Vehicle registration plates of California

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Current California license plate

The U.S. state of California first required its residents to register their motor vehicles in 1905. Registrants had to provide their own license plates for display until 1914, when the state began to supply plates.[1]

In 1956, the U.S. states and Canadian provinces came to an agreement with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the National Safety Council that standardized the size for license plates for vehicles (except those for motorcycles) at 6 inches (15 cm) in height by 12 inches (30 cm) in width, with standardized mounting holes.[2] The 1955 (dated 1956) issue was the first California license plate that complied with these standards.

License plates are currently issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

All passenger vehicles, except motorcycles, that are registered in California are required to display a license plate on the front and rear of such vehicle, but registration validation stickers are only required to be displayed on the rear license plate. [3][4]

Passenger baseplates[edit]

California alternated issuing single-year and multi-year plates.

1913 to 1962[edit]

Some plates were revalidated for multiple years. For example, the 1947-dated plate was revalidated with metal tabs until 1950.

Image Year issued Design Serial format Serials issued Notes
1905-12 California License Plate.jpg 1905-12 black on white (and varied) 12345 1 to 90660 A one-time $2.00 fee is paid to register the vehicle, and the motorist must have a license plate made to hang from the rear of the vehicle (front plate also required starting in 1911). These plates were valid from the date of issuance until no longer needed for that car. The seal (disc) that the motorist received from the state with the registration number, along with the license plate(s), was supposed to remain with the vehicle upon transfer to a new owner, but that did not always happen. These early plates were valid through December 31, 1913.[5][6]
Blank License Plate Shape.svgBlank License Plate Shape.svg 1913 black on white 123456 90661[7] to 122444[8] Plates previously issued by the State of California from 1905 - 1912, serial numbers 1 - 90660, remained valid if they remained with the original vehicle. Cancelled registration numbers were available for reissue. Practices noted above for 1905 - 1912 continued with the exception that any new plates made during 1913 ended up being valid for only a single year since the state finally began issuing license plates in 1914. [5][6]
1914 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1914 white on red porcelain 123456 1[9] to 122375[10] All previous plates were cancelled and plate numbering was restarted from the number one.[9] Validated for single year.
1915 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1915 black on yellow porcelain 123456 1[11] to 163557[12] Validated for single year.
1916 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1916 blue on white porcelain 123456 1[13] to 234317[14] Validation tabs:
1916 Bear (Front) 1916 California License Tab-Rear.jpg
1916 Bear (Rear) 1916 California License Tab-Front.jpg
1917 234318[15] to 357299[16] Registered owners of plate numbers 1 to 234317 only received the Poppy tabs to place on their 1916 plates.
Validation tab: Poppy 1917 California License Tab.jpg
1918 357300[17] to 485000[18] Registered owners of plate numbers 1 to 357299 only received the Bell tabs to place on their 1916 plates.
Validation tab: Bell 1918 California License Tab.jpg
1919 485001[19] to 599705[20] Registered owners of plate numbers 1 to 485000 only received the Star tabs to place on their 1916 plates.
Validation tab: Star 1919 California License TabA.jpg
1920 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1920 white on black 123-456 1[21] to 527583 (?) The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA) shows a high of 527583 as of August 2017, but this seems too low considering the other data present. Validated for single year.
1921 California license plate 478-701.jpg 1921 black on yellow 123-456 1[22] to 651640[23] Validated for single year.
