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.
- Go to the California DMV website and download “Year of Manufacture (YOM) License Plate application (vehicle Code 5004.1) and fill it out. They also have these forms at any CA DMV office.
- 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.