The personalised number plate business in Western Australia is booming – closely followed by a number of people who decry it. For every citizen who is prepared to pay the state government $ 535 to $ 685 for their own lettering on the plates – there is another internet poster who thinks it is foolish and believes that it is their mission life to scoff.
Well, I like scoffing as much as the next anonymous Facebook writer, but in this case I think the detractors are in the wrong – for a number of reasons:
- The decision to buy a personal plate is not forced upon any motorist. They are free to take whatever the dealer places on their car at a lower cost.
- The wording of the plate must pass some official scrutiny and the rules that govern it are fairly spelled out. No profanity, no incitement, etc. A plate doesn’t appear without permission.
- The money raised from the plate sales presumably goes into general coffers – and thence to public works, like roads, schools, and hospitals. More money than standard plates, hence more contribution to state welfare.
- The plates are distinctive. This is both a good and bad thing for the driver – they are more likely to be remembered and spotted than if they have standard plate. if they behave with care and distinction on the road this means we can praise them and if not, they can be easily identified.
- The are sometimes amusing to read – sometimes puzzling -and sometimes a prudent warning about the mind set of the driver. This can be very useful when the motorist is an hoon or idiot – you can avoid them.
- They are a harmless amusement. Hard to find harmlessness these days as everyone is uptight about everything, but a Mini car with ” The Moocher ” on it is a pretty cheerful sight.
- All too often we are a number -a Centrelink number, a bank number, an ABN number. Or just a series of passwords and PIN numbers. We often lose our names to everyone else. How nice to have a distinctive plate that we choose.
- A personal-plated car is more likely to be cherished, maintained, and driven carefully by the owner.
- A personal plate on a Mercedes, Volvo, Lexus, or BMW that features a number of “8”s on it is as good an identifier as a roundel would be on an Air Force plane. Sort of an IFF signal, but in this case an IFW. If you know what to look for you know to give it a wide berth in car parks.
- For my part I would like to see a return of the old-fashioned yellow ” L ” plate and red ” P ” plate fixed at a standard height on a standard position – the bumper bar or the grill of the car. The practice of plastering something behind a windscreen or rear window that cannot be seen other road users defeats the entire purpose of the warning.
I would also like to see similar plates for us elderly drivers – perhaps a red/yellow striped plate that warns others that we are going to drive more slowly and cautiously.
I thought I knew all the different types of pasta – spaghetti, linguini, tagiatelli, etc. Today I discovered a new variety – this sort is shaped like a Fiat racing car.
Given the recent record of FIAT cars here in Australia – the FIAT 500 and some of the other cooking-quality sedans that have been briefly seen on the streets of Perth before retiring and expiring – you might be given to thinking that this Italian car maker is not one of the icons. Not a Ferrari or Lamborghini. But remember that long before F. or L. were feuding, FIAT was racing all over the world. They were also making fighter planes and giant locomotives.
This FIAT 502 may yet be on the ground for a closer inspection at future car shows – I am going to go to them to see if more can be seen inside it. The outside details scream of the period and promise a great deal of interesting design inside.
Oh, to see it in operation on a track…
I must look out the next Italian Car Show day here in Perth and hope. Wheel ’em Danno…
There’s Slim Pickens but he was in another class altogether. I loved him as a film actor. No, today was the annual visit to the Hyde Park Holiday old car show – but it was a visit made with trepidation. I suspected that there might be few new old cars shown. But not-so-trepid me wanted to see whatever might be presented.
I was right about the paucity of exhibits. There were plenty of cars on show and quite a spread in their variety, but most of them had been seen on previous years. I picked out the fresh ones and walked through the field in an hour.
1938 Morris 8 in the process of reconstruction. I feel sure that when the owner can locate a period steering wheel in good order he will substitutue it for the modern one. And tuck in the wiring…
Dear old DeSoto in excellent form. If not exactly exciting in the day, it at least showed a sense of respectability in style. A manager of a successful hardware store or an accountant could drive this car with confidence.
A car to be. One of the few that were presented in building form, this Triumph will undoubtedly be as cute as a bug when it is done. I was particularly intrigued by the wheels, having never seen anything of this sort before. Also noted the extremely small size of the engine and its low placement on the chassis compared to the body mounting. I am in two minds about the practicality of the leather body covering. Flash, but one scuff…
A few days back a new Mini motorcar passed me in the Northbridge tunnel and slowed down – the brake lights came on. See the heading image – they were in the shape of part of the British Union Jack flag. Thank you to the chap who took that picture – I couldn’t get my camera out while driving.
