Weekly Roundup: It’s Not A Story The GTI Jedi Would Have Told You Edition

I will admit to being fascinated by vanity plates. I’ve had a few, all of them bad. In fact, now that I think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a genuinely witty one, on my car or others. There is something intrinsically pathetic about wanting people to be impressed or enlightened by your plate. With that said, I also admire the spirit of paying a couple extra bucks to avoid wearing what amounts to a state identification number on your vehicle.

Still. The worst plates are the ones which simply restate the badge on the car, and I’ve been guilty (“E46 3LTR”, “DISCO”) a few times. My old mentor in the pimp game, the Big Dog, was infamous for doing this (“TDI Q7”). He would also make bad puns in steel — “AUDIOS” comes to mind. The worst one he ever had was when he picked up two Range Rover 4.6 Vitesses, one in red and the other in eye-searing yellow. The plate: “TWEETY”.

After seeing the above at a Michigan gas station, however, I’m thinking that “TWEETY” wasn’t that bad.

This week marks the re-debut of Avoidable Contact, this time at Hagerty’s media site, and the first installment is called To All The Cars I’ve Crashed Before.

38 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: It’s Not A Story The GTI Jedi Would Have Told You Edition”

  1. Fred Lee

    Saw on the way home today, a black charger with apple green racing stripes. His license plate was “U J3LLY”. I was embarrassed for him.

    Reply
  2. -Nate

    Me, I sometimes like vanity plates, in the 1970’s I had one on a 1956 DeLuxe Beetle, nothing fancy nor smart though .

    -Nate

    Reply
  3. CJinSD

    A friend of mine has the best vanity plate I’ve seen. I can’t attest to its accuracy though. It is on the Durango he uses for fishing trips to Hatteras The Durango has a monster lift kit and huge tires that allow him to drive on the beach without excessive airing down. The vanity plate? It says “2INCHPP.” It’s actually gone viral before, with a photo of the Durango and plate randomly showing up on my friend’s social media feed with the tag, “This guy needs a PR agent.” Not too long ago, he brought two new girls home from a club in his Acura TL only for them to see his Durango sitting at the end of his driveway and express their disapproval obscenely.

    I’ve never had a vanity plate for the same reason I avoid distinctive custom touches, colors, or bumper stickers. I’m not going to help anyone identify my car, or even remember having seen it. When I was in high school, I was tasked by my employer with showing a retired English doctor around my hometown. I soon learned he was a member of the Bentley Driver’s Club, and we spent the day visiting restoration shops in addition to touring UVA’s campus. At one point some clown made a dodgy move in traffic and my ward pointed out how stupid it was that the badly driven car had a vanity plate serving to help eye witnesses remember his errors. Made sense to me.

    Reply
  4. Dirty Dingus McGee

    For the span of one year, I had a vanity plate, 69 6PKB (factory original 1969 Super Bee 6Pak). I thought I was all kind of clever until someone pointed out to me the following; Anyone who understands the plate already knows what the car is. Anyone who DOESN’T know what the car is, will never understand the plate, Got rid of the plate the next time my tag was due, The only one I saw that made me think, said 2THDR, It was on an E type Jag, at Road Atlanta’s IMSA Camel GT race in the early 80’s. Possibly/probably due to the amount of beer I had consumed, it took me a while to figure that one out.

    Glad to see you back in “print”. How often will you be posting articles?

    And being as I have 5 vehicles insured thru Hagerty, it’s good to know I’m helping support your “bad” habits. 🙂

    Reply
  5. rambo furum

    A mystery that plagues me from way back is whether the plate spotted in a drive-thru line, H8U 2DA was actually a vanity plate or pure coincidence. My recollection is it had the space in the middle, which would signify the latter.

    Reply
  6. Rich

    Many years ago in the UK I was following a car that had a very peculiar plate. I got close enough behind to read it: “NOBHEAD”. Not a true vanity plate of course, rather someone had gone to all the trouble of having it properly made up and put it on the guys car as a prank. Always wondered if the driver eventually spotted it or if the police eventually pointed it out to him

    Reply
  7. ScottS

    ” . . . . we are on a mission to save driving”

    Hear, hear! I’m pleased to see you at Haggery. R&T has been good these last few years, but honestly, I can only digest so many stories about exotics that I will never own, and the appliances hold no interest for me whatsoever. Hell, pickup trucks are more interesting today than most cars, and they have an option list as long as your arm. Haggerty is not in the business of writing sales pitches for new car manufacturers, and I find this very appealing.

    I look forward to good things to come.

    Reply
  8. Mike

    My favorite vanity plate ever, seen a few years ago on a white mid-90’s Thunderbird:

    NOBODY

    As an aside, Jack, while I enjoy your writing and will definitely head on over to read your articles, I have to say that Hagerty turned me off many years ago when I was shopping for a classic vehicle insurer. The main issue was their mileage restrictions, which, to my memory (it’s been at least a dozen years now) had all sorts of requirements and difficulty. I went with a competitor, whose rates are very good (I pay around $100/yr/car for agreed value coverage, for such rides as a ’66 Jaguar and a ’68 Camaro).

