California 1963 license plate

California Specialty License Plates Laws

In the state of California vehicles are required to have two license plates, as opposed to some other states where only a single license plate is needed. Different states also have various requirements for each specialty plates; it’s often subject to change so we recommend you check with your local DMV for up to date guidelines and paperwork required.

Vehicles which may qualify for specialty plates include antique or collector cars, horseless carriage, vintage or historic vehicles, custom vehicles and some other types.

California also allows vehicle owners to display plates issued in the state of CA in the year the vehicle was manufactured, which are also known as “YOM” or “Year of Manufacture” plates.

Below are all the current relevant laws pertaining to specialty license plates.

Historic Vehicle

These plates are available to vehicles manufactured after 1922 which are at least 25 years old and of historic interest.

Horseless Carriage

Available for vehicles with an engine of 16 or more cylinders that were manufactured prior to 1965 and for vehicles manufactured in 1922 or earlier, regardless of cylinders.


Available to all vehicles, these are replicas of California license plates similar to those issued in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.


Vehicles manufactured in 1969 or earlier may display YOM plates with DMV approval.

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This article about California Specialty License Plates Laws was last updated in 2020. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!