By on August 16, 2018

1985 Chrysler LeBaron in Arizona wrecking yard, RH front license plate - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

As I reveal daily in TTAC’s Slack channel, I’m a bit geeky in some ways. One of the ways this manifests is through a fascination with license plates (I am not alone in this — Mr. Guy shares my geekiness on this topic, perhaps going beyond my own level).

I think this comes from living most of my life in the northeast corner of Illinois. It’s a near-daily occurrence to see Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, and even Ohio plates due to simple geographic proximity. Factor in tourists and people snagging rental cars, many of which carry out-of-state plates, and if you live in or near Chicago (or any big city, really), you see a good cross-section of the nation’s plates.

Not to mention, as eagle-eyed readers might note, press cars often arrive wearing plates from various states. My travels for this job take me to locales near state borders, which means seeing cars from neighboring states passing by. I’ve also spent a fair amount of time in Maryland these past two years. One sees many different plates there, in part because of proximity to DC and the I-95 corridor, and also because of military folks stationed in the area.

Finally, the license plate game was the number one boredom fighter on long road trips when I was a wee lad. Hey, it was the ‘80s – tablets weren’t a thing yet, and Game Boy batteries discharged quickly.

So yeah, I have an eye for license plates. When heading out to O’Hare, sans press car, to drive the Silverado last week, I spotted a random SUV with New York plates from the El (Chicago’s Blue Line rides between the lanes of the Kennedy Expressway). These are my least favorite plates, and I grimaced.

Conversely, I find NJ plates to be the most aesthetically pleasing. I don’t know why – I’ve probably spent less than a full day in that state, in total, over my lifetime. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen every Sopranos episode multiple times?

As for my state, we’re in the process of rolling out new plates, replacing the bland but attractive ones with a design so tacky that for the first time in her life, my mom sprung for a specialty plate when her car needed new tags.

I can’t recall all 50 states’ plates off the top of my head, but of the ones I can, I have a mental index of the ones that look good and the ones that don’t.

So, B and B, I ask you – what state’s plate do you love, or loathe? For simplicity’s sake, let’s keep this to “standard” plates, not specialty plates (like for a sports team) you’d have to pay extra for. Let’s also keep this to aesthetics, and not worry about state slogans and mottos. Let’s also ignore how a plate makes us feel about a state’s drivers.

What plate always catches your eye, good or bad? Sound off below.

[Image: Murilee Martin/TTAC]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

104 Comments on “QOTD: What’s the Best (or Worst) Looking License Plate?...”


  • avatar
    krieger56

    I have always liked South Carolina and Florida plates. My home state of Pennsylvania is ok but boring

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Eh… florida…

      Check first
      https://www.thisisinsider.com/every-us-state-license-plate-2018-4

      • 0 avatar

        This article is very irritating (not that I’m surprised from Insider). The plates aren’t all current, some of them are one or two designs ago.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        After looking at all the plates none appear to be anything too exciting, if anything I think I’d go with Delaware because the flat 2-dimensial look is at least unique. Makes you kind of want to touch it to see if it’s really flat

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I think, PA is the best plate. It is not the sharpest like NY or NM but sharp enough. It has no elaborate pictures (thanks!) but it has that subtle message in form of the image of keystone – Keystone state. And it has the URL. Perfect.

      Worst – Vermont, Delaware.

      Mentally worst – NJ, FL

    • 0 avatar
      Funky D

      Florida? Which of the 100+ variants is your favorite? :-)

    • 0 avatar
      ppxhbqt

      I think our outgoing plates here in SC are a mess. Hard to read, with weird colors that might work for New Mexico or Arizona. Our newer ones are, if nothing else, a model of legibility.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    I actually like the new Illinois plates, I never cared for the script “Illinois” at the top of the old ones.

  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    Iowa’s old license plates.

    https://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/personalizedplates/images/personalOld.gif

    I’m sure even people from Iowa are sick of being reminded that there are a lot of farms in Iowa.

