Collector Licence Plates

BC Collector Licence PlateIt's show and shine season and the carefully maintained and restored older vehicles are out for our appreciation. I watched one vehicle from the early 50's pass by me the other day and I noticed that it was equipped with a center brake light and angel eyes in the headlights. It also sported a collector licence plate and that got me to thinking, were either of the two "enhancements" that I noticed allowed on a collector plated vehicle?

My understanding of vehicles that displayed collector licence plates was not extensive, but I knew that they were for the pleasure use of motorcycles, cars and light trucks and very few modifications from stock were allowed. To satisfy my curiosity, I visited ICBC's web site. I found that I was right about the use restrictions, but the list of allowable updates was a lot longer than I would have thought.

Safety upgrades such as disc brakes, stainless steel brake lines, seat belts and a theft alarm system are allowed. Obvious ride height changes, non-era correct paint, sound system and colour anodized engine dress up kits are not. For a more extensive information on what is and isn't allowed on a collector plated vehicle, contact ICBC's Specialty Licensing Department.

Making non-approved modifications after obtaining collector licence plates or mis-using them for business or to and from work may result in loss of collector status and the privileges that these licence plates bring. This gentleman will have to remove the angel eyes for more reasons than one. They are not era correct and are not in compliance with the lighting regulations for that vehicle.

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I'd like to think of it more as collector's plates should be allowed for anybody with a classic car. Period! These people have taken the time and effort to keep these vehicles on the road for the rest of us to enjoy and admire. To make kids, adults, and grand kids realize where it all started, the love for cars and way back when when cars weren't saftey cages incased in bubbles when they crash. I think all pre-1970 vehicles should have them.

Who cares if they have modifications, or have been lowered, or new paint, it's still a old custom car and in my mind, still a collectible...



There are two different types of Collector Plates. The vehicle you viewed was 'probably' a modified collector vehicle.  (1958 model or older that has been modified)  This is a different classification.

I see that ICBC has a special category for Modified Collector Plates. The vehicle I described still wouldn't fit this category, which ICBC defines as:

A modified collector vehicle is registered as a 1958 model or older motor vehicle and

  • is in excellent condition and maintained or restored to a condition ICBC considers to be of collectable value; and
  • has the shell of a body, coach or cab from an original manufactured motor vehicle (sorry, aftermarket fiberglass, composite, or steel bodies aren't acceptable); and
  • has an altered body that resembles, but is no longer identical in appearance to, the original body of the motor vehicle; or
  • has had one or more of the following components replaced or altered:
    • chassis
    • engine and/or power train
    • suspension
    • steering and braking mechanical components

The headlight modifications that I saw would still exclude the vehicle from this category.

I have collector car insurance on my 66 Beaumont SD. I have owned it for 30 years. About 8 years ago I obtained collector plates and insurance through BCCA. I had to purchase the period correct air cleaner for the car-everything else was acceptable. I wanted collector insurance to cover the loss of the car, rather than cheap insurance to drive it. BCCA required that the car be taken off the road and garaged for 6 months of the year, as well they required proof of another vehicle as daily driver.

Last year ,BCCA discontinued collector car insurance coverage. I was going to switch to ICBC collector insurance, but I read the fine print as you did. I have heard from friends that  if there is any deviation from  the requirement- Loss claims will not be paid. I have few aftermarket engine updates, so I insured with Hagerty who are  a bit more expensive, but have authorized my policy. I feel I'm covered for accidental loss.

So, folks with ICBC collector insurance may find them selves out of luck with a loss claim. if they do not follow the requirements to a "T", they may not have coverage.

A word of caution. Collector insurance policies and plate dates may be different. Two seperate polices, if not with ICBC. I thought I had renewed my plates but discovered I had only renewed the Comprehensive coverage and was driving without liablity insurance. I have them both renewed at the same time now.

just thought id respond to your article on collecter plates.   i know that when the plates first came out, the rules were very strict, but there seems to have been a softening up, allowing many "era specific mods"  eg  baby moon hubcaps on a 50's car, so as to allow street rod guys into this category, understanding that their intention is not to drive those cars very often. Personally, i have a 35 yr old motorcycle, which, is mint , and stock(save the exhaust system,which, apparently, is era specific, so allowed) Unfortunatly, i enjoy riding it to work, so, am forced to insure it in the regular fashion.

I'd first like to say that I look forward to your column because it usually focuses on safety... Thanks for that! 

Unfortunately, your comments on the car displaying collector plates and a centre brake light and angel eye headlights seems to put ICBC guidelines ahead of safety.  I have a vintage car and have experienced first hand not being seen by other drivers in today's fast paced traffic.  Compared to new cars, the older cars have very small and poorly lit tail and brake lights and less than adequate headlights. 

They also lack daytime running lights. Both daytime running lights and third brake lights were introduced for safety.  The angel eye headlights (I had to Google to find out what they were) and centre brake light sported on this vehicle may have been installed to give the driver some comfort that they may be more visible to other drivers. 

In checking the ICBC approved modifications, it states that a third brake light is OK, and maybe it's time to allow today's safer headlights rather than mandating the less safe option.  Also, since the car was an early '50s model, it could have modified collector status (1958 & older).  Check ICBC's site for Modified Collector Application details.  In this case these modifications are likely OK. 

It is ironic that safety improvements like these could be a loophole for ICBC to deny a claim.  I look forward to future articles focused on safety.  Maybe a reminder for people walking or running on the road to do so on the side facing traffic, like we were taught as kids.... seems like common sense to me, but then again common sense ain't all that common!