Manitoba's classic cars to get special plates and rates

You can soon add classic cars to the list of specialized licence plates hitting Manitoba's streets.
Justice Minister Andrew Swan, second from right, unveils the new collector vehicle licence plate on Friday with members of the Manitoba Association of Automobile Clubs. (Government of Manitoba)

You can soon add classic cars to the list of specialized licence plates hitting Manitoba's streets.

After years of lobbying by the Manitoba Association of Auto Clubs (MAAC), the province announced owners of qualifying collector vehicles will soon be able to purchase bright yellow "Collector" licence plates, along with a newly developed auto insurance package.

Justice Minister Andrew Swan, the minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance, made the announcement on Friday, which is Collector Car Appreciation Day across North America.

"This new collector plate and vehicle insurance program option is the direct result of speaking with members of the collector car community who obviously have tremendous pride in their vehicles," Swan said in a statement.

Collector cars are driven sparingly. Swan said the new Collector Vehicle Program is designed to reflect the few kilometres driven every summer and the extraordinary care and maintenance that owners provide for their vehicles.

Insurance rates for the new Collector Vehicle Program are subject to review by the Public Utilities Board and, pending approval, the program will take effect March 1, 2014.

"The Collector Vehicle Program premium will reflect the infrequent use on roadways," said Marilyn McLaren, president and CEO of Manitoba Public Insurance.

"This new insurance option will provide comprehensive, year-round protection."

Manitoba has more than 60 car clubs that raise thousands of dollars every year for charity.

Gord Forman, the provincial representative of the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada, said he's pleased the provincial government and auto insurer have responded to the needs of people who own collector vehicles.

MAAC chairman Jim Penziwol says classic car people will be glad they are finally being recognized.

"This is a progressive and positive move forward," he said.

The new collector plate is a throwback to the Manitoba licence plates of the late 1960's: vintage yellow in colour, with the word "Collector" on it.

Vehicle owners who currently have a personalized plate on their collector car will also be able to transfer their personalized plate messages to the collector plates.