2 October 2014

Vintage plates coming to California residents, but act fast

Tired of the look of the new California plates on your vintage car? There is a solution, but you have to act fast, and most importantly, share with your friends!

California Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a man with a love of old cars, has made a real effort on behalf of his state’s fellow classic car lovers. Mike introduced a bill in 2012 to allow owners of 1950s, '60s and '70s cars to trade in their modern license plates for vintage replicas.

This is the perfect opportunity for people stuck with modern plates to get period-appropriate plates back on their cars. But, there is a catch. You must sign up and order in advance; the DMV will only proceed with the program if they receive a minimum of 7,500 orders per decade, and we would like to help spread the word. The deadline of Dec. 31, 2014, is coming quickly, and as of this posting there are less than three months left to order.

Click the following link for the printable pre-order form to be mailed to the DMV with a fee of $50: http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/forms/reg/reg17L.pdf

For more information on the California DMV Legacy Plate program: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/legacyplates/index.htm

Also view California car nut Cliff Costello’s video for more information on these replica historic plates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97Zuy1QaxH8

33 Reader Comments

  • 1
    mike Chino, CA October 2, 2014 at 17:39
    bummer, I still have my 60's plates they are all beat up though. I just want my old 60's plate sent to me again with the same number but freshened up.
  • 2
    mike Chino, CA October 3, 2014 at 19:13
    bummer, I still have my 60's plates they are all beat up though. I just want my old 60's plate sent to me again with the same number but freshened up.
  • 3
    Frank Monterey October 14, 2014 at 12:43
    Mike, if you google "license plate restoration," you will find a number of businesses that restore license plates, the same as there are businesses that restore engines or entire cars. You'll be surprised how many excellent choices there are for that, and the prices seem quite reasonable. But in the meantime, PLEASE: Do what you can to spread the word about the DMV vintage replica license plate program. Tell your car club, tell your friends, and tell them to pre-order! Because if California DMV does not receive the required number of orders before the end of this year, these vintage plates will NOT BE MADE. A lot of folks with vintage cars will lose out.
  • 4
    Frank Walker Corona del Mar October 15, 2014 at 13:14
    Thanks for spreading the word. I'll send in my application today. This idea for the old plates is a great idea. Hope that they make 7500.
  • 5
    lee grant Encino, CA October 15, 2014 at 14:05
    Still have the original black and yellow plates on my '66 Lincoln 4 door convertible that still has its original forest green paint. Best riding car of the 8 in my collection.
  • 6
    Tim California October 15, 2014 at 14:14
    Perhaps we need to know that there are 3 categories: 1) 1950s are yellow background with black lettering : 2) 1960s are black background with yellow lettering : 3) 1970s are medium blue background with yellow lettering : CURRENTLY, there are more than enough pre-orders of #2 which will be available in Jan 2015 but more pre-orders of #1 & #3 are needed to get to the minimum.
  • 7
    Jimbo Cal. October 15, 2014 at 15:21
    One correction on the article: The production of the plates will go forward for any plates that have at least 7,500 pre orders. Currently, the 1963-69 black plates have 11,500 pre orders and, therefore, they will be produced. The yellow and blue plates are lagging far behind and probably will not hit 7,500 before the deadline. Note that ANY car can qualify for any of the three plates, not just cars from the correct period. If you have a period car with new-style plates, try the DMV YOM program for the real deal.
  • 8
    Joe Rhode Island October 15, 2014 at 19:24
    Mike, Ther is no reason why, if your plates are current, that you can order this new plate and just pay for the plate transfer. That is what I did to order a "special plate"
  • 9
    Dale Illinois October 15, 2014 at 09:22
    Wish they would open this up to out-of-staters. My '71 was a California car.
  • 10
    Mike So-Cal October 15, 2014 at 22:42
    You can have them restored and used but you have to have both steel plates.
  • 11
    mike Georgio, GA October 15, 2014 at 11:17
    bummer, mike in Chino still has his 60's plates they are all beat up though. He just wants his old 60's plat sent to him again with the same number but freshened up.
  • 12
    max susanvillle ca October 15, 2014 at 11:35
    I have on my 27 t bucket, the original looking plate. go to a show and shine and it always raises questions.
  • 13
    Tom SoCal October 15, 2014 at 11:44
    Mike in Chino, Google license plate restoration. There are several people offering vintage plate restoration and your plate come back looking new. Save the old plates!
  • 14
