More On The Plate Than Would Meet The Eye

WA Rod Show 2014 232

Here in Western Australia we use metal number plates on the front and rear of our motor vehicles. They are separate things bolted onto the front bumper or the rear surface of the boot. On trucks they may depend from the bumper bar or down near the tail lights.

Up until a few years back they were 5 or 6-figure things with a code word at the front and three numbers – my first car was USS-861. Country registrations had a distinctive abbreviation for the town or shire and then sometimes quite a small number – there were some areas that were sparsely populated.

Then they ran through the sequences  – I remember a licence that started XDX and then three numbers. All very logical. Eventually they ran out of numbers and stated to put other numbers at the front of the plate – my car now is 1DKP-728.

All of which leads me to the puzzlement of looking at a new class of licence plate – the Eurostyle plate. This seems to be a longer rectangle with WA at the front and the rest strung out in patches like a German plate. They are seen on a number of cars, but chiefly Audis, Mercedes, and BMW’s. I believe they are quite expensive to purchase, and the money goes into consolidated revenue for the state, and we mustn’t grumble about that…but…what a load of cobblers.

I can see the vanity plates with nicknames or smartass slogans – my daughter has one that commemorates a schoolyard taunt and she loves it. She paid for it…into consolidated revenue…and it does no harm. I can see the Asian 888 plates as they tickle their superstitions and again they pay into consolidated revenue. I can see the football team plates and the shire plates and the WWF and sailing club and RFDS plates – they are either showing loyalty or interest. But Europlates?

This ain’t Europe, any more than it is North America. Why try to suggest that you are a European on the road? Nothing especially to be proud of if you are. You might be a migrant or descendant of migrants who made good with your German car but no need to pretend that you are driving it in Dusseldorf if you are actually doing it in Dianella. In any case your attitude on the road will generally be evident long before the writing on the plate becomes legible…

Note: a few Poms tried to get the idea past the cops of having their number plate painted on the nose of their E-Type Jaguars but it never took off – they all eventually reverted to regular plates.

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