California Assemblyman Mike Gatto has introduced Bill 1658, which could eventually return three kinds of vintage license plates to California roads: yellow and black plates from the mid 1950s, black and yellow plates from the 1960s – such as the sample 1963 plate pictured – and blue and yellow plates from the '70s.
The initiative is called the Legacy License Plate Program, but before you collectors and period-correct enthusiasts salivate over – or lament – the possibilities, it has a few hurdles to clear. First, the bill has to be passed when its put to a vote on April 9, which is expected. Then it would only come into effect after 2,500 people had signed up for the plates, assuming that the DMV did its math correctly and had enough money to pay for it. Finally, once all of that got checked off, the program would begin in 2014.
Current regulations mean that in California, the license plate has almost always lived with the car since new, so if you see a black plate on a 1966 Corvair, then that tag was minted the same year as that Chevrolet. The plates will be updated to modern standards, e.g., reflective paint, so they won't look just like the old timers, but we figure vintage-minded owners won't be fussed at all.