1922 California license plate2.jpg 1922 blue on white 123456 1[24] to 881909[25] License plate numbers 2001 - 69999 were not used for passenger cars. Validated for single year.
1923 California license plate2.jpg 1923 white on black 123 456 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1924 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1924 white on green 123-456 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1925 California license plate2.jpg 1925 black on yellow 123 456 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1926 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1926 white on blue 123 456 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1927 California license plate 1-510-891.jpg 1927 white on maroon 1-234-567 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1928 California license plate 1-281-618 fade.jpg 1928 yellow on blue 1-234-567 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1929 California license plate2.jpg 1929 orange on black 1A-23-45 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1930 California license plate 6J-743.jpg 1930 black on orange 1A-23-45 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1931 California licence plate.jpg 1931 orange on black 1A 23 45 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1932 California license plate2.jpg 1932 black on orange 1A 23 45 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1933 Calif passenger plate.png 1933 orange on black 1A 23 45 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1934 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1934 black on orange 1A 23 45 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1935 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1935 orange on black 1A 23 45 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1936 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1936 black on orange 1A 23 45 ? to ? Validated for single year.
California37licenseplate.jpg 1937 orange on black 1A 23 45 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1938 California license plate 2T 53 20.jpg 1938 black on yellow 1A 23 45 ? to ? Validated for single year.
California39licenseplate.jpg 1939 yellow on blue 1A 23 45 ? to ? Validated for single year.
1940 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1940 black on orange 1A 23 45
12 A 345
? to ? Validated for single year.
1941 Calif passenger plate.jpg
1942 Calif passenger plate.jpg
1941 yellow on black 1A 23 45
12 A 345
? to ? 1941 - Base plate only.
1942 ? to ? Validation tab: 1942 - 1942 California license plate tab.jpg
1943 ? to ? Validation tab: 1943 - 1943 California license plate tab.jpg
1944 ? to ? Validation sticker: 1944 - 1944 California license plate window decal.jpg
1945 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1945 white on black 1A 23 45
12 A 345
? to ? 1945 - Base plate only;
Single plate - no pairs issued.
1946 ? to ? Validation tab: 1946 - 1946 California license plate tab.jpg
1947 Calif passenger plate.jpg 1947 black on yellow 1A 23 456
12A 3 456
? to ? 1947 - Base plate only; pairs issued.
1948 ? to ? Validation tab: 1948 - 1948 California license plate tab.jpg
1949 ? to ? Validation tab: 1949 - 1949 California license plate tab.jpg
1950 ? to ? Validation tab: 1950 - 1950 California license plate tab.jpg
1951 California license plate 7B 82 644.jpg 1951 yellow on black 1A 23 456
12 A 3 456
? to ? 1951 - Base plate only.
1952 ? to ? Validation tab: 1952 - 1952 California license plate tab.jpg
1953 ? to ? Validation tab: 1953 - 1953 California license plate tab.jpg
1954 ? to ? Validation tab: 1954 - 1954 California license plate tab.jpg
1955 ? to ? Validation tab: 1955 - 1955 California license plate tab.jpg
1956 California license plate BBF 146.jpg 1956 black on yellow AAA 123 AAA 001 to YRT999? 1956 - Base plate only.
1957 ? to ? Validation sticker: 1957 - 1957 California license plate decal.jpg
1958 ? to ? Validation sticker: 1958 - 1958 California license plate decal.jpg
1959 ? to ? Validation sticker: 1959 - 1959 California license plate decal.jpg
1960 ? to ? Validation sticker: 1960 - 1960 California license plate decal.jpg
1961 ? to ? Validation sticker: 1961 - 1961 California license plate decal.jpg
1962 ? to ? Validation sticker: 1962 - 1962 California license plate decal.jpg

