License Plates

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North Carolina

North Carolina License Plates

The state of North Carolina first issued license plates in 1913. From 1913 through 1916, North Carolina plates were porcelain and were also dated with the year of validity with the date: EXPIRES JUNE 30, 1914 (were printed on 1914 and 1915 license plates). From 1918, embossed steel license plates were issued.

Beginning in 1954, the slogan: DRIVE SAFELY was embossed on all South Carolina license plates until 1963, with the exception of 1955. The slogan: FIRST IN FREEDOM appeared in 1975, and this plate base was valid until 1984. The first graphics appeared on North Carolina license plates in 1981 with the FIRST IN FLIGHT license plate. North Carolina first introduced retro-reflective license plates in 1969 and like all the other states this is still the norm.  The graphic on 1981 North Carolina license plates showed the Wright Brother’s bi-plane named THE KITTY HAWK. In 1931, a small box containing the number appeared on North Carolina license plates and no explanation of this number was ever given.

The mild weather in North Carolina and a state which takes pride in its history and heritage makes it a haven for classic car collectors.