Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 22 of 38

Chapter 21: Special Plates

21.230 Reassignment of Old License Plates to Collector Vehicles

A previously issued regular series license plate may be reassigned to a collector vehicle provided:

  • There is not a database record of the collector license plate.
  • The license plate configuration is not on the record as a special interest license plate.
  • An original or photocopy of the California Certificate of Title, registration card or renewal notice is presented as proof the license plates were previously assigned to the vehicle.

Requests for reassignment of old license plates must not be denied when there is a record of the vehicle license plates being assigned.

Definition of a Collector Vehicle (VC §5051)—A Collector Vehicle is a special interest vehicle of any age, that is unaltered from the manufacturer’s original specifications, which, because of the vehicle’s significance, such as being out-of-production, or a model of which fewer than 2,000 were sold in California in any model year, the vehicle is being collected, preserved, restored, or maintained by a collector or hobbyist for restoration, maintenance, or exhibition. A 25-year old vehicle does not automatically qualify as a collector or historical vehicle.

Definition of a Collector (VC §5051)—A collector is the owner of one or more historical or special interest vehicles who collects, purchases, acquires, trades, or disposes of such vehicle(s), or parts thereof, for his or her own use, in order to preserve, restore, and maintain such vehicle(s) for a hobby or historical purposes.

Reassignment of Old License plates—the following must be submitted:

  • An original or photocopy of the California Certificate of Title, registration card, or renewal notice is proof the license plates were previously assigned to the vehicle.
  • A Statement of Facts (REG 256) stating:
    — The old license plate number to be assigned to the vehicle.
    — The old license plate(s) will not be affixed to the vehicle until DMV sends approval.
    — The license plates currently on the vehicle will be surrendered to DMV if the old license plates are approved.
    — Their daytime telephone number.
  • The license plates on the vehicle must not be picked up.
  • Any fees due within 75 days of the license plate application date.

Due to programming limitations, a license plate that still has a record on the database cannot be reassigned. Therefore, customers returning to California after registering their vehicle out of state cannot have their old California license plate reassigned to their collector vehicle if the old license plate still has a record (unless the license plate is eligible under the Year of Manufacture (YOM) License Plate program) or is the owner’s personalized license plate.

Proof of Old License Plate Exception—If a customer was previously denied reassignment of old license plates due to the vehicle having a database record, and all documents proving the old license plates were once assigned to the vehicle were submitted to DMV with a prior transaction, accept the application.