Registering CA YOM Plates, Part 1

Let’s face it, nothing sets apart a vintage Volkswagen like a set of black gold. What I’m talking about are the correct black and gold lettered plates for a ’67 Beetle. The info on the CA YOM program was submited by a reader of 1967beetle.com, Mike Buettell. A huge thanks to him for taking the time to compose such a valuable article.

How to Register Black CA Plates to Your Vintage Volkswagen

Between 1963 and 1969, California issued black license plates with three letters followed by three numbers. “AAA 000″ was issued in 1963 and sometime in early 1969 the state issued “ZZZ 999.” Most 1967 California cars with “original black plates” have plates that start with either “U” or “V;” however depending on the DMV office where the plate was issued “T, U, V, and even a few W’s were issued. Until a few years ago, these plates could not be reissued for use on a car. However, a recent change to the CA DMV’s Year of Manufacturer (YOM) license plate laws now allows these original black and gold plates to be reissued to ’63-’69 passenger cars. Having a set of these plates mounted to your classic really takes the car to a whole new level of nostalgia. The YOM program allows ANY “clear” black plate to be reissued. This means that you can mount a black plate starting with ANY letter on your ’67 Beetle.

Here’s How You Do It

  • Search “1967 California license plate” on Ebay. In addition to two identical plates, you need a blue 1967 sticker. If you search specifically for ’67 black plates you might find one with the 67 sticker already on it thus saving you some money. You can also search “California black plates” and “1967 sticker” separately but it’s more work. You will see black plates at swap meets but I’ve never figured out how to check if they are “clear” on a Saturday morning.
  • Spend some time scrolling through the listings to get a feel for quality and pricing. You’re looking for two identical plates with 3 letters followed by 3 numbers. Don’t be tricked by a truck or “novelty” plate. There are “real” stickers and replicas. I’ve heard that replicas pass DMV muster, but I’m not 100% sure. Mine was real.
  • Make sure the plates you are considering are “clear.” Call 1-800-777-0133 and ask. Mornings around 9:00 AM are best.
  • Buy your plates and sticker.
  • Make sure to apply the sticker to your plate before you go to DMV. On black plates, odd years go on the left and even years on the right, except for 1964 & 1965. ’64 goes on the left and ’65 goes on the right. I made the mistake of having a ’67 sticker on the left and a ’68 sticker on the right. My application was rejected. I scraped off the ’68 sticker, went back to DMV, and after waiting 5 weeks…….. passed.
  • About now you’ll need a stiff drink, a walk in the woods, or an hour driving your Beetle on some open roads.
  • Make an appointment at your local CA DMV. An Auto Club office can’t help you. Since most of the people who work at the DMV are extras in the Men in Black movies be patient and prepared. Here’s what you’ll need: (A) Your filled out YOM application. (B) Your two black plates with blue ’67 sticker attached to one of them. (C) Photo copies of each plate. (D) $45 cash or check. Make sure they charge you the full $45 fee or it will delay your application. (E) Your “old” plates, current registration, and “pink”slip. (you probably won’t be asked for the ‘pink’ but you really don’t want to have to go back.)
  • Under no circumstance allow DMV to keep the black plates. After they process your paperwork, they send the application and photocopies to Sacramento, CA. They take your old plates and issue you a 90 day red sticker that goes in your car window. Make sure the clerk fills out the bottom of the application.
  • Wait 5-7 weeks for your new registration, month and year stickers, to arrive from DMV. If you “pass” they send you two aluminum tabs where you can mount the month and year of your plate and keep the 1967 blue sticker visible. You can also stick the month and year stickers right on the rear black plate if you like.

Again, a huge THANKS to Mike for writing this article for the vintage Volkswagen community. I hope this helps anyone that is considering taking part of the CA YOM program. I just personally went through it and it wasn’t that bad. Make sure to schedule your appointment at the DMV a few days in advance.

Note: This information applies to any vintage Volkswagen from ’63-69. The same rules would apply for you folks with earlier vintage Volkswagens, but the focus on this article is correct black plate for ’67 Beetle.

The Finishing Touches for Your Vintage Volkswagen™

Eric Shoemaker

I created and curate 1967beetle.com. I own and restored a 1967 VW Beetle that my Grandfather bought new. Have a question? Own an air cooled VW? Say hello!

