The Rise of the Retro License Plate

Americans—and their state legislators—love specialty license plates. States have been creating alternative designs for the back-of-the-bumper identifiers since the country’s bicentennial in 1976. But lately, some of the hottest designs have been decidedly retro.

This winter, for example, Michigan introduced a new specialty plate based on the design of Michigan license plates from the 1960s. The plates are dark blue—almost black—with gold lettering that simply says the state’s name and “Water-Winter Wonderland.”