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Rebuilding an old license plate to run on a classic car

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  • #16
    Before others take the time and effort to do this, check with your state DMV. Some states do not allow plates that have been repainted/restored.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Commander Eddie View Post
      Will the DMV in Oklahoma allow you to run another plate besides the one that was issued for your vehicle? Or will they let you register your vehicle using the restored plate?
      I collect license plates, so I'd like to add to Lynn's answer. I think your experience of living in Oregon may make you think that other states use a similar system -- but most don't. In Oklahoma, as in most states (but not the West Coast states), the plates stay with the owner, and not the car, when the car is sold. In addition, during the 1950s, Okla (like many states) issued new plate(s) every year -- so there is no significance to the plate originally issued to a car.

      And I think Gary answered your second question -- every state has its own laws. Some states do not allow repainted plates to be used under their YOM plate law.
      Skip Lackie

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      • #18
        Originally posted by studegary View Post
        Before others take the time and effort to do this, check with your state DMV. Some states do not allow plates that have been repainted/restored.
        When my state, South Carolina, first began allowing "Year of Manufacture," plates for vintage cars, I was told that the plates were only allowed to be used if they were in readable condition, and that no repainting was allowed. After seeing this thread, I went to our DMV website. There is not a mention of a "unrestored" rule. However, there is a whole list of plate numbers not allowed. Another thing about SC plate numbers is that, for years, prefix letters were used for weight codes. So, here, if you want the plate to look technically correct for your vehicle, you should find and register a tag with the proper weight code.

        For me, a bigger hassle than it's worth.
        John Clary
        Greer, SC

        SDC member since 1975

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Skip Lackie View Post
          In Oklahoma, <snip> the plates stay with the owner, and not the car, when the car is sold. In addition, during the 1950s, Okla (like many states) issued new plate(s) every year -- so there is no significance to the plate originally issued to a car.
          Someone gave you bad information, Skip. For as long as I've been around, the plates stay with the car when the car changes ownership in Oklahoma.

          You are correct that for many years, all Oklahoma tags expired at year's end, and everyone was required to renew them in January. Talk about long lines for extended periods of time! The new system is MUCH better!

          When I lived in Kansas, the tag stayed with the seller, not the car, not sure if that's still the case or not. As has been stated, all states have their own rules and regulations. I was thrilled when, while living in Kansas, I purchased a Buick Riviera, and the registration only cost $18.00. The smile left my face in November, when I got my personal property tax bill from the state of Kansas, and learned registration fees and ownership tax were two different things.

          In Oklahoma, all vehicle related fees and taxes are collected when you update your registration.
          sigpic
          Dave Lester

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          • #20
            Actually, in OK it doesn't even have to be YOM. If the car is over 21 years old, the owner can pick any expired Oklahoma tag, and request to register it. As long as someone else isn't using the same tag (like Skip said, they used to re-issue tags every year, so there is the possibility someone else has the same tag numbers from a different year) then you can register it. The tag on my 69 Z/28 is actually from 1976. I chose that year, because that is the year I bought the car. I liked the tag (CV-302) because it almost looked like an abbreviation of Chevy 302. Of course, the only engine available in the first gen Z was the 302.

            Click image for larger version

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            Here is the pertinent part of the law: "On and after January 1, 1987, persons owning vehicles which are twenty-one (21) years and older are qualified to submit for approval by the Tax Commission or a motor license agent a vintage but expired official Oklahoma license plate which is twenty-one (21) years and older. Upon approval of such personalized plate, the owner shall be issued the annual registration decal which the Tax Commission or agent shall direct to be affixed. The Tax Commission shall promulgate a rule which establishes appropriate criteria to be used in the implementation of the Oklahoma Vehicle License and Registration Act."

            On a side note, Brian stated: "They will also provide you an entire ownership history on any vehicle by title assignment for $8.50." Be careful. You can get that if it is a car you own. If you are not the owner, and are just curious about a car, you have to meet one of the criteria set out in the application, and you have to sign the application under oath. The procedure is similar in most States. The state laws are modeled after the Fed. privacy laws. You can get into a lot of trouble for making a false statement. If you are just wanting to verify owner history on a car you are considering purchasing, it would be best to have the current owner submit the paperwork. You can offer to pay the fee. Just being interested in buying it isn't enough to get you there.

            One other caveat; there are HUGE "holes" in the data in Oklahoma. When they changed over computer systems in the late 70's they lost much of it. They have it on microfilm but have no means to search it and put it back in digital format. My Z/28 was sold new in OK, and as far as I know has never left the State. They have no record of my brother buying it, and no record of me buying it from him.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Studedude View Post
              Someone gave you bad information, Skip. For as long as I've been around, the plates stay with the car when the car changes ownership in Oklahoma.

