More Than Just Letters & Numbers
Just Another Plate

Car enthusiasts sure are a creative bunch. Regardless of rules and regulations, we always seem to find a way to create and express ourselves clearly. Even on license plates.

When the world throws us a set of parameters to work within, we do our best to break, bend or remould them into something useful. This holds true from the smallest, most seemingly trivial details, right the way up to negotiating with the physics that bind our universe, all as part of the never-ending quest to go faster.

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I could try to talk this up to be more than it is, but the truth is, I just feel like having a little bit of fun. I made a little game with myself during the recent Rotary Revival event, the aim being to snap as many personalised (AKA vanity) license plates that said a little something about the cars they were attached to.

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You’ve got to admit, it’s amusing just how much about a car or owner can be conveyed through the very limited characters available on license plates. While plates don’t add horsepower (contrary to what some people believe), they can potentially add a lot of character to a build.

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Occasionally, the right plates on the right car will even finish a build; they’re the icing on the cake, so to speak. In fact, some cars are better known by their plates than their owners.

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I guess to fully appreciate what we’re looking at here, we should cover the rules that govern most of the examples on display. In the Australian state of New South Wales we’re limited to six characters to express ourselves. Most of us try to work within a set formula of letter and numbers to avoid paying the hefty annual fee of full custom set.

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I’m talking close to A$500 (US$375) on top of the A$1000 (US$750) for registration. While some of us are happy to pay the higher fee, the vast majority opt to get creative stick to a set combination, e.g. XXX-12X though. Other states have different laws and layouts to follow, but you’ll see pretty much the same system applied where ever you are in Australia, including the heavy ‘full custom’ annual prices.

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Keeping to the spirit of the event, I was focusing on plates that alluded to the rotary power plant lurking within a car’s engine bay. So how many ways can you express an engine model? Plenty it seems.

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Most of these ported rotary engines can be heard buzzing long before the car is close enough for you to read a plate properly, but most rotary fans have decided not to chance it. There’s still a risk that some uneducated sorts out there may mistake their pride and joy for something with pistons.

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The plates are fun fail safe; in the unlikely event that the cacophony of ‘brap’, the polished badges and exclusive rotary-themed decals are missed, passers by will still be able to fall back on the fun and informative license plates. Pedestrians will be able to sleep better at night knowing that little blue Mazda was indeed powered by a Mazda 13B rotary engine, and that whooshing sound created by its turbocharger.

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In all seriousness though, plates are an often overlooked way to bring a little more character to a build. Sure, they’re one of the least important components on a car, but with some creativity they have the potential to complete a build.

My current Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX is the first car in a long time that I’ve left standard plates on, so perhaps it’s time I go plate shopping myself and give my project a better title than simply ‘The Nine.’

Now let’s hear from you guys – if you’ve previously run, or currently run a personalised/vanity plate on your car, what did it read?

Matthew Everingham
Instagram: matthew_everingham
matt@mattheweveringham.com

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56 comments

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1

A refreshing article.
As you say, something as simple as a license plate can really add to a build

Author2
Matthew Everingham

Thanks TJH, It's nice to mix things up occasionally. :)

3

I loved my plate on my old DC2!

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4
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5

Here in South Africa we are allowed characters, I took advantage of that for about a decade when I retained my reg plate on a series of e36, e46 and e63 beemers. I no longer own something worth the plate which read -

r3v03v0m

As it's only worth reading in a rear-view mirror

6
MacDonald RaceWorks

thats the best BMW plate i have ever heard of

7

The license plate on my Bus reads FO723 or Fotze which is a not so nice german word for female genitalia :D It sometimes creates weird looks from others but mostly it's a joke for me and friends.

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Author8
Matthew Everingham

Creepy! Thanks for sharing... I think. ;)

9

Currently have LZY25T on my 07 wrx, which is sporting a gtx3582r

10

Ive had MYTOY4 on my old Corolla, VANILLA on my Liberty and currently have DAKDAKK on my 05 WRX.

