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DUB6
Specialist

Got a Good Vanity Plate Backstory?

   When it comes to a venue for stories from car-nut people like those who are reading this, it's no secret that a lot of us run vanity plates and have some really clever ideas for things to say on our "babies".  In fact, I'm certain that it's quite possible to overwhelm this site by just asking folks to post their fun plates (or those they've seen in traffic).  But that's been done elsewhere.

   No, my question today is more specific.  Do you have a vanity plate story that is actually as much or more interesting as the saying on the plate itself?  Something where we don't even have to see a photo of the plate - to be entertained just by the backstory?

   I'll start with one my youngest daughter had.  She'd had some relationship issues and it had sometimes made her a bit more cautious about people's motives.  She was also a huge fan of the TV show "The X-Files".  So, she had plates that read TRUSTNO1 made.  Big fun, right?  And maybe a bit of a double-meaning?  But that proved to have little to do with the best part of the story!

  She was a state health and welfare inspector and had discovered some violations at a care facility.  They said they'd fix things but didn't want her to make the complaints official - "you can count on us", they said.  She explained that she had to register the facts anyway.  A facility administrator, realizing that these violations put the facility's licensing in jeopardy, said, "Yeah, it's clear that you won't just take our word for anything.  We've seen your license plates, and we know that you just don't trust anyone".

   My daughter had a very quick mind and wit, and quickly shot back, "Hey, you've read the plates wrong.  They say Trust Number One!", pointing her index finger skyward and glancing toward the heavens.  The implication that she was indicating a Higher Power as her guide was clear, even though she didn't say it.  The administrator was caught totally off guard, and not wanting to challenge someone's religious beliefs, completely abandoned the argument.  😇

   If you've got a fun or interesting story that goes with a vanity plate, tell us about it!

87 REPLIES 87
61Rampy
Instructor

So sorry to hear of your beautiful daughter's untimely death. I'll admit to having a couple of tears after reading your cool story. Those vanity plates must mean a LOT to you. Nuts, someone must be cutting up onions around here...😭

DUB6
Specialist

@61Rampy - I appreciate your comments, and yes, someone cuts onions around me quite a bit, too.  But you nailed it, those plates, those photos, that car, those stories and memories - they are all so very darned special to me.  Nothing will ever fill in the gap of not being able to spend another day with her, but - and there is no easy way to say this - when I look at those plates, those photos, that car, and when I recall and retell those stories and memories, I realize I'm as close to her as I'm going to get.  So I do those things as often as I can and as much as those around me will bear.  That means I'm thankful that when I post stuff about here on these pages, people like you are appreciative and understanding, and don't just tell me to quit whining or bugger off.

66PontiacGTO
Pit Crew

I like all cars manufactured between 1930 and 1970 and I have been buying, selling and trading cars about every 3-4 years for the past 40+ years so I can enjoy driving as many as possible for as long as i am able to.  I always have one, and sometimes 2, at any given time.  I started out with a 1930 model A and got the NH plate "30Ford" for it.  I then followed that with "RSSS' for a '68 Camaro, then "66GTO", then "58Vette" and there were several others before I got tired having to spend time at the DMV to get a new vanity plate approved every time a new classic car showed up in my garage and now I have NH antique plate "OLDE" which I have easily transferred from a '66 Vette to a '70 Challenger T/A and now it's on a '66 GTO convertible.  Don't know what the next car will be but I know the plate will be "OLDE" on it.

DUB6
Specialist

Very appropriate!

[PS - here in Idaho, you can order you vanity plate online, and you type in what you want it to say, and it either gets immediately accepted or denied right on the spot.  Maybe NH could copy that system!]  😋

OMPguy
Intermediate Driver

This past year we bought a very used 1969 RAF Land Rover Lightweight Air-Portable Half Ton. Contemplating the green beast with lots of chipped paint, I chose NOT NEW, just to be certain there’s no confusion. Just sayin’… 

DUB6
Specialist

Well, there's no subtlety in THAT message, for sure!  😀

Tomboy
Pit Crew

HNGR QN stands for Hangar Queen - which is a term used for an aircraft that spends most of its time in a hangar getting repaired - or never flies.  Kinda fits.12.jpg310.JPG

Robstock
New Driver

I had a 1957 Studebaker Silver Hawk with a built SBC 355 and Tremek 5spd, I also had a 1962 Studebaker Lark with a 289 and a T 10 4spd. As I was looking at them sitting side by side one day, it hit me!! The only logical plates for the cars were BDOPREY (bird of prey) for the Hawk and BDOPLAY (bird of play) for the Lark.

