Vehicle registration plates of North Carolina

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The U.S. state of North Carolina first required its residents to register their motor vehicles and display license plates in 1913.

Passenger baseplates 1913 to present[edit]

In 1956, the U.S. states and Canadian provinces came to an agreement with the Automobile Manufacturers Association that fixed the size for license plates for vehicles, except those for motorcycles, at six inches in height by twelve inches in width, with standardized mounting holes. The 1955 (dated 1956) issue was the first North Carolina license plate that complied with these standards.

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1913 Black base with white letters none 1234 unknown Validation date 6/30/13. "N. C." on right side of plate
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1914 White base with red letters none 1234 unknown Validation date 6/30/14.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1915 Green base with white letters none 1234 unknown Validation date 6/30/15.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1916 White base with black letters none 1234 unknown Validation date 6/30/16.
1917nc.jpg 1917 Dark blue base with white letters none 1234 unknown First year of stamped metal. From the collection of Richard Watson. Validation date 6/30/17.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1918 White base with dark blue letters none 12-345 unknown Validation date 6/30/18.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1919 Dark blue base with white letters none 12-345 unknown Validation date 6/30/19.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1920 Yellow base with black letters none 12-345 unknown Validation date 6/30/20.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1921 Brown base with white letters none 12-345 unknown Validation date 6/30/21.
1933 NC passenger plate.jpg 1933 Blue base with white lettering none 123-456 unknown
1935 NC passenger plate.jpg 1935 Black base with silver lettering none 123-456 unknown
1941 NC passenger plate.jpg 1941 Black base with yellow lettering none 123-456 unknown
1942 NC passenger plate.jpg 1942 Yellow base with black lettering none 123-456 unknown Red tab attached over date at bottom for 1943 due to wartime steel shortages. This took the place of issuing new plates for 1943.
1943 North Carolina Plate war.jpg 1943 Yellow base with black lettering with black A43 Tab none 123-456 unknown Black tab attached over date at bottom for 1943 due to wartime steel shortages.
1944 NC passenger plate.jpg 1944 Black base with yellow lettering none 123-456 unknown
4 nc plate.jpg 1949 Yellow base with black lettering none 123-456 unknown From the personal collection of Richard Watson.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1964 Yellow base with black lettering none AB-1234 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1965 Black base with yellow lettering none AB-1234 unknown
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1975 Red on white First in Freedom ABC-123 AAA-101 to approximately PMZ-999
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1978 none PNA-101 to approximately ZRZ-999
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1982 Blue on reflective white with Wright Flyer graphic First in Flight ABC-123 ZSA-101 to ZZZ-999 Awarded "Plate of the Year" for best new license plate of 1982 by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, the first and, to date, only time North Carolina has been so honored. Also, first time in NC history that registration stickers are issued instead of replacing the license plate itself.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg ABC-12 AAA-11 to ZZZ-99
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg ABC-123 AAA-101 to JAY-999
North Carolina 1999 DXT-4752.jpg 1985 ABC-1234 ANA-1001 to approximately WTF-1973 A through M not used as second letters in serials (so AZZ was followed by BNA, BZZ was followed by CNA and so on); G, I, O, Q and U not used in any position (though OBX started to be issued in 1999 as a special series for Dare County). This arrangement continued until ZZZ-9999 was issued in 2011.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg early 2007 Red on reflective white with Wright Flyer graphic First in Flight ABC-1234 WTF-1995 to approximately ZND-9999
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg late 2009 Blue on reflective white with Wright Flyer graphic First in Flight ABC-1234 ZNE-1001 to ZZZ-9999 Switched back to blue lettering, following complaints that the red lettering was too hard to read from a distance.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg late 2011 AAA-1001 to DDY-9999 (as of February 25, 2015) A through M used as second letters in serials (so AMZ was followed by BAA, BMZ was followed by CAA and so on); G, I, O, Q and U not used in any position. This arrangement should continue until ZMZ-9999 is issued.

Non-passenger types[edit]

A temporary license plate on a motorcycle in North Carolina.
Image Type Dates issued Design Serial format Notes
North Carolina automobile manufacturer license plate.JPG Manufacturer Blue on white MF-1234


External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to License plates of North Carolina.