Plates update: April through mid-May 2015

I have not made a post about license plates in some time, for a number of reasons, so this post may be quite long!

I’ve seen quite a few highs lately, as well as some oddballs and a few interesting vanities and nice numbers. Let’s start, though, by acknowledging I am now living in Pennsylvania full-time, as opposed to spending months in Rhode Island (like late 2014 to earlier this year) or New Jersey (like much of last year). This is both good and bad in terms of plate spotting, but on the whole it’s nice to be in a relationship that doesn’t require hours of travel. Take my advice – if possible, date somebody less than an hour away! Seeing other states’ plates is nice and all, but long-distance relationships don’t work out, and license plates aren’t as important as happiness!

Without further ado, then, here’s a long-overdue plate-spotting update.

Mass Transit high, seen 26 March 2015
Mass Transit high, seen 26 March 2015 on South Street in Philadelphia. Oddly, for a relatively recent plate, this one’s quite grimy. Cue unwarranted comments about SEPTA’s image…
Operation Enduring Freedom high, seen 3 April 2015
Operation Enduring Freedom high, seen 3 April 2015. Yes, it was expired. This person risked their life buying a car less than a mile or so away from a nuclear power plant, for crying out loud – cut them a break! Oh, and it’s quite likely they were in Afghanistan as well…
BMW Car Club high, seen 21 April 2015
BMW Car Club high, seen 21 April 2015. 

The plate frame on the BMW, in this case, actually helps, which is unusual – I kid you not, the full text of the caption is “Delaware Valley Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America.”

They’ve somehow managed to fit that in the same space normally occupied by the much-more-succinct “visitPA.com” – naturally, the font kerning is so incredibly thin it’s practically illegible, and serves to explain, at least in part, why BMW owners seem to work in fields like finance and business management rather than graphic design and media. 😉

Side note: for an old 318, this one’s actually in really good shape, so props to the owner for maintaining it so well. This is their daily driver – the owner is local, and I see the car around every few days or so.

Person with Disability high, seen 30 April 2015
Person with Disability high, seen 30 April 2015. Only several days prior to snapping this photo, somebody posted 52332 – quite a jump.
Big jump observed in Person with Disability plates, especially considering the most recent reported high was 51482-P/D!
Big jump observed in Person with Disability plates, especially considering the most recent reported high was 51482-P/D!
Dealer high, seen 4 May 2015
Dealer high, seen 4 May 2015. I saw this whilst driving home, and decided to park a block away and then walk to surreptitiously snap this photo. Worth it – nice number!
Friends of Valley Forge Park high, seen 7 May 2015
Friends of Valley Forge Park high, seen 7 May 2015. These aren’t terribly common, I take it, given the most recently-reported high was 00066-V/F back in August 2012!
National Ski Patrol high, seen 9 May 2015
National Ski Patrol high, seen 9 May 2015. I saw this in the parking lot at the KOP Mall the day before Mother’s Day. The most recently reported high was 00197-S/P back in late January 2013, making this another old high supplanted. Note: I understand this might not actually be the highest plate of this type to have been issued…
Limousine high, seen 15 May 2015
Limousine high, seen 15 May 2015. It was Villanova University’s graduation this past weekend, so there were LOTS of out-of-state plates around, plus plenty of these Über cars as well. I saw LM-29328 on 2 May and then saw this not two weeks later…
Municipal Motorcycle high, seen 15 May 2015
Municipal Motorcycle high, seen 15 May 2015. The most recently reported high was MG40D way back in May of 2013. Before that, nothing since 2010…! It’s quite possible there are higher plates out there, though.

This guy – the cop riding the bike with the Municipal Motorcycle high MG57D above – actually cut me off in traffic during morning (school drop-off) rush hour.

If you know who he is – his badge number, whatever – kindly inform Radnor Township that he has no place being a motorcycle patrol officer, since he clearly lacks awareness of basic traffic laws. The blue lights above his indicators also shouldn’t be turned on during the day unless he’s making a traffic stop…which he was not.

I should note, in the interest of fairness, I was driving a white Dodge Charger, which many mistake for an unmarked police vehicle. It’s a testament to their collective stupidity, if anything, seeing as I have Ontario plates.

And now for some other plates that aren’t highs…

Low-numbered Villanova University plate, seen 15 May 2015
Low-numbered Villanova University plate, seen 15 May 2015. Lowest plate of this type that’s been photographed was 00005-V/U.
The only choice for the conceited hybrid driver.
The only choice for the conceited hybrid driver. I swear this exists and is real.
Foon? This plate's seen better days, but...what does it even mean?
Foon? This plate’s seen better days, but…what does it even mean?
Either this is the owner's nickname, or the owner is a German mattress enthusiast.
Either this is the owner’s nickname, or the owner is a German mattress enthusiast.
Nice low number vanity. Also my birth year.
Nice low number vanity. Also my birth year.
This plate is in awful condition - aside from the serial, which is perfectly legible. Go figure!
This plate is in awful condition – aside from the serial, which is perfectly legible. Go figure!
Sola 01 vanity...on a Ferrari FF. That's really the only reason I took this photo. I haven't seen an FF on the road before!
Sola 01 vanity…on a Ferrari FF. That’s really the only reason I took this photo. I haven’t seen an FF on the road before!
An unusually high-numbered Temporary tag seen in Philadelphia...
An unusually high-numbered Temporary tag seen in Philadelphia. 

