Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Black Plate Special: California Revives Vintage License Plates

From "The Rodder's Journal"

The original California Yellow and Black plate issued 1956-1963, as seen on the
Lloyd Bakan '32 Ford Coupe, currently owned by Don Orosco, Monterey, CA
Photo from The Rodder's Journal
Last September, California passed a bill that established the state’s Legacy License Plate program. Officially launched January 1, 2013 the program revives the famous “California Black Plates,” originally issued in the ’60s, as well as the yellow plates from the ’50s, and blue plates from the ’70s. It was initiated by California Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a vintage car enthusiast who oversees the district just north of Los Angeles that includes Burbank and Glendale. Aaron Moreno, Legislative Director from the Office of Assemblyman Gatto, reports that DMV pre-orders for the specialty plates are doing well. However, a minimum of 7,500 of each plate style must be ordered and pre-approved by the state before production of any one style will begin.

The original Black and Gold plate, first issued in 1963, as seen on a
1932 Ford Roadster owned by Pat Ganahl, Glendale, CA
Photo from The Rodder's Journal

From our perspective, this is a worthwhile program that adds one more element of authenticity to our period-styled hot rods and customs. We hope that spreading the word will help make this effort a success, and that other states will consider following suit.

California originally issued black license plates with gold lettering in 1963. While most states require that license plates stay with the registered owner, California allows them to be transferred with the car from one owner to the next. There are still quite a few cars that retain these desirable black plates from the ’60s. Equally coveted are yellow plates with black lettering, issued from ’56 to ’63, and blue plates with yellow lettering issued from ’69 until the early-’80s.

The original Blue and Yellow plate issued 1969-1983 as seen on the
Jim "Jake" Jacobs '34 Ford coupe, currently owned by Jerry Slover of Peculiar, Missouri
Photo from The Rodder's Journal
The replica plates offered through the program are available in standard sequential alpha-numeric format or as vanity plates. The main difference from the original plates is that the replicas are “reflectorized” (chemically coated to reflect light) to comply with state law. Within the first month, 3,500 pre-orders were placed among all three license plate styles. The minimum of 7,500 pre-approved orders per plate must be received by January 1, 2015 for the program to move forward.

The pre-order cost is $50, and you can download your order form here. For a list of Frequently Asked Questions and payment information, visit Assemblyman Gatto's Website HERE.

Mike Gatto is the chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly. He represents Burbank, Glendale, La CaƱada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and portions of the Hollywood Hills and East Hollywood.

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