Sometimes government can be downright innovative.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has come up with a plan to offer customized license plates that deliver value to their customers and generate revenue for the state.
The DMV is planning to issue replicas of the classic yellow, blue and black license plates from the 1950s to the early 1980s. The plates can be purchased for $50 (and a $40 annual renewal fee) for any car, commercial vehicle, motorcycle or trailer registered in California. While the plates are not perfect replicas of the vintage licenses—the new ones are reflective to light for safety, they do give a certain vintage-flare to any car.
I fondly remember my dad's 1956 Nash Metropolitan with the yellow and black plates, our 1964 Dodge Dart station wagon with the old black and yellow, and our 1974 Ford Maverick with the 6-digit blue and yellow license (not to mention my DAVEEEE personalized plate from 1981--pictured above).
But here is the catch. Starting January 1, 2013, the DMV will take orders for the license plates. If the department gets at least 7,500 orders, it will print them. But if that threshold isn't met by Jan. 1, 2015, officials will refund the $50 application fee and the plates will not be issued.
Think of it similar to the Kickstarter crowdfunding model.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the start-up cost, if the program meets its crowdfunding goal, will be $385,000.
Original 1956 Yellow and Black
1963 Black and Yellow Plate
1981 Blue and Yellow 7-digital Plate