50 Comments

Joe Carton

about 2 years ago

Hi just curious about the year sticker placement. Your example says odd on the left and even on the right, but you were rejected for having the very same things. Am I not reading your example right? Thanks! "'I made the mistake of having a ’67 sticker on the left and a ’68 sticker on the right. "

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Eric

about 2 years ago

Joe, No worries. It should be '67 on the left when you got to the DMV to register. I think what he means in the article is, he had a '68 on the right which is incorrect if you are doing the YOM program. You can only register a sticker for the year of the car. Email me if you have more questions. eric@1967beetle.com

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Jose Francisco Medeiros

about 3 weeks ago

Where did you get the year sticker at? Did DMV let you add these to your car? DMV would not let me take my Black and Yellow plates from my 68 VW that I gave to my nephew to my 66 Ford Mustang Fastback that I owned. DMV is now implementing a Legacy plate program in 2015, they need 7,500 pre orders to implement the program for the era plates. http://www.dmv.ca.gov/legacyplates/index.htm

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Eric Shoemaker

about 3 weeks ago

Jose, The YOM decal was org to the plates. You can also get them on eBay.

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scogre

about 2 years ago

Just want to say a BIG thank you! Just went to the DMV today. I was totally prepared thanks to your post. Just a fantastic experience, in fact, I even explained some of the process to the lady, (as she read her long boring sheet on how to do the transaction). Also, she told me that she does, on average, about one of the YOM applications per year. lol So thanks for figuring it all out! Read this post! Do what it says, the sticker is the key!

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Eric

about 2 years ago

You're welcome! Ahhh, the thought of the DMV gives me nightmares.

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Greg Klausner

about 2 years ago

I bought some plates (and the sticker) a few years ago at the Pomona Swap Meet from a guy that deals in plates. Supposedly I was able to get plates with sequenced numbers that would have been in 1967. I paid $175 for both and then subsequently paid $10 for an original red SEP sticker from him. I taped the registration sticker to the plate (cause I was going to have them restored) when I took it to the DMV (in L.A.). Luckily, a nice young lady helped me and didn't care that the sticker was not actually stuck on. She really didn't know how to register the plates and then got help from another guy. The whole thing took about 30 minutes and then I had to wait 5-6 weeks for them to check that the plates were clear. I then got my registration sticker in the mail. I paid $200 to have the plates restored and they look awesome. Spent nearly $400 on the process but it was worth it. Note that the CA DMV is now taking orders for new "old look" plates (yellow, black, and blue). When they get 7,500 orders for each, they will then begin production.

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Eric

about 2 years ago

Greg, That's a great story! I'm jealous that it was so easy for you. Mine was a pain!

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Stephen

about 1 year ago

Eric, curious about your statement about putting the new stickers directly on your YOM plates. I have a 1969 Mercedes coupe and recently got YOM plates for it with a 1969 sticker (mounted on the right). No problem getting them registered or getting the month and year stickers, but was told they had to be on the tabs, not the plates. I'd much prefer to put the month sticker in it's place on the plate and the new year sticker somewhere on the plate as well. Other thought was to mount the stickered plate on the front and use the blank plate with both new stickers on it on the back. My 1960 original California Austin Healey had the stickers on it, as it is an original plated car. Not sure why it would matter.

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Eric

about 1 year ago

Stephen, Interesting. I was told by the DMV that they had to be directly on the places, in a specific order. I did use a tab on the right side for the org 1967 decal. The DMV was a horrible experience for me. Who knows what the real direction is. They sent my app back 4 times, often for their own mistakes.

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Srfndoc

about 12 months ago

FYI, I just did this (my second time) and they no longer make photo copies of the plates in CA.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 12 months ago

Good to know!

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James

about 12 months ago

Great info. One question: I’m thinking about going through this process, however due to my career, I get moved a bit and could be due for a promotion to another state, outside of California. If I have the car registered in CA and then move, would I have to turn in my plates in the new state to have it registered there? I’d prefer to hold on to them for when I get moved back to CA. Thoughts?

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Eric Shoemaker

about 12 months ago

James, Good question. No, you'd not surrender old plates. You'd simply not renew the car. Then, if you came back to CA you could re-issue them back. It would be a fairly easy process; mainly dealing with the DMV.

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Wade

about 8 months ago

Hey, thanks for this info. I have a '67 that I inherited and just getting it restored. The DMV gave me new plates and tags because the title was lost. I have the original black plates, but the 1967 Sticker was covered by the month registration tag. So the DMV kicked it back to me. I guess I have to acquire a new 1967 Sticker. My question is, should I remove the old registration month (June) and year (1987, yep been sitting for a long time) stickers and then apply the newly acquired 1967 sticker? Or should I just put the 1967 sticker on the front plate? BTW, your site has helped me a lot! Thanks.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 8 months ago

Wade, You're going to have to find a real 1967 decal. They can be purchased on eBay. I had the DMV send my tag info back about 5 times. Stay on them, as they really have no clue when it comes to YOM. Keep us posted!

