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Vanity License Plate

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Margie: Hey, Lou, did you hear the one about the guy who couldn't afford personalized plates, so he changed his name to J3L-2404?
Lou: Ya, that's a good one.

In much of the world, national or local governments fund public roadways and highways, in part, by charging an annual fee to every vehicle owner. To prove the vehicle owners have paid the fee, a metal plate with a unique identification is affixed to the rear or front bumper (often both) of the vehicle (this also gives a useful way of identifying each vehicle). Usually, the identification is a short string of random or semi-random figures, letters or both. Sometimes, the first few or last few digits may identify the sub-region where the car is registered, or the first or last character may identify the month of expiration, but usually the digits are assigned sequentially.

However, always eager to express their individuality or the depth of their pocketbooks, some vehicle owners want to have cooler license plates than everyone else. Equally eager to charge rich idiots more money, most governmental units let them order custom plates, for a fee.


As a result, many jurisdictions that issue license plates will, for an extra fee, allow you to choose the alphanumeric string on your license plate, rather than assigning you a random sequence of letters and figures. Outright profanity is usually banned, although some drivers manage to sneak things like PHA Q through the cracks.

Writers and production designers will often include a vanity license plate as visual shorthand for the personality of the car's owner. A Corrupt Corporate Executive may have BIG BOSS on his BMW or Lexus. A Jerk Jock may have UR MY FAN or BEST QB. Rich bastards in general are likely to have a Cool Car with a plate along the lines of MY TOY. Heck, the Cool Car in general almost certainly has a vanity plate of some sort.

For obscenely rich characters, '[Name of character] 1', '2', '3', and so on is also popular, as it gives the character a chance to bring attention to the fact that he has several cars, and has to keep them numbered to keep track of them. Any character with such a plate can generally be assumed to be a total dick.


Of course, this trope is often Truth in Television. It inspired Wink Martindale to create the Game Show Bumper Stumpers for the USA Network. This trope is not to be confused with Vanity Plate, which was named after the same real-world phenomenon.

Different cultural reactions to these kinds of plates come from how much they cost. In the USA, this is seen as "mostly harmless" (if a mite gauche) since most vanity plates cost within the range of $25 to $50 extra (with extreme ends of $10 in Virginia and $100 in Minnesota). However, most countries do not allow personalized plates as can happen in the States, merely the buying/selling of official plates with amusing alphanumeric combinations. One of the reasons UK-based people like the Top Gear folks et al. are so dismissive of vanity license plates is that they cost more than 10 times as much across the pond, so not only are you an attention-seeking bore, but you also have more money than is good for you.

Note that in the United States – where the vast majority of both fictional and real-life examples occur – no state now issues non-vanity passenger-car license plates with more than seven characters (many of the less populous ones use six) or vanity license plates with more than 8. During the early 1980s California was issuing some 8-character license plates, because they had a state law that allowed CB Radio Licensees to be issued their call sign as their license plate number (most states only granted this privilege to Ham radio operators) and at the time, so many people were applying for CB licenses that the FCC had to issue 8-character CB licenses, of the format WXXX 1234 or KTHX 1138. Shortly thereafter the FCC realized it was overwhelmed and threw in the towel, eliminating licensing for CB radio use. But, at that time, you could get an 8-character license plate, at least in California. But not now. So if you see a California car tag with eight characters (other than a CB license format plate from the early 1980s) or any with more than 8, it's completely fictional. Also, every state bans the use of offensive words/phrases on their tags. You'll never see a real-life plate that reads "FUCKYOU" or any variant thereof.

See also Phone Word. Compare Bumper Sticker.

Note: When adding an example that's heavily abbreviated or requires netspeak to understand, translate. The message may not be obvious to other readers.


    open/close all folders 

  • An ad for the GSN show Inquizition featured the Inquizitor riding a motorcycle with the plate I QUIZ U.
  • An ad for a (divorce-specialized) law firm displayed a sport car with the license plate WAS HIS.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, Akio Ohtori's Cool Car not only has a plate that says "OHTORI", but it actually bears his/his school's seal. In Adolescence of Utena, the people turned into cars all have their names on the plate — which introduces the uncomfortable possibility that Akio's Car is his ever-tired and much cheated-on fiancée, Kanae Ohtori.
  • A subtle example exists in the Kodomo no Omocha anime, in which the license plate for Rei Sagami's car is a numerical reference to series creator Miho Obana.
  • Section 9's Nissan minibus/concept car in Ghost in the Shell Solid State Society had the license plate NH-3923 (San-kyu-ni-san).
  • In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Itoshiki is seen driving a car with the license plate "Z2BOW" (zetsubou)
  • In Love Hina Seta's van has the licence plate R2-D2.

    Comic Books 
  • In Robin Tim Drake is the first, if not the only Robin to be given a CoolCar, complete with a vanity license plate. He calls it the RED BIRD.
  • In the non-Paperinik New Adventures stories, the main difference between Donald Duck's car and that of his Anti-Hero alter ego Paperinik was the switch of the licence plate from 313 to "X", as a visual sign that Paperinik places himself outside the law in his quest for avenging himself (some but not all stories would also have the car change colours from red and blue to black).
    • Averted in Paperinik New Adventures, where Paperinik switches from the 313 to the futuristic Pkar... That has no licence plate.
  • In one Archie Comics strip, Reggie gets a new license plate for his car that says NUMBAH 1. Archie becomes interested in buying one for his own car but doesn't think that any of Reggie's suggestions (CLOD, PIPSQK, YO-YO) or Veronica's (REDHED, R-CHEE) are right for him. The punchline comes when Archie learns that his car is being towed away and dashes outside in a panic, causing Jughead to comment that his plate should be FFFAAST instead.
  • Teen Titans Go!: Cyborg once had a car with CBG - 010 as a license plate. Surprisingly, it was before he became Cyborg.
  • Gotham Academy: Headmaster Hammer's roadster has a license plate personalized with his surname.
  • It's probably just a gag by the artist rather than intended to be the case in universe, but the Rivers of London comics give Peter's "Ford Asbo" the licence number ASB02.

