Antique Auto License Plates


State Index
For Sale/Trade

California    (CA)

1952 Horseless Carriage

14" x 6" steel plate with rounded corners and 8 mounting holes.  Numbering started at 1.  Renewed annually with a metal tab for the rear plate through 1955.

1956 Horseless Carriage

The 1956 base was renewed annually with stickers (rear plate only) through 1962.

Undated Horseless Carriage, Type 1

The undated white-on-red base has been in use since 1963.  Renewed annually with stickers (rear plate only).  Lower numbered plates are made of steel, with a painted back.

Undated Horseless Carriage, Type 2

Plates around the 5000 serial block have 2 depressed boxes for the renewal stickers.  Material was changed to aluminum (still with a painted back).

Undated Horseless Carriage, Type 3

The sticker wells were subsequently removed.  Material is still aluminum, now with an unpainted back.

Undated Historical Vehicle

The undated red-on-white aluminum Historical Vehicle base has been in use since 1975.  Renewed annually with stickers (rear plate only).  Serial format switched to 000A after #9999.


Horseless Carriage plates are currently for vehicles manufactured in 1922 or earlier.  (Vehicles with 16 or more cylinders manufactured prior to 1965 also qualify.)

Historic Vehicle plates are for vehicles or trailers manufactured after 1922 which are at least 25 years old and of historic interest.

Both types require that highway operation be primarily for historical exhibition or similar.  Both types have annual registration and license fees.


Impressive Horseless Carriage display of Rob Tyler (ALPCA 5805)

California DMV publication - "Vehicles of Historic value"

Online ALPCA Archives - California [requires member password]


                       Site last updated 1-Dec-2016