Vehicle Registration Plates Not Required
Former Military Vehicles
Go to http://www.txdmv.gov/vehicles/license_plates/qualifying/vehicle/former_military_vehicle.htm for Fees and registration details.
Scroll down that page to "Mail a completed application with fee to your county tax office."
Click on the highlighted "application". This takes you the TxDOT Forms System Central Repository. Scroll down and click the Paper Clip icon at the bottom left of this window to download the listed VTR-135-M form.
The VTR-135-M form is in Microsoft Word format and you can enter the information on screen. After you complete that form, save it and print it. Then you can either mail it to your county tax office with the specified fee, or you can take it there in person.
Because few county tax office personnel have seen this form, I prefer to take it there in person. Sometimes just pointing to the instructions printed on the form can save lots of time.
I tend to believe that some county tax offices have never registered an antique vehicle and may not even know they have those plates on hand. Even though you may encounter someone in the tax office who is unclear on the procedures, the instructions on the form are clear enough to get you out the door. You can seek clarity another day.
Another thing is unclear. Antique vehicles receive a small aluminum validation tag that attaches to the registration plate. This is particularly true for "year of manufacture" plates on antique cars. There was no guidance on how to display it on a Former military Vehicle without plates and I was told to "keep it in the glove box" with my registration document. Some Former Military Vehicle owners have told me they received no such tag.
You may ONLY register it as a Former Military Vehicle if it has authentic insignias, military registration numbers (usually on the hood), and correct paint schemes. A former military vehicle that does not meet this requirement may only be registered as an Antique Vehicle, or Classic Auto, Classic Truck, or Classic Motorcycle. For example, Bubba's M-37 hunting truck with the elevated shooting seat and the bogus camouflage (few M-37's had camouflage) cannot be registered as a Former Military Vehicle. A civilian vehicle "in drag" (painted and equipped to look like a "real" military vehicle) it is not a Former Military Vehicle and may not be registered as such.
You must include a picture of your truck to show that it has the authentic insignias, military registration numbers (usually on the hood), and correct paint schemes. It is unlikely that those clerks will have AR 850-5, Military Vehicle Markings, but you need to be as accurate as Hollywood since that's where most people have become experts.
Once we say the word, "military," we invoke "Catch 22." The State issues a Former Military Vehicle registration plate, but no plate is required. IT IS OPTIONAL. This is clearly stated in the "FEES" block on the VTR-135-M form and you can "X" the appropriate box.
The vehicle registration form issued by the State uses the military registration (hood) number in the space that would normally contain the registration license plate number. This form must be carried whenever the vehicle is on any public thoroughfare. Also, see my above comment on the validation tag.
It is unlikely that a competent, knowledgeable police officer would stop the operator of a Former Military Vehicle for having no plates displayed. Of course, there may be one police officer in the state that does not know the laws he has sworn to enforce. Some may find it handy to print a copy of the registration application with this information and have it available. I already had a Justice of the Peace "cut me some slack" on this. He did me a favor while his son was climbing on my WC52 at a vehicle show and suggested I get my vehicle registered and display the license plate before an equally smart cop gave me a ticket.
This information is the result of research by the Kempner Power Wagon Museum. Please pass it on to all Former Military Vehicle owners.