Specialty plates from the 1950s and 70s would bring some joy back to drivers
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Feb. 19, 2023) — In each two-year legislative session, Assemblymembers and state Senators can each author 50 unique pieces of legislation.
With 120 members in the Legislature, this allows us to cover a wide range of issues – from some of California’s most challenging matters to technical updates to longstanding, and sometimes outdated, code section.
This year, I’m authoring a package of legislation that touches on big issues such as championing safety in our neighborhoods and working to address our critical housing and homelessness crises. I’m also authoring one measure, AB 378, that I hope will bring some fond memories and joy to Californians.
AB 378 will allow for some of California’s most iconic license plates to return to production for car enthusiasts and everyday drivers alike. This bill will create a path for the 1950s and 1970s Legacy License Plates to return to California cars.
In 2013, the Legislature unanimously passed a bill by then-Assemblymember Mike Gatto that allowed for the 1960s Legacy License Plate to return to the roads. This 2013 legislation authorized the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to offer motorists the opportunity to apply for each of the three Legacy License Plates: the yellow license plates with black lettering from the 1950s, the black license plates with yellow lettering from the 1960s or the blue license plates with yellow lettering from the 1970s. For any plate to return to circulation, it had to get 7,500 applications within a year of the legislation going into effect.
Best selling plate
After the original application window closed, the only design to receive the requisite number of applications was the black license plate from the ’60s. You may have noticed the return of the black plate with yellow lettering, which quickly became popular in the last few years. Since its reintroduction, the 1960s Legacy License Plate has become the best-selling specialty license plate offered by the DMV. It brings in 10 times more revenue than the second best-selling plate, the kids specialty license plate.
Similar to the 1960s plates, revenue collected for the 1950s and 1970s Legacy License Plates would be deposited into the Environmental License Plate fund to benefit environmental projects across our state. The ’60s Legacy License Plate raised $40 million for this environmental fund in just one year alone.
With the black plates back on the roads, car enthusiasts and others have started to realize that they missed a unique opportunity to bring back the ’50s and ’70s plates. AB 378 will offer Californians a second chance to put the remaining two iconic designs back on the road.
With the COVID-19 lockdowns in our rearview window, I think now is the perfect time to celebrate joyous parts of California’s history.
If you’re a car enthusiast who would like to learn more about the bill, or if you’d like to learn more about other legislation I’m authoring this year, contact my Concord office.
Reach Assemblyman Tim Grayson at 925-521-1511. Visit or write the district office 2151 Salvio Street, Suite P, Concord, CA 94520.