1963 to present[edit]

All base plates from 1963 to present are still valid for use, assuming the plate never left the vehicle and the vehicle maintained concurrent registration.

Modern standard issue automobile plates use a 7-digit format with a leading digit that remains constant plus a 6-digit serial starting with AAA000 and ending at ZZZ999. At that point the leading digit increases by one and the series starts over at AAA000. 7ZZZ999 was followed by 8AAA000, and should count up until the 1ABC123 series is exhausted at 9ZZZ999. At that point if the California DMV follows the precedent of reversing serial numbers at exhaustion as it has done since 1963, the next series should be in the 123ABC1 format.

Exclusions: The letters I, O, and Q are not used in the first or third alpha positions of the 7-digit alpha-numeric series.

Image First issued Design Serial format Serials issued Notes
1963 California license plate SAM-123.jpg 1963 gold on black, non-reflective, embossed state name ABC 123 AAA 000 to ZZZ 999 In addition to all plates in the section above these bases can be used for the year of manufacture program with appropriate year sticker. They can also be seen as regular registration with modern month/year stickers if the plates were originally registered to the vehicle.
1980 California license plate 002 ZZZ.jpg
California 1SAM123 1980 Sample License Plate.jpg
1969 gold on blue, non-reflective, embossed state name 123 ABC 000 AAA to 999 ZZZ Stamping dies were narrowed around the 000 WLA series to prepare for the production of 7-digit passenger plates in 1980. 1SWD000? to 1TZZ999 and 1WAA000 to 1ZYZ999 not issued. 1Uxx123 and 1Vxx123 series have been issued on special plates such as Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and "whale tail" plates. 1ZZx123 series are issued on "LIVERY" plates used for vehicles such as for-hire limousines.
1ABC123 1AAA000 to 1SWC999?
California Golden State license plate 1982-1987 2GAT123.png 1982 blue on white with graphic Art Deco state name, reflective, Golden State Optional Plate
1990 California license plate 2SAM123.jpg 1987 blue on white with embossed red state name, reflective 1ABC123 2GQA000 to 3FMG999? 3FMH000? to 3FZZ999 not issued
California 1996 sample license plate.gif



1998 California license plate 4SAM123.jpg



2011 California license plate sample.jpg

1994 blue on white with graphic red state name, reflective. 1ABC123 3GAA000 to 3KOA999 (smallest)

3KOB000 to 3NZZ999? (medium)

3PAA000? to 3XZZ999 (large)

4AAA000 to 4NOZ999 (for "Sesquicentennial - 150 Years" in 1998)

4NPA000 to 6TPV999 (for reverting to normal in 2000)

6TPW000 to 8DZZ999 (as of 05/07/2018) (for "dmv.ca.gov" website address at bottom was added in 2011)
The state name was modified twice to increase its size. (The third and largest version is shown.) 3YAA000 to 3ZYZ999 not issued. 3ZZx123 series are issued on "LIVERY" plates used for vehicles such as for-hire limousines. Variations for this plates appeared various times: "Sesquicentennial - 150 Years" in 1998; reverting to normal in 2000; and "dmv.ca.gov" website address at bottom was added in 2011.

Non-passenger types[edit]

Image Type First issued Serial format Serials issued Notes
California license plate Amateur Radio Call Letters 1994.gif Amateur Radio Call Letters A1BCD Available upon request for holders of FCC amateur radio station licenses. Plate numbers and letters represent the call letters assigned by the FCC.
California Antique Motorcycle license plate.gif Antique Motorcycle ANTIQUE M/C 123 Available upon request for any motorcycle manufactured in 1942 or before.
California apportioned license plate 2016.jpg Apportioned 1987
California apportioned license plate.jpg Apportioned 2015 CP90000 See International Registration Plan. Similar to style of blue on white passenger plates released in 1987 except says Cal Apportioned across top
California APPORTIONED license plate.gif Apportioned AB12345
Stassemblyscript.gif Assemblyperson A 10A1 License plate issued to current assemblymembers. Number represents which district the assemblyperson represents. A small "A" by the number indicates a second vehicle owned by the person and so on. A small "R" by the district number indicates that they are a retired assemblyperson. A small "1" by the small "R" indicates another vehicle owned by the retired assemblyperson and so on.
California license plate Citizens Band 1994.gif Citizens Band ABC1234 Were issued upon request for holders of FCC citizens band radio licenses until 1983. Plate numbers and letters represent the call letters assigned by the FCC.
California Disabled Person license plate 1994.gif Disabled Person 1995 12345D/P 00001D/P to 99999D/P Before 1995, California issued only placards which were displayed on the dashboard when parking
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Disabled Person Late 1990s D/P12345 D/P00001 to D/P99999
California license plate disabled DP E3210.jpg Disabled Person Early 2000s D/PA1234 D/PA0001 to D/PZ9999
California disabled person plate 2010 5633Wdp.jpg Disabled Person 2006 1234AD/P 0001AD/P to 9999ZD/P

