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Vintage License Plates Available for California Car Owners

News  /   /  By Derek Mau

California Department of Motor Vehicles announced that vehicle owners can now pre-order replicas of California license plates issued in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s.

Often times we spot beautifully restored vehicles with modern California license plates. Vehicle owners who wish to complete the retro look to their restoration projects can do so by applying the correct style for the decade. Legacy License plates can be ordered for any year model automobile, commercial vehicle, motorcycle, or trailer.

The styles include black lettering over a yellow background seen in the 1950’s, yellow lettering over a black background seen in the 1960’s and yellow lettering over a blue background that was available originally in the 1970’s. The plates cost $50 for non-personalized or personalized plates.

1968 Datsun 2000 Roadster

California legacy license plates are available for pre-order January 1, 2013. The program requires a minimum of 7,500 pre-paid applications prior to January 1, 2015. Full details and the pre-order form can be found at

Pre-orders cannot be processed at DMV Field offices or Auto Club offices.

The law specifies that 7,500 applications must be reached by January 1, 2015. If 7,500 applications are not received by that date, any fees paid for the California Legacy plates will be refunded to the applicant.

Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1658, by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D–Los Angeles) on September 28, 2012.

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  1. Brian James January 1, 2013 at 8:51 am Reply

    Will they ever offer vintage plates for motorcycles?

    • Derek Mau January 1, 2013 at 11:42 pm Reply


      According to the press release, Legacy License plates can be ordered for any year model automobile, commercial vehicle, motorcycle, or trailer.

  2. Cliff Costello October 15, 2014 at 4:50 am Reply

    As of the end of May, the CA Legacy License Plate program had achieved a minimum threshold of 7,500 for the Black plate with yellow characters. That one as of now (Oct. 15, 2014) is the only one that will see production. The Yellow plate and the Blue plate are way behind and it seems unlikely as of now they will meet the minimum 7,500 pre-orders each to see production. If you want to see them come back, you have to get your orders in NOW … as the program ends on 12/31/2014. But at least we will get the infamous CA Black Plate back!! I’ve seen pics of it online and if you check the following website (Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s Blog) you can see what it will look like.

    In my correspondence with the CA DMV, the background will be reflectorized black sheeting, and the registration number and “California” will be stamped and painted yellow. The DMV is also re-using the dies and presses used to manufacture the older plates. Looking forward to getting mine soon .. however DMV indicated that it would 9-12 months from when a plate hits the threshold until we see them. That I don’t understand but am waiting patiently. If you want a blue or yellow plate, you need to order NOW.

    • Derek Mau October 15, 2014 at 11:44 am Reply

      Thanks for the update, Cliff. Good to hear that the black/yellow plate past the minimum threshold number.

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