    academicjock Orangevale, CA October 15, 2014 at 12:41
    Previous to this new law, original plates increased the value of a classic car. Now, any car can falsely be 'dressed' in plates reminiscent of vanity plates. Doing so dilutes and confuses the cars with new plates with cars displaying their original plates.
  • 15
    Al CA October 16, 2014 at 12:04
    Certain I read the reproduction plates will be reflective.
  • 16
    Cliff Costello Endwell, NY October 20, 2014 at 11:28
    More info on the CA Legacy Plate program, based on the latest posts from the CA DMV on their Facebook Page. The plates will be Black reflectorized sheeting, and "California" and the registration number will be embossed and painted in classic Yellow Chrome. The sequential plate number sequence will be 6 digit ... with first being a letter, 2 numbers, space, 2 numbers, and finally a letter. (ex. Q12 12Q). Since the Black plate reached it's pre-requisite number of 7,500 pre-orders in May 2014, it should be approx. 9-12 months from then until we see them. I've got a set ordered for my 1970 El Camino SS. It is looking very likely that the Yellow and Blue plates will not achieve the 7,500 threshold by 12/31/2014 given the current numbers as of the end of Sep. 2014. Yellow only had 2,200 and Blue only had 1,786 pre-orders. A long way to go for each in the remaining 3 months. But at least those of us who love the classic Black plate can now get one!! Can't wait.
  • 17
    Lester Sinton Merrimac, MA October 22, 2014 at 17:45
    In Massachusetts we have a "Year of Manufacture" registration. If you locate an original number plate of the year of your automobile, the DMV will issue a current Registration. I have mine on my 1930 Chevrolet - o did the paint myself and they approved it (found info on G&D Inter et about Mass Plate Colors by Year!). Looks great with the old state logo and 10.101 number! God for California!
  • 18
    Tony Montenaro Port Hueneme CA October 22, 2014 at 19:52
    I understand that these plates you are talking about do not have raised letters. They are perfectly flat, meaning they are not authentic. Can somebody please prove me wrong!
  • 19
    Al K SoCal October 23, 2014 at 11:08
    I ordered my black plates in July and I'm anxiously awaiting production which is supposed to start once the min. order was met. I was hoping there would be an official update stating when they actually will start production instead of reading regurgitated guestimates of when they should go into production.
  • 20
    Cliff Costello Endwell, NY October 27, 2014 at 08:40
    Tony Montenaro, the CA DMV did respond to my inquiries on Facebook about the look of the plate. Here is a link to the CA DMV Facebook page and post regarding the Legacy Plates. You will see that they will be stamped plates, much like the originals, except the background will be reflectorized black plate sheeting. Take a look at the link ... You will also see a reference to the sequential plate number -- they will be 6 characters .. 1 Alpha, 2 Numerics, space, 2 Numerics, 1 Alpha (ex. Q12 12Q). Also, I'm putting a second link which shows a couple of samples from Assemblyman Mike Gatto's Blog page. Should clear up any questions on what they will look like. You will see they are stamped (embossed) and also can see that they are reflectorized. CA DMV Facebook Page Link: https://www.facebook.com/CADMV/posts/10151570247448805 Assemblyman Mike Gatto's Blog Page: http://assemblymanmikegatto.blogspot.com/2013/08/check-these-out-sample-vintage-license.html Hopefully this latest information clears up questions. Hurry if you want a blue or yellow plate ... about only 2 months left to hit the 7,500 threshold number for each. Black is definitely happening and have started into production .... expecting the first ones out probably in the Jan/Feb 2015 time-frame .. maybe a little later.
  • 21
    Tom LA November 5, 2014 at 11:47
    I'm quite vexed that I seem to be the only one I know that's excited about getting black plates. And it's odd that there seems to be no information about schedule, or anything... You'd think someone would know something.. Just a few days ago Nov 3/14 I did see a brand new Audi A7 with Black personalized plates, So I'm assuming they're shipping already...
  • 22
    Aaron Breza United States November 6, 2014 at 21:15
    Can i put the 50 ' s plate on a replica 1956 356 porsche speedster?
  • 23
    Aaron Breza United States November 7, 2014 at 01:47
    Can i put the 50 ' s plate on a replica 1956 356 porsche speedster?
  • 24
    Cliff Costello Endwell, NY November 21, 2014 at 07:12
