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Where to find a 1970 license plate/tab?

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  • Where to find a 1970 license plate/tab?

    Greetings, ladies and gentlemen-

    I'm looking for a 1970 Washington plate to put on my 1970 vehicle. As you probably all know, getting a plate from the year of the car's manufacture is an option in WA in lieu of the plates that say "collector vehicle" on them.

    Here's the weird/tough part of the law: if someone actually owned a 1970 car in WA in 1970 and owned it for more than a year, they would have put a 1971, 1972, 1973 tab on the plate as the years went by -- but I'm not allowed to use a plate made in 1970 with a newer tab on it. Likewise, if someone bought a car in (say) 1963, but put tabs on that old plate until 1970, that plate wouldn't work either -- even though it has a 1970 tab on it, the 1963 plate is visibly different from the 70 plate so won't be allowed. The person at the DOL today said they didn't care if the 1970 tab is original or a repro, but I haven't had any luck at finding reproduction tabs either. If I can find a 1970 tab, then I have a much broader selection of plates to choose from (1968-1975, or thereabouts). Several 1970 plates have sold on ebay in the past few weeks for $30ish -- there's one on there now for $90, so that is an option.

    I don't need a pair -- the state says only 1 plate is required.

    So...does anyone know where I can find a 1970 license plate or a repro 1970 tab?


  • #2
    OK, I'll answer my own question. Washington plates look the same from 1968 all the way up to early 1983, at which point they stopped stamping the "Washington" and started printing it. This means any 1968-1982 (maybe '83) plate will work. Repro tabs are available for $10 from "oldlicensefarm" in Marysville. This broadens my options substantially.


    • #3
      For an original license plate (as opposed to a repro), one place to look is eBaymotors. Here are the results of a simple query that I just did.

      This pair is in good shape, have 1970 tabs and are reasonably priced.


      • #4

        This is the place that I got my plate, you only need a rear plate and the correct year tab. The good thing about going through the Old License Farm (OLF) is that they reproduce the correct tabs for the plate. The plate that you need is the white background with green lettering, without an issue year. I think this series was the first one without the issue year (and 1963 was the last issue year stamped on the plate). The OLF will get you hooked up with the correct series plate based on year of registration. (Which is one reason I wouldn't go through ebay, if you buy the wrong series it's doubtful that a seller will exchange the correct series at the same price.)

        Last time that I priced plates through the OLF an unrestored useable plate was $25 and the tab $10. Since I got mine they have changed hands the Cain brothers used to run it one in eastern Washington and the other was in Kitsap county, they were at every automotive swap meet. Which is where I would try to meet up with the current owner that way you can look over the plates that they have in stock for sale. Prices may have gont up.

        The other route you may wish to go is to get a Collector Plate, which is the same price and a one shot deal as well. Unless it's gone up the one time registration with a vintage plate is $38 + whatever it cost for the vintage plate.

        The other thing to think about is to print out a copy of the RCW which governs "Collector Plates". Most Law Enforcement Officers are aware of the laws that allow the use of a vintage plate on your collector car. There are a few that don't.

        In 10 years of running a vintage plate I have got pulled over once by a Kent cop in Kitsap county (slightly out of his juristiction). He thought I might be a stolen car! I told him if he thought that it was to please call the WSP to have a Trooper respond. He immediately let me go, I called the Kent police when I got home and lodged a complaint for being pulled over out of the officer's juristiction. I received a letter of appology within a week, noting that the officer had been repremanded. (He never checked in with anyone after the stop, not too safe).

        If you are pulled over don't be afraid to point out that it is legal to run the plates. Which is the reason you should carry the copy of the RCW, I print one out every year just to make sure I am in the right.