Monday, March 8, 2010


I started the DMV paperwork to get a set of correct vintage plates assigned to the Plymouth back in August when I bought the car. After six months of hoops and hurdles, I got the approval (and registration stickers) this past week.
The directions from DMV were vague about how to display the original '62 sticker, the '56 on the plate itself AND the two new stickers (for month of expire and year). I've usually seen the extra tags displayed on a metal tab that sticks up above the plate, but I didn't have that option with the recessed design of the Savoy's rear. I ended up fabricating two little 'wings' that stick off the sides.. not ideal, but that was about the only place they fit, so that's where they went.

I bought those plates in a San Francisco junk shop for $35 almost 15 years ago. I bought a 1951 set the same day- I've got those slated for my Super Sport if I ever get it finished.


d a v i d e said...

how does it work with the colours of the plates? sometimes I read about "original california black plate" or blue. what does it mean?

ps- why on earth am I the only one commenting on this blog? life sucks.

Ol' Man Foster said...

cause you're the only one reading, natch!

In California license plates changed every year up until WWII when they started issuing little metal tabs to 'update' each year. California had black plates with yellow letters from 1951-55... you just got a tab each year to show that you were current. They switched to yellow plates with black letters from 1956-62. They also switched from using a metal tab to a sticker at that time- which they still do.

from 1963 to (i think) 1971 they went back to a black plate with yellow letters. they switched to blue pates with yellow letters from '71 until the eighties when they switched to a god-awful white reflector plate which, with minor modifications, is still in use today. They are fugly.

The 'original' plate obsession was about knowing that the car had always been a California car- implying that it probably had less rust than cars from other parts of the country.

Up until last year you could not get the 1963 style black plates reassigned to a car- if a car still had its original plates you could continue to use them, but you could not buy a set of black plates and have them assigned to the car... so any car with black plates HAD to have been a California vehicle at least as far back as 1971.

They just changed the law last summer so that now you CAN register a black plate from the correct year to a vintage car- just like I did with the yellow plates for the all that 'original back plate' stuff is sort of meaningless.

That said, you still can't register a blue/yellow seventies plate to a car, so anything with the blue plates has to have been in California no later than the early eighties...