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Wade

about 8 months ago

Eric, Yeah, I got the part about ordering a real "1967 decal." Just don't know if I should remove all of old registration stickers (the month and year ones on the rear plate) or just leave them and put the real 1967 sticker on the front plate. I just want to do it right this time. I've had 3 trips to the DMV getting it titled and registered so far. You're definitely right about them not knowing at the DMV. The gal told me that they weren't the right year and then mentioned something about getting a decal online or something. She didn't really know. I think a supervisor told her to say that, but she didn't know what it meant. So I did some searching and found your post. Looking at this, I know I need the 1967 sticker. Just don't know if it's okay to leave the old registration stickers on one of the plates.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 8 months ago

You said it! I'd leave the old registration stickers. Chances are, if it's incorrect you can change it in front of them. I've CC-ed Mike B who has dealt with this a lot. Let's see what he has to say. Give us a few hours.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 8 months ago

Also... Read this. http://1967beetle.com/ca-yom/

Wade

about 8 months ago

WOOHOO! So I decided to go ahead and remove the old registration stickers. I started with the year ones on the right side. I tried WD-40 and then Goo Gone. Had limited success. Then used razor blades to get most of it off. Did scratch the black paint a little On the left side where the all important "1967" sticker was covered, I tried my wife's hair dryer. Got it heated up and used an exacto knife and SUCCESS! I was actually able to pull up the old registration sticker without damaging the YOM "1967" sticker underneath. The serial number is perfectly in tact. I'm kinda surprised that the hair dryer got it warm enough to pull off the old stickers. These things are pretty durable. I'm ready to head back to the DMV. Stoked!

Eric Shoemaker

about 8 months ago

Hair dryer! That's exactly what I did....

Eric Shoemaker

about 8 months ago

And thanks for the kind words. 1967beetle.com exist for you.

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srfndoc

about 8 months ago

I have a spare 67 sticker (it's a repro sticker that looks great, purchased from Ebay) if anyone needs one. Post your email address if your interested.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 8 months ago

I've heard that the DMV isn't going for those anymore... I'd not chance it.

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srfndoc

about 8 months ago

I know a few people on the Samba that have used them recently. You really cant tell the difference. No big deal either way, I just had an extra and thought I would offer it up.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 8 months ago

Ahhh! Well in that case! We could do a classified ad too, if you'd like. eric@1967beetle.com.

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Wade

about 8 months ago

Hmm, if it looks good, I'd probably give it a try. I seriously doubt any of the people I dealt with at the DMV would be able to tell the difference. As it stands, all that I can find are reclaimed stickers. They may be in worse condition. Here's my email srfndoc: wade_lee@yahoo.com.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 8 months ago

I was going to post as a classified, but go for it. Let us know how it works out.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 8 months ago

From Mike. "I would suggest scraping off all old stickers. Put the real '67 sticker on the right side of one of the black plates. The other plate should be clean and sticker free. Then make an appointment and go to DMV. Here’s what you’ll need: (A) Your filled out YOM application. (B) Your two black plates with blue ’67 sticker attached to one of them. (C) Photo copies of each plate. (D) $45 cash or check. Make sure they charge you the full $45 fee or it will delay your application. (E) Your “old” plates, current registration, and “pink”slip. (you probably won’t be asked for the ‘pink’ but you really don’t want to have to go back.) Under no circumstance allow DMV to keep the black plates. After they process your paperwork, they send the application and photocopies to Sacramento, CA. They take your old white plates (if that's what you have) and issue you a 90 day red sticker that goes in your car window. Make sure the clerk fills out the bottom of the application. Wait 5-7 weeks for your new registration, month and year stickers, to arrive from DMV. If you “pass” they send you two aluminum tabs where you can mount the month and 2014 of your plate and keep the 1967 blue sticker visible. You can also stick the month and year stickers right on the rear black plate if you like. You can also put the '67 plate on the front of the car and the 2014 on the rear. GOOD LUCK!"

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Wade

about 8 months ago

Sounds good. Except the 1967 sticker goes on the left side of the plate. That is where my original one is affixed. Just like the picture at the top.

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srfndoc

about 8 months ago

That's correct. That was where my original was and I left it there when I took it in to the DMV for the YOM processing.