2016 California license plate DP 822BR disabled person.jpg

Disabled Person 2011 D/P123AB D/P001AA to present

California Disabled Veteran license plate 1994.gif

Disabled Veteran 12345D/V
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Disabled PersonMotorcycle 1234D/P
California Dealer license plate 1994.gif Dealer D/L/R 1234 1/2/A Full-size number is constant for each distributing entity; stacked prefix varies. Only one plate is required on the vehicle.
California Dismantler license plate 1994.gif Dismantler D/S/M 1234 1/2/A Full-size number is constant for each distributing entity; stacked prefix varies. Only one plate is required on the vehicle.
California Distributor License Plate.gif Distributor D/S/T 1234 1/2/A Full-size number is constant for each distributing entity; stacked prefix varies. Only one plate is required on the vehicle.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Exempt-Local 1963-1968 E123456 E100000-E999999 Black plate with yellow numbering consisting of letter E in octagon and 6-digit number for district-, city- and county-owned vehicles
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Exempt-State 1963-1968 E12345 E00000-E99999 Black plate with yellow numbering consisting of letter E in diamond and 5-digit number for state-owned vehicles
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Exempt-Local 1969-1986 E123456 E100000-E999999 Blue plate with yellow numbering consisting of letter E in octagon and 6-digit number for district-, city- and county-owned vehicles
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Exempt-State 1969-1986 E12345 E00000-E99999 Blue plate with yellow numbering consisting of letter E in diamond and 5-digit number for state-owned vehicles

California Exempt Octagon.gif

Exempt-Local 1987-1997 E123456 E100000-E999999 White plate with blue numbering consisting of letter E in octagon and 6-digit number for district-, city- and county-owned vehicles. "California" was either in red block or red script font. For "E0....." plate, see below
California Exempt Diamond.gif Exempt-State 1987-1997 E123456 E000000-E999999 White plate with blue numbering consisting of letter E in diamond and 5-digit number for state-owned vehicles. "California" was either in red block or red script font.

CA Exempt Plate.gif

Exempt 1998 1234567 1000001 to present "CA EXEMPT" across top in block font. These were issued to all exempt vehicles, regardless of ownership.

Some plates were issued as "E0....." due to a surplus of prestamped octagon "E" plates. On these plates the "E" was to be considered "1". They still had "California" in script font.

California Foreign Organization License Plate.gif Foreign Organization 123 001 to present. "FOREIGN ORGANIZATION" printed to left of serial.
California license plate Historic Vehicle.gif Historical Vehicle 1959 HISTORICAL VEHICLE 123A 1-9999 Available upon request for any vehicle manufactured after 1922 and are at least 25 years old.
California Hon Consul Corps license plate 1982.gif Honorary Consul 1982-1987 HON CONSUL CORPS 1234 Issued to Honorary Consuls upon request.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Honorary Consul 1988 HON CONSUL CORPS 1234 Issued to Honorary Consuls upon request. Same look as the previous plate but the “HON CONSUL CORPS” part is not embossed and is in blue. Also there is no goldenrod design and “California” is in cursive.
California license plate Horseless Carriage.gif Horseless Carriage 1984 HORSELESS CARRIAGE 1234 1-9999 Available upon request for any vehicle manufactured in 1922 or before, or for motor vehicles with 16 or more cylinders manufactured prior to 1965.
California license plate Livery.gifCalifornia license plate Livery MUSIC 5.gif Livery 1ABC234 "LIVERY" printed at the bottom instead of "dmv.ca.gov." Used to be required on vehicles to operate them as limo's etc. Program eliminated by Senate Bill 611 on September 30th, 2014. Plates will remain valid but cannot be replaced or reassigned.
California Manufacturer License Plate.gif Manufacturer M/F/G 1 1/A
M/F/G 1 1/2/A
M/F/G 12 1/A
M/F/G 12 1/2/A
Full-size number is constant for each manufacturing entity; stacked prefix varies. Only one plate is required on the vehicle.
California Moped license plate 1994.gif Moped A123456 Required on all mopeds in California.
California Motorcycle Plate.gif Motorcycle 12A1234
Ohv1.gifOhv2.gif Off-Highway Motor Vehicle A12A34 Assigned to Off-Highway vehicles that are used off of public roads.
California license plate 4AX6888 trailer.gif Permanent Trailer 4AB1234 "California Perm Trailer" across top.
California Press Photographer license plate.gif Press Photographer P/P 1234 Old Press Photographer plates. New ones say "California" in cursive at the top.
Prorate license plate used by interstate fleets.gif Prorate Plate N/A No Longer in circulation. Used by interstate fleets to display apportioned stickers. California's stickers are placed in the third well from the top on the left side. Plate is no longer in circulation.
California Remanufacturer license plate 1994.gif Remanufacturers R/M/F 1234 1/2/A Full-size number is constant for each distributing entity; stacked prefix varies. Only one plate is required on the vehicle.
California US congress license plate 1994.gif Representative U.S. CONGRESS 1A License plate issued to current U.S. representatives. Number represents which district the representative represents. A small "A" by the number indicates a second vehicle owned by the person and so on.
California US Senate license plate 1994.gif Senator (National Level) UNITED STATES SENATE A1 License plate issued to current U.S. senators. A small "A" by the number indicates a second vehicle owned by the person and so on.
Stsenatescript.gif Senator (State Level) S 10A1 License plate issued to current state senators. Number represents which district the state senator represents. A small "A" by the number indicates a second vehicle owned by the person and so on. A small "R" by the district number indicates that they are a retired state senator. A small "1" by the small "R" indicates another vehicle owned by the retired state senator and so on.

