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US License Plate Mounting

Texas John

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Go to a sheet metal or AC/HVAC business and ask to rummage in their trash bin. Find a piece of sheet metal large enough to fit the holes on the bike and also the plate you wish to fit. Cut to fit and round corners (can be rather sharp).
Paint sheet metal black, drill holes to match those on bike and also to mount the new plate. Mount plate to sheet metal and mount assembly onto bike.
 

Mark Stephenson

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
In California, you cannot use a 60s plate on a 50s bike, unless that plate was originally issued to that bike back in 1963, the last time every vehicle in CA was issued a new plate, AND the registration has been renewed continuously ever since. If you obtain a 50s plate, along with the correct year tag to match the model year on the title, then you can retro fit the old plate onto the bike. CA calls this the “year of manufacture” option, but it is really the model year option, whatever model year CA has assigned to the bike, or often, whatever year the bike was first sold. The Shadow I have is titled as a 54, since it was first purchased in Oct 1954, despite being built in late 1952, and being shipped from the factory in 1953.

In CA, there are no usage restrictions to retro fitting an old plate onto the vehicle. And in CA, you will still pay yearly registration fees, plus a small fee on top for the privilege of having the special plate.
Well that is interesting to know. I have not made it to the DMV yet. So I guess I am going to get that bad news. Do you think it might matter that the bike, originally sold in SF has been out of state for 30 years? Best Mark
 

TouringComet

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Administrator
VOC Forum Moderator
I assume that means that California registration has not been paid for 30 years. Your choices are to be assigned a new license plate of the current styles with a letter and number pattern from the normal sequence, or a “vanity” plate consisting of a letter and number pattern of your choice (within certain limits), or purchase an original license plate that was genuinely issued by CA back in the day, that correctly matches the model year as the bike is titled, this is the year of manufacture program. To do the YOM program, you have to have both the correct “base” plate, and may also need the correct specific year tag. The “base” plates changed every few years. For example, a 1948 bike would need a 1947 base plate, plus the 1948 metal tag issued when the registration was renewed in 1948. The 1947 base plate was used until 1950, and new base plates were issued to all CA vehicles in 1951. If your bike is titled as a 1951 bike, no extra metal year tag is required. But if your bike is titled as a 1952-1955 bike, then you need an appropriate year tag. Some Vincents that remained unsold until 1956 and then titled as a 1956 bike, would need the 1956 base plate. The 1956 base plate was used until 1962, but CA switched from metal tags to stickers, to indicate the yearly registration renewal fees were paid. So a 1957 vehicle would need a 1956 base plate plus a 1957 sticker. Vendors on eBay buy old plates and carefully peel the stickers off, one by one, and apply new adhesive, then sell the stickers. I will post pictures later today of my old license plates. I used to have two motorcycles with the YOM plates, and I currently have one automobile with YOM plates.

Base plates have the initial starting year embossed in the plate. The metal year tags have the two digit year embossed. The colors also changed from one base plate to the next, and the colors changed from one year tag to the next.
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thats a system to keep people employed if ever. :)
But then California is a place of freedom no ANPR cameras or compulsory helmets there!
 

vin998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
The more holed the better the power to weight. Oh well !
You would need the holes to lighten the bike to counteract some of the US plates I have seen that stick out beyond the Vincent rear plate and so will act as extra aerodynamic drag :D
 

TouringComet

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Administrator
VOC Forum Moderator
Thats a system to keep people employed if ever. :)
But then California is a place of freedom no ANPR cameras or compulsory helmets there!
Some states require helmets for all riders and passengers, including CA. Some states require helmets only for young persons. Only 3 states do not require helmets at all.

We call them ALPR cameras, and it varies by city within CA. We also have cameras at intersections, to fine people that run red lights, and other infractions.
 
