Friday, 29 March 2013

California Dreaming

Came across a news item today from the old home state of California.  Sacramento is, as is well known, broke.  And looking for ways to raise some cash.  Folks on the Left Coast are nothing if not creative, and have conjured up what I think is a brilliant idea.

The legislature has passed a bill enjoining the DMV to considering issuing "Legacy Plates" to car enthusiasts.

About a year ago, I wrote this blog post about the evolution of California licence plate number schemes.  The state historically is home to some of the most iconic number plates (the gold on blue many Americans think of, the famous black plates, the old black on yellow scheme made famous by the THX-138 George Lucas cruiser in "American Graffiti") in America.

According to AB1658, signed into law by Governor Moonbeam in September of last year, the DMV is now collecting pre-orders for any of three classic styles:

Black on Yellow, 1956-62 
Yellow on Black, 1963-69
Gold on Blue, 1969-82


According to the law, if 7500 applications for any of the schemes are received, the DMV will begin issuing that scheme.

There are some issues with this plan; for example, the circa 1956 plate originally had the word "California" flush-left, and not in the middle, and the more classic Gold-Blue scheme was formatted as 123 ABC originally, moving to the now familiar 1ABC234 scheme around 1980, when the six character format was mathematically exhausted.  Still, at $50 a pop, this offers the enthusiast a chance to add a little additional style to his classic ride, and a chance for the state to get some additional revenue.

While not Jay Leno, I do appreciate automobilia, and am the proud owner of an antique MG T-series car.

My (then) Five Year Old Son and 60 Year Old MG

One of the things I miss about California, and is not available here in New Jersey, is the "Year of Manufacture" licensing laws.  In the Golden State, if you own a vehicle that was manufactured prior to 1962, and can obtain an original, "clear" (currently unregistered) plate, you may match that plate to your car.

My MG is a 1952, and thus it is eligible for the YOM programme.  The 1952 plate scheme is a bit tough to clear with the DMV, since its 1A23456 scheme is in use today with modern livery stock

Sample 1951 California Base Plate,
with 1952 
Registration Tab

If I were still a resident of the Golden State, I would avail myself of one of these excellent programmes.