  • avatar

    Canada here. We go to Illinois sometimes. Hi.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The NY orange/yellow looks too much like Ohio’s party plate for OVI occurances.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      Best looking are the Delaware and California black plates. Second choice are the old Maryland plates: black text on white with the little Maryland shield in the middle. Simple and clean.

      Ohio went from having one of the worst:
      http://www.customplatepros.com/assets/images/OHIO-LICENSE-PLATE-VER2-TEAMLOGO.png

      To one of the best:
      http://www.plateshack.com/y2k/Ohio5/oh2018.jpg

      The “holographic text” in the background of the current OH plate is barely noticeable in real life, especially from a distance. In case you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of clean simple designs.

      • 0 avatar
        nsk

        Yes. DE and CA black plates are the best. The PA DARE plate is pretty good as well.

        otherwise my preference is whatever plate has least contrast between letter color and plate color, coupled with the blockiest available font.

        • 0 avatar
          doublechili

          I live in PA about 1/2 hour from DE, and those black plates are less than 1% of the local plate population yet about 20% of the drivers that really tick me off seem to have one.**

          **Unscientific.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Yes, the so-called “Land-O’-Lakes” PL8! I don’t notice that many of them around any more, with good reason — THEY $UCK! I much prefer the new one which came out after this, as you said. (The one preceding the LOL plate was the best yet—I’ve got a couple of those laying around after the Toledo Harbor Light ones became unavailable, and I changed to the newer design with “In God We Trust” and the American Flag, lest I lose the previous ones in a rear-end collision.)

    • 0 avatar

      Agree on the NY plate. You have to get close to tell it’s a drunk plate.

      And I never want to be close to those drivers.

  • avatar
    TDIandThen....

    Immediate sub-thread: best and worst Canadian plates.

    I’m going to choose SK for best, I think they translate the province pretty well with the sky and wheat. Though NWT have a great idea with bear plates, it’s just too tacky. Unselfconscious but over the top. Honourable mention: Nova Scotia, but it’s such an old design and icon, it’s becoming classic.

    Worst plate: Ontario by a country kilometre. As bland as a dyed blonde who has never left London (not the real London, remember.) At least try, people.

    Best US? Possibly Louisiana. Arizona got creative but I like the classic New Mexico. Honourable mention to South Carolina, though it’s too small to be a state.

    Worst US plate is a 30-way tie as far as I can tell.

    US license plate photo gallery I’m looking at: https://goo.gl/images/wVw1Cj

    • 0 avatar

      Canada: I live in Saskatchewan and I agree, I think ours is best, closely followed by Prince Edward Island (of which I’ve only ever seen two in Saskatchewan). I’m also proud to report that my Saskatchewan plate has been present in many US states (WA, OR, CA, ID, WY, UT, AZ, NV, MT, ND, SD, MN, IA, NE, MO, KS, OK, TX, NM, CO) so I’ve given our US friends a chance to see one. All of those states were in the last four years, too! (A bunch I’ve been to many times.)

      As for US plates, it’s hard not to like New Mexico’s, particularly their standard teal plate plus their black-background hot pepper plate. We were just there in May en route home from Texas. (Someone in Texas talked to me about my Saskatchewan plate, but that was the only time anyone mentioned it.)

      • 0 avatar
        King of Eldorado

        In NM, you can get the newer yellow-on-turquoise plate or the older classic red-on- yellow plate. I prefer the latter because it’s instantly identifiable, but I recall that the turquoise plate won some organization’s “best plate” award when it came out. I’m not a fan of the black chile plate, but it’s much more popular than predicted. Because it costs extra, I would consider it a specialty plate, so not really eligible here.

        • 0 avatar
          whynot

          The black Chile plate is actually free (NM has three free ones- the Yellow on turquoise, red on yellow, and the black chile). It was going to be a extra cost plate until the state found out Colorado was going to release a Chili plate. NM made theirs free to flood the roads with it so people associate the chili with NM (as they should) and not Colorado.