     Fan Fiction 

    Films — Animated 
  • An A113 license plate actually appears on every single vehicle featured in the animated Disney film Lilo & Stitch.
  • Also on Andy's mom's minivan in Toy Story. A113 is a common Pixar in-joke.
  • Becomes a plot point in Toy Story 2. After Al swipes Woody from Andy's mom, Buzz Lightyear tries to catch up to his car whose license plate reads "LZTYBRN". Buzz punches in different attempts in Mr. Spell before realizing it stands for "Al's Toy Barn" and that the culprit is Al, the man dressed up as a chicken in its commercials.
  • Oliver & Company: "DOBRMAN."
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: "XQU53M3" - "Excuse me".
  • The licenses on all the cars in Cars have some sort of hidden meaning, either an inside joke or a reference to the character. Mater's plate is A113, the number of the animation classrooom at the California Institute of the Arts, where many of the Pixar animators studied. (It appears in other films as well.) Fillmore's (51237) is the birthday (May 12, 1937) of George Carlin, the actor who played him. And, interestingly enough, the zipcode for George, Iowa. One of the minor characters is Fred, whose name is also his license plate, and who acts thrilled when famous racecars somehow know his name.
  • It's hard to catch, but in the sequence in Disney's Aladdin when Genie is turning Abu into various modes of transportation, one of them is a car whose license plate reads ABU-1.
  • The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature: The Mayor has a license plate that reads MBZLN.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Franny's frogs have their own little car with a plate that says "RIB-IT."
  • Minions: The Nelsons have one that reads LUV2ROB.
  • Zootopia: The street racer tearing up Savannah Central drives a sports car with a license plate that reads "FST NML".
  • The Boss Baby: Francis E. Francis, head of PuppyCo, has one on his limo reading "TOP DAWG."
  • In Onward, Barley's Guinevere van has one on it that reads "GWNIVER."
  • Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: When Goddard changes into his flycycle mode, we see he has a rear plate reading "BAD DOG".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • James Bond's Aston Martin DB 5 in Goldfinger has switchable plates, with JB 007 on its Swiss plate.
  • Ghostbusters
  • The sports car that comes in for much abuse in Con Air has AZ KICKR on its plates.
  • In Back to the Future, the time-traveling De Lorean has OUTATIME (Out of Time) as its plates, which would not actually be legal in California due to character limits.
  • Johnny Storm's plates from the film Fantastic Four (2005) read TORCH'D.
  • Bruce's plates in Bruce Almighty after he transforms his car read ALMITY 1.
  • Tony Stark's various cars in Iron Man have STARK 1 through at least STARK 6.
  • Adventures in Babysitting ridicules a guy whose Camaro has the plates SO COOL. The car and plates were actor Bradley Whitford's own, which he was permitted to use as compensation for being 26 and having to play a high-school student.
  • In Weird Science, Magical Girlfriend Lisa changes her plates once she gets named by the geek heroes who created her.
  • Michael Douglas' character in Falling Down is known by fans as D-FENS after his vanity plates, as his character's actual name is barely mentioned in the film.
  • In the 101 Dalmatians (1996) live-action movie, Cruella's license plate reads DEV IL.
  • Claw's hearse in Inspector Gadget 2 has "CRYMPAYS" (crime pays) as its license plate. The Gadgetmobile, of course, has "GADGET" as its plate.
  • In Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Bill's stepmother has a licence plate with her name on it: MISSY!
  • Bandit, of Smokey and the Bandit fame, has "BANDT-1" as his plate.
    • The plate is Georgia plate BAN ONE in the first movie.
  • In the classic 1985 John Cusack film Better Off Dead, rich bully boy Roy Stalin's Trans Am has the plate "ROYS AM".
  • In another Cusack film, 1986's One Crazy Summer, rich bully boy Teddy Beckersted has sportscar with the plate "CUL8R".
  • In Innerspace, Igoe's BMW ("SNAPON")note  and Scrimshaw's Rolls-Royce ("SUB-ZRO").
  • In Cobra (no relation to the anime), the Cowboy Cop hero Marion Cobretti has a car with "AWSOM".
  • Cleopatra Jones drives off in the movie, with her car having a U.S. Government official plate reading "CLEO".
  • Being an inhuman purple man-eating winged monster, the truck driver from Jeepers Creepers did not likely get his plate reading BEATNGU legally (as funny as that image is). One character guessed the meaning as "Beating you"; the other said that it seemed wrong for some reason. It's actually "Be Eating You".
  • In Tremors, survivalists Burt and Heather Gummer have "UZI 4U" on their 4×4.
  • Austin Powers' license plates read SWINGER and SWINGER2. His dad's reads GR8SHAG.
  • George Lucas likes to reference THX 1138:
  • Jon Favreau's license plate in Swingers is "THX1138".
  • All the vehicles in Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird have these. Oscar the Grouch's reads "SCRAM".
    • The Count's is "12345678910", which way exceeds New York's usual character limit.
  • Mean Boss Lumbergh's Porsche in Office Space has the tags MYPRSCHE.
  • Addams Family Values: the villain has 2 cars, one with the plate reading DEBBIE1 and the next reading DEBBIE2.
  • In The Nutty Professor, Buddy's car reads PNS CAR.
  • In Speed Zone, the Van Sloans drove a Bentley with the license plate RICH KIDS. The character Vic tries to report the car and it goes something like this:
    Vic:Uh, the license is as follows: R, I, C, H...uh, I think that spells "rich"..."KIDS"...with a K...for..."kids".
  • Parodied in Not Another Teen Movie: rich Jerk Jock with a heart of gold, Jake Wyler (aka Johnny Storm), drives a sports car reading "FILTHY RICH"; Janie Briggs, the pretty ugly girl, gets dropped off for school by her dad in a beat-up old truck reading "DIRT POOR".
  • This game can be played with German license plates, too. The licenses of two of the main characters' cars in Manta Der Film are "E-FG 18" on Fredi's Manta (E for Essen, FG for Fred Grabowsky, 18 for his 18th birthday) and "BO-EY 1234" on Phil's GTI (BO for Bochum, BO-EY is a license plate-compatible transcription of the Manta driver's Catch Phrase).
  • Spaceballs: Princess Vespa's ship has SPOIL'D ROTT'N 1.
  • The German Herbie knockoff Dudu was registered in Duisburg so it could have DU-DU 926 in some of its movies.
  • Ivan in Tapeheads has "MEFURST" - The joke might be that he wanted "MEFIRST" but it wasn't available.
  • The lawyer in Cellular has a vanity plate that says WILL SUE U 2.
  • Real Genius - Chris and Mitch approach nemesis Kent's car:
    Chris: Kent puts his name on his license plate.
    Mitch: My mom does the same thing to my underwear.
  • Tank Girl has got two of them on her tank: TANK and KANT on front and back respectively.
  • In the 1989 fantasy/comedy Limit Up, Nike (Danitra Vance), a rep. for Lost Souls Inc., has a plate that reads "CU-N-HELL."
  • Smokey's car in Friday have plates that say "FCK IT".
  • The vehicle hijacked by Keanu Reeves in Speed have plates that say "TUNEMAN".
  • In Sex Drive the license plate of the 1969 Pontiac GTO reads "NOFATCHX".
  • In Date With An Angel, Mr. Winston's plate reads "WINSTON". Patty's plate reads "PATYKAT".
  • Mickey Haller, the defense attorney protagonist of The Lincoln Lawyer, has a vanity plate reading "NTGUILTY".
  • The license plate on protagonist's weaponized Land Cruiser in 1980's action movie parody Jake Speed read SPEED. As an added bonus it was a New Hampshire plate with that state's "Live Free or Die" motto emblazoned across the top.
  • In the opening scene of Kick-Ass, a KICK-ASS license plate is showing on the crushed taxi in the opening scene.
    • In Kick-Ass 2, Hit Girl's motorcycle plate reads "HIT N RUN".
  • In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Katherine Brewster's van reads "PET DOC 2".
  • In the closing scene of The Cobbler, Max's father rides a limousine with the license plate "2Cobble".
  • As part of the backstory of Ant-Man, Scott Lang stole embezzled money back from a Corrupt Corporate Executive and drove the businessman's car into his pool. A tie-in viral video showing security footage of the theft shows that said car had a plate with "ONEPR¢R" (one-percenter).
  • In Mannequin, Hollywood's plate reads "BADGIRL".
  • In Suicide Squad (2016), the Joker's plate reads "HAHAHA".
  • In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the license plate on Mr. Frye's Ferrari says "NRVOUS", which perfectly describes Cameron throughout the movie.
  • Charlie's Angels (2000): Corwin's reads CORWIN with the "win" part underlined.
  • At the end of Julia X, Jessica drives off in a car with license plate reading "JULIA Y".
  • In Joyful Noise, G. G.'s license plate says "GRGS GMA" (Gorgeous Grandma).
  • In The Peanut Butter Falcon, the Salt Water Redneck's license plate says "R3DN3CK."
  • In the German comedy film "Bang Boom Bang", the protagonist has a car with a license plate that reads "DOPE". Of course, he is a frequent marijuana smoker.
  • 10: Samantha Taylor's license plate reads "SAM 1". George Webber's license plate reads "ASCAP". This acronym stands for the "American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers" - the guild for songwriters, which is appropriate since George is a composer.