              Thanks Dave. To quote Humphrey Bogart: "I was misinformed."
              Skip Lackie

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Skip Lackie View Post
                Thanks Dave. To quote Humphrey Bogart: "I was misinformed."
                Hey, this is proof it happens to the best of us!
                sigpic
                Dave Lester

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Bmallett View Post
                  Nice! I like this process too. I wasn't sure on the paint. I wanted to try the baked enamel and see how it holds up.

                  - - - Updated - - -





                  The Metal Rescue doesn't harm anything. It leaves the metal, plastic, even labels and stickers remain. Nothing but rust is removed.

                  Check out this video here for a demo:

                  https://youtu.be/JAI5SF3NBqg
                  Good information, I might have to switch over. Thanks for the heads up.
                  1947 Studebaker M-5
                  1946 Studebaker M-5
                  1948 Studebaker Land Cruiser
                  1961 Studebaker Lark 4-dr. Sedan
                  1951 Studebaker Land Cruiser

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                  • #24
                    My son and I have been wondering how it is that so many vintage cars we see have the vintage plates on them. This may explain it. I need to check into that for Kansas and Missouri for reference. I found a 59 Kansas plate and have it on the front of my car. We are not required to have a plate on the front and that can be a vanity or custom plate.
                    Dis-Use on a Car is Worse Than Mis-Use...
                    1959 Studebaker Lark VIII 2DHTP

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                    • #25
                      I wrote the year-of-manufacture plate law for the District of Columbia about 20 years ago, and at that time, more than half the states (like 35 or so) and several Canadian provinces already had such laws. I was able to get copies of many of those laws, and they were all VERY different. All required the YOM plates to be legible, but many prohibited repaints. Some states only required a single plate, even though they now issue plates in pairs. And some (NC) will make repro plates to order. Many (Calif, NY) will not allow a YOM plate number that duplicates the number on a modern plate. And quite a few are "display" laws that require a valid historic motor vehicle plate to be carried in the car at all times. Some insist that the number must match the vehicle (passenger car number on a car); others don't care.

                      DC is so tiny that only a few dozen YOM plates were expected to ever be on the road at a time, so I based the DC law on the one in Maryland.

                      Nice old plates are readily available on eBay, but people looking for a nice plate(s) for their old car will often pay a lot more than someone who collects plates as a hobby.
                      Skip Lackie

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                      • #26
                        Super job! That might owrk well for tailgate lettering too!
                        Ron Dame
                        '63 Champ

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                        • #27
                          I've got a nice YOM plate for the Champ, and want one for a 1970 Brand V, that in NC would need the sort of white reflective paint. Has anyone found a source for this stuff?
                          Ron Dame
                          '63 Champ

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                          • #28
                            Ron-
                            I believe NC used a 3M product called "Scothlite" on those plates. It is not a paint but a somewhat thick, reflectorized coating that is laid on the whole plate and then baked on. The numbers are then painted on top separately. Unless there's something special about that number, you may want to just find another plate -- they're not uncommon. I had a bunch of 60s and 70s NC plates, but gave them all away last year -- if I'd known . . . . .
                            Skip Lackie

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                            • #29
                              I have restored plates for years. Being a sign painter is a real plus; but I do my plates a bit different.
                              When a plate arrives, I take a photo of it and then do a preliminary straightening. I then remove the rust by soaking or blasting. Then I do the body work, prime, spray background and then hand letter the plates.
                              As stated above all states seem to have different laws, but none prevent you from placing whatever plate you want on your car while it is on display in a show.
                              Right now I am caught up on my orders, but will not have time to get any additional done for delivery in Warwick. HOWEVER, I can pick up your plate there & give you a rough estimate of the restoration cost and will carry them back to Iowa for restoration.
                              Duane Miller

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                                Looks very Good!

                                I guess your method is one of 3 possible methods:


                                1) Paint the Background Color and mask it to do the raised Numbers/Letters as you did.

                                2) Paint Raised portion Color first, then Paint it the Background Color, then after drying scuff off the Background Color.

                                3) Paint the Background Color and devise a Pan just deep enough to try to lower it LEVEL into the Bath of Raised area Color Paint to "Dip" it on there, very tricky without a little tooling!
                                I paint letter color, 2-3 coats clear, just enough background color to cover, rubbing compound to remove background color from letters, clear to finish.
                                Own \'53 Commander Starliner. Red w/beige top. 350 Chev/700R4. Tilt,cruise,A/C.http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j30/Bobphyl/StudeontheBeach.jpg

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