Sunday, November 30, 2014

Restoring the Original 1967 Corvette License Plates

Like so many positive surprises on the 1967 427-435 Stingray, we were astonished to confirm that the license plates were the originals, and to uncover the original 47 year-old registration sticker!  Here is the story:

When we rescued the 1967 Corvette we were pretty sure the license plates, VAH-193, California Black plates with Gold letters, were the originals.

Nan made two trips to the California DMV to confirm that the tags could be (re)used on the car and to get it registered with them.  Thank you Nan! 

The tags showed the patina of 47 years of use with light rust and a few dents.  Nan had found a service that specializes in restoring old license plates.  I arranged to send the plates to  Restore-A-Tag in Odenton, Maryland (not far from Beltsville).  Before shipping the plates off, for some reason, I decided to peel a few decades of registration stickers off both sides of the rear tag to see what I might find.  Using a razor blade and plenty of patience I removed many years' of differently colored registration stickers.  Counting backward through time I worked my way back from the yellow 1982 sticker (the last year the car was registered -- on the right below).  For some reason Ron Leahey (the original owner) had placed the original year registration sticker on the LEFT side of the plate (under the month SEP).

When I finally reaching the bottom of the piles of stickers I was euphoric to find the original bright blue 1967 registration sticker!  See below.

So now I was worried that if I had the plates restored the original registration sticker would be damaged or destroyed.  I called the owner of Restore-A-Tag, Shawn Mahaney, to discuss the restoration.  Shawn restores tags for plenty of people, including serious collectors such as Jay Leno.  Shawn promised me that the tags would come out fine and the original registration sticker would be in perfect shape. 

Boy, was he right!  Look how nice those plates look now!  I highly recommend Restore-A-Tag to anyone who wants a first-class job!  Thank you Shawn and Restore-A-Tag!

Here is the new rear plate installed on the car.



  1. This is all so cool. This car is going to represent one of the most original 435 cars on the planet.
    The "63" pressed into the metal in the right side tag field??? Is 63 the fist year of the black plate...or the year this particular variation started....or?
    Don Kingery

  2. Great touch for a classic vehicle! Jeff S.

  3. What dealer did this Corvette originally come from? I know of a 67 435 HP coupe with a close VAH California tag also! Maybe the two cars came from the same dealership that had this batch of Tags.