I was instantly delighted – it was such a clever use of technology to tie this iconic symbol into the iconic car. But it gave me to think…
a. The car is not wholly British. it is made by a company that is firmly German – BMW – at plants in the UK and Holland. The design comes out of Bavaria. Leading to the question of whether or not it is a gentle piss-take.
b. Apparently it is associated with a wide-eyed ring of LED running lights up the front that make the car look permanently deranged. I did not see the front of the vehicle in the tunnel. But again, aus München…
c. In the past there have been any number of Issigonis and later Minis that have had the roof painted in a complete representation of a Union Jack.
d. Which leads to a cynical smirk at the proclivity of Brits to complain about Americans flying the Stars and Stripes or displaying it as a symbol. Be honest, Johnny Bulls – you’ve all sneered at the Yanks for their patriotism at some time or the other…and yet painted your national flag on the top of a tinny little motor car. Or in the case of the modern version, an expensive little German motor car.
All the same. I did admire the modern Morgan in the York Motor Museum…If you’re going to be crass for $ 92,300, you might as well do it big-time.
Facebook asks me this question twenty times a day as I hide advertisements but only provides a limited number of possible responses. Let me correct this by supplying the real reasons the ads were turned off:
a. There are too bloody many of them. Whatever shit is being shilled, the fact that one cannot goggle over the love life of friends or look at cat videos is the real irritant. Reduce them to one an hour… and I’ll let you know which hour.
b. They are blatant and/or sneaky. Either way, they are trying to sell something to someone who is trying not to buy.
c. If I wanted to read an advertisement I would google up the product I fancied, in the sure knowledge that I would be inundated with the spiels. I read Facebook for gossip, not commerce.
d. Who engages you to press debt upon us? We are fighting like cats to repel it – you do yourself no good by trying it on. We know how it fits already.
I realise that you have purchased my profile from Google, who sees everything I do and that you are on-selling it to the people who want my money. This is basic piracy and I respect that. But how can you get it so very wrong? I want model airplanes and hot rods and Chinese camera lenses and pin-up girls. You must have some somewhere – why try me out with cruises to tropical hell-holes or on-trend shoes? If you must pester me, pester me with the stuff I want…not the dreck that other people choose.
If you are playing to an audience you generally want to see their reaction. I can only think this to be the case when I see some of the vanity license plates on the road. The owners who have paid a stiff price for these plates want an audience to applaud them as they drive by.
But everyone is busy with the steering wheel and gear lever…or at least with their mobile phones and stubbies of beer – there are no hands free to clap. And so few people toot their horns or flash their lights. It must eventually be a source of the deepest frustration for the performers.
Tuesday’s random was a large SUV with I AM AD as the plate. Either someone is named Adam or someone runs an advertising agency. Either would be valid.
Some plates are fun. THE MOOCHER on a Mini is a clever cultural joke. PAYD 4 is another. KILLER or DV8 are not – they are a tin revelation of what is behind the wheel. Rather like an E plate* that someone paid $ 400 for but is in no hurry to lose.
I plan to ask for the heading image when I buy my gold-plated Maserati.
* Our local Plate’O Shame that marks the convicted drunk driver who has been able to cozen a magistrate into special dispensation from becoming a pedestrian for a year.
If you never learn another thing…learn to shift gears smoothly.
The people who have automatic transmissions miss this skill – they jerk their T-bar into ” D ” and just accept whatever the unseen mechanism decides to do. In some cases this is flawless work, but in some it is a drag upon their resources.
And it can be worse if they are steering a motor car. Those car transmissions need a lot of maintenance.
What? You though this was all about motor cars in the first place? Wrong – it is about life.
You’ll do lots of things in life that happen at different speeds and under different loads; you’ll be a little kid one day with no responsibilities and a school student next day – with the weight of the world on your shoulders. If you cannot shift smoothly from a 4-year-old centre of the universe to the 5-year-old who is in line and quiet, you have trouble.
Likewise when you transition from grade school to high school – high school to university or trade training – and so on through your lifetime. Be assured that you need a good deal of strategy and patience to make the leap from employed person to retired one. You need to plan to speed up one set of gears while you are slowing another down to get them to mesh properly – you need a mental Synchromesh.
My transition involved writing these columns as well as hobby interests gathered over the years. I selected a couple that still resonated with me – ones that I could afford and could manage on a physical level. The result has been a smooth transition with no loss of traction. No gears grind and no teeth have broken off the idlers.
If I travel slower than before, and do not surmount such high hills of achievement, I can still take some comfort from the smoothness evident in the ride. It’ll stop one day, of course, but hopefully not from idleness or inattention.