Like in the UK, California's license plates follow the vehicles they originate on, not the owner, so residents can easily pick out cars that have been in continuous California circulation since way back in the last millennium. A car with yellow tags with black lettering was registered between 1956 and 1962, one with yellow tags with black lettering is from circa 1963 to 1969, and one with blue tags with yellow lettering got them sometime from 1970 to 1982.

State Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill allowing for the return of those plate styles. If the Department of Motor Vehicles receives 7,500 pre-orders between January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2015 for the vintage replica plates, it will begin issuing them for any vehicle for a personalized plate fee of $50. If fewer than 7,500 pre-orders are received in that two-year span, those who submitted $50 payments will have their money refunded. According to the Los Angeles Times, if the program goes through, buyers of the plates will also have to spend a further $40 every time they renew their registrations.

Hemmings has a little history on why the color of one's plate is such a big deal in The Golden State. For those who don't need the lesson, you can check out the press release below for more information on the program and how to order.

Despite some classic car enthusiasts who apparently only want original vintage plates and not these new, so-called "legacy license plates," we have a feeling this one is a done deal.
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Classic Car Owners Get A Chance At Vintage California Plates
California Legacy License Plates Available for Pre-Order January 1, 2013

Sacramento, December 27, 2012 – The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced today it will be taking pre-orders for a new License Plate Program offering vehicle owners the opportunity to purchase replicas of California license plate designs issued in the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's.

The new program will bring a retro look to modern license plates by offering three classic license plate designs. Legacy License plates can be ordered for any year model automobile, commercial vehicle, motorcycle, or trailer. The styles include black lettering over a yellow background seen in the 1950's, yellow lettering over a black background seen in the 1960's and yellow lettering over a blue background that was available originally in the 1970's. The plates cost $50 for non-personalized or personalized plates.

A pre-order form California Legacy License Plate Pre-Order Form (REG 17L)is available at The completed form and a $50 payment must be mailed to the address provided on the form. Payment can only be made by check, money order, or cashier's check. Pre-orders cannot be processed at DMV Field offices or Auto Club offices.

The law specifies that 7,500 applications must be reached by January 1, 2015. If 7,500 applications are not received by that date, any fees paid for the California Legacy plates will be refunded to the applicant.

Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1658, by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D–Los Angeles) on September 28, 2012.

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