Originally Posted by ogre
here in michigan antique plates can only be used for parade, club or show related events.
they have started cracking down on antique car plates being misused.
First of all, every state has different requirements, so unfortunately what happens in Michigan may or may not apply to VA.
I've lived in Northern VA for 25 years. The VA DMV has all the requirements on-line, but I'll summarize.
You can get antique or year-of-manufacture plates. These can be used one of two ways. The traditional antique registration limits the amount of driving you can do annually. It also forbids using the car for commuting and if it's a truck you typically cannot use it for load carrying, only show. You also need to certify that you have another vehicle with a normal registration for commuting purposes.
There is also an option to use antique or YOM plates for a daily driver, but in that case all the same regulations apply as for normal plates - annual safety inspections, for example. With the daily driver option you are given the annual year stickers but you don't have to put them on your antique plates, you simply need to carry them with the registration.
With a standard registration, you need to get annual safety inspection, and frankly if you're driving on the same roads as I am, you're damn right you better have the ball joints and brakes in good condition! Emissions inspections only apply if you live in certain metro areas (Northern VA, Richmond, and VA Beach, for example) and even then only apply to vehicles less than 25 years old, so you're fine there.
The safety inspection does NOT require removal of full floating brake drums, only the inspection of the linings through the inspection plugs. This is fully documented in the VA State Police safety inspection manual, also available on line. I have a crewcab dually with a full floating axle and no inspection shop has EVER pulled the rear brake drums during an inspection.