A few weeks ago we shared that there is an effort to take California license plates back to a more simpler, classic time by way reproducing plates from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The effort is very small and would bring a very design friendly plate to California cars, allowing your car to make a statement without you actually having to do all that much at the DMV. It only makes sense that such a “cool” little effort was started by an LA person. Who is responsible for it? Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a native Angeleno who represents the 43rd District, an area that covers Silver Lake, Glendale, Atwater Village, Burbank, Los Feliz, and more.
Gatto is one of those “cool” politician who is fighting the good fight in all the best ways. Annoyed about getting a ticket on a broken parking meter? Mike Gatto just fixed that. Think we need more dog parks? Gatto’s on that. Annoyed you were a small batch food producer who couldn’t sell goods? Mike took care of that too. He definitely knows what civic issues to take care of and is doing some pretty wild things in his position. We had a quick chat with him about his latest effort—the Legacy License Plates—to learn more about where the idea came from and what he needs to make it a reality.
The Legacy License Plate project is something that has gotten a great response from people as they bring a vintage, minimal license plate aesthetic to modern and classic cars. What sparked the idea to bring them back?
California Government doesn’t do much for the thousands of car enthusiasts in our state, and most laws that apply to them tell them they can’t do certain things. The idea came to me after seeing all the different license plates legislators were pushing, things like “save the whales” plates and such. I tried to think of the one type of plate that car collectors really wanted, in original DMV form. So many collectors buy old plates at swap meets, only to find they are forgeries or not what they wanted. This is a way to get original DMV plates, personalized how a collector wants them, for their classic cars.
Do you feel that the project resonates with a specific type of Californian? Are you guys finding that the people supporting the project are a certain “type”?
This project is a natural fit for any Californian, since we are a state where car culture means a lot to us. There’s a lot of nostalgia for the great models and looks of the past.
What obstacles do you see coming the way of the Legacy project? It seems like such a cool, design friendly, “Duh!” project that surely will pass.
The only obstacle is reaching the 7,500 mark for each plate. So far the response has been good, especially for the black plate, with over 4,200 approved applications. We could see those in production as early as next January if the numbers stay consistent. But people should apply ASAP.
How have Angelenos been responding to the project? Do you imagine it has the potential to change the license plate landscape in the city?
At this point, we have no official breakdown of where the registrations are coming from, but I would imagine that Angelenos have been a major part of it. I attend car shows in the area from time to time, and I get some nice “thank yous” from area residents too!
How quickly could these plates start rolling out? The deadline is in 2015 but could they be released earlier if there is enough support?
If the registration keeps its current pace, we could see the black plates as soon as next January. This is one of those things where, the more word gets out, the better it is for everyone. Remember, the first guy who ordered has to wait for the 7500th to order, for the DMV to actually start making the plates, since it’s a cost issue. Thanks for your help in spreading the word!
This is all very exciting and we can most definitely see these becoming a “thing” amongst the LA design clique, becoming a marker of your forward thinking tastes. We hope so! Although we don’t think that they suit our really terrible 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle that we hate, we will likely be getting us these plates to help support the effort. Learn more about the Legacy Plates here and pre-order them from this form here. Be sure to check out Mike’s website here and follow him on Twitter for live updates.