If year-of-manufacture (YOM) license plates grew on trees, the tree for the United States would have 50 branches, with about 38 of them bearing YOM tags. I say “about” because it’s hard to determine if proposed YOM laws in three states have yet been passed by state legislatures. So there are either 35 (or 38) states that currently have laws permitting the use of old license plates on collector cars.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2005/11/08/year-of-manufacture-plates


I’m new to this – how would I go about finding a YOM license plate for the 56 Chevy I just bought?


@mcarroll48 - There is a multitude of sources for vintage plates. I typically recommend local swap meets and antique stores as starting points, simply because you are able to visually inspect the condition prior to purchase.

Next step is going online. Ebay often has a decent selection, along with specialized vintage plate sellers that a quick search will find.

If you find the right year but the condition is rough, you can use a service like darrylsplates.com to have it restored to all it’s former beauty.


@mcarroll48 I’d also add that it would be wise to check your state’s regulations on running a YOM plate. Here in Michigan at least, running a YOM plate requires the car to be registered at “Historic” and that type of registration means that the state restricts use of the vehicle being only to and from shows or club events (except in the month of August where pleasure driving is okay) and this is enforceable by the local authorities. These regulations are different from state to state. Some have usage restrictions from the DMV, others don’t but it is recommended to double check whether or not the state enforces usage restrictions when related to registration or plate type.