Lotus Elan

California Legacy black plates

PostPost by: Tahoe » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:36 pm

The black plate thing for older cars in California has had an appeal here for a long time. I looked for years to find plates that were issued at the correct time period, and we're eligible to be used, and finally gave up. So California decided to re-issue the plates as "Legacy plates", and they're now available. Although vanity plates are sometimes a little weird, I felt the older look was much better looking than modern white plates so I ordered one and here it is. Decided on a vanitypical message rather than a sequential letter/number combination.

20160212_120741.jpg and
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:47 am

Looks good! I wonder how many states allow old plates to be registered. TexSux did when I lived there, although I think they had to be from the year of the vehicle IIRC.
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PostPost by: stevebroad » Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:19 am

Me? Jealous? Never :-)

In the UK registration plates are highly regulated and you can't make your own number up :-( You have to look for existing plates that match, as near as possible, what you want and this can cost you thousands.

On the plus side, there is no annual fee for personalised plates :-)
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PostPost by: archigator » Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:01 pm

A little over 10 years ago I purchased this previously unused license plate for my 1971 Sprint. There was a fellow who had a booth at local auto shows selling these vintage Florida plates that had never been registered/used. You must buy a plate that matches your car's year, fill out a form, enclose a check and send the plate off to the state DMV to be registered. A few weeks later you get the plate back in the mail with the proper stickers attached. Once registered, you just pay the standard annual fee as if it were a regular tag... not an annual premium for a vanity plate. (Back in the day, each county had its own plate prefix number... this is number 12, meaning this plate was originally intended for Leon County (Tallahassee.)) I don't know if there are many plates available still.

After a few years the rust began to show through... so I repainted it in the same colors.

Gary
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Sat Feb 13, 2016 4:59 pm

Be aware that the new CA black plates are not period correct. It is relatively common for muscle cars to try to use these new plates, and they never will pass muster in a concours. I laugh when I see some of these auctions with a '67 muscle car and black plates with AAA nnn for a license plate.

If all you want is to have the older black and yellow look, then enjoy.

Otherwise, there are vendors and sites that have actual period black plates. You have to run them through DMV to make sure they are still not associated with an existing registered vehicle (often the vendor has done this already for you).

The last thing is to get a letter combination that corresponds to your car's year, but there are sites that have that information.

So, if you have a pre '70 car you can get real period correct plates if you try hard enough.

Otherwise, it is like putting Sprint stripes on your car and calling it a Sprint.

Years ago, I went through this, and have period and period correct plates.

Cheers,

David
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PostPost by: lotusS2guy » Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:38 pm

Tahoe better not rob any liquor stores or I might take the blame. Notwithstanding the color, plates are very similar.
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PostPost by: SF69Elan » Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:47 pm

I'm located in California as well and got these for my 69 Elan - planning to put them on when my car gets out of the shop in a few weeks.
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66 Ford Mustang Conv. (289ci)
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Feb 13, 2016 9:44 pm

My old XKE had it's original Californian plate still fitted when brought back to the UK. Is there any structure to the numbering on the plates as in the UK, or is it just a unique number allocated next in the sequence? The script looks a bit larger than on the 'new' black plates.
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:23 pm

This is an interesting question, it would take someone with period knowledge to answer it accurately.

Basically, DMV issued license plates from AAA to ZZZ with some exceptions. Each letter combination would have 000-999 with some exceptions. A DMV office or area would get all the numbers for a three letter sequence, and would disburse those as needed. A busy office could get ahead in the lettering sequence compared with a less busy office.

When CA went to the newer plates, owners did not have to replace their old plates with the new style. And, DMV allowed old plates to be re-registered to a different car if the registration had lapsed on the old plates.

A small market developed around these old plates. This was true for the earlier plates from the '50s and earlier.

When DMV decided to offer black/yellow plates, they did not make them historically accurate (although I am sure they do not reissue letter/number combinations that are still registered). So, I can tell at a glance that it is a new generation black plate (and I hope that concours judges are given instruction in how to determine historical accuracy). In addition, the user can request seven characters instead of the historically correct six and non-standard letter/number combinations.

The upshot of this is that getting historically correct plates is more expensive than buying the new generation fake plates. Of course, if you want a particular letter/number combination, DMV will sell it to you if it is not currently registered. Your odds of finding that combination on the open market is probably pretty small. Pick and choose your poison.

Cheers,

David
1968 36/7988 with historically proper black plate.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:47 pm

[quote="Elanintheforest]Is there any structure to the numbering on the plates as in the UK, or is it just a unique number allocated next in the sequence?[/quote]

It depends on which state issued it. Each has its own system, but a sequential element (next one on the stack at the DMV counter) is often present. Back when I lived in Alabama they had a really weird system: the first 1 or 2 digits indicated the county, with 1 through 5 being the five most populous counties in descending order, then 6 through 67(?) Being the remaining counties in alphabetical order. Pretty sure that they still use that.
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Sun Feb 14, 2016 1:50 am

img_5560.jpg and
Here is my new California legacy plate placed over my original UK G-reg plate that I got in 1969. (I haven't affixed the California month/year stickers nor put a frame on the plate yet as the car is not running at the moment).
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PostPost by: Tahoe » Sun Feb 14, 2016 6:49 pm

I did try to purchase YOM plates of the correct year for some time, but never found any that were affordable and 1964 correct. Figured these new ones were fine, plus it never made it to CA until 2010 so it never would have had YOM plates anyway. I'm not concerned with any concourse judges since it's unlikely my car will ever be nice enough to grace a concourse. For me the look is worth it and fits the car better than the ordinary issue styles.
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PostPost by: khamai » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:29 pm

And I'll add this one...

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
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