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California license plate repaint colors?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by zonkola, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. zonkola
    Joined:
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    zonkola Member

    I have some original California license plates I'm thinking about restoring. I've found info on restoration techniques, but I haven't found the specific colors of paint to use for the various years.

    Anyone know what paint brands & colors to use for these years?

    1932 - Black numbers on yellow-orange plate
    1933 - Yellow-orange numbers on black plate (same colors as '32, right?)
    1947 - Black numbers on yellow plate
    1963 - Yellow numbers on black plate
  2. zonkola
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    zonkola Member

    BTTT. Not as amusing as ox53's posts, I know, but I figure somebody here has probably repainted a plate or two...
  3. zonkola
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    zonkola Member

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
  4. Sean
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    Sean Member

    Sorry Zonk. No help on the paint codes, but next time you get down to Los Gatos hit the DMV. They have CA plates on display from the 20's into the 60's.
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  5. zonkola
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    zonkola Member

    Thanks, I'll do that. The plates have some good paint left that I could probably have matched at the local paint shop, but I figured I'd try to avoid reinventing the wheel at least once. [​IMG]
  6. Sean
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    Campbell, CA

    Sean Member

    Zonk, try this Link
  7. prime mover
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    lancaster Ca.

    prime mover Member

    I've repainted a 63 but that yellow is hard to match, I'm gonna keep trying different shades.
  8. Roy Pagnini
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    northern California

    Roy Pagnini Member

    OK guys I cannot believe no one has ever matched these colors? I am trying to redo a motorcycle plate yellow on blue ? I guess its a trip to the auto paint store, Hey anyone know an ex prisoner from the California penal system?
  9. Weasel
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    Weasel Member

    IMO the majority of 'restored' plates I have seen look awful. Can anybody explain to me why these 'restorers', who have doubtless seen plenty of unrestored originals, use damn shiny paint?:confused: The originals were satin finish.

    Go to a decent auto paint store and they should be able to color match for you if you have a sample, but be sure to use flattening agent to give the correct satin look - PPG DBU 18 works well.
  10. Tim Brown
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    Location:
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    Tim Brown Member

    I painted my own 35 plate. I spray painted it black then mixed red and yellow one shot until it was close to the original orange. It worked for me...
  11. 5window
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    5window Member

    I "restored" a '31 PA plate and, somewhat intentionally, made it a bit off. I am not running it as a legal plate on my car-in fact, in PA it's probably illegal to run any front plate. It's close enough to look okay on my car. You can take an original to someplace like Sherwin Williams with a color match laser system and match the paint.

    If you are planning on running your plates as legal ones,that's a different tale and I would look in Hemming's for plate restorers. Or, why don't you fly to Hershey next month and spend several enjoyable days talking to lots of restoration folks? More fun than the Internet, but it will probably rain.
  12. H3O
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    H3O Member

    i can talk to my friend about that. he's a huge tag collector. i'm sure he'd know.
  13. 402
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    Southern California

    402 Member

    So does anyone know what yellow paint to use for a 1956 CA plate?
  14. McFly
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    McFly Member

    I read on another thread here it was school bus yellow. Duplicolor has it in a spray can.
  15. OLLIN
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    OLLIN Member

    Ive done a few of the 62 and up yellow on black plates. I used a semi gloss black, and testers gloss yellow model paint for the letters. Ill bet its the same on 51 plates.
  16. Hans Buscher
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    Hans Buscher Member

    isn't tag paint reflective?
  17. 1oldtimer
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    1oldtimer Member

    only the white ones.

    i've redone about 4 pairs of plates and 1 house one. the one's on cars i got matched at the paint store (i used automotive paint), the house one i used spray cans. it didn't last too long and i'm going to use auto paint next.

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  18. frozen_bohemian
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    frozen_bohemian Member


    Care to share your technique for repainting plates?
    I have tried a couple different methods, not happy with the results.
  19. 1oldtimer
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    1oldtimer Member

    my hand isn't that steady with a brush so i use the sanding style. after bodywork and prime, coat with letter color (i use about 2 to 3 good coats), then enough background color to cover other paint. after drying for a few days carefully wet sand through the top paint to letter color. i use 400 grit wet/dry to get close and 600 to finish. then 800 the whole plate and clear it. time consuming but it works for me. i have yet to see a hand painted one i like. my friend used some art supply tacky paper called "friskit" i think, painted his plate background color, put the paper on carefully cut out the letters and painted over that.....came out ok but you can't cut into the paint so it takes a steady hand too.
  20. Paul2748
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    Paul2748 Member

    Are you going to use the plate as a legal plate? I don't know about Calif, but some states will not let you use a restored plate as a legal plate - seem kinda stupid, but that what I understand.
  21. 1oldtimer
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    1oldtimer Member

    yea, california will let you use restored plates. i even had one dmv tell me i had to restore them BEFORE i registered them to a car (which isn't even together yet), so i went to a different dmv and now they are registered to my car :).


    BTW that '39 blue plate is my house number now.......a swapmeet single plate, some home depot numbers and some time...

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  22. Catalina65
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    Catalina65 Member

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