Classic cars never die. Classic cars belong in museums. Such has been said by many a vintage vehicle owner. As it stands, many become barn finds, some are lucky to be housed in private garages or museums, and most are scrapped at worst. Along with the passing of Republic Act (RA) 11697 into law – which deals with the future of electric vehicles in the country – the Vintage Vehicle Regulation Act (RA 11698) has likewise become a law.
The newest act-become-law seeks to regulate the use and other activities related to vintage automobiles and other historical, classic, or collector motor vehicles. It likewise seeks to provide their exemption from standards and restrictions set by laws and regulations issued after their date of manufacture.
Wow, that’s a mouthful. But what does it all mean?
RA 11698 allows the registration and the use of vintage cars. The caveat to the term “vintage” is that it only covers vehicles that are already 40 years from the date of their original manufacturing. These cars will be classified as either concours or “for exhibition/display/contest”, or restomods (short for restoration mode). For the former, these are the ones you see displayed at car shows whereas the latter are those you see being rebuilt by specialty shops.
For both classifications, RA 11698 allows their importation, exportation, and even registration for use on PH roads. Registration of these cars will be valid for 3 years with accompanying special “Vintage Vehicle” plates from the Land Transportation Office (LTO). The said cars are not subject to meet modern standards of emissions and road use with the exception of seatbelts. Those vehicles that don’t come with safety restraints as standard must be fitted with seatbelts in accordance with RA 8750 or the Seat Belt Use Act of 1999. As for their repair and maintenance, the new law provides for the importation of authentic parts, original or replica body shells, engines, transmissions, and other spare parts and accessories.
This also brings some good news to the local tuners, particularly right-hand drive vehicles that were never released locally. RA 11698 allows for the importation, registration, and use of such units but they only apply to units that were produced on or before December 31, 1970, and to those that were mainly intended for racing or motorsports. We did say “some” good news, right?
Discussions will inevitably be held, and the release of the final implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 11698 will probably be within the first 60 days of its implementation. We can expect the LTO and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to iron out all the kinks and hopefully be able to come out with the best criteria for what truly makes a vehicle “vintage”.
In any case, this is a win for the local automotive scene, and every car – not necessarily vintage car – enthusiast in the country.