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Dom

about 6 months ago

So here's a question, I just purchased a '66 type 1 from the second owner who happens to be the son of the original owner. We have the pink which was last registered in '84 (to the son) showing the plate number, have the two original plates that came with the car and all other appropriate paper work. Unfortunately the car had fallin out of the system and DMV is now requiring a YOM application to be able to use the plates. They are saying they need this YOM application due to the fact that the YOM sticker not viewable and the stamp on the plate is 63 not 66. Weren't all black plates stamped with 63? I have parents '67 type 1 and had it transferred over to my name with no issues or additional paperwork. I also purchased another '67 a couple of years back with black plates and was never questioned about the plates and the YOM sticker. This car had back dues and didn't even come close to the trouble that I am having with this '66. Is this another way for CA DMV to get more money or did I just get stuck at the wrong window at the DMV?

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Eric Shoemaker

about 6 months ago

Dom, I'd say for sure the wrong DMV window. They are idiots. (Did I just say that?) I've FWD-ed your comment to my partners. Hang tight, the VW smoke signals are out.

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Dom

about 6 months ago

Thanks, any help would be great. I now understand why they have security guards posted there. This will be my fourth visit with them. The first resulted in a deny of registration due to the fact the the verification form, that was filled out a police officer, had model type entered as "SEDAN" instead of the code "SD" and that they did not enter the number of wheels for the vehicle in question. DMV's response was that police officers did not know how to fill out the form and that is why you need to bring it to CHP office. When I asked them to hi-light the fields that were required, he said they can't do that. Go figure, maybe they don't know what they are doing either.

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Jay Salser

about 6 months ago

Good morning from Texas, Dom...So far...we have fewer headaches with plate assignments here in Texas--but, it happens here too. One friend was denied. He went to a different DMV and passed like a breeze. I'd have to agree with Eric. Try another DMV. Make sure that there are no questions to be asked--before you go in. Go into the office smiling. Walk right up to the window and start the conversation by talking about your wonderful car and proud you will be driving it. Tell the person how happy you are that he is going to help you with your car. Even have a photo of your car. Get the person engaged in the process. If you can! I hope that you are immediately successful this time. jay

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Wade

about 6 months ago

I've been going through this process recently. I'd vote for the wrong window, as well. I think you still have to fill out the YOM application because, as they said, the vehicle has been out of the system for so long. Mine was last registered in 1987 and it was out of the system too. It's a pretty simple form. I was told that if you have the old registration or title that shows the black plate number assigned to the vehicle, they don't need to see the YOM sticker on the plate (mine was cover by years of registration stickers). I did not have the original title/registraion (lost), so I had to carefully peel off years of registration stickers to get to that 1967 one on the bottom. You shouldn't have to do that if you have title/registration in hand that shows the plate was registered to the vehicle. When I went the the DMV I was lucky enough to get the same gal a couple of times. She was fairly new, but was smart enough to ask a an experienced co-worker. That co-worker actually had a cheat sheet to follow. She said that she only does about one or tow a year. She was surprised because she had just done one a week prior to mine. Hope this helps, Wade

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Dom

about 6 months ago

Thanks for all the responses, fortunately I was able to get a hold of the original owner and get the YOM release of interest signed and should be able to use the plates for the car. The main thing that irks me is that going this route will require an additional $20.00 each year in addition to all the ridiculous fees that this State decides to impose. Was just hoping that I could track down some vehicle code that would get me out of having to give away more of my money. Thanks again.

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Dom

about 6 months ago

Just came across this... https://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/reg_hdbk/ch21/ch21_36.htm Hopefully DMV will concur - 21.175 Year of Manufacture (YOM) License Plates (CVC §5004.1) Retention of old license plates (not YOM plates) on collector vehicles Under specific circumstances, the department may allow a car collector to retain the old plates that were originally assigned to the vehicle. - The original or photocopy of the California title or registration showing the plate number originally assigned to that vehicle must be submitted with the application. • The plate configuration: must be available, and not in a series reserved for issuance as a special interest or other plate series.

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Jay Salser

about 6 months ago

Good to hear that you are working through this situation, Dom! In order to cut costs for my collector cars, I have insured with a Collector Insurance Agency. This gives me better insurance but at a much reduced cost. The usual stipulation is to be able to store the car in a garage and to have another vehicle for your daily needs. I hate spending money unnecessarily on my hobby--sort of cuts into the fun part! jay

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Dom

about 6 months ago

So here's the latest...contacted the previous owner and was able to get the "Release of Assignment" signed (fortunately still had the listing from Craig's List). Made my 5th visit to DMV, brought in the requested paperwork and was questioned again about the '63 stamp on the plate and not being the year of the vehicle. Explained that I had already gone through this and that I was instructed to have the two forms signed and to return them to complete the transfer of the plates. Fortunately the gal that we worked with on the previous visit recognized us and explained to the new clerk that I was correct. Had to fill out another "Statement of Fact" form stating that I would not install the plates until I hear back from Sacramento. Paperwork has been sent to Sacramento and now for the wait...could be 90 days. In the meantime I running car with temporary 90 day plate. Oh for the joy of purchasing a vehicle that has fallen out of the CA DMV system.