Tom Perri informs me this is a fake, which makes sense as the current high is about two thousand numbers lower…and the font doesn’t match.

Sod off. How nice.
Sod off. How nice.
NOO-0110 is kinda fun to say out loud...
I had no idea what the hell this plate was until I got home and looked it up. It’s not a high, but NOO-0110 is kinda fun to say out loud…
Got enough stickers?
Got enough stickers there…? All this does is prove the owner, at one point, renewed their registration two months late. ;)
Vertical MC plate...oh wait, never mind.
Even though they aren’t very good-looking, vertical motorcycle plates exist for good reason. I’ve never actually seen one on the road, however.
And I don't actually watch Dr. Who.
And I don’t actually watch Dr. Who.

Should note that in my above shot, the “XCL-R8” vanity is on a Porsche Macan Turbo and the hyphen has been painted red for some reason. Insecure much?

And finally, some non-PA plates. New Jersey plates, to be precise.

New Jersey non-resident temporary high seen 13 May 2015.
New Jersey non-resident temporary high seen 13 May 2015. These plates are issued to people who buy cars in New Jersey even though they don’t live there. That should be fairly obvious… :P
Oddity! 64 sticker on a 1990 base...??
Here’s an odd one. My mom spotted this on I-95 northbound yesterday, around DC.

The serial FRL-51Y is a valid NJ passenger plate registered to a 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML-350. As you can see, it is clearly affixed to said vehicle. Thus, everything seems to be in order – all legal.

The thing is, though, this serial was issued in 1990. These “buff-on-blue” NJ bases are increasingly rare. The PA equivalent(s) would be the old blue-on-reflective-yellow plates (AAA-000 through GZZ-nnn, 1980-1983), the extremely unpopular “You’ve Got a Friend” gold-on-blue base (HAA-000 through RZZ-nnn, 1983-1987), and the more familiar gold-on-blue “Keystone State” base (SAA-000 through ZZZ-999, 1987-1992).

Although those PA plates – and indeed all PA plates issued from 1977 onwards – could have been re-validated through 2002 and were also eligible for serial re-makes on the then-new “www base,” they are not valid now, and have been illegal since 2002. If you think about it, that makes sense – PA has a history of not building, making, or engineering things particularly well (see: Veteran’s Stadium, I-276, the Salvation Army building, most of Philadelphia, every other state road and highway) and as such there were conceivably plenty of valid plates on the road as late as 2002 that were, at that point, 25 years old. The statewide re-plate, starting at DAA-0000, sought to address that. Even so, you still see early D- and E-series plates (even some of the F-series now) showing significant signs of wear just over a decade later…!

Compare that with the 1990 New Jersey plate above. It is not only still legal to display, but also perfectly legible! I imagine the latter enables the former.

The curious thing about this particular plate, however, is its sticker. New Jersey, historically, has avoided stickers on passenger plates except for a brief stint earlier in the 2000s. You’ll find them on just about every other type in the state, but not passenger plates. Indeed, there are no sticker boxes on NJ plates at all as of several years ago, and the only thing you’re likely to find on them are the red probationary stickers for which the MVA will charge you $4 and, being made by 3M, they will not come off without a fight. I had to put them on my old car, which was licensed in PA! That was not fun…

I digress. My mother knows I like license plates. She was going north on I-95 (she was not driving) when she noticed this old New Jersey plate, and then saw it’s got a sticker on. I think she took a photo just because she knows it’s an old plate and I’d probably appreciate it – I do! – but being a very intelligent woman, she also knows that New Jersey doesn’t use plate stickers…and that this particular sticker says “64,” which is her birth year.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s not why she noticed. It’s probably more to do with the fact it’s 2015, and this plate looks way too good to have been issued over fifty years ago.

Plus, I happen to know that in 1964, NJ was issuing plates much more similar in colour scheme (and slogan) to the ones we see today. That, and there were no stickers.

This is likely a commercial sticker on a passenger plate. Jim Moini has a nice collection of such misplaced stickers on his NJplates site.  My mom didn’t see the driver, though. Maybe it’s their birth year? Maybe it’s just a sticker? Who knows? It definitely doesn’t belong…

That’s all I have for now. Stay tuned!

Author: Jaska

I am the person behind this entire site; I am a musician, an artist, a programmer, a technician, a problem-solver, a hopeless romantic, a computer collector, and probably a bunch of other things. I don't like writing biographies because the content changes EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

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