Car Guy Politician And Californians Make Retro License Plates Happen

In 2012, California Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced and passed a bill to bring back three vintage license plate designs if they could just collect 7,500 orders for each. The yellow-on-black style, originally issued from 1963 to ’69, made the cut and will start shipping this month.


“Aside from not salting our roads, California doesn’t often do much for automobile enthusiasts,” Gatto said in a press release, probably unintentionally giving us his best attempt at understatement. “This is an easy way for the state to enable everyone from the backyard restorer, to the nostalgic, to the purchaser of a retro-styled automobile to add that extra bit of detail for those of us who appreciate the classic era of automobile design.”

Cool to see a car guy working for the people. Maybe next he’ll help get old cars off the hook for smog tests or make it easier to get interesting things registered in the golden state. Or what about dropping the front plate requirement!

Anybody? Please?

People who wanted the old-school plates had to put down the $50 issuance fee before January 1, 2015, and unfortunately, only the black-with-yellow-text design cleared the 7,500 order-threshold to actually get made. Gatto’s office says those customers will be getting their retro plates in two to three weeks, while folks who placed an order on the yellow-with-black-text or blue-with-yellow will just be getting their money back.


Any Californians who wants a black plate now that they know about it can order one just like any other custom Cali plate right here on their DMV site. You do not have to have a period-correct car (or motorcycle) to match.


Contact the author at

Share This Story

Get our newsletter