More on missing front plates

The in basket: Last summer, I wrote a Road Warrior column exclaiming on the number of cars I see on the roads without the legally required front license plate, and relaying a reader’s similar observation about a lot of them in the Silverdale Whaling Day’s parade.
I was inundated by e-mails from the antique car collectors telling me that the cars in the parade were probably collector cars, which are exempt from the requirement for a front plate. Jurgen Brian, Hank Rausch, Ron Muhleman, Hugh Lewis, Gary Moen, Terry Dielman, David Sagdahl, Dick Gallaher, P. Petrinovich and Deanna Goins all set me straight on that score.


The in basket: Last summer, I wrote a Road Warrior column exclaiming on the number of cars I see on the roads without the legally required front license plate, and relaying a reader’s similar observation about a lot of them in the Silverdale Whaling Day’s parade.
I was inundated by e-mails from the antique car collectors telling me that the cars in the parade were probably collector cars, which are exempt from the requirement for a front plate. Jurgen Brian, Hank Rausch, Ron Muhleman, Hugh Lewis, Gary Moen, Terry Dielman, David Sagdahl, Dick Gallaher, P. Petrinovich and Deanna Goins all set me straight on that score.
The out basket: The state law providing the exemption puts certain limitations on the use of such collector cars, which must be at least 30 years old and operable.
They can be driven to and from auto shows, circuses, parades, displays, special excursions, and antique car club meetings, to be tested, and “for the pleasure of others without compensation.”
They can’t be used for commercial purposes or to carry a load or “as regular transportation in the manner of a fully licensed vehicle.”
There also is an avenue for other car owners to ask the State Patrol for an exemption from the front plate requirement, but I sense that it is rarely granted. Hank Rausch says the only car he’s ever heard of that got the exemption is a Delorean.
Brad Benfield of the state Department of Licensing says he himself was a front plate violator, unwittingly, even after going to work for DOL.
“I was driving a 1991 Alfa Romeo 164L,” he said. “(It) didn’t have a front plate mounted when I got it (about six months prior to working here). I thought that if a vehicle didn’t have a place to mount the front plate, I wasn’t required to use the plate. I learned shortly after arriving here that I was wrong. I inquired about the State Patrol exemption, hoping I might qualify. I talked to a State Patrol representative who knew that the exemption existed, but didn’t know of a single case where it was granted.”
So he put a plate on the front of his Alpha Romeo.
DOL doesn’t keep any list of exempted cars, he added, but suggested I check with the state patrol. “I believe they have a case-by-case process that involves a physical inspection of the vehicle,” he said.
That’s a fact, says Christine Fox, WSP’s equipment rules expert, “The front plate waiver is rarely granted,” she said.
“If the manufacture offers a front license plate bracket, then it is not impossible to mount a front license plate on the vehicle, therefore a waiver would not be granted.”

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