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California’s new legacy plates

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Dec 29, 2012

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

California\'s plate from the 1950s

After years of looking to the future with its green-themed license plate designs, California draws on its past to announce that its latest plate designs will emulate those of the 1950s, 60s and 70s—or as close as it can get to those designs within the parameters of modern safety (the new plates will have reflective surfaces for better night-time visibility). There’s one catch: The state won’t make them until it receives 7,500 pre-orders. The good news: You don’t have to have a car from the 50s, 60s or 70s to wear them. So, go ahead and order them for your retro-looking 2013 Mustang, or your new George Jetson electric car.

California\'s plate from the 1960s

The Department of Motor Vehicles issued 28 frequently asked questions (and answers) about the new plates, and we present them here. Q1: What is the fee to order Legacy License Plates? A: $50. Q2: Does the application fee of $50 apply to either a sequential or a personalized license plate? A: Yes. The fee is the same for either choice of plate configuration. Q3: Do I have to send the payment in with the pre-order form? A: Yes. Q4: Can I submit my pre-order online? A: No. An online system for pre-orders will not be developed. Q5: Can I pay with a credit or debit card? A: No. Payment must be made by check, money order, or cashier's check made payable to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Q6: Can I submit my pre-order at a DMV Field Office or Auto Club office? A: No. Pre-orders must be sent to the address indicated on the form. Q7: I can't find the pre-order form on the DMV website. A: The California Legacy License Plate Pre-Order Form (REG 17L) (PDF) can be found on the Legacy License Plate Pre-Order web page along with other information about the Legacy plates. Q8: Where do I send the pre-order form? A: Department of Motor Vehicles Legacy License Plates Customer Service/Operations Support, MS H203 PO Box 825393 Sacramento, CA 94232-5393 This information is also on the form. Be sure to keep a copy before submitting it. Q9: Can the Legacy Plates be assigned to any year model of vehicle? A: Yes. Q10: Can the Legacy Plates be assigned to motorcycles? A: Yes. Q11: Are the Legacy Plates going to look exactly like the license plates issued in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s? A: No. Current law requires license plates to be reflectorized. However, as many characteristics of the older plates will be applied as possible. Q12: If implemented, will the Legacy License Plate program eliminate the Year of Manufacture (YOM) plate program? A: No. The YOM program will not be replaced by the Legacy License Plate program. Q13: Can I pre-order the Legacy Plates as a gift? A: Yes. The pre-order form contains an area to provide the recipient's name and address information. Q14: How many pre-orders does the DMV need to receive in order to initiate the production of the Legacy Plates? A: The law enacting this plate program (AB 1658, 2012) allows until January 1, 2015 to reach the required minimum 7,500 pre-orders for any one of the plate styles. Q15: Will the DMV wait until January 1, 2015 to implement the program even if the minimum is reached before that date? A: No. Once the required minimum is reached, implementation of the program will go into development. Q16: How long after the program is implemented will I receive the plates I have pre-ordered? A: Approximately 9-12 months. Q17: If I submit a pre-order with a personalized plate number, will my request be reserved when the order is received? A: No. Reserving numbers for the Legacy Plates could prevent someone else from obtaining their desired plate number on an established special plate. Q18: What if the personal license plate number(s) I request is deemed to be unacceptable by DMV? A: All of the personal plate number choices entered on the pre-order form will be reviewed for acceptability upon receipt. The form contains a check box to indicate if you would like to receive sequential plates if your requested plate choices are not available. If this box is checked, and all of your choices are deemed as unacceptable, you will receive a set of sequential plates if the program is implemented. If the box is not checked, your order form and payment method will be returned to you. Q19: What would deem a personal plate number as unacceptable? A: The plate number conflicts with configurations of other license plate types, or it can be construed to be offensive to good taste. Q20: What if the DMV determines the program will be implemented, but it turns out all of the personal plate numbers I requested were not available? A: If you checked the box on the form to receive sequential plates if your choices are not available, and your requested choices were deemed acceptable, you will receive a set of sequential plates. If this box is not checked, a refund will be issued to you as soon as possible after January 1, 2015. Q21: The meaning of my personal plate request is a private joke among my friends. Do I have to explain what it means? A: Yes. The department must ensure that the meaning of a plate configuration will not be construed as offensive to good taste. Q22: Can I order a different style of personalized plate with the configuration I want, and then convert the number to Legacy License Plates if the program is implemented? A: Yes. However, this will not be considered an exchange and the fee for each type of plate will be due when you order them. To view the fees for other types of special plates, go the Special Interest or Personalized Plates section on DMV's website: Q23: If I send in my application fee, and the plates are not made, when will I get a refund? A: If the program is not implemented, your refund will be processed as soon as possible after January 1, 2015. Q24: What do I do if I wish to cancel my pre-order before the program is implemented? A: Mail an Application for Refund (ADM 399) request to cancel your pre-order to the address shown below. The Application for Refund must indicate the refund is for a pre-ordered Legacy License plate and provide the configuration(s) requested. Mail to: Department of Motor Vehicles Legacy License Plates Customer Service/Operations Support, MS H203 PO Box 825393 Sacramento, CA 94232-5393 Q25: If I wish to cancel my order after the program is implemented and my personal plate number is reserved, will I get a refund? A: No. A refund will not be issued once a plate number is reserved. Q26: If the Legacy License Plate program is implemented, how will the plates be assigned to my car? A: You will be asked on your order form to select a DMV Field Office or Auto Club office where your new plates will be shipped. You will receive a notice when the plates arrive at that office. Take your CURRENT registration card (the vehicle cannot be on Planned Non-Operation status) and your existing plates to that office to have your new Legacy License Plates assigned to your vehicle. If you will be picking your new plates up at a DMV Field Office, make an appointment at 1-800-777-0133 OR online at Q27: Can I pick up the plates without assigning them to a vehicle? A: No, the plates must be assigned to a currently registered vehicle when they are picked up. Q28: What is the statutory authority permitting the development of the Legacy License Plates? A: California Vehicle Code Section 5004.3 was added by Assembly Bill 1658 (Gatto), enacted in the 2012 Legislative session.

California\'s plate from the 1970s

For more information about the CA legacy plates, click here

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