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How can they drive with that old plate?

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

Have you ever seen a classic car on the road with old license plates and wondered, "How do they get away with that?" It's possible due to Year-of-Manufacture laws. Year-of-Manufacture (YOM) license plates are plates issued or used during the year that your classic car was manufactured. If you own a 1969 GTO, your year-of-manufacture plates would be from the year 1969.

This 1968 Corvette sports 1968 Year-of-Manfacture license plates.

How can I put these on my car?

In Illinois, we have the Year-of-Manufacture law. It says that if your vehicle is 25 years or older, you may display the car's year-of-manufacture license plates. No need to register the YOM plates. You simply keep your regular registration and plates with you in your vehicle and available for inspection. For example, if you own a 1957 vehicle, you may display 1957 license plates.

Many states allow classic or antique auto owners to place year-of-manufacture license plates on the car, under certain circumstances, such as shows, parades, special events and so forth. Each state has its own rules. Check your state's DMV site for specifics. Your state may have a form online that explains the local law and/or allows you to apply online. Other states require you to bring the plate(s) to a DMV office.

Tip—Use a magnet to temporarily display YOM plates

Some states make it more difficult to display YOM plates and some don't allow it all. If your state is one of those, you can still use your YOM plates. A trick is to attach a magnet to the back of your YOM plate(s). When you get to the car show, simply slap the YOM plate over your current steel plate and you complete your authentic look.

Happy Customer

Len Besigner was looking for a nice pair of Illinois 1968 plates to put on his “new” 1968 Corvette. He found the perfect set at our License Plate Garage. While still in our driveway, he put them on the front and back for his car. If you are looking for YOM plates, check here or here.

Happy Cruising !

Barb Sistak and Tom Baur

The License Plate Gal and The License Plate Guy

at License Plate Garage


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