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Old 08-14-2012, 05:20 PM   #1
c125bob
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Default License plate, restore or not?

I got lucky and found an original 1931 Georgia license plate. It's a little rough but I'm leaning towards leaving it "as is". I can always restore it but can't "unrestore" it. Opinions ?
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I tend to agree with you. Great find!

In some states, if you have the option to license the car with a "year of manufacture" plate, the DMV (or equivalent) needs to "approve" the condition of the plate. Unless your state requires it to look pristine, I'd leave it original.
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I would clean it real good, use a liquid scratch remover lightly, & then a heavy coat of your favorite paste wax.. DONE
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

That plate if it was mine would of been bead blasted , metal prep , primed , and painted by now...It looks to be to far gone to keep unrestored. Restored car needs a restored plate... its like putting a unrestored Model a fender on a fully restored Model A" .just don't look right.
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I gave up on trying to find a set of 1931 Alaska plates.

What a lot of guys here have done is to run a YOM plate from the state of their roots -- on the front of their vehicle. That works well especially since almost everyone here is from somewhere else. And the locals don't seem to have a problem with it. They always carry the "official" plate with them just in case.

I am anxiously awaiting a set of 1931 commercial Texas plates to display on my truck. Depending on what they look like in person, I may or may not have them restored.
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I went to DMV this morning and got all the forms done to let it be "the tag" for the A. The tag office "approved" it. Right now I don't have any plans to restore it, it's neat to have it in original form. I'm new to Model A's and didn't know what the norm was. Heck, this way everybody will know it's real ! I cleaned it, waxed it and reinforced the mount with rubber gromets.

In Georgia the only year they made 2 tags was 1931. A small one, like I found, and a regular size tag. I'm told they stopped making the small one during the year because they were failing at the mounting holes due to vibrations. Supposedly the small one is the hardest to find. You won't believe it but I only paid 36 bucks for it !
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

Im one for leaving most things as close to original as possible, But have to agree with Pete, restored car should have a restored plate. JMHO
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

You really have only 2 choices as you know. For my 29 I washed the plates well with soap and water, used a little liquid car polish on a wet cloth ( for dilution ) and buffed with an old towel. Then, I sprayed them with a clear semi-gloss enamel from a rattle can. They look old and have a nice preservative coat that does add a bit of lustre.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

FYI:

For folks reading this, some states only accept unrestored plates if it is all shiney and spiffy they reject it as not original.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I'm partial to things that show some age and character. A bit of light work with some fine steel wool and some paste wax can really look good on something like that. How about an after picture?
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:56 PM   #11
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

Pete is right, it does look a little out of place on a restored car. I know I will restore it eventually but I will run it like it is for as long as I can stand it. There's just something about original that I love. My A has an older restoration (70's) and doesn't look as good in person as it does in pictures. Since it's a 20 footer I can deal with it for a while at least. Thanks for the opinions and Pete, I will have to fight restoring it, I know....

Bob
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:06 PM   #12
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

In Florida, they will not approve a restored plate. You have to mail in your plate, for approval.
A lot of people, restore them AFTER they have been approved.
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

Massachusetts is one of those states that require only an original plate (YOM), not repainted, but has to be in "good repair". When I took my old '31 plates to the local registry office, they shot me down stating they were too rusty. (We only require a rear YOM also.) I went out to my truck and wiped them down with WD-40 and returned to the office to be OK'ed for the plates. (different window girl). I see a lot of repainted Mass. plates on old cars here, not even the right shade of paint was used on some, so I guess it's really a crap shoot on who is tending the office window and what mood they're in.
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:17 PM   #14
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I would just clean it with CLR...
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

Hey Dave, that was the "after" picture LOL. I didn't make a "before" I guess I should have. Trust me, it was really dirty, could barely read the letters. The window I went to didn't know what I was talking about and had to get the supervisor. He asked if I brought the car, wanted to see it, liked old cars. He was OK with the plate, it was cleaned when I took it. In Ga. the law states that as long as I have the regular plate with me there's no problem. I don't know the policy on taking in a refurbished plate but I see a lot of them.

You can see I took off some paint on the second 7, the only green paint left is what you can see in the picture. I know I'll end up restoring it sooner or later.
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

There are a few '31 GA plates on eBay that are under $30. They seem to be solid but with bad paint and or surface rust. No significant rot. In my opinion, they would be better candidates for a restoration than this one. A single '31 short plate with what appears to have original paint is listed with a buy it now of $149.

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Old 08-14-2012, 09:08 PM   #17
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I only have $35.00 in this one and "free shipping" since it was about 3 miles from where I live. It has some rot at the mounting holes but otherwise solid. Nothing the right tag bracket wouldn't cover. I'll be happy with it but there are probably some better ones out there somewhere. I'm not into points and judging just washing, wrenching and riding !
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:52 PM   #18
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

Oopps.... glad you have a sense of humor about it.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

Bob, I would leave it as is. It looks great as it is.

