Vintage license plates can only go on vintage vehicles

Q. I just recently sold my 1965 El Camino that had Year of Manufacture license plates on it – the black and yellow ones – which I kept. Can I transfer those plates to my 2001 Toyota Tacoma? I called AAA and they said it had to be done, if at all,  through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

–  Tom Combellick, Yorba Linda

A. Honk is afraid not, Tom.

He checked with a DMV official up north in Sacramento.

In short, that program allows vehicle owners to get old California plates, say from a garage sale, that are not currently register to any vehicle and are in good shape and put them on their cars, trailers or motorcycles – if the plate was the style used back in the day. The plates must be the same style as those issued when the vehicle was new, and in some cases, the plates must be tied to the exact year the vehicle rolled off of the lot for the first time.

You have those 1965 plates, Tom, just not the right vehicle to put them on.

For specifics, Google “Year of Manufacture” and “California DMV” and make sure you are on the DMV’s website,, as opposed to a for-profit one that tries to look official and slaps on an upcharge. You want to end up on the DMV’s page about the older plates and when they can be used. Honk would give you the actual URL, but it is obnoxiously long.

Honk knows this isn’t what you really want, but you could buy those new, throw-back 1960s Legacy License Plates from the DMV, of course, which closely resemble those old plates with the yellow lettering and black background.

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Q. I’d like to know why construction on the 5 Freeway is proceeding so slowly, or not at all, in south Orange County. On the exits, for example, from El Toro Road to Avery Parkway. I see pieces of equipment parked out along those exits for weeks on end and nobody operating them. Well, I can’t be sure, as I don’t sit out there and watch, of course, but the torn-up exit areas appear to have been unchanged in the past year.

– K. Scott, Mission Viejo

A. That $580 million project is on schedule to be completed in a year, said Eric Carpenter, a spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority, which is overseeing the massive face-lift in cooperation with Caltrans.

Improvements are being made for the 6.5 miles between El Toro Road and the 73 Toll Road that include adding a regular lane in each direction and extending a second carpool lane. Interchanges and streets are to get a boost, too.

“Construction rigs are present on the work site for specific tasks and moved when those tasks are completed,” Carpenter said in an email. “They aren’t just parked for long periods without a purpose and plan. Some rigs may be used primarily at night, and are staged during the daytime to be used again the next night. All staging is coordinated to maximize efficiency and keep costs of transporting vehicles at a minimum.”

As to the ramps, some lanes have been closed for a while, in part to provide space for the workers out there.

“At Oso Parkway, work crews have prioritized keeping freeway traffic flowing, completing work on freeway lanes first, then reconstructing the freeway ramps,” said Carpenter, providing an example. “That ramp work that continues includes excavation, utility relocation, installation of new drainage systems, and other tasks that may not be readily visible to those traveling through the area.”

Further, sometimes building materials are stored next to ramps, which, he said, “makes these items quickly accessible, saving time and money.”

HONKIN’ FACT: As of Dec. 31, 2021, there were 27,462,109 driver’s licenses issued in California, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a 2.2% increased from the year before.

To ask Honk questions, reach him at He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

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