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TouringComet

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Administrator
VOC Forum Moderator
Here is a 1951 CA motorcycle plate, no year tag added. This plate can be retro-fitted to any motorcycle titled as a 1951, as long as this particular number sequence is not already in use. Each time CA switched to a new base plate, everyone had to get new plates, and the number sequence started over. So base plates from different eras could have the same number sequence.

IMG_2985.JPG

Here is a 1951 motorcycle base plate with a 1954 year tag

IMG_2987.JPG

Here is a 1963 passenger car base plate, with a 1965 year sticker.

IMG_2988.JPG

1963 was the last time CA made everyone with currently registered vehicles hand in their old plates and attach new plates to their vehicles, with a new number/letter sequence assigned. From then on, each yearly renewal meant attaching a new sticker. When the AAA 000 sequence for cars reached ZZZ 999, CA switched the sequence to be 000 AAA, and also changed to a blue background. This occurred around 1970. When that sequence ran out at 999 ZZZ, CA switched to a 7 character sequence, 1 AAA 000. When that reached 1 ZZZ 999, it rolls over to 2 AAA 000, and so on. We are currently at 8 Txx nnn. There is much speculation about what will happen when 9 ZZZ 999 is reached.

Many years after 1963, people advertising vehicles for sale would specify "CA black plates" in the ad. This used to be very prestigious. This meant that the vehicle was still registered with the 1963 base plate. For cars built and sold prior to 1963, or that were built up until the blue plates started in 1970, if you were selling a car in the 1980s or later, still having the CA black plate from the 1960s was an indication that the vehicle was relatively rust free, as the assumption was, the car was stored or used in CA during all those subsequent years. THIS IS NO LONGER TRUE, since 1960s plates can now be retrofitted to any vehicle titled as a 1963-1969/70 vehicle now owned by someone in CA, whether or not that car was originally sold in CA.

Here is a 1970s era blue plate, from a passenger car, with a 1980 renewal sticker, spotted at the VOC Annual Rally in 2012. The owner told me the plate was found in the UK at a breakers/salvage yard. That type of plate, if you have or buy a matching pair (since CA requires plates on the front and back of cars), with a matching renewal sticker from the 1970s, can now be retrofitted to vehicles titled as as a year from the 1970s.

BluePlate.JPG
 

Mark Stephenson

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I understand the reluctance to drill more holes in the PRnn whatever mounting plate, but as a Californian, it wouldn’t be too out of place, since a Vincent purchased in CA back in the 50s had one size plate and mounting hole pattern, then in 1963 when everyone had to turn in their existing plates for new ones, those where a different size and hole pattern.
ooooh. Best argument yet for simply drilling holes in the darn mounting plate. Also California's rules about "YoM" are crazy. Not spending $600 for a 1947 plate and then $65 for a 1950 tab:). Drill the holes, lose brain cells somewhere else:)
 

BigEd

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
.... Best argument yet for simply drilling holes in the darn mounting plate. ...... :). Drill the holes, lose brain cells somewhere else:)
I don't (personally) understand why people are so precious about a couple of small holes in a PR27. Holes can be filled in a PR27 and painted should an owner want to go down the "rivet counter" route and a new PR27 is available from the Spares Co should the need arise.
 

stu spalding

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
My original number plate was drilled with holes for a full set of the triangular cross section letters, held on by 'star' washers. Whether this was originally done by the dealers or an owner I've no idea. Cheers, Stu.
 

peter holmes

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I don't (personally) understand why people are so precious about a couple of small holes in a PR27. Holes can be filled in a PR27 and painted should an owner want to go down the "rivet counter" route and a new PR27 is available from the Spares Co should the need arise.
Ah, but the replacement PR27 from the spares company might be slightly different in the pressing or the construction, I wonder how many folks have lost a concours competition by having a two piece, spot welded PR27 copy, got to be original don't you know.
 

BigEd

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
Gosh, Peter I hadn't thought of that.;) If ever I enter a concours (it will never happen) I'd have to watch out for that. Not much chance for anyone to enter a concours this year. Let us hope we all have a better 2021.
 

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