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Old-School Black License Plates Coming to a Car Near You

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Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 8:04 AM
click to enlarge JERRY "WOODY"/FLICKR
The cherry on top of a classic, 1960s muscle car is the original, California black plate that it got fresh off the lot.

But because those plates were issued from 1963 to 1969, not all of them survived. They have such cachet in the global car world - California cars are prized for having less rust because our weather rarely requires salted roads - that you might want one even if you have a modern vehicle.

Now's your chance. According to the office of L.A. area state Assemblyman Mike Gatto, ...

 ... the $50 plates are headed to the presses and will be mailed out to those who ordered them in upcoming months.

The return of the plates was a result of a Gatto bill that created the "California Legacy License Plate Program." It also includes provisions to reproduce the yellow plates of the 1950s and the blue plates of the 1970s.

There's no requirement that your car fit the plates' era. However, if you want the yellows or the blues, you'll have to wait.

The black plates quickly hit the threshold of 7,500 or more orders it takes to start production, according to a statement from Gatto's office:
According to the DMV, the black plates, which were originally issued from 1963-1969, were among the fastest specialty plates ever to achieve the 7,500 applications necessary to be issued. The Department has therefore begun preparing for the issuance of the plates and expects to begin sending them in the months ahead to those who pre-ordered.
But that threshold has yet to be met for the yellow and blue plates.

click to enlarge JERRY "WOODY"/FLICKR
Gatto's people told us they're hoping the excitement over the black plates will get car lovers charged up over the other ones too.

This time around Folsom prisoners will not be banging out and painting plates, as was the custom back in the day. Rather, the original molds will be used to create new plates (which will be thicker than regular, contemporary plates), while a machine will be used to paint them, according to a rep in the assemblyman's office.

Gatto himself says:
California motorists are excited about classic license plates. Aside from not salting our roads, California doesn't often do much for automobile enthusiasts. This is an easy way for the state to enable everyone from the backyard restorer, to the nostalgic, to the purchaser of a retro-styled automobile to add that extra bit of detail for those of us who appreciate the classic era of automobile design.
Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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