Jay Salser

about 6 months ago

I applaud your persistence, Dom! It is always 'interesting" how that the right hand of the Bureaucratic System never seems to know what the left hand is doing. It is good that you have the paper-work in hand. You are going to win this one! When you do..please remember to tell the Readers about it-- jay

Wade

about 6 months ago

One last question on this process from me. So I received my new registration and stickers today to go on my black plate. They also included the metal tabs to attach if I don't want to put the new stickers directly on the plate. Any of you guys using those tabs on your YOM plates? Is there any sort of "classic car community" preference regarding this? My '67 is a recently restored nice driver. Single family owned car (if that makes a difference). I don't really mind putting the stickers on the plate. But the idea of covering up that original 1967 YOM sticker has me giving it a second thought. Thanks guys. You've been a huge help to a newbie beetle owner. Wade

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Eric Shoemaker

about 6 months ago

Wade, Hey. Well, everyone does something different it seems. I do use the tabs and just run the '67 YOM decal above the normal decals. I'd not worry too much about the plate. Here's a photo of my own '67.

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Wade

about 6 months ago

Thanks for the reply, Eric. Nice '67 you got there. Well, my plates show quite a bit more "character" marks after 46 years than yours do! Since there isn't a consensus, I guess I'll do some configuration to keep that YOM sticker showing.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 6 months ago

Wade, Sure! Here's my full '67 build.

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Jay Salser

about 6 months ago

Wade...Retaining provenance (ie--your original sticker) makes sense. It's some more history about your vehicle. jay

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mikebuettell

about 6 months ago

Wade, Congratulations on surviving the ordeal. Using the metal tabs is completely a matter of preference. Personally, I just put the 2014 sticker right over the '67 sticker and life goes on. I've seen cars with the 2014 sticker on the rear plate and the '67 sticker on the front plate. Some cars in shows use the little tabs. If you choose not to use the tabs, you can probably sell them on ebay. Wade, Congratulations on surviving the ordeal. Using the metal tabs is completely a matter of preference. Personally, I just put the 2014 sticker right over the '67 sticker and life goes on. I've seen cars with the 2014 sticker on the rear plate and the '67 sticker on the front plate. Some cars in shows use the little tabs. If you choose not to use the tabs, you can probably sell them on ebay.

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Chuck

about 6 months ago

Eric, seems like you have this figured out. I'm hoping you can answer a few questions for me. I bought a 1957, unfortunately the car didn't come with plates. The registration still has the original 6 digit plate number. I was thinking of getting a pair of replica plates made. I'm considering YOM plates too. In your YOM instructions, you mention that I must have my original plates when I go to the DMV. What to do if I don't have my OG plates? I understand that I need 56' Yellow plates with black letters. My plate number is strange, I think there may have been a typo made somewhere in the past. My plate number on my registration is HVM85E. The letter "E" is out of place, it should be a number. Have you ever seen this before? I was told that I must buy a plate that was originally issued in 1957. Hence, I cannot buy a yellow plate that was originally issued in 1959 and put a 1957 sticker on it. Is this true? Thanks a lot, looking forward to your response. -Chuck

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Eric Shoemaker

about 6 months ago

Chuck, I've sent out smoke signals to the VW community to help with this question. In short, you can't run replica plates. They should be correct to the year. You don't however have to have the EXACT plates. I've not seen that before.. I'd give Brian over at Finish Your Plates a ring. He can get you in the right direction.

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Jay Salser

about 6 months ago

Hello, Chuck... Your message to Mike/1967Beetle.com, was copied to me, here in Texas. Although I live in Texas, I feel that the application is going to be the same. YOM means Year Of Manufacture. This means that the plates which you choose must be for the year your car was manufactured--in this case, year 1957. You can check various sources for Original Plates--antique dealers, license plate collectors and even eBay, etc. The plates must not be compromised--that is currently registered to any other vehicle. The '57 Beetle which you bought, had different plates on it over the years that it was in service. However, if you want to use the Classic YOM Plates, you must find a set of the 1957 plates. Mike--please correct me if this is incorrect. I know that these laws change from time to time. jay

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