CC Illustrations: License Plates – Part 1 (1972-1976)

1972 USA and Canada License Plates

This week we are taking a break from the vehicle illustrations and focusing on what you would find on the back of a car. This the first in a semi-regular series of photo realistic license plate illustrations.
These are all passenger plates.

We start with 1972, which some hail as the start of the Malaise Era. It was still a mix of yearly issued plates almost all fully embossed with some jurisdictions using reflective sheeting. Delaware being Delaware was using a flat silkscreened plate. Nevada and Vermont debossed their plates.  South Dakota silkscreened an illustration of Mount Rushmore on their plates as they have been doing for years. Pennsylvania being Pennsylvania jumped the gun on the American bicentennial by issuing a plate four years ahead complete with a 76 on it. Most striking is the bear shaped plate of Northwest Territories, something they have been doing since 1970 and continue to do until today.


1973 USA and Canada License Plates

1973 was more of the same with Montana joining Nevada and Vermont debossing their plates.


1974 USA and Canada License Plates

1974 had a a few changes. Colorado joined the list of states that debossed their plates while South Dakota used a design, of course featuring Mount Rushmore, printed directly on reflective sheeting from 3M.

1975 USA and Canada License Plates

1975 brought more changes. Several jurisdictions joined Pennsylvania in creating plates featuring the American bicentennial. Colorado and Wyoming used designs printed on reflective sheeting. Colorado used the design to commemorate the centennial of their statehood while Wyoming used it for the American bicentennial. Montana returned to debossed plates.

1976 USA and Canada License Plates

1976 brought more designs printed on reflective sheeting. Most of these were in some way connected to the American bicentennial. Perhaps one of the more interesting bicentennial designs is Michigan who just used paint and embossing to come up with a very striking license plate. New Mexico had an American flag design for their 1976 validation sticker that appears to have violated the Flag Code. Québec, which had Montréal hosting the olympics added the logo of the event to their plate.