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I was amazed how easy it was to get my vintage '69 plates registered of my Torino here in Texas. Both plates are rough but not rusted out. One was in alot worse condition than the other so I used it as my guinea pig.

Here is what I have to work with.


You can see that the paint was flaking, and it smelled horrible. I got luck and found a pair at a car show, another Torino owner had them in his trunk and let them go for 5.00 ;). I wanted the lettering to look more stock and less hand painted so I tried a different approach. In the state of Texas the plates have to be the same year as the registered car, not have rust holes and be readable. The colors and lettering needed to be readable.

I'm sure there are multiple ways going about this, but I was looking for a slightly cheaper way out.

This is what I purchased at NAPA.


I bought some spray on paint remover, a wire brush, some duplicolor artic white (more of an off white) close to original '69 Texas plates, Klear Effects, and flat black touch-up (which I didn't later, I'll tell you why). The Klear Effects is clear glitter paint, I know what your thinking but I saw on a commercial that it has reflection quality like license plates. It was 14.00, I was very hesitant to try it but decided to give it a shot since I really wanted the plate to look as original as possible.

I also bought this,


]


This is a wall hand sander, The bottom was flat stiff and slightly pourus, kinda like a stamp. This was what I was looking for, I picked it up and a bottle of rustoleum Flat black enamel at Home Depot. I also got RUBBER GLOVES, you will need them if you use chemical stripper.



I'm not sure but I think all this cost around $50.00.

I decided to use chemical stripper simply because I live in an apartment and don't have a media blaster, so I took it outside, put on rubber gloves and liberally sprayed it on.


Immediately the paint starts to bubble up. I used a wire brush to help the chemical spray off. Use gloves any tiny bit of the stuff will burn your skin! Eye protection probably is a good idea also.
[




After some scrubbing I took it inside and used LOTS of water rinsing it off. I know this is a no no, do this outside, this stuff creates fumes and chemicals you don't want in a kitchen sink.

Here is what it looked like after washed with soap and water.


I still had paint on so I took it out and repeated.


After another thorough cleaning I dried it off and hit if with 320 sand paper. This took some tire getting in around the letters and number but will help the paint to adhere and cleans it up. You really can skip this step unless you had the plates media blasted.


I grabbed an old license plate from my collection (one I didn't care about), flipped it over and tested out the white, then the reflective clear. I liked the look and proceeded to spray the plate artic white.

I put on a light coat at a time to keep it from running or bubbling. I probably waited 2 minutes between coats. Here it is after the third coat.


Then final coat.


I waited until the white was dry and sprayed on about 4 coats of the klear effects.


Its hard to see the reflectiveness or "glitter" especially with my camera but in the light just right it looked very much like an original plates reflectiveness. I'm very pleased with the Klear effects paint.




After the clear had dried, I waited a day, time to do the lettering. I practiced this on a tore up old plate to see how it worked, it worked pretty well, I know hand painting would not only take forever but would drive me crazy, plus I wanted a more vintage original stamped look to the lettering.

I shook up and dumped out the paint on a cheap plastic paint spreader.


I dipped in the wall sander and used a flat putty knife the scrape off the excess. The idea is get a nice thin layer on it, don't press it into the paint where the sander (stamp) will suck up too much paint, just use it like a stamp.

I placed it over the 19 and applied moderate pressure. I did this a couple of time to help fill it in. Too much pressure will cause runs...I know, but catch it early and it will wipe off.




Same on the rest of the lettering.






The stamped created an imperfection I liked. I know some people like the perfect look but I like the look of the way it came out. The texture was a little more rough than original but I think it worked. The middle splotchyness of the M was a low spot and I filled it with a brush.

Here you can see the reflective material in the paint by the TEX.



Here is the final product next to the pre restoration





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Discussion Starter #4
How well does it reflect as compared to the original stuff?


Looks AWESOME!
Thanks. Well I know '69 here in texas was the first year they used a reflective material so its hard to compare to the other '69 plate because its so faded and flaked. It think the material used now is alot better. Next to a newer plate, the newer one reflects more. I need to take it out at night and hit a camera flash on it. I noticed taking pictures of it indoors it has some reflectiveness but not like modern plates. I think its slightly better than just a gloss white.
 

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Very good! I was impressed by everything but your plaid pajamas.
 

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Hey hey hey, they are plaid shorts. Wierd camera angle.
 

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Nice job. I did a similar job in Pennsylvania with two very small changes. My '69 is Acapulco Blue and while not exactly the same color as the original plate, it is close enough that PennDOT and police don't notice. Some people at car shows notice and think its a neat idea. Also, the paint job is on one of the "I have a friend in Pennsylvania" plates and one of my cousin's mentioned years ago he thought to paint over the "r" in friend, so I did that too, I now have a plate that reads " You have a fiend in Pennyslvania"
 

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Looks great.

I wanted to point out that here in Indiana, you can register your car with a vintage plate, but there are some rules one of which (IIRC) is the plate has to be original and cannot be restored or repainted.

If they would enforce that or not? I have no idea. But something to check on before going to all the trouble to restore one.

Phil
 

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Very true. Every state is different im sure. I checked local laws before restoring mine.

From txlicenseplates.com

"The numbers on both plates must be in good readable condition; this doesn't mean the plates have to be "mint condition" as long as the examiner considers the plates to be in good readable condition for identification purposes. Imperfections are allowed such as minor rust, small holes in the background, or scratched paint as long as it doesn't cause the plates not to be in good readable condition. Restorations and repaints are allowed as long as it is meets the readability requirement and the color scheme used is the same as the orginal issue color scheme. Replica (non original) plates and personalized (vanity) plates are not allowed to be registered. "
 

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From Indiana BMV's site:

Can the Year of Manufacture plate be refurbished or restored?
No. The plate must be in good and/or original condition. Its letters, numbers and markings must be clearly legible. Any indication that the plate has been repainted or otherwise altered will cause the BMV to reject the use of the plate.
I like Texas's rules better!

Phil
 

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Damn! I have some matching year Indiana plates I was looking forward to cleaning up and using. Well, scratch that idea.

BAH!:mad:
 

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This is PERFECT. I have a 67 Gal in TX and was looking for a pair of 67 plates (same black on white color scheme) and was looking to do this myself. I'm assuming since 67 didn't have reflection yet, that i can just finish it in matte clear finish spray. It would be cool to see someone take the time to do it on those complicated 68 Hemisfair Plates.


BTW, do you happen to have a pair of matching 67 plates?
 

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This is PERFECT. I have a 67 Gal in TX and was looking for a pair of 67 plates (same black on white color scheme) and was looking to do this myself. I'm assuming since 67 didn't have reflection yet, that i can just finish it in matte clear finish spray. It would be cool to see someone take the time to do it on those complicated 68 Hemisfair Plates.


BTW, do you happen to have a pair of matching 67 plates?
No I sure dont. Still need to get a reflective shot, keep forgetting. But yes for 67 it would just be a matte white or non-reflective.
 
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