – very thirsty.


  3. yonwd says:

    I’m ashamed to see that this dude is a republican, although there are plenty of crappy republicans…
    He should be voted out of office.

  4. Censport says:

    ‘Regardless of my personal feelings, I must go with the will of the people,’ he said at the time.”

    Well yeah, that’s your job as a representative, sir: to represent the will of the people, not impose your own feelings on others. Shame on Fortner for forgetting that in just two years.

  5. Bob says:

    Money grab. The nickel and diming of hobbies.

  6. エーイダン says:

    The answer is simple. The rednecks in Arkansas are still driving their 1974-1980s-ish pickups and insurance companies don’t want to pay classic insurance on Detroit scrap Iron heaps anymore.

  7. Robb says:

    Just one more way that the south is continuing to mess things up

  8. Bart says:

    Well, I have to agree that historic or classic plates are frequently abused. Here in Nevada, I see COMPLETE BEATERS blowing black smoke down the highway with “classic rod” plates all the time. Here, if you have classic rod plates you are exempt from emissions, but you are only allowed to drive 5000 miles or less per year. That is easily fixed by unplugged the speedo cable for most of the year, while you drive your POS old car around blowing smoke. lol

    I think they just need to make it so people can’t abuse the system so easily.

  9. Socarboy says:

    They are most likely doing this because Arkansas is a poor state and there are probably several cars on the road there over 25 years old. They are seeing this to collect more revenue from those drivers. If successful there I can see other “poor states” following suit like Mississippi, West Virginia, and South Carolina following suit

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