May 16, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

Totally 80s Jersey license plates might be making a comeback

3 min read

Rick Astley’s pledge — “never gonna give you up” — might be the mantra for a state Senator who wants to bring back the blue and sand colored license plates that adorned cars when Astley’s hit was playing on their AM-FM radios.

A bill that would let drivers buy the license plate that graced Garden State cars and trucks between 1979 and 1991 that was proposed more than a year ago by State Senator Kristen Corrado, R-Passaic, cleared a crucial committee Monday and is a step closer to putting the blue plate special in drivers’ hands.

The state senate Transportation Committee voted 6-0 Monday to release the bill that she introduced on Nov. 16, 2020. A companion bill in the state Assembly that was also proposed in Nov. 2020 hasn’t been as lucky. It is still waiting for a hearing by that body’s transportation and independent authorities committee.

The next step for Corrado’s bill, S-3181, would be posting it for a vote by the full Senate.

The target audience for the throwback license plates are car collectors who would be likely to buy a vintage style license plate to adorn their classic ride, Corrado said.

“The idea to revive New Jersey’s vintage license plate was recommended by a constituent,” she said in a statement. “Many New Jerseyans, especially classic car enthusiasts, favor the vintage license plate design that gained popularity in the ‘80s. My legislation will actually give drivers the opportunity to purchase something that is truly different and unique.”

New Jersey wouldn’t be the first state to do it. That honor goes to California and Montana, said Dave Nicholson, a license plate historian who operates a national license plate history website.

“They have an extra-fee, yellow-on-black plate that resembles the 1963 (plate) and is very popular out there. The ‘63 California base is far more universally beloved than the ‘79 N.J., though,” he said in an earlier interview. “Montana also lets motorists choose from any one of the previous passenger base (license) plates, back to 1987.”

Neighboring New York state has a variation of that concept. It offers drivers the opportunity to register a classic car that is at least 25 years old using a set of vintage New York license plates that were issued the year the vehicle was manufactured that the owner already possesses.

“Various states have brought back retro license plates and found there to be great demand,” Corrado said. “In fact, these plates have proven to be very profitable.”

There’s a long road before the baby blue plate can join the other speciality license plates offered by the MVC. First, there has to be enough of a demand by drivers to cover the $25,000 cost to design, produce and market the throwback license plate, before any are made.

The plate would cost $50 to buy and an additional $10 annually, added to the vehicle registration fee.

Since the proposed laws require sales of specialty license plates to cover their costs, Corrado said in an earlier interview there is little cost or financial risk to the state.

“The way the legislation is structured, there’s no reason not to do it,” she said.

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Larry Higgs may be reached at [email protected].

https://www.nj.com/news/2021/12/totally-80s-jersey-license-plates-might-be-making-a-comeback.html