In NSW the conditional registration of historic vehicles is referred to as the Historic Vehicle Scheme (HVS). The HVS was developed in consultation with stakeholders from the historic car movement including the Council of Heritage Motor Clubs.

A summary of the scheme and comparison with the Classic Vehicle Scheme is given on our Vehicle Registration page. The RMS website Historic Vehicles page provides information on the HVS and the relevant forms for eligible vehicle registration. CHMC affiliated clubs can also provide information on HVS and the CHMC RMS Liaison Officer will assist also with enquiries.


Q: What is the HVS? The HVS is a conditional registration scheme that permits limited use of eligible historic vehicles on public roads. The limited use condition in the scheme allows the RMS to offer HVS registration with a concession on cost compared to normal registration. The HVS supports the aim of the heritage vehicle movement in that occasional use will "promote and encourage the restoration and preservation of motor vehicles that are thirty years of age or older."

The HVS has three main requirements. 1. The vehicle must be as close to original manufacturer's specifications as possible  except for safety features such as seat belts and turn indicators or period accessories and options if desired. 2. The registered operator of the vehicle must remain a financial member of an RMS Approved Historic Vehicle Club for the full period of registration. 3. The RMS Approved Club must declare the vehicle is roadworthy at the time of establishing or renewing registration and meets the eligibility criteria for the HVS.

Q: Can a vehicle assembled from old vehicle parts be registered for use on public roads? Yes. The vehicle may be eligible for registration in the HVS but if it does not comply with HVS eligibility, then full (normal) RMS registration is available. Either way the vehicle must successfully pass a roadworthiness inspection before it can be used on public roads.

Q: Is a vehicle assembled from old vehicle parts eligible for HVS registration? Only if all of the parts, when assembled together, complete a vehicle that meets the specifications for make, model and year of manufacture claimed for the vehicle. Only alternative parts recommended in factory issued service bulletins for that model can be used in the assembly.

Q: What does "no alterations except for safety features such as seat belts and turn indicators or period accessories and options if desired", mean for Historic Vehicles? "Period accessories" are accessories offered by the original vehicle manufacturer for that year model or after-market accessories available at the time new vehicles of that year model were offered for sale by the manufacturer. "Options" are alternative choices offered by the manufacturer to define the vehicle specification for a version of a particular model. Typically, options include paint, trim, engine, gearbox, differential and wheels."Seat belts and turn indicators" are alterations acceptable to the RMS. It is compulsory to signal intentions when using public roads. Hand signals are not understood by a large proportion of other road users who are only familiar with flashing indicators. Neither seat belts nor turn indicators are mandatory for HVS eligibility if the vehicle was not fitted with those devices as original equipment.

Q: But RMS has approved certain modifications to Historic Vehicles. Is this correct? Yes, the RMS has given in principle approval for certain modifications to historic vehicles, such as hydraulic brakes replacing mechanical brakes, BUT, the RMS will not say that a modified vehicle is eligible for the HVS. In all cases the RMS will repeat that the club must ensure the vehicle complies with the eligibility criteria of the HVS.

Q: There are many other well-known modifications to make heritage vehicles safer and more reliable. Why won't the RMS accept a list of these as eligibility for HVS? The RMS established the HVS with a clear and simple eligibility guideline that "the vehicle must be as close to original specification as possible...".

The RMS acknowledged that the safety and reliability inherent in historic vehicles of original specification is satisfactory for limited use on public roads. In setting the eligibility guideline for the HVS the RMS acknowledges that the historic vehicle movement itself rather than the RMS organisation has the knowledge and skills necessary to determine the specification and roadworthiness of historic vehicles. The HVS is a self-regulating scheme so the users, that is the members of RMS Approved historic vehicle clubs, are expected to ensure the eligibility criteria and other requirements are met.

Q: But almost every vehicle on HVS has some sort of modification or alteration. Why are they acceptable? During restoration and preservation of historic vehicles some minor alterations may be necessary to suit parts availability. Such examples are:

  • Engine: modern alloy pistons in lieu of cast iron, hardened valves and seats to reduce regression with unleaded petrol.
  • Brakes: non asbestos lining material.
  • Stainless steel sleeves in master cylinder and wheel cylinders, neoprene cups in lieu of rubber.
  • Tyres: replace original cross ply tyres with radial ply tyres of the same size.
  • Lights: halogen replacement bulbs for extra brightness.
  • Electrical: conversion from 6V to 12V, replacing generator with an alternator.
  • Minor alterations that do not change the original appearance or performance of the vehicle are normally acceptable.

Each club is responsible for certifying that a historic vehicle on HVS registration meets the RMS’s eligibility requirements.

Q: What does self-regulating HVS mean in practical terms? Self-regulating means that the users of the scheme regulate the scheme. Club committees, inspecting officers and members must uphold the eligibility criteria AND operators of HVS vehicles must ensure the conditions for road use are adhered to, including evidence confirming the vehicle is engaged in bona fide club event is carried in the vehicle when travelling on public roads.

Q: What is the risk to self-regulation? If diligent HVS self-regulation is not practised by the historic vehicle movement the historic vehicle movement will be seen as unable to manage its own affairs. The risk is that the RMS will take over regulation and recover the associated cost by increasing fees.

Q: Is club membership synonymous with HVS eligibility? No, not necessarily. HVS eligibility must comply with the criteria set down in the RMS Historic Vehicle Policy. A Historic Vehicle Club is a liberty to set other criteria outside those of the Policy when defining eligibility criteria for Club Membership.

Q: Can a HVS registered vehicle be used for bridal party transport to a wedding? Only  if the transport is a favour and for no fee and such use is approved by the Primary Club, AND your vehicle insurer has been consulted.

Q: What is the difference between a Primary Club and a Secondary Club? A Primary Club is the club that signs the declaration of eligibility and roadworthiness [RMS 1259 form] for the HVS registered vehicle. A Secondary Club is any other RMS Approved Club where the vehicle's registered operator is also a financial member.