    • 0 avatar

      I like the New Mexico plate. It’s nicely balanced.

      LAND OF ENCHANTMENT

      And I think, “Hmm, maybe it is.”

    • 0 avatar
      brettucks

      New Mexico gets my vote also – my home state of AZ an honorable mention.

  • avatar
    cardave5150

    There was a guy in the northern ‘burbs of Chicagoland, names Lee Hartung, who I had the opportunity to meet several years ago (he died a few years ago). He had a real eclectic collection of cars and motorcycles in a couple of pole barns on his property. Hung from the ceilings of those buildings where what I was told was the nation’s largest license plate collection. He had plates from every year from every state, all the way back to when license plates were actually pieces of leather that the car owner wrote their tag number on. The variety of plates over the years was fascinating to see.

    I kinda like the New York plates, on some cars. But that mustard yellow color really looks like crap with a lot of different colors on cars. I’d hate to be in a situation where I’d be worried about getting a car that would look hideous because of the color of the mandatory plates, and feeling forced into one of the specialty plates (at extra charge) to eliminate a distracting color clash.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    Being from NJ I’m particularly fond of the one with image of the USS New Jersey battleship on it.
    I need to get one eventually.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    worst: Illinois!! visual train wreck, awful fonts, illegible, looks like it was designed by a government committee—and it was!

    Best: NY in the year 2000 (Seinfeld’s Ass-man plates). simple. Statue of Liberty = New York (though isn’t it technically in NJ?).

    • 0 avatar

      No, legally the island is part of the city of New York, and in New York state, although western parts of the island that were added on via landfill later are actually part of New Jersey.

      Yes, that means the trash parts of the island are in Jersey, literally.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I’ve been to Chicago a couple times, and both visits (last in 2008), I couldn’t get over how many spaces there seem to be for vanity plates! (Ohio is max six or eight, but you could get pretty elaborate in Illinois!) Is that still the case?

      • 0 avatar
        FerrariLaFerrariFace

        Seven in Ohio.
        I was once told that in Illinois, vanity plates were dirt cheap as long as you had a number in there somewhere, which is why it seems like damn near every car has a custom plate. That was a long time ago, though, and never verified.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          That’s right — I think it’s six if you get a logo plate: sports teams and the like. (And mine IS personalized on top of the “In God We Trust!” Cha-ching!)

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Yes, for whatever reason people in Illinois love their vanity plates

    • 0 avatar
      Ltd1983

      Liberty Island is technically in NY, but it’s an exclave, all the water surrounding it is NJ.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I will give a shout out to Michigan. Not because they are stylish in any manner, but because they are simple. All white background with blue strip at top, blue letters and typically one small design of your choosing taking up about 20% of the plate. I am not a fan of overly colorful license plates that clash with most paint schemes, etc.

    Sorry, I’m boring I guess. I wish we would go to the Euro plate style in fact, much cleaner look. Easier to read for purposes of law enforcement as well, that is after all what they are primarily for correct?

    Or is it really just so I have something tangible to justify the $200-$300 or so I have to spend every year on my birthday to up my registration?

    • 0 avatar

      $200-300?!

      Come to the Ohio, $60.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        Well, all that extra money gives me the right to drive on some of the nation’s smoothest, newest and loveliest roads. OK….really not sure what it pays for.

        Registration in Michigan is tied to the vehicle’s MSRP and it is a sliding scale with about $10-20 off per year in each subsequent year of ownership. I am sure it stops sliding at some point, but I typically have vehicles that are fairly new so I get to pay more.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Best was the blue and white ones from the ‘80s. Simple as it gets! But you’re right, the new ones are nice, too! The optional ones from the Aughts with the Mackinac Bridge on them were a little fussy.

      Except for the ones for the Bicentennial in 1976 — my Mom & Dad still have a set which graced my Mom’s ‘71 Cutlass back in the day.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    Ohio’s is the worst.

    because it’s Ohio.