DUB6
Specialist

Sometimes the backstory just comes like a bolt outta the blue, eh?

Smileamile
Intermediate Driver

My wife and I spend the summer in Maine, where the locals have a pretty strong accent, usually dropping the “r’s”. My favorite car in Kennebunkport is a VW convertible with the plate reading, "Summa Ca”!

rs6er
Pit Crew

I used to have the vanity plate P00RSCHE on my 1981 911 SC back in 1981. It indicated that I had spent all my money on my dream car and was therefore Porsche poor. 

DUB6
Specialist

In my past, I owned a cheap, old one, and a more expensive, newer one.  I TOTALLY understood your plate backstory from either perspective!

j7161762gto
Pit Crew

me from ri 1099 forgot to mention the car the plate is on its a 66 gto yellow black vinel top and interior  factory ac auto has won a few trophies had same car at 16 was 4years old paided 750.00  had a 4speed and no black top my father said i was nuts paying that much for 4 yr old car had not even been beat on still had factory hub caps wish dad could see this one now insured  for 55000 00 

ChrisL911
New Driver

I have a 911 with the plate "Tatort", which is German for "scene of the crime".  I lived in Germany for almost 20 years and Tatort is the name of a detective show that has run there since the '70s.  If I drove here the way I drove there on the Autobahn, it would definitely be the scene of a crime.  Sigh...

DUB6
Specialist

😆

I took High School German - don't remember tatort being on the vocabulary list.  Possibly our teacher didn't want to plant any ideas in our young minds!

JEL395
Intermediate Driver

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My girl friend is major francophile and Porsche.  Needless to say has a heavy foot as well. The plate speaks for itself.  

DUB6
Specialist

Fitting!

1ferociousb
New Driver

A lot of great stories here!  I got a 280Z 2 years ago.  Racked my brain trying to think of a cool twist on Fairlady Z.  Tried Google translate, Latin, Greek, etc.  Nothing.  Told my wife what I was doing and said "fairlady" is lady of affection.   She's Romanian and said Iubita is an option.   Hmmm. IUBITA Z.  She said if I swap it, Z IUBITA literally translates to "the girlfriend."  So now my Z is "my girlfriend"... a year and a half has gone by and ilmy Z is still in the shop for a restormod.... soooo i can't see or drive my girlfriend!   🤣

DUB6
Specialist

Hey, that's a REALLY interesting story - how many cars get plates that have a Romanian term of affection?  I'm betting not many!  Give your wife a thumbs up from me (for not only allowing you to have a "girlfriend", but for helping you name her)!  👍

eurovin
Pit Crew

I've got a Volvo 122 that used to be a station wagon, but now it's a pickup, or ute. I designed it, incorporating fins from an 1800 & my buddy built it.  Turned out better than I think either of us anticipated, so it needed a special plate.  I've always driven Chevys for trucks, so the only hard part was getting it all said in seven characters...  Plate reads LVOLINO.

jbisch17
New Driver

I apologize for the length of this “backstory.”  When my youngest daughter, Sue, was twelve we decided to look for a car to restore together.  In the summer of 1998 we found our candidate in a 1967 Malibu.  We immediately began disassembling the vehicle.  As life happens our work began to stretch out as we wanted to be sure we got everything just right.  Finally, in 2007 we decided to hire a company to do the final interior and driveline assembly to expedite the process. 

 

During this time my work with a city introduced me to the recycling world and its benefits.  My daughter showed me an ad for a vendor that reproduced license plates.  While California would not grant this personalized plate, and I wanted to keep the vehicles original 1967 plate registration, I couldn’t resist having a set made for the car.  As many states no longer require front plates I have yet to have a problem displaying the plate in front.  While I am mindful of the weather, I do drive the car year round. I included a couple extra pictures I’m found of.  Thank you for a fantastic magazine and culture.

 

Jon BDisassembly 1999Disassembly 1999Post carshows 2008Post carshows 2008Post snowstorm 2022Post snowstorm 2022

DUB6
Specialist

@jbisch17 - I don't why you started out with an apology.  A great story is a great story, be it short or long (and BTW, compared to mine, yours is hardly long!) - and your and Sue's story is a great story.  Congratulations on showing us what a wonderful father-daughter connection you made and what a neat car you created - with a memorable front plate backstory!  Very cool.  😎

DaveB
Detailer

Co worker of mine bought a Crown Vic police car from an auction.  They barely even spray painted over the door logos.  License Plate - Donuts  (and he had 2 Dunkin Donuts boxes in the back where the inside lights would have been).  He was often pulled over in that car.  Some people must not have a sense of humor.

