Vintage Tag Authentication
The process of obtaining a model year license plate and having it authenticated by the state of Florida is fairly simple. The first step reminds me of an old Steve Martin gag - “How to be a millionaire and not pay taxes – first, get a million dollars.” Well, the first step here is get a model year license plate. That part is not as difficult as you may think. There are several web-based sources of such plates. Links appear at the end of this article. If you find any other sources of plates, please email Mark Pribanic at Pribanic356@yahoo.com and he will add them to this article.
For all the years that 356 owners will need, Florida had a county-based numbering system. There are 67 counties in Florida and the plates were numbered with the largest (by population) county (Dade) being assigned number 1 and the smallest county (Liberty) being assigned number 67. When shopping for your tag, you may want to look for one from the “correct” county where you reside. The second link listed below has a nifty pull-down menu near the top of the page that allows you to search either by county number or alphabetically.
The other classification of tags, and the resulting registration fee, was the weight of the vehicle. In the case of a 356, a plate with the letter “D” is the correct one. Combining my county of residence and the correct weight class, I would be shopping for a tag that started with 7 D. In my case, however, I didn’t care about the county being correct and I instead shopped for a “D” tag from any county that was in great condition.
Once you have your plate, don’t be tempted to make it look better by touching it up. The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles will not authenticate any plate that has been altered in any way. The authentication process is not easy to find on the DMV website, so I have provided a template letter for reference. Click here for the template letter. The fee stated in the letter is current as of November, 2009. However, I received a partial refund when having both my tags authenticated. The actual registration fee is based on the birth month of the vehicle owner and the amount you send will be prorated and a refund issued as appropriate.
As a precaution, I sent my tag in a bubble-padded envelope. The DMV, however, will not return the authenticated tag in the same fashion. That’s it – you’re done! Your authenticated tag should be in your hands and on your car within a week or two of when you submit the tag, your letter and the accompanying documents.