The Quest for Sequential License Plates

I have always hated personalized license plates. So much so, I had trouble driving my wife’s car with girly personalized plates. But when California released the 60s Legacy plates I began to change my mind...

The Legacy of the 1960s

In 2015 California re-released black and yellow plates that were available in the 1960s under a program called the Legacy Plate Program.


They required a minimum of 7,500 pre-orders. The program was initially for the 50s (yellow and black), 60s, and 70s (blue and yellow) legacy plates but only the 60s plates made the required minimum pre-orders.

I think this could have been a good plate to have issued but sadly no one wanted it...

Now the 60s Legacy Plate is actually easy to obtain! It is essentially a form and a small fee each year but you have to decide if you want DMV generated or personalized digits (the latter costs more).

Sequentially Sequestered in Slight of Sight

I opted for the DMV generated digits as opposed to personalized (ex: 4NAKTR). Mainly because as ‘cool’ as I’d like to be, I am far too self-conscious to get something as conceited as “MOMONEY” on my license plate.

A 1970s example of a whipped spouse.

The plates in the 1960s had the prefix of three letters followed by three numbers (ex: ABC 123). The new-60s legacy plates are one letter, three numbers, one letter, and one number (A123B4).

My Camaro with original plates from 1970.

I figured with the DMV generated digits I’d get the unique 60s plate and none of the ‘What does that mean?’ or people honking at you because you have an inappropriate acronym on both bumpers.

An actual 60's plate issued to... Tom? No, just a happy coincidence.

I did however want to go one step further. Not only would I get 60s license plates for my 4Runner, but our Sienna as well. The challenge was to try and get sequential plates for them. That’s plates for both cars that are one digit apart. One car could be A100B0 and the other A101B0.


It seemed like such as easy thing to do. Heck, both forms were submitted together. If these plates were available over the counter it would be very easy as most DMV offices receive a batch of sequentially numbered plates.

You’d think the bean counter at DMV would be entering both cars data at relatively the same time? That there was no way anyone else could be doing data entry to sneak in other people’s plates between my two requests?

The official plate of the sequential department at DMV.

Well apparently FIVE snuck in... who ever was doing my entry wasn’t very fast. Thankfully it’s only one digit off but definitely not sequential. I can’t be too upset. Everything is positive in the name of research!

So close!!! If only I got N223P0 instead of 227.

To be frank I thought it would be a gamble. And if any of you want sequential plates, it is a complete game of chance. The surefire way to get sequential plates would be to order personalized plates that are one digit different. In retrospect that could have been the best way but I simply wasn’t creative enough at the time. I also didn’t want to pay more for the personalized plate ($50 more per car, per year I believe?)


Wasted Time?!

Why would I want nearly sequential plates for two of my cars? Well I was inspired. Several years ago I found that a family friend had the same plate digits as two of their family members from other states.

Looks much better with black plates IMHO.

All three had the same license plate (ex: BM4UL) but the digits were on a California, Oregon, and Washington plate. Only if you saw them together you’d know they had anything to do with one another or knew each other.


The plate digits appeared random. The letters and numbers meant something to them but no one else. They could blend in and be anonymous to almost everyone and in almost every situation, except when around each other.

It was for this reason I decided to get nearly sequential license plates in a classic color. All the 60s charm without any of the conceitedness of a personalized plate. To top it off we’d have something in common in the family, an unobvious uniform. An Easter egg hidden in plain sight.


YOM Plates?

Now you might be asking yourself couldn’t I just get old original 1960s (or 50s or 70s?) license plates and affix them to one of my vehicles?!


The short answer... Yes and no.

California has a program that allows you to affix vintage plates to your vehicle under the Year of Manufacture License Plate program (CVC 5004.1).


You can affix original 1960s license plates to your vehicle. The catch is that it must be on a vehicle from 1963 to 1969. It also has to have the proper prefix for the type of vehicle (auto, commercial, motorcycle) AND it cannot conflict with digits currently in use.

You can actually affix an original plate to any 1980 or older vehicle in California. It has to be consistent with the original plate that would have been issued to it when it was new.


Nearly Sequential and That’s Okay.

Well it would have been sequential had my data entry technician been faster at typing... Or maybe had they not gone on break? I have no idea but clearly it is highly unlikely to ever get sequential license plates unless you order them personalized (ex: BALONY1 & BALONY2)

The new plates makes me think the truck itself is newer than it’s actual 2011 vintage.

All I know is that for a nominal extra fee per year, I have two vehicles with nearly sequential license plates. An almost uniformly numbered set of vehicles in the driveway. To anyone it would appear just to be normal 60s legacy plates, but to me it’s more.


It’s the fact we can be recognized together. An automotive nearly matched pair. If only I could have gotten the numbers closer! I don’t think it is possible to get them much closer, unless you get really lucky. Maybe if your data entry tech stays to work through lunch... or everyone else calls in sick for the day...

I’m sure somewhere one of you with OCD has been going nuts over this article. You’ve had to write down the missing numbers, add them together each time you see them, or walk in and out of the room the same number of times as the average between them.


Now I’ve got a lie to maintain - “Why yes, I own the other five plates, they’re on my other cars at home.”

Some people might even believe that last one even if they know me... I think I’m over two dozen vehicles owned now...?!!!


PS: Mr Demuro released a video on his Ford GT’s ‘Arts Council’ California Plates. These are my second favorite currently obtainable CA plates. I do believe his GT would look better with the 60's plates, but there is a good story behind the Arts Council plates! 

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