Gold- on- black plates re­turn

The gold- on- black plates were used from 1963 to 1969.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Charles Flem­ing charles.flem­ Twit­ter: @mis­ter­flem­ing

The li­cense plates used on Cal­i­for­nia cars in the 1960s are back.

The black li­cense plates used on Cal­i­for­nia cars from 1963 to 1969 are back, thanks to a car- guy leg­is­la­tor and 7,500 pay­ing cus­tomers.

The Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles an­nounced Mon­day that it has re­ceived 7,500 or­ders for the clas­sic black plates, which is the min­i­mum re­quired for the state agency to be­gin pro­duc­tion.

The leg­is­la­tion was spon­sored by Los An­ge­les Assem­bly­man Mike Gatto in 2012, cre­at­ing the Cal­i­for­nia Legacy Li­cense Plate Pro­gram. The DMV will be­gin pro­duc­tion now. Mo­torists who’ve placed or­ders for the plates will be­gin re­ceiv­ing them in two to three weeks, Gatto’s of­fice said.

The new plates, which will cost $ 50, can be per­son­al­ized, and will also be avail­able for mo­tor­cy­cles. The plates will cost $ 40 an­nu­ally to re­new.

Gatto’s in­ter­est in clas­sic plates and clas­sic cars is per­sonal, his rep­re­sen­ta­tives said.

“He’s a car guy,” said Eric Men­ji­var, Gatto’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor.

Gatto once re­stored a Chevro­let Ca­maro, Men­ji­var said, and wanted to do some­thing to make it eas­ier for auto en­thu­si­asts to re­store their ve­hi­cles to a full and com­plete pe­riod look. So, how good a re­pro­duc­tion are the mod­ern plates? They’re made from the same molds the orig­i­nal were — molds the DMV dis­cov­ered at Folsom Prison, where the clas­sic plates used to be made.

The new ones, in fact, are still be­ing made in Folsom Prison, where a team of 110 in­mates pro­duces a to­tal of 8.5 mil­lion li­cense plates a year.

The new plates will still be dis­tin­guish­able from the old in one way, though: The new ones will fea­ture ref lec­tive yel­low paint on the letters and num­bers, as is now re­quired by law.

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