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License Plate Restoration-who?

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  • License Plate Restoration-who?


    Anyone have experience in having damaged plates restored? My web search found one place in Georgia and another in Penn.. the guy in Georgia was too busy to tackle this mangled plate. It's twin is in relatively good shape. I doubt I can do it myself to a standard that the fussy Cal. DMV would accept. It is intended for a 1950 car.
    All help, suggestions appreciated.
    ...Dick Curtis


    The 1950 Champion Starlight
    Santa Barbara
    CA

  • #2
    I just googled "license plate restoration" and there are quite a few out there. I don't have experience with any of them, however.

    Dick, I'll be at the Turlock meet the end of next month. There are bound to be several vendors of restored California plates there. I can pick you up a restored set (unless the ones you have are special to you).

    There are a couple of forum members that trade old plates and may have what you need or know who the "good" restorers are (Skip, Mark?)


    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA

    Comment


    • #3
      Google ALPCA, California. You will find a collector's club near you, and they will know who to contact for restoration, or where to buy a nice or possibly new pair. Don't know about California, but the ones in Arizona are friendly and helpful.

      Jeff

      Comment


      • #4
        Dick, as an ALPCA member, first let me say that there has to be a better plate to start with. Restorers usually have a set price to refinish a plate or tabs, but repairing a plate is done on a quoted basis based on condition. And they will want to have it in their hands before making that quote. A good plate to start with will cut costs considerably.

        I've attached a picture of my restored '62 Michigan plates that I was going to run on my Daytona until I moved to Florida. These were done by Dan Landino in Sterling Heights, MI. At the time I lived in the same city, so Dan's done a few of my '64 plates. I'm sure he'd have no problem fixing that plate, but while he's always been very reasonable with his pricing, that may be quite a bit more than I've had to pay.

        Before


        After


        The tabs were unissued, originals that I bought at a license plate show. As you can see, I started with the best plates I could. I've had approximately 8 sets refinished with my Idaho set needing a bit of repairs from being dented and bent. The cost for both was $50. Yours will definitely be more than that. I'm sorry, but I don't have any befores of the Idaho plates. I can say they look as good (and the same color scheme) as the Michigan plates.

        I'll pass these two names out, as they are listed to the general public on the ALPCA website under FAQ.

        Dan Landino
        37037 E. Almont Dr.
        Sterling Heights, MI 48310
        (586) 268-8692

        Larry Hoeft
        Nebraska
        (402) 783-2458
        E-mail: ldhoeft@aol.com
        Cost: $40, you pay postage both ways
        Turn around: 4 weeks

        A few people I've meet have used Larry with great success which is why I've listed him as well. The postage isn't as bad as you'd think. A US Priority Mail envelope is a flat rate of $4.60 each way and they fit license plates real well (but mine are all 12" X 6"). Most, if not all restorers will have the plate in a plastic slip so the plate doesn't rub on the envelope.

        Member ALPCA #10499

        By the way, I'm still looking for a matching set of '63-'69 California black plates starting from HXX to LXX. These were issued approximately in 1964 and I'm still looking for my '64 run. I don't need 'cleared' plates as these are for display. Banged up and dented are fine if they are not missing pieces. Thanks!

        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Tom - Valrico, FL

        1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $1755.45)

        Tom - Bradenton, FL

        1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
        1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

        Comment


        • #5
          New York.......who else,?, does not allow restored plates on cars. HUGE NO NO.

          Comment


          • #6
            quote:Originally posted by bondobilly

            New York.......who else,?, does not allow restored plates on cars. HUGE NO NO.
            Bill makes a good point. In California, they do not allow 'repainted' plates, only original. Now having said that, I know New York and Massachusetts are more strict than California appears to be. I've heard that most DMV personel just let it go, but you may find the exception to this rule.

            Of course, this is just to get to the registration. Once the car is registered, you could paint it and put it on your car and no one would know the difference. This gets back to getting the best plate you can start with. Get the plate cleared and registered and then have the plate restored. It just has to be legible in the eyes of the DMV.

            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Tom - Valrico, FL

            1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $1755.45)

            Tom - Bradenton, FL

            1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
            1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

            Comment


            • #7
              Can You get by with very good reproductions ?
              http://www.licenseplates.tv/

              1961 Hawk 4BC,4-SPEED,TT

              Ken Byrd
              Lewisville,NC
              sigpic
              1961 Hawk ...4-Speed;4bc;Twin Traction


              Ken Byrd
              Lewisville,NC

              Comment


              • #8
                I know of no states (I guess NC is an exception) that allow reproduction plates. Most states want to see the plates in person before registering them, and California is one of those. Some like Michigan (and I'm assuming NC) will do this with a picture. I'd bet reproductions are illegal in NC, but the DMV rep was clueless to your benefit. I'm not knocking you for getting it rubber stamped, but most ALPCA members dispise reproductions. These are typically made for front vanity plates where no front plates are required.