  • Joe Hill's NOS4A2 (that's the license plate of the villain).
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has the license plate GEN 11. The book has the children mention how oddly similar this is to "genii," or genie as we'd spell it now. Of course, Chitty is a magical car, but they didn't know that at the time.
  • Deconstructed in Red Storm Rising, where The Captain of the USS Pharris gets a license plate with its hull number(FF-1094) on it. After the Pharris is badly damaged by a Soviet torpedo, he reflects that he gets to carry his failure around with him.
  • The book Blue Avenger and the Theory of Everything included this as a plot point: the main character has to figure out how to get the word "suck" past the license plate censor. The end result? SSCHWAK.
  • In the Sweet Valley High series, the rich high school jock has a 1BRUCE1 licence plate on his car.
  • In The Lincoln Lawyer series, the plates on defense lawyer Mickey Haller's Lincolns include: NTGLTY and IWALKEM
    • The film version presents the NTGLTY plate as NTGUILTY despite the fact that California state plates can only have seven characters while NTGUILTY has eight.
  • In the Bailey School Kids book Santa Claus Doesn't Mop Floors, Mr. Jolly's car has the plate HOHOHO.
  • A minor character in a Tim Dorsey novel got a vanity license plate reading 'UNKNOWN'. Unfortunately, the police record 'UNKNOWN' as the license plate for any vehicular incident in which they couldn't get a plate number, so he ended up getting blamed for all of them.
  • The Golden Hamster Saga: One of the illustrations in Freddy in Peril shows Professor Fleischkopf's license plate as saying "TST TUBE."
  • The Night Fire: 14U24ME or, as Ballard calls it, one for you, two for me.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: According to the illustrations, Count Olaf’s says IH 8 ORFNS.

