NH Diary: Only in California II

Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 | No Comments

1963-69

1969-87

Affection for 50-year-old license plate design fragments extends beyond shirts. Only California offers license plates that precisely repeat a 1960s design.* State Assemblyman Mike Gatto (43rd district, Los Angeles) proposed Legacy Plates in 2012, and the 1960s plate, produced at Folsom State Prison from the original molds, went on sale in 2015.

Our ’60s Tag Tee arrived in 2016: an all-black shirt with “California” cropped from the plate of a 1967 Mercury Cougar I found in Altadena. And we’ve added the iconic late ’70-1986 Gold on Blue design to a jersey about to hit the site. Our new line of trucker hats features the ’50s and ’60s, along with the ’80s Sunset plate.

The images—like the Legacy Plates—speak to nostalgia for eras of car culture in California. For three generations, they evoke a time when nothing was more important than cruising the strip. In California.

1982-87

Though since half our Tag Tee orders come from out of state—some from out of the country—California’s appeal seems to be anything but only in California.

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*License plate collectors: If California’s new Legacy Plates don’t stand alone, please let us know in the comments. Other states offer retro—some historic—designs, but the plates are labeled “Antique” or “Classic Car.” Only California leaves the the design alone. And if you have both an authentic 1965 car and an authentic 1965 plate, you can use the plate on the car. Owners who’d done that allowed me to get the photographs for these shirts. The true dates for the original plates in these posts are taken from Japanese Nostalgic Car, devoted to Japanese cars but endlessly informative about many other things.