  • avatar
    kefkafloyd

    The State of Massachusett’s “Spirit” plates have been around for thirty years and they’re tasteful (white, red lettering, blue state name) and readable. Yes, I am biased, because it’s my home state, but they are the most readable plates in all of New England.

    I’ll always miss the Statue of Liberty NY plates, though. The Empire (blue) plates were OK, but whoever thought the yellow plates (evoking the late 70s NY plates) were a good idea should be fired.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    Hate the return of the NY dark blue and yellow – depressing looking (but matches the As#$ole sorry excuse for a governor).

    I like Utah, New Mexico. Florida has about 100 different versions right?

    As for Canada – only really see Quebec and Ontario in the northeast – pretty basic.

    • 0 avatar

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/woodysworld1778/34162355244

      That’s Saskatchewan’s. Alas, I haven’t gotten mine east of Detroit in the US yet. (I have gotten it to Gatineau, Quebec though.)

      (That’s not my plate #, just representative of a Saskatchewan license plate.)

  • avatar
    HillbillyInBC

    Kentucky has had some nice plates over the years, but their current smiley-face sunrise plate is an abomination.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    North Dakota’s new design from a few years ago was bad enough it got revised to revert its worst excess, the state name being in a ridiculous serif font, to something more legible. The letters are still BROWN though. And the DOT was *proud* they didn’t hire a designer.

    http://www.inforum.com/news/4231108-nd-makes-slight-change-new-version-license-plates

  • avatar
    65corvair

    The Northwest Territory polar bear shaped plate in Canada is the best.

    • 0 avatar
      Mitchell Leitman

      You can buy one – https://webstore.spectacularnwt.com/collections/souvenir/products/northwest-territories-license-plates

    • 0 avatar

      Nunavut’s used to be bear-shaped, too (it used to be part of the NWT), but there are no roads from Nunavut to the rest of Canada, so you probably have to go to Iqaluit to see one in the flesh.

      Here are what their plates look like:

      http://www.plateshack.com/y2k/Nunavut/nunavut.html

  • avatar
    7402

    I’m going to go with the original California black plate (three letters, space, three numbers). The reissue black plates don’t count and look funny because they have the wrong sequence of characters. I also like the old Michigan blue and white tags as well as the early Oregon blue and yellow tags.

    I’m a big fan of the diplomatic tags issued by the Department of State. Easily recognizable, even at substantial distance, immediate information about driver (D=diplomat with immunity, S=staff, T=technical staff, C=consular). Also, it’s not hard to identify them by country, though they codes aren’t obvious like they were 30+ years ago. Apparently it’s meaningful if the letter designation is first or last; I could tell you, but I’d have to . . . .

    Most contemporary license plates really suck. They are too busy and it’s no longer easy to identify a state from a distance.

    I hate the trend of putting state or DMV URLs on license plates.

  • avatar
    94metro

    The dark blue oregon optional plates that say “pacific wonderland” are quite handsome.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I prefer simple not graphics, but for graphics I like Colorado. However it wouldn’t look right on some cars. I am a Delaware native and the standard issue blue(green?) background design and block letter has been around as long as I can remember. I kind of like it. I’ve always liked Quebec.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    http://www.mvd.newmexico.gov/license-plates.aspx

    I really like NM current plates – at least the main ones.

    Yellow + Red = easy to read.
    Black and Yellow “Chile Capital” plate = states most famous agricultural crop
    Turquoise and Yellow = 100th anniversary of statehood (1912-2012)

    I sought out the 100th anniversary plate for my vanity plate “DATADAN”.

    I’m bummed the Chile Capital plate isn’t available as a vanity plate. There aren’t many letters on that plate but I had already thought of a few possible vanity plates using it.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    actually, the worst license plates are those “Private Traveler” phony plates those “sovereign citizen” dumbs**ts try to use. Usually they say “PRIVATE” “NOT FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES” and include a couple numbers from the Uniform Commercial Code.