     Live Action TV  
  • KITT from Knight Rider has KNIGHT as a vanity plate.
    • As one of the many James-Bond-vehicle-like features of KITT, the vanity plate can be flipped over while driving to show "KNI 549" (or maybe it was KNI followed by 3 other numbers).
    • KARR does not have a license plate in "Trust Doesn't Rust", but in "KITT vs KARR" he has inexplicably gained one reading "KARR"
    • In Team Knight Rider, each of the vehicles has an abbreviation of its name followed by "-1" as its plate number: DNT-1 for Dante, DMO-1 for Domino, BST-1 for the Attack Beast, etc.
    • The KITT of the 2008 revival can change his plate numbers at will, but his default plate number is "KR", short for "Knight Research"
  • One of the MythBusters' donation cars had ENVY DIS.
    • A later car had one that said NODOUDT. (Adam made a point of pronouncing the second D). Jamie rigged that car with a device to change the plate, and used the old and by-then-expired ENVY DIS plate as the second plate.
    • The mockup for the Jato Car revisit said MYTBUSR.
  • A rare example of it being bad for a character was HSEMKNY on an episode of Law & Order - the custom plate meant the perp was tracked down in no time at all. Lennie Briscoe even stated "What kinda dumb crook uses a vanity license plate on a getaway car?"
  • Cordelia's car in Buffy the Vampire Slayer has plates that read QUEEN C.
  • The Third Doctor's car "Bessie" has the plates WHO 1. While the licence number WHO 1 was legal, it just wasn't available. See this page.
    • The "Whomobile" did have legal licence plates, but the closest they could get to "WHO" was WVO 2M. (The DVLA considered the Whomobile to be "an invalid tricycle".)
    • No explanation has ever been given for Bessie's licence number suddenly becoming WHO 7 when driven by the Seventh Doctor in "Battlefield".
  • In Dark Season the vans of Abyss Modem have ABY55 (and a random number) on their number plates while Mr Eldritch's car has NEME5I5 written on it.
  • Lex on Smallville has all his cars with the plate "LEX(number)".
    • Similarly, Tess Mercer's license plate reads "NOMERCY"
  • A character in Frasier had his name in vanity plates. It was made funny by the fact that he was acting all mysterious and Deepthroatish to Frasier just before he sped off.
    • Martin's Winnebago has the custom plate RDWRER. Neither Fraiser or Daphne could work out this meant "Road Warrior".
      Daphne: Of course. A retired man with a cane in a Winnebago. I don't know why my mind didn't go straight to it.
  • The Adventures of Pete & Pete: the Petes' dad wanted a plate reading "KING OF ROAD", but it was taken, leaving him to settle for "KING O FROD". During a family trip to the Hoover Dam, he encounters the owner of the "KING OF ROAD" plate and challenges him for the title.
    • When Dad wins the challenge, the two switch license plates.
  • Sir Alan Michael Sugar's Rolls Royce with the number plate AMS 1 features prominently in the opening credits of the UK version of The Apprentice.
  • The Batmobile licence plate in the 1960s Batman (1966) series is BAT 1 (sometimes).
    • In most other media, the Batmobile is too cool to have a licence plate. It's an armour-plated, jet-propelled racer with an opaque windshield, with extras including knockout gas sprays(internal and external), Ejection Seats, and a harpoon for turning sharp corners. And, according to some sources, it's also a Transforming Mecha. All that, and the guy who drives it has a Secret Identity. So it's unlikely it ever got taken to the Gotham Department of Motor Vehicles...
    • The villains get their own plates too. The riddler has three question marks for his plate.
  • In the Chuck episode "Chuck vs. the DeLorean", Morgan gets "DEMORGAN" plates for the titular car.
  • OL1 V3R from Top Gear. "He got it a custom license plate? What a pikey." This, however is a fake as it is not a valid plate in the UK.
    • The Top Gear gang just hate vanity plates; poking fun at real life examples used to be a recurring segment.
  • "The Jackal", videogame-villain brought to life in the short-lived series Deadly Games, has the license plate "JKL". The final scene of the series reveals that the same plate belongs to Johnathan Kenneth Lloyd, father of The Jackal's programmer (both were played by Christopher Lloyd).
  • In one episode of Empty Nest, Charley gets a vanity plate intended to convey that he is a lover of the sea. Since "Sea Lover" is too long, and he's The Ditz, he shortens "Sea" to "C" and omits the space. He doesn't notice that his plate actually reads "CLOVER".
  • The 1989 ITV Game Show Interceptor had the titular bad guy drive a Maserati car with INT 1, a motorbike with INT 2 and a Black Helicopter with the legitimate registration G-MEAN.
  • On NCIS, forensic scientist Abby Sciuto has the plate "4NS CHIK".
  • Kramer in Seinfeld once mistakenly received a plate that read "ASSMAN". The DMV refuses to correct the mistake, forcing him to keep it, and people on the street loved it. "Hey, the Assman's in town!" "You know it!" At the end of the episode, we learn that the plate was intended for a proctologist.
  • One episode of Eureka has Nathan Stark reporting his stolen car, stating that the license plate read 'Stark 1'. (It should be noted that Nathan Stark had this plate before Tony Stark did.)
  • Tracy Jordan on 30 Rock was incensed when his wife called his vanity plate inscrutable: 0ICU81MI. Short for "I see you ate one, am I?".
  • A car on The Wire that is falsely reported to be smuggling drugs gives the first hint that its driver is actually a minister with its Vanity Plate reading "PR8Z G0D". The cops don't notice this however...
  • The X-Files. A man who claims he can make it rain has RAIN KING.
  • Todd Packer's license plate of The Office (US) reads WLHUNG, which everyone seems to affiliate with novelty musician William Hung.
  • In Doctors, Vivian had some trouble in a driving test when she had to read a license plate from far away - X565 BUM. It was probably legitimate, but still.
  • Thomas Magnum's Ferrari (that belongs, in fact, to his boss, Robin Masters) in Magnum, P.I. has plates reading "ROBIN 1". And the other cars were "ROBIN 2" & "ROBIN 3".
  • The series Matlock featured a title sequence concluding with Andy Griffith as the title character standing up beside his Cool Car Crown Victoria and a closeup of the front number plate reading MATLOCK. Funny thing: the US state of Georgia does not use front number plates— perhaps a case of Critical Research Failures.
  • Carbug, the Starbug-shaped smartcar in Red Dwarf: Back To Earth, has the licence number ST4 B11G.
  • In Supernatural, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse have kept up with the times and upgraded from riding actual horses to driving cars named after horses, and we saw two had vanity plates. Pestilence's is SIKN TIRD ("Sick and Tired"), and Death's was BUH*BYE. War and Famine would presumably have similar plates, but we never saw them.
  • Martial Law
    • Sammo Law has the plate "DA BOMB". Later on, the plate gets changed to "SAMMO".
    • A random one-off character sees him in the driver licensing office, and laments about another he'd seen — DNT N V U (Don't Envy You).
  • The 1990s Australian skit comedy show Full Frontal once feature a character called "Captain Yobbo", whose 4x4 bore the plate 'FKNGR8'
  • The 60's TV version of The Green Hornet Black Beauty had a number-letter plate keeping that Black Beauty looks like a normal car on the outside. The new movie it has a plate that says "HORNET" in green.
  • A Running Gag on Reno 911, two of the deputies would be pursuing a suspect and trying to report their vanity plate over the radio. They would get so engrossed in trying to figure out what the plate meant, that they wouldn't notice the suspect stopping...
  • This was the premise of the 1980s game show Bumper Stumpers. The contestants had to decipher vanity plates, given clues about whom they might belong to.
  • Perky Goth Dasha on Daddy's Daughters had the vanity plate E-666-MO (read as "EMO-666").
  • In the intro to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: "The license plate said "FRESH" and there were dice in the mirr'r".
  • The L.A. Law title card.
  • The Carsey-Werner Vanity Plate for That '70s Show.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • Jesse Pinkman, initially cooking meth under the name Captain Cook, had a car with THE CAPN.
    • Walter White encounters a rich guy with the plate KEN WINS. And blows it up at the end of the episode.
    • Amoral Attorney Saul Goodman's car has LWYR UP.
  • In an episode of Mind of Mencia, Carlos Mencia spends some time trying to get NIGGER on a license plate. That's rebuffed for obvious reasons, as is NIGGA, and NEEGA (he claimed to be Indian, and that was his last name). Finally, he tries to get a plate with WETBACK, and finds out it's acceptable. Cue Precision F-Strike.
  • The revived series of Dallas has John Ross driving EWING V.
  • In Season 4 of Arrested Development, Tobias gets a plate celebrating a new start: ANUSTART. Reading the plate as two four letter words shows just what a poor choice this was...
  • The Creepy Mortician Dennis Rainbird from Midsomer Murders has a Porsche with a custom license plate reading "RIP".
  • In one episode of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsey went to help out a struggling restaurant whose head chef had bought himself an expensive car with the license plate "A1 CHEF". Gordon told him that he'd have been better off spending the money on cooking lessons.
  • One parody of The Famous Five by Russ Abbot has the Obviously Evil smugglers using the registration plate "SMUG 1", while the local dentist has "DENT 15T".
  • In an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Skye scams a finance guy to track HYDRA's money trail. His license: "$BILS YAL" (Dollar Bills, Y'all).
  • In Speechless, Maya's car has the plate "SHE NUTS". Possibly subverted, however, as one cop states that she didn't ask for it - the DMV had heard about her and just gave it to her.
  • In The Magician, Tony drives a white Corvette with the licence plate 'SPIRIT'.
  • According to The Good Place having a personal license plate costs you afterlife points and increases your chances of being sent to the Bad Place. Jason Mendoza, a petty criminal from Jacksonville, cheerfully admits to having the license plate "I LUV BUTTS" which doesn't help his case as he's supposed to be proving that he should stay in the Good Place.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The Leprechaun-Artist", the "really hot" car that the Leprechaun Shawn McGool conjures up for Buddy, J.P. and Richie for their third and final wish has the license plate "Third Wish."

