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 1917 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
1917nc.jpg 1917 Dark Blue Base With white letters 1234 First year of stamped metal. From The Collection of Richard Watson
1933 NC passenger plate.jpg 1933 Blue base with white lettering 123-456
1935 NC passenger plate.jpg 1935 Black base with silver lettering 123-456
1941 NC passenger plate.jpg 1941 Black base with yellow lettering 123-456
1942 NC passenger plate.jpg 1942 Yellow base with black lettering 123-456 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 123-456 Black tab attached over date at bottom for 1943 due to wartime steel shortages. This took the place of issuing new plates for 1943. RARE, No plates were made for 1943. ONLY Tabs were issued to cover the 1942 plate!
1944 NC passenger plate.jpg 1944 Black base with yellow lettering 123-456
4 nc plate.jpg 1949 Yellow base with black lettering 123-456 From the personal collection of Richard Watson.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1964 Yellow base with black lettering AB-1234
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1965 Black base with yellow lettering AB-1234
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 DCB-9999 (as of December 10, 2014) 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]

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

External links[edit]