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More historic cars could be on the road under proposed state legislation


You may soon be able to drive your historical car all summer long if a bill that recently passed the Michigan House Transportation Committee becomes law.

Under the proposal, historic vehicle owners would be able to drive them from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Currently those cars are only allowed on the road for parades, club activities, maintenance tests or for any reason in August.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative John Roth (R-Grand Traverse County), said the change will mean more people can develop an appreciation for classic cars because they will see them on the street more.

“[The automotive industry] all started here and if we can promote some of our history and show off cars, it keeps momentum going that Michigan is the car state.”

Jonathan Klinger, the vice president of car culture at Hagerty Insurance, which specializes in protecting collectables, said the state’s rules for historic cars have been overly restrictive for too long.

“This move, if it's passed, will bring Michigan in line with most other states,” he said.

Cars older than 25 years and not used for general transportation can be registered as historic in Michigan. Owners get the benefit of paying much lower fees to the state to drive the vehicles.

Roth said the Secretary of State doesn’t oppose the change. Though he said he’s heard some concerns that some people might take advantage of the cheaper fees and drive their historic cars all the time.

But Klinger said people tend to drive classic cars significantly less than their primary vehicles, even in places with fewer restrictions.

“Let people choose when they want to be able to use their historic vehicles because they’re inherently not going to put the vehicle or themselves in a harmful situation,” he said.

Max Copeland is the local weekday host of All Things Considered on Interlochen Public Radio and the producer of The Up North Lowdown, IPR’s weekly news podcast.