  • MAD had an article that assigned them to historical and fictional characters. For instance, Vincent Van Gogh had GO VAN GOGH, Gunga Din had H20TOGO and General Patton had one with obscenity symbols.

  • AC/DC's "Sink The Pink" video features a lady pool hustler with "SUZY CUE" on her license plate.
  • Greg Kihn's video for "Jeopardy" ends with him and his wife (the video depicts a wedding) driving off in a black convertible with the license plate "LIPS".
    • This would get parodied as well in "Weird Al" Yankovic's "I Lost On Jeopardy". At the end of the video, when Al gets thrown out of the TV studio, he lands in the back of the convertible from the original video (with Kihn winking to the camera briefly), only now the license plate reads "LOSER".
  • In "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Tacky", the narrator's car has a "YOLO" license plate (along with a whopping 43 bumper stickers).
  • When Squeeze appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test, Jools Holland made an announcement asking the person with license plate "PEN 1 S" to move their car as it was in a fire zone. The band thought it was hilarious, but the audience didn't react.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • Bloom County
    • Steve Dallas drives a gold jeep in one strip with a license plate that spells out HORNY.
    • Opus had NTITLED (on a cool sports car) and HUM-HER (on a Hummer).
  • The Far Side: Godzilla has a car with a plate with "I 8 NY".


    Puppet Shows 
  • Roland Rat's Ratmobile, first introduced in 1983's Rat on the Road had the licence number RAT 1.
  • S.A.M. the Robot from Sesame Street has one on his back that says "ABC-123".
  • In Thunderbirds, Lady Penelope's pink Rolls Royce has the licence FAB 1, referring to International Rescue's "F.A.B." callsign.


  • Transformers often have humourous or meaningful license plates. For example, the Universe toyline's version of Hotshot has the license plate JaAm.
    • Universe Sunstreaker's plate reads "WE R 84" while Sideswipe in the same line reads "SWIPE".

     Video Games 
  • The Need for Speed series has different plates for each game, including the likes of UNDRGRND. Allegedly, these were originally planned to be customisable for online play, but the consequences of that would have been fairly predictable.
    • Lampshaded with a hint of Continuity Nod in Pro Street. One of the menu commentary pieces is a call for the owner of a blue Subaru WRX with the plate "NFSCARBN" to move it.
    • Some earlier Need for Speed parts did allow for custom plates. They read the driver's name.
    • Most Wanted 2012 is the first game to bring truly customizable license plates to the series.
  • Vladimir Lem's license plate in Max Payne reads "VODKA".
  • When a player mounts the Hellbender Jeep in Unreal Tournament 2004 its license plate changes to the driver's name, dropping vowels to fit if needed.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is the first Grand Theft Auto game to feature vanity plates by featuring "LUVFIST" plates on hair band Love Fist's custom limousine. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas upped the ante by including a far larger number of vanity plates on specifically parked or mission-specific cars.
  • In Deadly Premonition, every named character with a car has a vanity plate. Even the otherwise generic patrol cars you drive around town have vanity plates.
  • In Mafia II, you can change the plates on the car you're currently driving as one way to get the police off your trail. Empire Bay doesn't seem to have restrictions on plates.
  • In World of Warcraft, the Mekgineer's Chopper / Mechano-Hog (different factions' versions of the same motorcyle) has a plate on the back reading PWN.
  • In The Godfather 2, the cars waiting for your use at your safehouses or compounds usually have "GDF-250" or some variant thereof.
  • Dr. Cortex's mooks in the motorcycle levels of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped drive cars with license plates that read CRTX.
  • Watch_Dogs: Aiden Pearce occasionally drives a silver car with the license plate "N3X U5 ", which a reference to the game's working title "Nexus". Additionally, JB "Defalt" Markowicz and Dermot "Lucky" Quinn use "D3F 4L7" and "LUC KYQ" as their plate numbers, respectively.
  • Bayonetta:
    • Enzo's plate reads "ED N EDNA", the names of his children.
    • Jeanne's motorcycle plate reads "U1 QTJ" (Umbra #1 Cutie J).
  • The red car in Death Rally's intro and title screen has the custom plate 2BAD
  • The 2012 reboot of Rise of the Triad has a few army-style trucks with the plates "R077 F7W".
  • Roadhog from Over Watch wears a Greater Australia license plate on his belt that says "ROADR8GE". His "Rudolph" skin turns it to "HOHOHOG".
  • Euro Truck Simulator lets you customize your driver and co-pilot's plates.


     Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series
    • The Stinger of one episode showed Penguin making license plates in prison, after his attempt to extort the identity of Batman from the Batmobile's mechanic/co-creator. He lost it when he saw one of the plates read 1 BAT 4 U.
    • Poison Ivy has a car with the plate ROSEBUD and one with BADSEED.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The Comic Book Guy has the registration number NCC 1701.
    • As does Kaito Nakamura of Heroes, played by George Takei.
    • Marge tries to get one with her name on it in "Homer's Enemy", but "Marge", "Marjorie", and "Mitzi" were all taken. But she could have "Nitzi".
    • In "Itchy and Scratchy Land", Bart tries to find one with his name but the only ones availiable are "Barclay", "Barry", "Bert" and "Bort". Bart expresses incredulity at the latter only for there to be two people named "Bort" at the store. And later on a supervisor offhandly mentions that the "Bort" license plates sold out. (Truth in Television now at The "Simpsons Land" at Universal Studios Florida. If you go to the Gift shop, built into a Kwik-E-Mart, you can find a large stand of novelty mini plates, and yes, the peg for "Bort" is ALWAYS sold out.)
  • Duckman's license plate reads "PSSDOFF"
  • In the Flash show Gotham Girls, Ivy's plate is BADSEED.
  • In the early-1990s X-Men cartoon, Professor Xavier's car had the license plate "THX 1138".
  • Postman Pat: The number plates on Pat's postal van read "Pat 1" and the number plates on his seldom used "post bus" read "Pat 2". This is actually even more vain than usual when you consider that his full name is Pat Clifton, meaning that he's used his FIRST name for the plates...
  • Brian in Family Guy has BRI-DOG.
    • Similarly, Alpha Bitch Connie D'Amico has a plate reading "C DAMICO."
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob's boatmobile from "No Free Rides" has one saying IMR-D, mimicking his often-uttered catchphrase, "I'm ready!"
    • Another episode has the villains driving in a vehicle with a plate that reads "MEAN 2 U"
  • Dan Vs.: Chris' car has the license plate "PUSHOVER". In another episode, a dentist's car has the license plate "INCISOR 1".
  • Boog from Fanboy and Chum Chum has a licence plate that reads "BORN 2 BOP".
  • Miss Finster from Recess has "DA FINSTER".
  • In Dilbert, Dilbert's license plate reads "DILCAR."
  • An episode of ALF Tales has ALF has a detective searching for the name of a suspect who helped a woman spin straw into gold. Upon seeing the guy's license plate, he declares that "his vanity will be his undoing." What does the plate read? RUMPLESTILSKIN.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Grunkle Stan drives a car with "STNLYMBL" ("Stanley Mobile") as the license plate. That it shows his name as short for "Stanley" even when Gideon calls him "Stanford" was a big hint that Stan pulled a Twin Switch.
    • Soos' car has a license plate reading "FIXINIT1", a call back to the "Fixin' it With Soos" shorts.
  • Lady Penelope's Rolls Royce in Thunderbirds had the plate 'FAB 1', "F.A.B" being a seemingly-meaningless Catch Phrase of the titular organisation.
  • In the Merrie Melodies short "Little Red Walking Hood," the Wolf attempts to flirt with Red by turning his license plate—which reads 07734—over, where it now reads "HELLO."
  • In Littlest Pet Shop (2012), Fisher Biskit's limo's plate reads "LARGEST EV*R".
  • A flashback in King of the Hill shows Boomhauer's 1965 Mustang (before Dale drove it into a flooded quarry) had the license plate "MSSALLY" ("Ms. Sally"), after the Wilson Pickett song "Mustang Sally".
  • Archer: In season four, Archer buys a new Chevy El Camino with the plates "SPY GUY", being an Overt Operative. Occasionally "ISIS", the name of Archer's agency (until season six), appears on vehicle plates, such as the limo at Mallory's wedding in season four.
  • Kaeloo: Any car the main four have will have the letters PTM on its license plate. PTM stands for "Pays Trop Mignon", the name of the place the characters live in the French dub.
  • Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!: In "Ghost in the Mystery Machine", the heroes need a new vehicle and Daphne gives them one with a license plate that reads "EATMYDST".
  • Justice League: In "Secret Society", Giganta's plate reads "BIG BONED".
  • In one Robot Chicken sketch, a teenage boy is delighted to get a car for his birthday... until he realizes his dad pranked him by making the license plate "I ♥ PENIS". The dad then says, "Wait, that's my car. Yours is over there," and points to an identical car. The boy briefly gets excited again... until he notices that this license plate says "MY DAD ♥ PENIS".
  • In Porky Pig’s Romance, when he marries Petunia in a Fantasy Sequence, the car they drive off in has the license plate 130013, which due to the font used, looks like “BOOB”.