California Special Equipment license plate.gif

Special Equipment S/E123456 Motorcycle-sized.
Specequipdlfmfr.gif Special Equipment Dealers and Manufacturers M/F/G 1234 1/A Full-size number is constant for each distributing entity; stacked prefix varies.

California public service license plate.jpg

Public Service (state representative) P/S12345
Tournament of Roses[1] 1998 TOFR123 TOFR1 to present Used on parade vehicles during the Tournament of Roses parade.

California license plate Trailer 1960s.jpg

Trailer 1963 AB1234 Indistinguishable from passenger plates aside from serial format.

California license plate 1CJ8725 trailer.gif

Trailer 1987 1AB1234 Indistinguishable from passenger plates aside from serial format.

California license plate 1GJ8201 trailer.gif

Trailer 1994 1AB1234 Indistinguishable from passenger plates aside from serial format.
California Transporter license plate 1994.gif Transporters T/R/N 1234 1/2/A Full-size number is constant for each distributing entity; stacked prefix varies. Only one plate is required on the vehicle.

California license plate H 90 224 commercial.gif

Truck 1963 A12 345 Indistinguishable from passenger plates aside from serial format
California commercial license plate late 60s.jpg Truck Mid-1960s 12 345A Indistinguishable from passenger plates aside from serial format
California commercial license plate early 70s.png Truck 1969 12 345A Indistinguishable from passenger plates aside from serial format
California license plate 1J79500 commercial.gif Truck Mid-1970s 1A12345 1A00000 to 2Z99999? Indistinguishable from passenger plates aside from serial format. Series was exhausted in early 2011. 9A12345 plates are issued to tractor trailers.
California license plate 4V80988 commercial.gif Truck 1987 1A12345 3A00000? to 3P99999? (golden), 3R00000? to 5A99999? (block red) Indistinguishable from passenger plates aside from serial format. Series was exhausted in early 2011. 9A12345 plates are issued to tractor trailers.
California license plate 5M37250 commercial.gif Truck 1994 1A12345 5T00000? to 6J99999? (sesquicentennial), 5B00000? to 5S99999? and 6K00000? to 8Z99999 (normal script) Indistinguishable from passenger plates aside from serial format. Series was exhausted in early 2011. 9A12345 plates are issued to tractor trailers.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Truck 2011 12345A1 00000A1 to 99999E1 (normal script), 00000F1 to 99999L2 (as of 4/17/2018) (dmv.ca.gov website) Indistinguishable from passenger plates aside from serial format.
VINplt.gif Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Plate Assigned by the DMV or CHP when a number is removed, destroyed, or obliterated.

