Old license plates avail on web

found lots of old license plates on web “oldplateguy”(costly) and others and ebay, …all years, states, various prices…note Calif used the 1951 plate for several years…with a metal tab (also avail) for the next years., then same in 1958…with a sticker. Some in the $300-800 USD.!! .but also hunt for the $85 ones…aslo some will custom a new replica with your selection of lettters…so you can have an old appearance plate…with your choice.

California plates: I’ve gone that route with other cars before. The vehicle code here says you can put on plates that match the year in which your particular car was first sold. Unfortunately, aesthetically I don’t care for the ones from the early 50s – the corners are too rounded for my liking. But I’ve done this with others. Had a touring car from '22 once with weathered California plates to match. Same with a '36 Pontiac coupe. Plates sourced from a garage sale or swap meet will work too – at a sometimes significant cost savings – as long as the actual plate numbers/ letters aren’t already being used on something else.

Addendum: I’ll add that if your California car still has the old plates from other years, those – and only those – can be used too but you need to have a copy at least of the old title showing that it once had those plate numbers. I have a '120 pulled out of a Modesto field still wearing its blue 1970s issued license plates and as those are becoming a rare sight now, will probably use them again (if the numbers are clear) when it’s up and running.

This was not unique to California during those years. The Korean War created a shortage of aluminum, so many states kept the '51 plate and issued stickers for varying numbers of years afterwards.


I have a set of vintage yellow CA plates on my 150. The process to get the DMV to approve them was very involved and exacting, but fairly straightforward.

The DMV verified that the letter/number combo was not in use.
Next, I had to affix an original 1958 sticker to the plate
I then had to take the plates with me to the DMV. They verified them, I filled out some forms, and paid a nominal fee. They gave me a little metal tab to attach above the plate and to put the modern sticker on.

I’m hoping to do the same thing with a set of black plates for my MKII.

1951 Kentucky plate. I learned Kentucky issued no 1952 plates when I was searching for a plate for 672027.

Should someone want Calif 1956 (yellow with black letters (same 56 were used with sticker for 57,58 also) or NJ 1955…black with orange letters PM contact to me.

an example of Calif 1956…used for quite a few years…with year stickers

example later Calif black with yellow.6 characters in .mid to late 60s… The early Calif 1949 -50 were yellow with black…and more characters…plates visible in early photos including the Clark Gable favorite car…in R&T. 51calif 51 were blac with yellow charcters (7). and used for several years with tags .

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I have the black 63 plate but missing the front, any thoughts on what I can do? California law states that you have to have two plates front and rear.

Hi Chris, I run Year of Manufacture plates on two of my cars in California. The DMV process involved producing both plates for inspection of originality at the DMV along with proof of year of manufacture for the vehicle in question. Once visually approved and record-cleared, I run only one plate on the back of each car and keep the second plate in the garage. The only hassle I had over not running two plates on these cars was when picking someone up at the airport in a 1930 Ford Model A. The curbside police starting coming towards me rapidly so I drove away from the pickup curb and parked to greet my guest. I think airport security reasonably wants license plate images visible on both ends of cars.

I don’t know if CA DMV would accept one original black plate and a similar repro.

Thanks for your response. I think I may have to go to the dmv and see what my options are.

It depends on the inspector and the particular DMV office.
Some of them are acutely aware of repros and sticklers for the rules,
Others are more tolerant and willing to accept the “spirit” of the law.

That will most assuredly result in disappointment. If you ask, they are going to cite the rules, and they do not provide for the use of reproductions.

There is a very lengthy discussion of this topic on Ferrarichat.com, with all the info you will need. Send me a PM and I can send you a link. Meantime, there are ways to achieve your goal. Start with a search on eBay for CA black plates.

If I find black plates or orange plates do you think dmv would accept them for the car?

I assume your car would have had black plates originally.
If that is the case, they will not accept the yellow plates as substitutes.
They have to be age-appropriate to your car.

I also assumed from your post that your one plate was original to the car and you wanted to register the car with that. If not, it’s quite easy to find a genuine set of matching black plates - numerous listings on eBay alone. You can find year tabs as well.

For the DMV, you just have to have a matching pair of black plates, that can pass for originals, that are not currently in use or restricted, and have the correct year sticker (tag) to go with them. See Nicks photos above.

This link has all the DMV info:

The car is a 1955 XK140 DHC, I think it had orange plates?

In that case, you’ll need the older-style 1951 black plates with yellow letters. And the YOM tag, which in 1955 was white:

Correct. To add, you will need two YOM tags AND they are serialized, so the YOM tags have to match.

So is the YEAR tag, the year of issue, or is it the YEAR of expiry…?
If an XK140 was first registered (Licenced) in say October 1955, did it get a 1951 plate with a 55 tag, or did it get a 56 tag ?

I believe that the (YOM - Year Of Manufacture) tag should match the model year on the title. If you XK140 has a model year of 1955, then you will need the white “55” YOM tags.

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My Jaguar Mark V which has California YOM license plates was manufactured in 1950 and first sold and registered in California in 1951. My year-of-manufacture plates are 1950 (a plate showing 1947 along with the 1950 overlay tag as done at the time), which correspond with the year of manufacture rather than the year of first registration. That car has only been registered in California for its entire lifetime, so DMV had their own records and I also provided the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust certificate when presenting the 1950 plates. So my car title and registration show 1951 and my license plates are 1950.