Another car he had saw a 69 Sport Satellite.  Nothing special about it (318/auto) except the license plate - GOTTA 69.  Hilarious in my opinion.  😃 

DUB6
Specialist

Visual Aids to go with the plates on the Vic = priceless!

Greg_I
Hagerty Employee

I don't have a clever saying for mine, it's simply my last name, but the reason for having it is pretty neat. My father decided to pick up a plate with our last name in 1978 and he kept it on one vehicle or another throughout my lifetime. When I purchased his 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix a few years back, he and I worked it so that the plate could be passed on to me. I eventually sold the Pontiac and kept the plate, which is on my daily driver. So we are going on 44 years of this plate in the family. The cool part is that with Michigan releasing a retro plate this year, (which of course I bought immediately) it looks a lot closer in style to the original (which I have as well).

DUB6
Specialist

   There are clever sayings galore - but a great backstory such as yours is much, much cooler, IMHO.  Going on 44 years!  That is a wonderful way to honor your father and keep a tradition going.   Four-Star Story @Greg_I!

MadMac
Intermediate Driver

Back in the '70s I had a Saab Sonett III.  Because of its silhouette and orange color most people at first thought it to be a Datsun 240Z.

 

Around that same time, 7up was running an advertising campaign that 7up was the uncola.  My custom plate read THE UNZ.  

 

The plate now hangs on a wall of plates collected by a friend next to a plate with but a single letter, Z.

DUB6
Specialist

"The UN Z" - I love it!  I certainly remember the Uncola campaign.  Somewhere I've even got one of those upside-down Coke glass-shaped Uncola 7up glasses.  Fun story.  👍

61Rampy
Instructor

Way back in the 70's there was a guy who autocrossed his Saab Sonnett. His license plates said: SOB SNOT. This was back in Chicago area.

scarboro32162
New Driver

I have a 1958 Porsche Replica that has as many NOS parts as we could mount.  On many occasions we are confronted with 'what was that'.  So I have a vanity plate that reads  WAWAZAT.  It works.

DPV1936
New Driver

We own a 1936 Ford Woody. My wife is a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of her favorite characters is Willow who says many times throughout the show "Bored now". Having as many as 3 meanings we went with:

                  BORDNOW

1. Feeling weary from being unoccupied

2. Now made from wood

3. Engine size increase 

    We also had a 1936 Ford Cabriolet which we used:

          ETOHRNR

      ETOH is a chemical abbreviation for alcohol. We were going for alcohol runner from the prohibition days of the 30's.

DUB6
Specialist

Glad you told us the backstories, 'cause I'm sure I'm not the only one who wouldn't have figured either of them out!  😊

CapnEddy
New Driver

Over the years I have owned many British sport cars - MGA, TR2, TR3, TR4, XK120, XJ-6...

most of them in British Racing Green.  When I was lamenting the lack of British roadster in my life to my nearby neighbor, he said he had the ideal solution. He raised his garage door an exposed the ultimate BRG British sports car - a 2001 NB Special Edition MX-5 Miata.  It starts, it runs, it doesn't leak, and the electronics are not from the Prince of Darkness.  However, since my earlier days of sportscar ownership, at 6 feet tall and a pudgy 230 pounds, I found the entry and exit of the Miata challenging.  I, therefore, petitioned for the appropriate vanity plate - CLOSQTR.

DUB6
Specialist

Excuse the pun, but that's, er, "fitting"...😋

Mike_B
Intermediate Driver

When I bought my '70 Cougar Eliminator I wanted to put vintage plates on it ~ ideally something with "428" on them since my car has a 428CJ.  I contacted a guy in my State that specializes in vintage plates and he sent me pics of an "NOS" set that he had.  They had never been used and were still in the DMV envelope.  Yep, those were the ones!
They are so perfect that when I went to the DMV to register them the little old lady behind the counter read them and said "MEW... oh these would be great for a cat lover!"
Why yes, yes they are 🙂

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DUB6
Specialist

That is incredible!  😺

jsmarsh
Intermediate Driver

jsmarsh_0-1650073236073.png

Temporary pause in activity.

 

DUB6
Specialist

Oh my!