Optional types (specialty plates)[edit]

Image Type First issued Design Serial format Serials issued Notes
California Golden State license plate 1982-1987 2GAT123.png Golden State 1982 blue on white with graphic state name, gold circle and lines, "The Golden State" in gold text, reflective
Introduced as an optional plate in 1982.
2ABC123 2AAA000 to 2GPZ999 Awarded "Plate of the Year" for best new license plate by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association in 1983, the first and, to date, the only time that California has been so honored and the first time that an optional-issue plate was so recognized. No longer issued by the Department.
California license plate 1984 Summer Olympic Games.gif 1984 Olympics 1984 L/A12345
U/S12345
L/A00000 to present No longer issued but still revalidated.
California Arts Council license plate.jpg Arts Council 1994 ABC123
123ABC
Using previously unused letter blocks. "Coastline" design by Wayne Thiebaud.[26][27]
California Bill of rights license plate 1991.gif Bill of Rights 1990 1234 US
California license plate Kids sample.jpg Children's Trust Fund ABC123 Using previously unused letter blocks. An embossed heart, hand, star, or plus sign appears to the left of the serial, or can be incorporated into "vanity" numbers.
California Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient license plate.gif Congressional Medal of Honor 84 —Passenger 1984 12 Given to Medal of Honor recipients.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Congressional Medal of Honor 93 —Passenger 1993 12 Given to Medal of Honor recipients.
California license plate Firefighter motorcycle.gif Firefighter—Motorcycle 00A12 00A01 to present.
California license plate Firefighter.jpg Firefighter—Passenger 1995 ABC123 Using previously unused letter blocks. Only active or retired firefighter can apply for this type of plate. Logo of a firefighter on a blazing background.

California gold star license plate.jpg

Gold Star Family —Passenger 2011 123ABC Using previously unused letter blocks. Given to family of fallen soldiers while in the line of duty.
Lake Tahoe Version 1 1996 1ABC123 No longer issued but still revalidated.
TahoeT 150.jpg Lake Tahoe Version 2 2011 1ABC123 Using previously unused letter blocks.

California license plate legacy.jpg

Legacy Plates 2015 B000A0 Gold on black reflective plates in the style of the 1963 to 1969 plates. The series started at B000A0
California license plate Legion of Valor.gif Legion of Valor—Passenger 123 A sticker is placed to the right of the license plate number denoting the decoration held by the recipient. Air Force Cross -Air Force Medal of Honor -Army Medal of Honor -

Army Distinguished Service Cross -Navy Cross -Navy Medal of Honor -

Blank License Plate Shape.svg Olympic Training Center Version 1 1990 C/A12345
U/S12345
No longer issued but still revalidated.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Olympic Training Center Version 2 1999 C/A12345
U/S12345
No longer issued but still revalidated.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Olympic Training Center Version 3 2000 C/A12345
U/S12345
California Pearl Harbor survivor license plate 1994.gif Pearl Harbor Survivor —Passenger 1234 Pearl Harbor Survivor of World War II
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Protect Our Coast & Ocean Version 1 1997 1ABC123 No longer issued but still revalidated.
California Save our Coast license plate 2011.jpg Protect Our Coast & Ocean Version 2 2011 1ABC123 Using previously unused letter blocks.
California license plate Purple Heart.gif Purple Heart 1234PH
California Purple Heart recipient motorcycle license plate 1994.gif Purple HeartMotorcycle 1234PH
California Ex-POW motorcycle license plate 1994.gif POW Ex-Prisoner of War —Motorcycle POW1234
California Ex-POW license plate 1994.gif POW Ex-Prisoner of War 93 —Passenger 1993 POW1234
California Ex-POW license plate 2000.gif POW Ex-Prisoner of War 00 —Passenger 2000 POW1234
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Veteran Version 1 1994 ABC123
123ABC
No longer issued but still revalidated.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg Veteran Version 2 2012 123ABC
A000A0
Using previously unused letter blocks.
California 9-11 memorial license plate.jpg We Will Never Forget 2002 1234MA
California license plate UCLA Bruins.jpg University of California, Los Angeles 1994 ABC123 Using previously unused letter blocks.
California Yosemite license plate 1996.jpg Yosemite National Park 1996 1ABC123 Using previously unused letter blocks.

Year-of-manufacture plates[edit]

A California car license plate saying ANRCHST (a vanity plate-speak form of anarchist) from 2006

The use of year-of-manufacture (YOM) plates is authorized by Section 5004.1 of the California Motor Vehicle Code. It is a law that allows vintage cars to be registered to use vintage license plates. Any officially manufactured California license plates which were produced prior to 1963 and plates on a currently registered vehicle or trailer of a corresponding model year. If used on the original plate, a sticker or metal tab that corresponds to the year of the vehicle is required.

