California Offering Legacy License Plates

Thomas Kreutzer
by Thomas Kreutzer
california offering legacy license plates

The California state DMV is offering motorists the chance to step back in time and order new license plates in historic color combinations.

Your choices are black letters on a yellow background, yellow letters on a black background (the famous original black plates often found on California barn finds) and, my favorite – the color combination synonymous with the 1970s, Disco, leisure suits and “CHiPs,” – yellow letters on a blue background.

The program requires a minimum of 7500 paid pre-orders prior to January 1, 2015, but the DMV’s information states that, once that magic number of has been hit, the program will begin immediately so the wait for your new plates may be substantially less than it first appears. The best news is that you don’t have to own a classic car to get that classic look. But it helps!

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7 of 35 comments
  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 05, 2013

    Changing the color of the original plate is actually not allowed, but there's no real penalty and it's done so frequently that the California DMV decided to allow it and make some money off it. It's no big deal, since there are so many past issue variations that police can't keep track anymore, and just need them legible day and night.

  • Michael500 Michael500 on Apr 05, 2013

    CA government/DMV is so 'stoopid, look at the vehicle example for the "1950s" plate- its an early 1960s Ford van-o-truck. They couldn't find a picture of a 55-57 Chevy, T-Bird or something. Jeez. CA government can't even use Google, but they sure know how to tax it.

    • See 2 previous
    • Corntrollio Corntrollio on Apr 08, 2013

      @Michael500 I'd like to think of it as defending intelligent comments, rather than defending the DMV. As lilpoindexter said, I doubt you're even from here. Comments like yours are a dime a dozen on California newspaper comments sections.

  • CV Neuves CV Neuves on Apr 05, 2013

    I love the idea, that Californians can now choose the good old classic styles. I personally loath today's kitsch plates with all sorts of pics and slogans on them. However, I suppose, the Golden Staters would go green - or any other color for that sake - if they only new about the plethora of choices the good burghers of Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, have at their disposal. Practically, anything goes, including advertising messages for your fleet of company cars, dealerships, football teams, you name it. Here is the official website: - - See also: - Note: US-$ 1.05 = AU-$ 1.00

  • Texan01 Texan01 on Apr 07, 2013

    This making me think I should get my original '76 TX plates for my car restored and re-upped at the TXDOT office..