     Real Life  
  • Tim Conway has/had the plate 13WEEKS, referring to the typical number of episodes of one of his failed sitcom attempts.
  • While filming the show, William Conrad had CANNON.
  • In the Philippines, license plates have three letters and three digits. The president's car has the digits "1000".
  • The governor of Texas has a limousine with the license plate "1".
    • On a related note, so does the Governor of California... which makes it doubly funny whennote  he received a ticket for speeding.
    • The license number "1" is one of the perks of the Mayor of the District of Columbia, who can either assign it to themselves or assign it to a friend. This particular plate number is exempt from all parking restrictions. Sharon Pratt Kelly (later Sharon Pratt Dixon when she got married) was the only mayor who didn't have '1' on her official city vehicle, she assigned the number to her father. Her official limousine, however, had the license tag "ONE".
    • Elected officials in several states are given special plates for the duration of their time in office. Members of the legislature may be issued a plate for their primary vehicle corresponding to their district number (American constituencies are numbered rather than named).
  • A Polish poet living in the United States attempted to invent the shortest poem able to fit on a Vanity License Plate. He came up with "THERE IS".
  • A man, who was asked to give his three choices for a vanity plate, wrote in BOATING, SAILING and NO PLATE (meaning if they were both taken, he'd just take a normal plate like everyone else). A couple weeks later he received a plate reading, you guessed it, NO PLATE. He was amused and decided to keep it. Then the traffic tickets started arriving, from police who had reported cars with no plate.
    • Washington DC channel 4 reported about the guy who gets thousands of dollars worth of fines a month and has to go to court every few months because his District of Columbia plate reads "NO TAGS", which is what is written on parking tickets of vehicles without license plates. After the TV station spoke to the city's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), they referred the station to the District Department of Transportation, who referred them to the District Department of Public Works, who referred them back to the DMV. After the station ran the news report, the head of the DMV issued an order saying to stop writing "NO TAGS" on tickets for vehicles without license plates.
    • A guy in California used this to try and get out of tickets by ordering the tag "NONE" so that he wouldn't have to pay his own tickets. Apparently while he did get lots and lots of tickets for other people without tags he had trouble getting out of the ones legitimately written on his own vehicle.
  • Germany has very strict rules on license plates, so usually this doesn't work. However, similar to the Philippines example above, high-ranking officials go for recognizable numbers instead. Also, high-ranking government officials have 0 instead of the usual letter combination at the start of the plate. Both tactics combined yield the license plate for the President's car: "0-1".
    • Oh, it works, it works quite well actually, as the option to freely choose the letter combination after the local identification allows a lot of puns which are unfortunately, as they are not funny, used quite often.
    • Because they are running out of combinations, you can now choose your complete combination. some people have their name and phone number -area code on their licence plate. (Germany has long, complicated area codes.)
      • To choose your own letters after the local identification is now charged with a fee. The change was accompanied by some general grumbling.
      • German law still requires a combination of one or two letters followed by at least one but no more than four digits, not starting with a zero. Therefore it's not possible to put the area code on a license plate because those always start with zero.
    • The letter or letters before the (now discontinued) dash depend on where the car is registered, so this part of the license cannot be chosen. And it has become impossible to get a license with the letter X after the dash in Segeberg (SE).
      • Or EX for people living in Stuttgart (giving S-EX nnnn).
    • The second set of letters is limited, too. Potential allusions to the Nazis (SS, SA, NS, etc.) are banned. And before a couple of years ago, the letters I, O, and Q were left out because they could be confused with digits.
    • As mentioned before, the first part of the identifier designates the Kreis (county) where the car is registered. Since 2012 counties are allowed to let applicants choose reintroduced designators of former counties that have been abolished and annexed by the county where they want to register their vehicle.
  • The official limousine used by the President of the United States has in the past used the license plate "USA-1". Now it's routinely issued a District of Columbia tag instead of a US Government tag—which leads to some interesting drama every time there's a new president (as D.C. plates since 2000 by default have the rather provocative slogan "Taxation Without Representation", referring to how DC residents pay federal income tax but do not have representation in Congress; you can pay to get the plates without the slogan, but since the plates were implemented, only George W. Bush has done so for the official limo).
  • In Singapore, the president's car has the licence plate S1.
  • Semi-Subverted in Malaysia, where the government has actively refused the issuance of vanity plates unless it's named for a government-sanctioned project (ie so far we've had BAMBEE, PROTON, PERODUA, XIII OIC, IM4U, and PUTRAJAYA and several more). However, a practice known as "number booking" is allowed, allowing a car buyer to reserve a number of his or her choice. This is done to placate the Chinese, who do not usually want the numbers 4 or 13 anywhere in the license plate. Many buyers uses this chance to create part of words in "Leet Speak", which when combined with the sequential letters, can form some pretty outstanding words.
  • The official vehicles of the reigning monarch of the UK have no licence plates.
    • So do those of the President of Israel.
    • The same is true of fire engines in the District of Columbia. It's said sardonically that if fire engines in DC had tags on them, the (extremely efficient) ticket writers would ticket them for being parked in front of a fire hydrant.
  • A woman in Denver wanted to express her love of tofu on her license plate, but because "ILVTOFU" looks more like "I love to fuck you", the DMV's not allowing it.
  • The Virginia DMV issued, then recalled, a license plate reading "GOVT SUX". The applicant sued and won on the grounds that the plate number was constitutionally protected political speech.note 
  • On a Toyota MR2 sports car: "RUMRS2?"
  • On a tiny green sports car: Ribbit
  • Difficult in Ireland, as all plates are [last two digits of year]-[one or two letters for county]-[sequence number], e.g. 03-CE-6755 would be the 6,755th car sold in County Clare in 2003. The Lord Mayor of Dublin traditionally gets 09-D-1, 10-D-1 etc. and a wealthy Offaly couple bought 07-OY-1 and 07-OY-2, etc. for several years. This system also means that the age of someone's car can be known instantly, leading to a glut of purchases every January and a corresponding falloff in November and December.
  • The now defunct car styling and tuning dealer D&W in Bochum always mounted the same license plates on their "model" cars: "BO-DW 1". The same license appeared on the red Mercedes 190 E 2.3-16 in Manta Manta.
  • British magician and Game Show host Paul Daniels had the number plate "MAG1C". This was noted on an episode of Have I Got News for You.
    • Similarly Jimmy Tarbuck (stand up comic and game show host) has "COM1C"
  • Although the "obscenely rich character" example at the top of the page would be accurate if said character did have more than one vehicle; in Illinois, personalized plates that contain at least one number are significantly cheaper than vanity plates, which do not contain numbers at all. In fact, unless it has been changed recently, personalized plates cost the same as regular plates - with vanity plates costing extra.
  • has license plates with 1337 and H4X0R.
  • "ME N MY" on a Dodge Shadow.
  • On a white Infiniti SUV: "NBEYOND"
  • A few years ago, a woman who wanted her license plate to say "GAYSROK" (as in "gays are ok" or "gays rock") had to wait while the state of Utah tried to decide whether or not it was offensive. They eventually decided it wasn't.
  • Spotted about ten years ago: LSNZPL8 - License Plate
  • The Mercedes-Benz tuner Brabus seems to have certain licenses reserved for their show cars. For example, every generation of the E V12 (an E-class with a tuned-up V12 from the S-class shoehorned under the hood) since 1996 had BOT-EV 12.
  • The Governor of Queensland (and also New South Wales), has no numbers or letters on their official licence plates, but only has a crown. Seriously.
    • The Queen gets a similar plate on her vehicle in Canada when she's visiting, though in gold on a red background.
  • The best place in Germany to register a K.I.T.T. clone is Kiel where you can get KI-TT ***. This has been done at least once so far.
    • Generally license plates of the form XY-TT 123 are found on Audi TT cars.
  • Until 1990s, buses in the German city of Essen in Ruhr area had E-AT *** plates. It was an inside joke, for in German "essen" means "to eat".
  • Possibly the most famous plate on the internet: Florida A55 RGY, with the orange design filling in a critical letter.
    • Note that this one was not a vanity plate. Florida issues plates in order, and that just happened to be the random one he got. The generic Florida plate design has been changed since to include two smaller oranges and a flower.
  • Romanian license plates' shape is legally-mandated to be either xx-12-yyy or xx-123-yyy, where the first two digits are the county code (Bucharest having a single digit - B) and the numbers and letters can be either freely chosen for a small fee or given in sequence by a computer. This meant a lot of people started to speak Leet overnight, to translate their names and other distinguished wording and fit the limited format - up to a rap singer having the plate "B 505UGI" ("s-o sugi" meaning "you suck it").