In July 2009, California extended its YOM program to include passenger vehicles from 1963-1969, and commercial vehicles (pick-ups, etc.) through 1972. Any black-and-gold plate from this era may be used on these vehicles, as long as they are "clear" with the DMV (i.e., not used, reported stolen, or any records found, for the last 10 years). A valid sticker must be attached to the plate corresponding to the year of the vehicle that is to be registered.

As of January 2014, in very rare cases, California has extended custom license plates to exceed 7 digits, all the way up to, but not exceeding, 9 characters. However, most plates are limited to 7-and-a-half characters (the half-character is a half-space).

In August 2016, California extended the year-of-manufacture license plate program to include vehicles through the 1980 model year.[28]

California Legacy License Plate program[edit]

The California Legacy License Plate program offers vehicle owners the opportunity to purchase replicas of California license plates similar to those issued in the 1960s. California proposed issuing plates similar to those of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The original plan was to restrict the plate colors to what would have been issued to the vehicle when purchased new. After a few months, the program was opened to all model years. Only the 1960s (gold on black) plate reached the required 7,500 minimum orders before January 1, 2015. The 1950s (black on gold) and 1970s (gold on blue) plates did not achieve the required 7,500 minimum orders.[29] The plates were issued from late spring through summer 2015 and are still available for order from the DMV website. Additional time is required for personalized plates.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Archive: California Porcelain License Plates (Part 1 of 2)". PorcelainPlates.net. Retrieved December 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ Garrish, Christopher (October 2016). "Reconsidering the Standard Plate Size". Plates. Vol. 62 no. 5. Automobile License Plate Collectors Association. 
  3. ^ http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=4850&lawCode=VEH
  4. ^ http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=5200&lawCode=VEH
  5. ^ a b Minard, Jeff (February 2000). "California, License Plates of the Golden State". The ALPCA Register. Vol. 52 no. 3. Automobile License Plate Collectors Association. p. 7. 
  6. ^ a b Minard, Jeff (June 2006). "We're All Ears! California's Automobile Club Pre-States". Plates. Vol. 62 no. 5. Automobile License Plate Collectors Association. pp. 24–30. 
  7. ^ Registered Motor Vehicles (January 1913 ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1913. p. 1. 
  8. ^ "Automobile License Plate Collectors Association"Paid subscription required. ALPCA. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Registered Automobiles 1914 (January 1914 ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1914. 
  10. ^ Registered Automobiles (November 1914 ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1914. 
  11. ^ Registered Automobiles 1915 (January 1915, Part I ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1915. 
  12. ^ "Automobile License Plate Collectors Association"Paid subscription required. ALPCA. Retrieved August 3, 2017. 
  13. ^ Registered Automobiles 1916 (January 1916, Part I ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1916. p. 3. 
  14. ^ Registered Automobiles 1916 (December 1916 ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1916. p. 60. 
  15. ^ California Automobile Registration 1917 (Volume 1 ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1917. 
  16. ^ Registered Automobiles (December 1917 ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1917. 
  17. ^ Registered Automobiles (January-February 1918 ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1918. 
  18. ^ Registered Automobiles (December 1918 ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1918. 
  19. ^ Registered Automobiles (January, February and March 1919 ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1919. 
  20. ^ "Automobile License Plate Collectors Association"Paid subscription required. ALPCA. Retrieved August 4, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Automobile License Plate Collectors Association"Paid subscription required. ALPCA. Retrieved August 4, 2017. 
  22. ^ California Automobile Registration 1921 (Volume 1 ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1921. 
  23. ^ California Automobile Registration 1921 (Volume XVI ed.). Sacramento, California: State of California. 1922. 
  24. ^ California Automobile Registrations 1922 (Volume 1 ed.). Sacramento, California: Schwabacher-Frey Stationery Co. 1922. 
  25. ^ "Automobile License Plate Collectors Association"Paid subscription required. ALPCA. Retrieved August 4, 2017. 
  26. ^ Knight, Christopher (June 29, 2010). "Wayne Thiebaud's Pop art license plate design". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Arts Plate". California Arts Council. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  28. ^ https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB1429
  29. ^ http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/legacyplates/index
  30. ^ http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/legacyplates/faqs

External links[edit]