These plates are used on tow trucks. A shop must first have Dealer or Repair plates in order to obtain Wrecker plates. Non-dealer or repair tow trucks were able to use regular Commercial plates until the law was changed in 2010. Every wrecker must now have wrecker plates, and in order to obtain wrecker plates the business must first have dealer or repair plates.
This type appears to have started in 1954. The same colors and format were used through 1957. Starting in 1958 or 1959, white on blue plates were used and beginning in 1961 Wrecker plates followed the same annually-reversing color scheme as Dealer and Repair plates. Thus, 1961, 63, 65, etc. were blue on white, and 1962, 64, 66, etc. were white on blue.
Starting I believe in 1967, decals were used to validate blue on white plates. This color scheme lasted until the early 2000s. At this time, Wrecker plates were re-issued in black on orange, still validated with decals. Along with Dealer and Repair plates, Wrecker is one of the few types to have fully-embossed captions and numbers. In my opinion, this is what made it one of the more “readable” types on the roads- no squinting to see a small legend screened on the bottom of a generic light blue plate.
As of Early 2016, wrecker plates are now in the universal AB-12345 format, which makes them much less readable.
In 1999, a new type was introduced – “Wrecker Vehicle In Tow”. See below for a description of this type.
See also: Prototype.
This may have been the first year for this type.
These plates must have been made on leftover blanks, since it has tab slots – but Wrecker plates used stamped-dated annual issues well past the tab years.
Fitting number for the year.
This is an older plate than the previous photo, yet has a higher number. Wrecker plates were issued with a hodgepodge of numbers during this timeframe – old numbers (and even plates!) were re-issued.
ca. Late 1980s/early 1990s
Old number on a 1980’s base revalidated to 1997
Note the narrow “Wrecker” caption, which is different from all the others on this page.
The wide caption came back shortly thereafter.
Wrecker Vehicle In Tow
These plates feature the same serial number as that of the wrecker. Because there are so many words on these plates (along with the Connecticut state name on the bottom) the dies for the numbers appear to be those formerly used on Motorcycle plates. These plates were not widely used at first, but are becoming more common.
This type was introduced in 1999. According to state law, every vehicle with wheels in contact with the roadway must have a registration plate. This proved problematic for wreckers towing vehicles which were not registered- a “Dealer” or “Repair” plate needed to be used for this purpose. As Dealer and Repair plates are expensive, the towing industry asked for some way to get around this. Thus, the “Vehicle In Tow” type was introduced for this situation. The change in the law in 2010, however, rendered this point somewhat moot as all owners of tow trucks registered as wreckers must now also have Dealer or Repair plates.
Another one, in better condition
This plate uses different dies for the smaller lettering at the bottom.
The corresponding Wrecker plate for the “In Tow” plate at left.