SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — CA Assembly Bill (AB) 1658, a bill by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D–Los Angeles) that would allow car enthusiasts to apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for “classic” California license plates, passed its first legislative hurdle on Monday.

The Assembly Transportation Committee passed the California Legacy License Plate Program by a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 14-0. The legislation would allow car owners to choose from one of three classic California license plate designs, including the familiar “black with yellow lettering” and “blue with yellow lettering” that marked license plates during the heyday of classic cars.

“What’s old is new,” said Gatto, “This bill would enable everyone from the backyard auto restorer, to the nostalgic, to the purchaser of a brand-new but retro-styled automobile, to opt for a license plate most appropriate for their car. And it might make the state a little money too.”

Monday’s Assembly Transportation Committee hearing featured a bit of an oddity: representatives from car clubs coming to the state Capitol to register their support for a bill. “Aside from not salting our roads, California doesn’t often do much for automobile enthusiasts,” said Gatto, “This is an easy way for the state to make life a little more enjoyable for those of us who appreciate the classic era of automobile design.”

AB 1658 specifies that the DMV would not issue the vintage plates until 7,500 paid applications have been received statewide. Further, it stipulates that any monies remaining after the DMV recuperates its administrative costs be placed into other DMV-funded programs, which with recent budget cuts, have been short on funds. The bill has received an enthusiastic response so far, with many people contacting the Assembly office asking when and where they can apply.

Mike Gatto is the Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore of the California State Assembly. He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and parts of Los Angeles, including Los Feliz, North Hollywood, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, and Van Nuys.


  1. Talk about false advertising and our A.G.. Holly steam-rollers Batman. They left out one tiny fact. Like so small, why even bother to mention it. The plates will be flat, as in “flat as a pancake flat”, just like Arizona and Nevada have now. And guess what? There aren’t 75 purists out there let alone 7,500 in total who’ll buy them. California is the world Capital of nostalgic automobiles. Why mess with one still two great things about California, the sun and autos.

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