LTO Issues Official License Plate to First Vintage Classic Vehicle in Philippines

In a historic moment for car enthusiasts and preservationists alike, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) of the Philippines has marked a significant milestone by issuing an official license plate to the country’s first-ever registered vintage vehicle since the implementation of Republic Act 11698 (Vintage Vehicle Regulation Act) started. The handover ceremony, presided over by the LTO Chief, marked a significant step toward preserving and celebrating automotive heritage in the Philippines. It also celebrates the country’s rich automotive history and underscores the importance of preserving and recognizing our cultural heritage on the roads.

The vintage vehicle went through a meticulous process, ensuring that it met all minimum requirements for roadworthiness. The handover ceremony, which marked the culmination of this effort, symbolizes not just a motor vehicle registration but a commitment to preserving the rich history encapsulated within these classic automobiles. It was a particularly arduous task, both for the agency, the vehicle owner, and the entire vintage car enthusiast community as the official recognition for vintage vehicles has not been without its challenges.

Advocates for automotive heritage have long called for a streamlined process that acknowledges the unique characteristics and historical value of vintage cars. The issuance of an official license plate to the first-ever registered vintage vehicle signals a positive shift in recognizing the value of these classic automobiles.

LTO Issues Official License Plate to First Vintage Vehicle

LTO Issues Official License Plate to First Vintage Vehicle Registered Under Republic Act (RA) 11698

The Vintage Vehicle Regulation Act, also known as Republic Act No. 11698, is a legislative measure that acknowledges vintage automobiles as “an integral part of Philippine culture.” This law is designed with the primary objective of safeguarding and preserving the heritage associated with these classic vehicles. It fosters an environment that promotes engagement from entrepreneurs and industries in the extensive and growing global markets dedicated to vintage vehicle restoration. By doing so, the law creates opportunities for business growth while simultaneously enabling individuals involved in the industry—such as businessmen, technicians, and the workforce—to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.

The overarching goal of this law is to stimulate participation in the restoration and preservation of vintage vehicles, recognizing them not only as tangible artifacts but as essential elements contributing to the cultural fabric of the Philippines. It also outlines the specific criteria for the registration and use of vintage vehicles. These vehicles, aged 40 years from their original manufacturing date, must undergo assessments to be deemed “roadworthy” before being allowed on the roads. The law classifies them as either concours, designated for exhibition, display, or contests, or “restomods,” signifying a restoration mode that respects the original design and structure. It also serves as the legal framework that encourages the development of expertise, the growth of related industries, and the perpetuation of the historical and cultural significance embedded in vintage automobiles.

The Significance of an Official License Plate for a Classic Vehicle

Vintage vehicles hold a special place in the hearts of many, serving as time capsules that transport us to bygone eras. Whether it’s the iconic design, the nostalgic feel, or the historical significance, these classic cars are a testament to the evolution of the automotive industry. By officially recognizing and registering vintage vehicles, the owner of the vehicle joins the LTO in taking a step towards recognition of the historic automotives for future generations.

An official license plate not only adds a touch of authenticity to a vintage vehicle but also signifies its legal recognition on the road. This recognition is crucial for vintage car owners, providing them with a sense of pride and assurance that their cherished vehicles are officially acknowledged by the authorities. It also establishes a framework for responsible ownership and ensures that these vehicles comply with necessary safety and environmental standards.”

LTO Issues Official License Plate to First Vintage Vehicle in Philippines
Image: LTO

Actual LTO Plate Handover Ceremony

The journey towards obtaining official recognition for vintage vehicles was not easy. This is why a ceremony was held at the LTO Central Office in Quezon City along with the actual handover of the official license plate of the country’s first-ever registered vintage vehicle. It was held in the presence of the LTO Chief himself, highlighting the significance of the ceremony which puts the Vintage Vehicle Regulation Act to good use and sets a precedent for the responsible enjoyment and preservation of vintage vehicles, ensuring that they continue to grace our roads, not merely as rolling relics of the past but as living testaments to a bygone era of automotive excellence. By officially recognizing and registering vintage vehicles, the LTO is taking a commendable step towards preserving this automotive heritage for future generations.

“With the passage of the Vintage Vehicle Regulation Act, the LTO aims to register roadworthy vintage vehicles while also encouraging owners to take greater responsibility for maintaining their vehicles in order to preserve their historical value,” the LTO Chief has said. This legislation reflects a dual purpose: allowing the registration and use of vintage vehicles while instilling a sense of responsibility among owners to uphold their vehicles’ historical significance.

Vintage Vehicle Exclusions

It is crucial to note that replicas and reproductions are excluded from the “vintage vehicle” category, underscoring the importance of authenticity in preserving automotive heritage. The legislation not only acknowledges the intrinsic value of these vintage automobiles but also seeks to foster a community that appreciates and cares for these rolling pieces of history; but this moment also serves as an inspiration for enthusiasts, collectors, and the automotive community at large. 

Promoting Tourism and Cultural Identity

Beyond the automotive community, the recognition of vintage vehicles can have broader implications for tourism and cultural identity. Vintage car rallies, exhibitions, and events can become important attractions, drawing enthusiasts and tourists alike. This not only fosters a sense of community among vintage car enthusiasts but also promotes the cultural richness of the Philippines.

Looking Ahead

As the first registered vintage vehicle in the country proudly displays its official license plate, it opens the door for countless others to follow suit. The LTO’s commitment to recognizing and preserving automotive heritage sets a positive precedent for the future. It is a call to action for vintage car owners, enthusiasts, and policymakers to work hand in hand to further develop and enhance the appreciation of our rich automotive legacy.


The issuance of an official license plate to the first-ever registered vintage vehicle in the Philippines is a cause for celebration among automotive enthusiasts and cultural preservationists. This milestone not only acknowledges the historical significance of vintage cars but also paves the way for a renewed appreciation of our automotive heritage. As more vintage vehicles hit the roads with official recognition, we can anticipate a future where the past seamlessly coexists with the present, creating a unique tapestry of cultural identity on the highways of the Philippines.

error: Content is protected !!