You're right, it can't be un-restored.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:11 PM   #20
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I would leave the plate alone, and give a little "grit" to the car! Rust is good....
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:25 AM   #21
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

There are those who follow the crowd, and others who make their own rules, They are called ANARCHISTS!!
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:48 AM   #22
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

Dave I guess a sense of humor gene comes with the Model A gene. I've been restoring and showing antique tractors and engines for years. I get my "points and judging" fix there.

I'd never make a hotrod out of the A or take it way far from "original". I do have an alternator and overdrive so I can drive it (lots) and spread the love of the A model.

I really like this forum and appreciate the different views of the members. Most of all everybody seems to respect each other and have a sense of humor. This is a great hobby with great folks !
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:11 AM   #23
Barry B./ Ma.
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I touched up the white numbers on mine and sprayed the whole plate with matte clear Krylon. Came out good and looks pretty authentic.
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:57 AM   #24
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

If I had to make the decision, I would use the plate until I find a "less original" one to restore. Then use the restored one on my restored vehicle and sell the original one to someone who has an original car. It is extremely difficult to find useable original plates.
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:29 AM   #25
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

my '31 ca plate is worse than yours appears . i just run it & dont worry as my car is old also . i dont run a front plate but i keep it under the floor mat . POW front plate . never been bothered or had any desire to have my plates redone . just a model "A" thing ..........
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:15 AM   #26
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I would leave it like it is.i restored the one on my coupe and regret it now.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:44 AM   #27
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

If it was the original plate that came with the car I would keep it the way it is. If not what are you losing ?? The rest of the car has likely been repaired or repainted so get it renewed. I did and I am very happy I did !
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:26 AM   #28
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I like the patina.
we have a restored plate on our restored Town Sedan (yawn...)
and an original plate on the unrestored Coupe (much prettier...)
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:57 AM   #29
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I have been into Model's for 27 years and the most looked at cars at any tour will be the original un-touched and your un-touched license plate will attract more attenrion than a restored one.
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:24 AM   #30
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I found a couple of original ''30 California plates...




DMV looked them up in a big-ol book to get dimensions and colors - verified they were correct. Then the photocopied them, filled out a form, and entered a bunch of stuff into the computer. They Faxed the whole package to the capitol for approval. Told me I would get a new title in the mail with either the new(old) number which would indicate approval, or with the original number and a reason.
What surprised me was the effort they put into it. It was an out-of-the-ordinary request for them and instead of being annoyed, they actually put a lot of effort into getting it through the system.
The plates are nice enough that I'm not going to do anything but bolt them on.
If they get denyed I have a "plan B". I'll get vanity plates with the same number (which can be done on-line) and when they come, the new ones will go in the closet.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:22 PM   #31
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

Those Cali plates are awsome ! Great find for sure ! Mine aren't the actual plate for the car but I think I'm gonna leave it as is and run it If my coupe was "perfect" I'd consider refurbishing the plate. I will shoot some clear coat on it when I clean it a little more and let it ride. Down the road I can always restore it if I decide to. Thanks for the opinions and comments !
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:39 PM   #32
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by c125bob View Post
Those Cali plates are awsome ! Great find for sure ! Mine aren't the actual plate for the car but I think I'm gonna leave it as is and run it If my coupe was "perfect" I'd consider refurbishing the plate. I will shoot some clear coat on it when I clean it a little more and let it ride. Down the road I can always restore it if I decide to. Thanks for the opinions and comments !
I wouldn't clear coat them, but just spray some WD-40 on them a couple times a year to hold off the rust.
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:13 AM   #33
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

Tom, I'll take your advice. It's gonna get some WD 40 today.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:53 AM   #34
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mass A man View Post
Massachusetts is one of those states that require only an original plate (YOM), not repainted, but has to be in "good repair".
They are trying to get that part of the Mass. YOM law changed.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:11 AM   #35
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

In Calif. '30 plates were over produced because of the depression... you can find NOS un-used plates stilll in the DMV wrapper occasionly. I've seen them at the Turlock Swap meet from time to time. '31 plates are a different story.... there production were adjusted much lower....so , harder to find.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:21 AM   #36
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

In looking at the CA plates in post #31, it's interesting that there are extra holes punched in the center of the plate.

What is even more interesting is that I just bought a pair of TX commercial plates for my PU and they have extra holes in almost the same place. The ones in my plate, however, look like they were punched from the rear by a nail rather than the "drilled" look on the CA plates.

I can't use these for YOM plates anyway since I'm in Alaska, but they were a nice set of plates just to have for parades, etc.
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:18 PM   #37
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Default Re: License plate, restore or not?

I guess I vote for origional. Mine hung on a nail in a hay barn for generations. Who am I to "fix it" now?
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