  • Similarly, Brazilian license plates have a fixed format (three letters, four digits), and you can order a specific combination. (Cue every BMW apparently having a "BMW-XXXX" license plate.) It's free, subject to availability, but each state is assigned a range of letter combinations that your choice must fall within. (So we were talking about BMWs from the state of São Paulo.) Many cars owned by all three branches of government have completely different plates that do now follow a standard. A common one is black, with a city's blazon and the number "1", meaning it's meant for the mayor's use.
  • And in Israel, License plates don't have letters on them, except for special (Army, Police, and such) vehicles, and always follow a fixed XX-XXX-XX (or XXX-XX-XXX, for cars made in 2017 onwards) convention. Also, since Israeli plates are assigned to cars, rather than drivers, that means that implementing vanity plates would require the whole system to be reworked.
  • Years ago the Washington, DC DMV issued a plate reading "MERDE," without realizing what it meant. (It's French for "shit".)
  • Seen years ago in Michigan on a Dodge Ram 4X4 with huge mudder tires: 3M TA3. It was a little disconcerting to look in the rear view mirror at a stoplight and seeing this huge truck behind you with the words "EAT ME" on the plate.
    • A guy had the same number in California back in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
  • Seen on a Mini Cooper: TARD1S.
  • In Lebanon, president has 1, prime minister has 2, etc. So low numbers are for high-ranking officials, and people who wish to appear important, cash out for plates with low numbers. Forgot the actual numbers, but here's the rule of thumb: numbers lower than 200(+/- 20) are reserved for state officials, and 200+ are on sale. One plate with a low number around 200 can cost the owner many times more than the car, it goes up to 17.000 € for numbers 200-300.
  • In a similar trend, most places in the U.S. now offer a variety of license plate designs for a nominal fee. The state of Arizona, for example, has special plates for police, firefighters, or former Prisoners of War to use on their personal vehicles. Charity designs are available to the public, with most or all of the fee benefitting a related cause, such as animal shelters, child abuse prevention, cancer research, or universities. While the former group is generally well accepted, the latter group is seen as almost as dickish, and just as smug, as regular vanity plates.
    • In one state, the child abuse prevention plate has the words "Kids First" at the bottom. Someone used this design for their vanity plate: "EAT THE".
  • Delaware license plates started low and counted incrementally. As in many places, plates 1-3 are reserved for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary of State. Unusually, though, other low-numbered plates can be transferred to other drivers, leading to a secondary market in low-digit plates. Though they are completely unpersonalized they are ridiculously valuable - plate #6 was auctioned off for $675,000. (Bear in mind that Delaware plates tend to have unusually low numbers in general, given that Delaware is the fifth-smallest state in the Union by population; other than vanity plates and a few special-class plates with letters used as distinguishing prefixes, e.g. S for state-owned vehicles, all Delaware license plates are just numbers with no letters, with a maximum of six digits.)
  • Vanity license plates are ubiquitous in the Virginia, due to the aforementioned low price. You can barely drive a mile to the nearest grocery store and back anywhere in the commonwealth without seeing several.
  • Illinois is also a state with low-cost personalized or vanity plates, and they seem to be popular with sci-fi fans. Plates from RVR SNG to FVR KNT 1 (accompanied by a "Baby-on-board" style hanging sign reading "VAMPIRE IN TRUNK") have been spotted in hotel parking lots.
  • It's been said that one way to tell if someone's a geek is to show them a Volkswagen Beetle with a vanity plate that says FEATURE and see if they laugh. note 
  • Stories of a white VW Rabbit with plates reading IM LATE have been around since the days of rec.humor.funny on the internet.
  • A smartcar in Louisiana had a plate reading TYRION.
    • Another had TNKRTY note .
  • For the UK launch of the Porsche 928S, the company obtained the vanity plate "THE 928S", UK registration plates following at that time the ABC 123A format.
  • When cars are being roadtested in the UK, manufacturers tend to put a fake vanity plate on their press cars, as often shown on Top Gear. For example, all of Aston Martin's press cars bear the plate V12 AML (The 'L' referencing Lagonda, one of Aston Martin's marque's purchased in the late 1940's). Porsche 911's tend to have 911 GB.
  • Sighted recently in Portland OR: a fluorescent green compact, license plate "KERMIT".
  • Ask any of the 600,000 citizens of the german city Dortmund and chances are they have at least once seen a car with a license plate that read either "DOOM", "DOPE" or "DOOF" (dumb/stupid).
  • Dean Martin's said "DRUNKY."
  • With the increasing availability of electric and hybrid cars comes an upswing in vanity plates reading LOL GAS or similar.
    • A Prius in NY had one reading: "LE55 GA5".
      • On the flip side of this, a Hummer, also in NY: EIGHTMPG.
  • When California first implemented 7 character personalized plates in the early 1980s, they had to hold a lottery as more than 300 people applied for the first 7-character plate to be issued: PORSCHE.
  • There is a car in Virginia with the license plate "OKCAHA." It is a Bilingual Bonus as in the Cyrillic alphabet "OKCAHA" reads as "Oksana," a Russian woman's name.
  • Amateur (ham) radio plates - amateur callsigns themselves can be vanity, occasionally leading to vanity vanity license plates.
    • Some jurisdictions even offer callsign plates at no additional charge over normal/randomly generated plates.
  • The Governor-General of Canada can use plates depicting the Governor-General's flag.
  • Matt Farrah of once had a Shelby Cobra kit car with a vanity plate that read "Make U Poo" (with "POO" spelled "P00"). When asked how he was able to get away with it when he registered it, he said it was "officially" "MAKE UP 00." You can see the clip (and the reason for the vanity plates) here.
  • It's Older Than They Think! During the Red October era, Makhnovist anarchists often put "license plates" with Badass Creeds on their tachankas (horse-driven gun trucks). The variation most well known in folklore is "No Fuckin Way You'll Escape" on the front and "No Fuckin Way You'll Catch Me" on the rear.
  • In modern Russia, you cannot have true vanity plates with anything on them, but there are two other options. First, you can arrange with the motor registration office to have license plates which conform to the standard format (letter-three digits-two letters-region code) but nevertheless combine the letters and numbers into something funny or badass. Second, you can buy "fake license plates" which are worn in addition to the standard ones.
  • On an Acura Legend: "OF ZELDA"
  • On a Cadillac with North Carolina plates, D0CWH0; and a Civic, ASUWISH, here.
  • At least one driver has a license plate called HSADIGA, which means "Fuck you". Presumably, the corresponding plate reads EEB0Y.
  • Nevada Kedavra! Driven by He Who Must Not Be Ticketed.
  • Late 20th century British politician Sir Gerald Nabarro was famous for two things: his luxuriant moustache, and his eight cars with number plates running NAB 1 through 8. Unfortunately his career was marred by scandal involving a traffic violation in one of the cars, but that's another story.
  • Bandleader Lawrence Welk reportedly had "A1ANA2."
  • Gorilla Monsoon eventually got a plate that read "KAYFABE."note 
  • This car has "BALALALA".
  • James May has a plane, which has the "G-OCOK" registration.
  • New Jersey, besides the usual sort of "You pay us money, you can make your plate say funny things" also has a somewhat elaborate system of official plates:
    • Like many states, high-ranking state officials (like the governor) get plates with low numbers.
    • N.J. also has special series of plates for things like legislators, judges, and the surrogate (a quasi-judicial official in charge of probate matters) in each county. The plate generally has a code that identifies the county and a fairly low number, and also generally has a full-color rendition of the state seal in the center. However, this style has fallen out of favor since the early 2000s as officeholders decided that the plates, while cool, made them and their vehicles targets for disgruntled constituents and litigants.
    • N.J.'s most famous form of non-vanity plate special plates are the "courtesy" plates. Courtesy plates have to be personally approved by the applicant's state senator, so the plates are generally issued to senators' friends and allies. The plates are thus in themselves are a low-key boast that you're in with some powerful people. You can tell courtesy plates because the numbers always take the form ABC 12, where "ABC" starts with a particular letter assigned to the county (for instance, "A" is assigned to Atlantic County, while "K" stands for Middlesex);note  that said, there's a little room for customization, as the driver is allowed to request that his/her initials be used as the second two letters of the letter code.
  • In 2007, a New York man received some media attention because the DMV had rejected his application for a plate that said "GETOSAMA".
  • British number plates followed a convention whereby the three-letter part could be identified to the issuing town. The initial letter was advanced one place down the alphabet with every new year, allowing for easy tracing of the car by town and age. One English town ran into trouble when it got as far as REX. Its registration leapt straight to TEX that August. Similarly, another town got as far as SIT and realised it was prudent to skip a letter and go to UIT.
  • On a Tesla Model S - No Gas
    • Seen recently on a dark blue Tesla Model 3-"PWR WHLS" (Power Wheels)
  • On a blue Ford Escape being driven by a paramedic/EMT-"RN T GO" (possibly either 'Raring to go' or most likely 'Registered Nurse To Go', given the driver's occupation)
  • On a black Ford pickup truck: BRKLYER (Bricklayer, another probable occupational referance)
  • On a small SUV: SLVRFOX. Possibly related to the Silver Fox trope.
  • On an electrican's Ford F-250: 3 PHASE (refering to three-phase electricity)

Alternative Title(s): Vanity Licence Plate


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