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What is the significance of a CA black plate?


PSloan

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I always hear people talk aboue having a "CA black plate car" and while I understand that it's an orig. ca car - is that all it means?

My car has these plates - however I have no use for them. Just curious.

Patrick Sloan

1975 inka 2002 - 2375719

1991 325iC

2001 325i

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I think CA plates were changed to blue in 1970. Having original black plates probably indicates a clean titled pre-1970 car. If the car lost registration at some point in it's life for some reason (due to salvage title, sat around in a side yard for many years, abandoned), it will have had new blue or white plates issued to it.

Jerry

no bimmer, for now

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It's been a while since I lived in CA. but here's what I recall (I'm sure the west coast guys will chime in when they wake up today!). In California, license plates stay with the car, even as ownership of the car changes. I.e., once a car is registered and is issued a plate, that plate stays with the car for as long as the car continues to be registered in CA. That procedure came into effect in 1963, when all the cars then on the road were issued new plates, which were black with yellow digits and letters (three letters followed by three numerals). In about 1975 CA ran out of letter/number combinations for the black plates, and there was a statewide plate changeover to blue plates with yellow digits (these were three digits followed by three letters--i.e., the reverse of the '63 black plates), and all the cars that were registered after that got the blue plates, until CA ran out of number/letter combinations for that series, and started to issue white plates with seven characters). The short of it is, if you have a car with black plates, it was a car that was either already on the road in CA in 1963 or was registered in CA from 1963 through 1975, and so is an

"Original" CA car (i.e., should be relatively free from rust). If you have a pre-75 (or could be '74, I 'm not really sure when the changeover was in the 70's) Bimmer, it should be a black plate car to be original CA. If '75-'76 (and possibly '74) it should be a blue plate car to be CA original.

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Cool. I've got a 1967 - last registerted in california in 1981. It spent the past 25 years in colorado and alabama - but I guess was never registered.

Is the only way to keep these plates to have it registered in california?

Patrick Sloan

1975 inka 2002 - 2375719

1991 325iC

2001 325i

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In general, if you see a black plated car in CA, it means the car belongs to the original owner. Then there are those who "find" a set of black plates and follow DMV rules and re-register the plates to a car that is year correct for the number sequence on the car. For PSloan, I think it means he got the car from the original owner. It's a badge of honor and a period correct thing.

For me, my orignal 74 has the yellow letters on blue and is letter sequence LZR which makes it about 1/2 way in the blue plate run.

Patrick, if the original owner sold you the car, then you keep the plate. In CA, new plates using current colors (blue letters on white) are issued when you re-register the car and you're not using the special rule for period correct plates.

Bob

BMWCCA #4844 (#297 of The 308)

1974 2002 Sahara, MM 2400 Rally engine, MM 5 speed and conversion

1976 2002A Anthracite parts car

1991 525i AlpinweiB II

2002 330ci AlpinweiB III

2007 530xiT Titanium Silver

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Well, I'm in TX. The car has had 4 owners including myself - but I suspect that the previous 2 did not drive it as they did not register it in their state. I suppose that is also why the CA plates remain after being in 4 different states. My title is a california title - is there any way I can tell if it was last titled to the orig. owner? I wouldn't mind trying to get in touch with them - as the car seems to have a strange history.

Patrick Sloan

1975 inka 2002 - 2375719

1991 325iC

2001 325i

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In general, if you see a black plated car in CA, it means the car belongs to the original owner. Then there are those who "find" a set of black plates and follow DMV rules and re-register the plates to a car that is year correct for the number sequence on the car. For PSloan, I think it means he got the car from the original owner. It's a badge of honor and a period correct thing.

For me, my orignal 74 has the yellow letters on blue and is letter sequence LZR which makes it about 1/2 way in the blue plate run.

Patrick, if the original owner sold you the car, then you keep the plate. In CA, new plates using current colors (blue letters on white) are issued when you re-register the car and you're not using the special rule for period correct plates.

Not really true, as the previous poster stated " plates stay with the car".

You can sell the car a thousand times and still retain the plates.

The only special thing about the plates is that they are old and you don't see as many as you used too, and thet are correct for the early cars. I have 3 cars with blue plates, I am not the original owner of any of them.

MJ

75 2002

76 2002

71 F250 camper special

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If the plate stays with the car, then why is it so many CA 2002s have white plates? It would seem there would be a swarm of black and blue plates at these shows and there isn't.

Bob

BMWCCA #4844 (#297 of The 308)

1974 2002 Sahara, MM 2400 Rally engine, MM 5 speed and conversion

1976 2002A Anthracite parts car

1991 525i AlpinweiB II

2002 330ci AlpinweiB III

2007 530xiT Titanium Silver

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If the plate stays with the car, then why is it so many CA 2002s have white plates? It would seem there would be a swarm of black and blue plates at these shows and there isn't.

Because they're not originally from California or they have vanity (personalized) plates.

Plates stay with the car in California.

now: '72 Inka 2000 touring, '82 Alpina C1 2.3  & '92 M5T (daily driver)

before: a lot of old BMWs (some nice, some not so much), a few air-cooled 911s and even a water-cooled Cayman S

Alpina restoration blog: https://www.alpinac1.com/

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Ok, I'm not arguing the rule but if I remember back to the 2002 years, all the cars where sold back east and mainly in CA. What happened to all the CA cars?

Bob

BMWCCA #4844 (#297 of The 308)

1974 2002 Sahara, MM 2400 Rally engine, MM 5 speed and conversion

1976 2002A Anthracite parts car

1991 525i AlpinweiB II

2002 330ci AlpinweiB III

2007 530xiT Titanium Silver

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There was a bill, last year I think, that would have allowed cars from 1969 and back to replate with new black and yellow plates. Historic car owners were pushing for it, arguing that their cars couldn't be truly restored unless they had year-of-make plates on them. But it failed in the state Assembly. In the meantime, you can get fake black and yellow plates here: http://www.licenseplates.tv/cat/california_147.html. Although why you would do that is beyond me.

BTW, my guess is that if the car referenced in the original post was not continuously registered over the years, the DMW will replace the black and yellows with new plates.

'71 Sahara (sold 2019)

'74 '02 (sold 1/09)

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If the plate stays with the car, then why is it so many CA 2002s have white plates? It would seem there would be a swarm of black and blue plates at these shows and there isn't.

Because they're not originally from California or they have vanity (personalized) plates.

Plates stay with the car in California.

The plates do stay with the car unless registered out of state and then reregistered in CA. (new white plates will be issued)

So if you want those plates to be associated with the original VIN, contact CA DMV and find out how long its been sinse its had current CA reg.

(you got one year from the date/month on tags)

...or...

if the CA registration was allowed to lapse and wasn't legally registered within the alloted "grace period" (i don't remember what that is---i think that it is any time LESS-THAN one year--or maybe its just 6 months--pretty sure its within 1 yr) or issued a "non-op"...

then the car will be issued the current white plates.

Basically CA is telling us that they will associate a VIN and PLATE as long as it has an uninterupted (for less than 1yr) and current registration.

If that lapses for 1yr, then the original plates are no longer associated to the VIN and basically becomes a garage wall placard.

Jack be nimble - Jack be quick

If Jack isn't, he's gonna get his ass burned!

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