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Call it deja vu all over again.

Taking a page from the past, the Assembly approved legislation Wednesday that would allow motorists to obtain state-issued license plates that replicate those from the 1950s, '60s, '70s and '80s.

The measure, Assembly Bill 1658, passed without a dissenting vote, 70-0. It now goes to the Senate.

Proposed by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, the bill would price the replica plates at $50 initially, then $40 for annual renewal.

Even if AB 1658 is passed by the Legislature and signed into law, the replica plates would not be issued until 7,500 people had applied for them. If that threshold is not reached by Jan. 1, 2014, motorists who had ordered them would be refunded their fees or deposits.

AB 1658 calls for the replica plates to come in a minimum of three styles -- yellow background with black lettering, black background with yellow lettering, and blue background with yellow lettering.

Gatto contends his measure would provide classic car collectors a risk-free way to acquire plates that match the vintage of their vehicle. Such motorists sometimes are victimized now by unscrupulous sellers of vintage plates who pass off counterfeits as genuine, he says.


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