Vintage Car Laws Australia

Laws guiding vintage car importation in Australia

There are certain laws in place that are applicable to vintage cars in Australia alone, and if you are interested in purchasing a classic car, it helps to be familiar with all these laws so that you can take advantage of the benefits they offer while also complying with them.


The option allows cars that were produced before January 1, 1989, and do not have identification plates can still be imported into Australia. This ensures that older vehicles such as classic, historical, and enthusiast automobiles that are meant to be used for hobby or restoration use in classic car clubs. The option further allows cars that do not meet the current vehicle standards in Australia to be imported even though they are not within the regular certification arrangements.

However, Territory and State registration requirements will still apply, and such cars are expected to comply with the standards on the date that the car was originally produced.  The relevant Territory or State registration authority will have more information, and you can contact to get information on what applies in each territory or state. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator can also provide further information that will further help you.

What is the date of manufacture?

This referred to the date when the car was first moved from or driven off the automaker production facility, or production line after the powertrain assemblies and the body shell of the automobile has been joined. This is the same thing with the build date concept which is used in Australia’s automotive industry. For a car to be eligible for this option, its manufacture date must be before January 1 1989. In a case where parts of the car that have a manufacture date of before January 1, 1989, is assembled into another automobile, the manufacture date will be the day the new car was driven for the first time. If the conversion of the car into a different automobile such as a hot rod, drag racing car, or a replica car was done after January 1 1989, such car would not be eligible for the option.

List of Considerations

There are several things that the Department considers in making the assessment. The Department understands there might have been restorations and improvements to older enthusiast vehicles which means they might not meet their original specifications. If such modifications or restorations are within the car’s model and make original specifications will be considered as an older vehicle. Even if newly manufactured parts are used, it will not change this assessment.

But extensive modifications have been performed on the car after January 1, 1989, will change the original specification and or performance of the car, the option will not apply, and the car will be considered a remanufactured car.