For quite some time, the Philippines had a wealth of historical and vintage vehicles to be proud of, thanks to our unique ties with the US and other nations in the last century. Our own police used to ride on government issued BMW motorcycles.
However, with the clean air act and MVIS being implemented, it's getting harder for owners of these treasures to keep them running on the road. Worse, some these vehicles have been steadily disappearing thanks to wealthy foreign collectors buying them up and brining them back to their home countries.
It's not quite so easy for local collectors to do the same with current import and tax laws that make it very difficult to bring these precious gems into our country.
One congressman has proposed a new law to make importing vintage cars and motorcycles possible.
In a recent proposal, Deputy House Speaker, Wes Gatchalian, has filed House Bill 8244 or the “Vintage Vehicle Act”. According to Rep. Gatchalian, the proposed law aims to promote vintage vehicles as part of the country’s historical and cultural heritage, aiming to highlight these vintage vehicles as national treasures.
Though the bill did not explicitly say “motorcycles”, the Land Transportation Office still defines motorcycles as a type of “vehicle”. That being the case, the importation of vintage motorcycles will be allowed if this bill becomes a law.
Under the bill, applying vintage vehicles should be at least 30 years old from the date of manufacture. It also says that the “chassis, engine, steering, and suspension are either original or authentic”. The body must also remain unaltered in general appearance. Vintage vehicles with lost registration documents will also be given amnesty upon submission of a personal affidavit and police clearance.
Vehicles applying for this status may be from the Philippines. But perhaps the best part of the proposed law is under Section 6, which states “Vintage vehicles may be imported freely into the Philippines.” It adds that the state “shall impose no restrictions on the importation of vintage vehicles” and that there should be no imposition of special duties and taxes or other fees that are more stringent and burdensome than those applied to other motor vehicles.
If they pass these requirements, incentives include “exemption from the Clean Air Act, anti-pollution test, safety and road-use, and other standards not enforced at the time of manufacture.” This means these vehicles will not be subject to emissions tests, an MVIS inspection, or need to be modified to meet current road worthiness or safety standards since they might have been very different when they were built.
There are some limitations though for vehicles applying for vintage status. Under the bill, these vehicles can only be used during holidays, and weekends, except for the purpose of registration with the LTO.
These vintage vehicles are also not allowed to be used as public utility vehicles and shall bear a special plate number that says “Vintage Vehicle” to identify their distinct class.
If this bill were passed, then it would be possible for Pinoy riders to get their hands on beautiful classics like a Honda CB750F, a Suzuki DR800S, a BMW R 5 (the inspiration for the R18), or maybe even a classic Harley-Davidson with a Knucklehead engine. Best of all, they will legally be allowed on the road (only on weekends).