                EDIT: OK, after doing some searching on the reproduction issue, this is what I found. The loop hole, if there is one, is that the states of Florida , Georgia, Illinois, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee require the car to be registered with either a regular plate and an antique plate of some kind. This plate needs to stay in the car (glove box, trunk, etc.). A YOM plate can then be put on the car for 'display'. What can be displayed can vary from state to state. Illinois and Ohio will let you use any state's plate (such as California) as long as it matches the year of the car. As these states consider these a 'display', a reproduction may be allowed (and it appears the this is definitely true in NC).

                BUT, before you put just any plate on your car, check with your local DMV.

                ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Tom - Valrico, FL

                1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $1755.45)

                Tom - Bradenton, FL

                1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
                1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have done a few plates, but none that bad!
                  To paint one and make it look right, the color on the numbers/letters is sprayed first. Then the "background" color, then with 1000 grit sand paper, sand off the background color off the letters/numbers. If you use a block when restoring the plate, and block all the numbers/letters so they are "flat" then when you block sand the numbers/letters, they will look "consistant"
                  The key is when spraying the background color, put on just enough to cover!
                  If you sand through when taking the back round color off, use a touch up brush and "touch" it up. once tha two colors look right, clear coat it and no one will ever know where you touched them up.

                  This is NOT my idea, I read this in Street Rodder Mag. about 25 years ago. It's best to start out with the best plate (s) available!
                  I have a matched pair of 1951 Indiana plates, AND a matched set of the Indiana 52 tags! I probably have some where about 6-8 hours in re doing them!
                  If there is somebody painting them for $40, JUMP on it!!

                  Jim

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I haven't tried doing my own, so I would never say you are wrong. I know Dan usually lay down the base color and then hand paint the lettering, numbers, etc.

                    Again, like any other project, there will be more than one way to reach the same place.

                    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Tom - Valrico, FL

                    1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $1755.45)

                    Tom - Bradenton, FL

                    1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
                    1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am in California and drive a 54 Coupe. It has blue and yellow plates which are similar to the old black plates. They were issued when I first registered the car in my name. When I go to car shows, though, I use a set of black plates which I've had for some time. The plates are '63 issue, and the tab on it is from '85. As often as I've driven with them, (and at times having forgotten to take them off for a few weeks), I've never been stopped about it, or even asked. Just luck, I guess. I have my correct plates with me at all times, though, just in case.
                      sals54

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I used Darrel's in PA. Would not use them again. 13 months for two pair of CA plates. One set was black and yellow 63 and the other set was 47. Both sets needed just a little more than a repaint. Plus it cost almost $300. Never again.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Jim has the right idea. Most people naturally think you paint the background, then carefully paint the raised tops of the letters & numbers-that's definitely the hard way and usually doesn't work out too well. The way most are done originally is painting the whole plate the number/letter color, letting it dry, then painting the background color. The tops of the characters are then "swiped" to reveal the underlying color. I've done it using a rag with paint thinner, but the fine sandpaper probably works as good or better.


                          Steve Hudson
                          The Dalles, Oregon
                          1937 Dictator Flatback sedan (for sale)
                          1949 "GMOBaker" 1-T Dually (workhorse)
                          1953 Commander Convertible (show & go)
                          1953 Champion Starliner (custom/rod project)
                          1954 Champion Coupe (daily driver)
                          1960 Hawk (future project?)

                          Steve Hudson
                          The Dalles, Oregon
                          1949 \"GMOBaker\" 1-T Dually (workhorse)
                          1953 Commander Convertible (show & go)
                          1953 "Studacudallac" (project)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yeah I know what the "law" is in California, so of course I can't actually say that I have old cars with repainted/restored plates - I just refer to them as being expertly waxed and buffed

                            What I would say is that if you were to repaint your old plates in something other than their original prison issue colors - now that would be frowned upon. Cops and CHiPs are generally car enthusiasts who love the gray haired dudes tooling around in their piece of American automotive history. On the other hand the free spirit who decides that the ideal license plate background should be some far out black light Peter Max - well, that will get their ticket book attention every time.

                            Thomas

                            Long time hot rodder
                            Packrat junk collector
                            '63 Avanti R2 4 speed

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, I'm the guy who sold those plates to Dick, so I'm partly responsible for his predicament. However, I think I described their condition accurately, and he can always return them for a refund.

                              I have not had any plates restored in a long time, so cannot recommend any good restorers. If Swifster has had good luck with certain people, I would consider his recommendations first. As noted, the ALPCA web site lists potential sources.

                              As Swifster noted, generalizations regarding the use of YOM plates are really not possible. Some states use the YOM plate as the real registration, while others require the vehicle to also have an antique/historic plate onboard. Some require that the plate number be "cleared" -- that is, it doesn't duplicate a valid plate number, while others permit such duplication. Most states require that the YOM plate(s) be authentic state-issued license plates, but what you can get away with often depends on the DMV clerk you're dealing with.

                              Skip Lackie
                              Washington DC
                              Skip Lackie

                              Comment

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