    I never cease to be amazed at what ball-bustingly stupid things people will believe because they read it on the internet.

    • 0 avatar
      ravenuer

      Never seen anything like that. Not legal, right? How would you get away with that?

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “Never seen anything like that. Not legal, right?”

        nope, not in the least. but stupid people read stuff on the internet and think they’re “smart” for finding a way to outmaneuver the government.

        “How would you get away with that?”

        you don’t, once you get caught. look up “sovereign citizens” on YouTube and watch these morons get owned over and over. they try every trick they read on crackpot websites; like “the constitutional right to travel” means they don’t have to register their vehicles to drive them on public roads- you know, the roads the rest of us pay for through taxes and registration fees. Or, when hauled in front of a judge, they try to claim the court is “fraudulent” because the gold fringe on the American flag behind the bench means it’s “Admiralty Court” and therefore has no jurisdiction on land.

        Yes, I’m serious. these people actually believe this stuff.

        It *never* works, but they keep trying.

  • avatar
    Tandoor

    European number plates win for high contrast and simplicity. Delaware and Connecticut are the best of the states. If made available, I’d buy a specialty plate: white with black letters full stop.

    • 0 avatar
      Mitchell Leitman

      Like this: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ontario_screened_ab1_234_commercial.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Tandoor

      Right on Mitchell. Missouri used to have a simple white on red plate that you could actually read on the hit and run. Now we have a bluebird, a creature I rarely see. Should be a starling or a Canada goose. We could have a bird dropping graphic right on top of the alphanumeric.

  • avatar
    NexWest

    Chicago White Sox Vanity plate for $141. White letters on a black background. http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/vehicles/license_plate_guide/motorcycle/mcy_whitesox.html

  • avatar
    Thorshammer_gp

    Shoutout to my adopted state of Utah for giving us these:
    http://i.imgur.com/VFFN5Oe.jpg

    Nevada’s aren’t bad either.

    Whereas my home state of Nebraska has this abomination:
    http://media.graytvinc.com/images/810*455/LicensePlate2017.jpg

  • avatar
    King of Eldorado

    A little off-topic, but I’ve been curious about toll roads that rely on cameras reading vehicles license plates and then sending a bill to the owner. One example, as far as I know, is E-470, the bypass toll road that runs through the suburbs east of Denver. Does their database really account for the zillion types of plates (including specialty ones for state universities, etc.), not to mention ones where the information is obscured by heavily tinted plastic covers or wide-margin frames surrounding the plate?

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been on electronic toll roads in Washington and Ontario, and have yet to get a bill. (I drove on one in Kansas, too, with a Texas TX-Tag that should have worked, but my charges never got deducted from it, either.)

      Saskatchewan plate. I think nobody knows how to figure out who anybody is here.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Michigan – 1976 US flag plate and the black/white from 1979 that was famous across the country as black taggers looking for work

    California – black and yellow letters

    New Mexico – yellow and red letters

    Florida – I liked the old ones that had the counties on them

    Colorado – green mountains and white letters

    Texas – black with white star

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Oklahoma had a very nice license plate until recently. From what I understand, a large advertising agency here designed the new one, which looks childish. Normally this agency is known to produce top-notch work, and from what I heard, they basically had a gun put to their heads and were told what to design.

    Meanwhile, I think New York’s blue on gold is classy.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    As a lifelong railfan, Pennsylvania’s railroad specialty plates are my favorite. Their owl plate comes in a near second while most state plates tend to be rather boring. I do believe the Arizona plates that had the Native American-styled sun, rider and cactus (at least, I think that was Arizona) is an eye-catcher as well. More so than Florida’s tiny oranges that are sometimes confusing with that Georgia peach.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    I don’t like the current NY plate, but if you customize them with the state symbol in the middle, and affix to a car with a color that contrasts nicely with the yellow [like a blue car], it can look nice. Whoever has the older blue on white plates should never turn them in.