    Latest Update from CA DMV Facebook Page: New Legacy Black plate isn't going to start issuing until May of 2015. See link (you have to read down thru the DMV comments): https://www.facebook.com/CADMV/posts/10151570247448805 I am surprised that this ramp is taking a whole 12 months from the time they hit their minimum threshold of 7,500 pre-orders in May of 2014. Seems really slow to me. However, I am still patiently waiting for mine. In the meantime, I did buy an outstanding set of originally issued, 1970 CA Black plates for my 1970 El Camino .... they guy I bought them from said his father only used them 1 month on his truck before moving to Idaho. So, basically, they are virtually new originals. If these new Legacy plates don't look all that good, I'm going to just replace mine with these originals, and submit them for the CA Year of Manufacture (YOM) program. They are a commercial plate (appropriate for my El Camino) and they are the "G" series, which were issued in 1970 .... and they are DMV Clear (I checked with CA DMV). Got them at a reasonable price given their condition. So, hurry up CA DMV .. can't understand why it takes so long to get these into production. Seriously????
  • 25
    Cliff Costello Endwell, NY December 7, 2014 at 08:52
    Well, I thought those of you who are interested in following this lengthy implementation of the California Legacy License Plate program, would be interested in this newscast clip from mid November: http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2014/11/14/call-kurtis-why-is-it-taking-so-long-to-get-my-dmv-legacy-plates/ Amazing that this program can take so long to implement. I work in the software industry, and for the life of me, can't imagine why this is so complicated. The CA DMV already has a number of other specialty plates available, and they each had to go through a similar process to get implemented. I suspect the only additional complicating factor here is the presses and dies used on the originals had to be re-setup, as well as ordering of the black reflectorized plate sheeting. Other than that, I find it amazing that it takes so long. I especially feel for those who plunked down their $50 at the beginning of the program almost 2 years ago, and still won't see their plates until probably around May of 2015. Come on CA DMV ... what gives?
  • 26
    BRC So. Ca. March 19, 2015 at 13:28
    I found this page when I needed to restore a friends Ca blue/yellow lic plate. After many days of research, I could not locate the correct colors. But what I did was use some airbrush paints, mixed my own colors, and then finished the plates off with a matte top coat. The plates came out perfect, and total costs for materials was less than $25.00 Don't have enough room here to give the colors and amounts needed for the correct blue and yellow, but I did wind up using Createx opaque airbrush paints, and Max 1 matte for the final top coats. When I figured out the correct procedure, I could complete a plate in less than 2 1/2 hours. Wish I knew how I could post pictures of the completed lic. plates as they really came out nice.
  • 27
    Cliff Costello Endwell, NY March 30, 2015 at 13:13
    And here is my latest video update on the CA Legacy License Plate program ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7FyBLTM5p0
  • 28
    Cliff Costello Endwell, NY April 12, 2015 at 07:56
    I've posted a more updated video on what I currently know about the status of the California Legacy Black Plate. CA DMV indicates that production should start late Spring / early Summer, with personalized plates coming later. Has been slow to materialize ... but hoping they deliver soon. A lot of us have put money down a long time ago, and are still waiting. Here's the latest as of 3/30/15: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7FyBLTM5p0
  • 29
    Bob Cruz Imperial, CA May 27, 2015 at 01:47
    On May 15th, I was contacted by CA DMV that my blk yellow plates were ready to ship. They were just waiting for my June 2015 registration payment, which I've since made. So I should be receiving them shortly......I hope:)
  • 30
    Cliff Costello Endwell July 3, 2015 at 07:58
    Folks, FINALLY, the CA DMV is issuing the Legacy Plates .... expecting mine any day now. A number of people have already received theirs ... here's a link to the CA DMV Facebook Page that contains a picture of a set of sequential ones delivered: It's been a LONG wait .. but finally they are here. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10205496419948298&set=p.10205496419948298&type=1&theater
  • 31
    woody moraga ca July 6, 2015 at 21:48
    I got my legacy plates today
  • 32
    Mike Ericks Turlock Ca September 1, 2015 at 01:13
    i ordered mine in sept of 2014 I did get a receipt from the dmv but still have not gotten the plates
  • 33
    Cliff Costello Guilderland, NY May 22, 2017 at 14:37
    Well, it's been several years now since CA rolled out their beautiful rendition of the original 1963 California Black Plate. Latest numbers I've seen are over 315,000 of them have been produced so far. By far, the best selling specialty plate in CA. Thanks to Mike Gatto, who sponsored the bill that made these plates a reality. While I reside in NY, I keep my pristine 1970 Chevy El Camino SS registered and titled in California, and have these awesome black plates on it. If you weren't a real "license plate" stickler, you'd be hard pressed to know the difference. Great job California DMV ... and glad to see this plate blow the doors off of everyone's expectations. Now they need to look to try to bring the Blue ones back again ... maybe now they'll get enough interest this time around. Great job Mike Gatto!!!

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