11
Richard Browm

Mine says "No Pulp". Since I've gotten it, it's become the cars name and often how I'm recognized.
I want vanity plates on my other vehicles, but I just haven't be able to come up with anything good.

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12

I'd say it's rather fitting ;)

I've since sold the car, but I've kept the plates (which now hang on my wall). Sorry, to anyone else in my state that wanted 3KGT, but they're mine!!!!

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Author13
Matthew Everingham

Simple and great!

14

Mine used to be MOIST4 on my 4cyl Pinto powered Mk2 Escort.

Author15
Matthew Everingham

Now that's a word that needs to be used more frequently!

16

Mines BAKFYR, because......well........

17

My wife bought me these plates for my 21st birthday, 15yrs ago and they have been on at least 10 Volkswagens in that time.

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Author18
Matthew Everingham

With gifts like that, she's a keeper!

19

I have usually tried to describe my cars with the plate in some way.

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20

Sorry for the double post, Can I delete one somehow? :-\

Author21
Matthew Everingham

I follow the same philosophy. Ever plate I've ever customized has been a reference to the car, or a nickname based on the model. On a site note, that's a very clean MR2! :O

22

Thank you very much, it is my pride and joy :-)
You will have to let us all know what plates you decide on for the Evo and maybe a project car post on it?

Author23
Matthew Everingham

Project car post is on the agenda. It might even happen as soon as next month sometime! :)

24

Had these for a few years now

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25

Had a few sets of plates in my time. First was on my 2 door Gemini "SIKGEM"
Next set of plates was "TI3VOM" (read it backwards)
Then I had "CREEP" on my '78 XC Ford Fairmont

26
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28

Sucks to live in switzerland as we only have numbers on our plates. up to six digits. Not much u can make up with that other than some birthdays. And for the record for a nice low number may cost U a few thousand bucks

29
Anthony Douvlos

Nothing to see here officer, just a regular falcon...

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30

"H8R" on F430 F1:)

31
Anthony Douvlos

Stock officer..

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32

PYR-O1B = pyro and my initials I.B. - I'm a Pyrotechnician ( fireworks shows)

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34
Josh delgorge
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Author35
Matthew Everingham

I can't not see 'YOURMUM' for some reason... I'm sure that's more my issue rather than your plates though. :/

36
Steve R Tremain

Pull up to a set of lights wearing these plates, you're bound to get someone wanting to race

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Author37
Matthew Everingham

Almost literally ever single 'P' plater I'd imagine.

38
Daniel Mitchell

[NISSILE]

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39
Daniel Mitchell
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40
Lochlan Hughes

Cars better known by their plates, "T005XY"

41

Paying for a hashtag at this point

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42

Running a custom plate on my RX7 at the moment that simply reads "IM2SLO".

43
Richard Shumack

yeh boi

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44
Christo Anthony

My 08 STI came with 555 STI plate number when i bought it, and it's totally one of my favorite feature of my car!

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45

Some of my friend's plates in NZ when we were growing up: RU16YT / MILFB8 / GAPN50and this car thief used to rock DOUOVA on his car build of 100 cars lol

46

I've had "KYUSHA" on a few of my old Japanese cars...

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47

wtf... photo upload fail lol. let's try again!

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48
MacDonald RaceWorks

MENINE would be a sweet plate for your car. its got your initials and its sounds like a bogan talking XD

49

geile kisten

50

Say no more.....

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51

I have no idea what to put on my JDM NB Roadster, all suggestions welcome!

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Author52
Matthew Everingham

Clip55?
HAIR01
HRDR354
HRCU75

53

All good suggestions!

54

My Hilux's normal reg plate starts with 350... So it'd probably disappoint any Aussie I met. Maybe it's time to change that

55
Paddy McGrath

For some reason, I only think Australian cars can pull off the custom plate. Everywhere else it just looks cheap.

56

I always thought it was a bit redundant, having the license plate describe the car. I remember RED Z4, on a... red Z4. It would be awesome on a blue Z4.

I've wanted VEHICLE for a while. I looked at a Sentra SE-R with JDMSR20.

Here in Hawaii, there's an NSX with plate number BCH PLZ.

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