    Reply
  9. Dirt Roads

    I had a vanity plate on my Eldo, ATTITUD — as in, attitude is everything. Most folks thought it meant I had a bad one. *shrug*

    Reply
  10. Ronnie Schreiber

    My favorite vanity plate was FRUGAL on a Ferrari parked in the garage of what just may be the most expensive house in affluent Huntington Woods, Michigan.

    Reply
    • Will

      That’s pretty good. Any of them with a sense of humor are typically the best.

      I’ve always wanted to move to Germany and import a car with US tags with something like “2xChamp” or something along those lines to just troll.

      Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      I had a ’72 Bus with a slightly hi-po’d 1648 Beetle engine. I mounted an oil cooler in the airstream on the roof (and in the winter routed the hot oil to an interior heater I made out of an OEM doghouse oil cooler, some sheet meal, and a squirrel fan). Plumbed it with copper tubing that looked pretty good.
      Typical response:

      “What’s that on your roof?”

      “An oil cooler.”

      “What does it do?”

      “Umm. Cool oil.”

      Reply
      • Dirty Dingus McGee

        The most common comment I hear from anyone under age 60 when they see my Studebaker;

        Studebaker? Who made them?

        Reply
  11. George Denzinger

    Similar to a tattoo, I have no idea what I would want to put on my vanity plate. Like others have mentioned, I want one less identifier on my car in the event that my extra-legal speeds on the freeway get me in some sort of situation.

    Back in the pre-internet days, Car and Driver ran an article on the 10 Best Vanity Plates. The only one that I remember is this one: 6ULDV8.

    Reply
  12. stingray65

    I look forward to reading your future columns at Hagerty, but as an insurance company I expect they are very happy to not have had you as a client during your high impact driving history.

    Reply
  13. Rick T.

    Too good to try verifying, but years ago I read about a divorced woman with plates on her Jaguar which read “WAS HIS.”

    Reply
  14. cognoscenti

    I had a vanity plate on my W203 Stage 2-modded AMG Mercedes (~435HP/420 ft-lbs at the crank): M3EATER. This plate became even more accurate when I transferred it over to my next toy, an E30 3-Series with a swapped 24V engine and E46 M3 6-speed. I still have the plate, but not the cars. Now that I’m driving an M3, I want my plate to be as anonymous as possible!

    Reply
  15. scotten

    More Jack, bravo!

    And I’ve had a few vanity plates and said the same thing: almost every such plate is just bad. I have noticed that any plate with a female name is driven by a male, and vice versa.

    Reply
  16. sgeffe

    Since I sing in every choir they can squeeze me into at church, and drive Honda’s midsizer, what else fits but “ACHORD?!”

    And when I had my first Honda, a Civic, while working for the government (though the spelling was sucky because the best was taken): “CVC DTY”

    Reply
  17. pistonbroke

    Someone round here managed to get QQQQ through. Put it on a BMW.

    If it had been an M3/M5, or even a body kitted 1 series I could understand, but it was on a 2002. Struck me as incongruous.

    Reply
  18. AoLetsGo

    A few years back there was a woman who worked in the adjacent office building and she was smoking hot.
    Turns out she was a high powered divorce attorney who drove a Viper with a custom plate:
    MANEATER

    Reply
  19. Eric L.

    That commenting system at Hagerty’s is very strange. Do the old rich guys who frequent the site prefer that over traditionally threaded systems?

    Your piece was pretty good–I can’t offer any constructive criticism. It’s frustrating that you’ve lobbed a softball to make jokes about 8th grade Jack Baruth, yet nothing quality came to me.

    Reply
  20. Thomas Roshetar (Rasputin1919)

    Back in the days before vanity plates – that is before every State in the Union was near bankruptcy and looking for money wherever it could find it – I obtained at no cost a (kinda) vanity plate. As a grad student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY I purchased a new Fiat Spyder. In those ancient times in Rensselaer County, one registered vehicles at the County Office building. The NY plate numbering system then was three letters related to the County name and three random numbers. Most Rensselaer County plates had REN-, but I had noticed a prof’s car had an RPI- plates. I asked the clerk for an RPI- plates. She directed me to the County Clerk’s office. The man asked if I was a registered voter in Rensselaer County and when I said yes, he walked over to a shelf, grabbed RPI- plates off a stack, handed me his business card, and said, “Remember me in November.”

    I had my RPI-119 plates and I did vote for him every election until he retired. I only used the rear plate because a front plate looked terrible on that beautiful Spyder. Had that plate on a number of cars for 30 years, until I left NY. I have the pristine front plate hanging in my garage..

    Reply
  21. The Jackal

    My favorite vanity plate was owned by my friend who knew a little bit of German. The plate on his Virginia-licensed 1st Generation MR2 said, “ISS MICH”. He returned to PA and needed new plates. PA was less enthused by his choice of clever German phrase.

    Reply

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