1. BEFORE purchasing a vintage YOM Florida plate, corresponding to the year your vehicle was made (Eg. 1957 plate on a 1957 car), you should first ascertain if that number can be registered in Florida. Go to any County Office Annex or DMV Office that handles license plates and ask them to run a search on that plate number. You don't need to own the plate already. You can check online too at https://services.flhsmv.gov/MVCheckPersonalPlate/, but a DMV check is best. Example: If you want to buy a 1957 Florida plate bearing number "10W-30", ask them to search on "10W30". Someone else may have already registered a different year vintage plate with that number or someone may have requested a current "vanity" plate with that popular oil number. Your number can not already be in current use, can not have already been used by someone else as a YOM registration and can not be a stolen plate number! So, be careful when you buy. Typical cost for a good vintage plate runs $10 to $40 ($25 average) depending on condition and low number desirability. Some sources for clean plates are: swap meets, garage sales, ALPCA shows, Plate Source, Plate Shack, Chuck Westphal at 948 CR 481, Lake Panasoffkee, FL (352-568-0982) and even on eBay!
2. The YOM plate must be an original Florida tag issued on or before 1975 (no later) with the year embossed not stickered. Before 1918 the counties and bridge authorities were issuing license plates. If the plate doesn't say "FLA" or "FLORIDA", it's probably not a state issue plate. Only 1918-1975 Florida plates can be authenticated. It must not be a replica also. It must not be bent or torn and can not be touched up in any way. Slight rust is acceptable if the plate can be read from 100 feet away. Excellent professional restorations are now accepted and the judgement of the DMV office is very strict. The original color of the plate must match exactly and the paint must be "rolled" on the numbers. One source for professional restoration is Restore-A-Tag. A 1929 replica car can not use a 1929 plate. Motorcycles made between 1946 and 1975 are also eligible with a motorcycle sized vintage plate but these are pretty tough to find! Apportioned, Fleet, Restricted, FHP, Transporter, Wrecker, Legislative, Diplomatic, Native American, Exempt, Dealer, Manufacturer, Press, Amateur Radio and State plates won't be authenticated.
3. For both HC (pre-1945) and YOM (pre-1975) registrations, your vehicle (car, truck or motorcycle) must first be titled in Florida (with the VIN number verified in person at a DMV Office or County Office Annex, so you have to keep your old registration valid so you can drive or trailer your vehicle to that office), then Florida valid (PIP & PDL) insurance must be obtained. "Collectible car" insurance is acceptable if issued to your Florida address. Two people may own the vehicle jointly but all paperwork must agree. It takes two weeks to receive your Florida title. All this must be done before registering the vehicle. Be certain that the owner's name(s) and VIN number on the vehicle (some states used engine block numbers for a while), Florida title, Florida insurance card and current registration (if applicable) all agree exactly. You must also already have a regular Florida driver's license, too. WARNING: Some states (like New York) require the return of the old NY plates or a warrant for your arrest will be issued! Check with your former DMV.
4. For YOM, the vintage plate should be sent certified mail, return receipt, (insurance optional) to: Florida DMV ; Direct Mail & Title Correction Section ; Bureau of Titles & Registration ; Neil Kirkman Building (Room A330) MS #72 ; 2900 Apalachee Pkwy., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0620. For YOM, request that the enclosed Florida plate be "authenticated" and your vehicle "registered" (or re-registered) with that tag. Do not use the term "Antique Plate" - rather, "Year of Manufacture Plate". No forms are available or required for YOM. For HC registration, request that your vehicle be "registered" (or re-registered) as an "Ancient" vehicle and include Form HSMV 83045 using the same address. The DMV will provide the new HC plate. IMPORTANT: Include ALL of the following in the letter: Your full name(s), Florida address, Florida phone number, Florida driver's license number(s), date(s) of birth and gender(s); vehicle year, make, model, body style, VIN number & weight; current Florida title number; current plate number (if already registered in Florida); date of effectiveness (only if a renewal) and for YOM: vintage plate year; vintage plate number. Enclose PHOTO COPIES of ALL of the following: Florida title; Florida valid insurance card showing 5 digit company ID number; Florida driver's license(s) and Florida current registration (if applicable). Enclose: Either the vintage plate itself (washed clean, a return address sticker on the BACK side in case it gets lost at the DMV, and sandwiched in stiff cardboard) for YOM registrations or Form HSMV 83045 for HC registrations; a check for $50.00 (to "Florida Dept. of Motor Vehicles") and the letter with the above info. The $100 Initial Registration Fee will be waved since the vehicle is over 30 years old. The process takes 7 to 21 days. Your new HC plate or your old YOM plate with registration sticker attached to the front and new Florida Registration Certificate will be mailed back. They will calculate the total charge and refund the overage (about $4 to $20 depending on your DOB) by separate mail in a few extra days. YOM plates are renewed yearly on your birthday, permanent and transferable with the vehicle's sale but can not be replaced by the DMV if lost or stolen. HC plates are also permanent and do not have to be renewed yearly but are not transferable. I know someone who found a vintage 1960's plate with the number "2"; obviously originally issued to the Lieutenant Governor of the state in that year. Unfortunately, it could not be registered after he paid a premium price for it, because number "2" is already issued to today's Lieutenant Governor! So check the number first!
Prepared by Rich Courmettes