    NJ has always been the definition of blah plates for me. NY has aggressive drives, but NJ has inept aggressive drivers. [Just kidding… I know].

    The worst is Wisconsin. Like a four year old typed it in a computer, then decided… hm it needs something. Change the font color? Maybe italicize? There you go. True story: I carried Minnesota plates, which I continue to love despite the text color shift from blue to black, just because I hate them so much, when I lived in Madison for a few years.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    The best looking license plate? None at all, not even a place to mount one.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      It would be nice if you had the option to, in a state requiring front plates, not display the front plate if you could purchase a sticker for your rear plate or something like that; some modern vehicles look horrible with the bracket on them!

    • 0 avatar
      Funky D

      There are 19 states that do not require a front license plate and most of them are in the South. As a matter of fact, the only former Confederate states that requires one are Virginia and Texas.

      The 19 are Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and West Virginia.

  • avatar
    Funky D

    I’ve always like the NM plates as well. SD and AZ used to have unique fonts that they stamped onto their plates, now that they are printed, they are a lot more generic, sadly.

    Texas went from having one of the nicest looking plates to one of the ugliest with the plain black and white printing. Having just returned from 8 days there, it was easy to find my otherwise generic rental car in a parking lot because it was pretty much the only one that didn’t have a front plate (being from Florida).

  • avatar
    Michael500

    Best is the Michigan bicentennial plate:
    http://www.plateshack.com/76/MI/mi76.jpg
    WORST, there are many: CA graffiti plate, Texas flat/fake looking plate.
    https://www.chron.com/cars/slideshow/Texas-license-plates-through-the-years-46244.php
    http://www.plateshack.com/y2k/California/ca2011-3.jpg

  • avatar
    Michael500

    They all look pretty stupid when government DMV dolts place a stupid picture and dumb slogan CLASHING with the design and paint on my car. I wish we had plain “number plates” like England. Give me a black plate with white EMBOSSED letters- that will go with any car color scheme. When did we allow DMV morons to decide what a plate should look like?

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I always liked the old “Ski Utah!” plates. The new Utah plates with the Delicate Arch are nice looking as well.

    I like/liked Kansas plates, ’cause that’s where I grew up.

    Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming and Idaho have good looking plates too.

    • 0 avatar
      Kruser

      I’ve got to disagree about Wyoming. I just moved back after years away, and I hate the plates. It is like a photo. So, within about 6 feet, it looks OK, but that’s not the range at which one typically sees a plate. So 30 feet away, it is just a blob of colors with some numbers.
      IMHO, the bucking horse was always a great icon for a plate. Beyond that, one needs to be careful not to get too busy.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, and echoing the same about Iowa: go back (at least) to the ’86 plates that were white on deep blue. For Wyoming, I’m a fan of the ’83 series brown on gold. Simple but with a few spare design elements. Legible. Communicates the state very well.

  • avatar
    dig

    You all don’t know nuthin’. the best plate is Alaska. This says it all in so many ways while being simple and elegant.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_registration_plates_of_Alaska#/media/File:2007_Alaska_License_Plate.jpg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Alaska

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    Best: Michigan – clean and uncluttered design
    Worst: New York – does that baby shit yellow/blue look good on anything else than a yellow cab?

  • avatar
    xidex

    northwest territories by far the coolest, shape of a polar bear

    https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&source=imgres&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj979Ga_fPcAhWGUt8KHcCFCSIQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.plateshack.com%2Fy2k%2FNWT%2Fnwty2k.html&psig=AOvVaw3v9-6oKWLncNUdm1dEtLfW&ust=1534591564553498

  • avatar

    I like the Utah “arches” plate in the “picture on a plate” category. As a kid I liked the CA yellow on black plates. I think that was due to the fact that my states (IA) plates were black on white at that time. Yellow on black seemed cool to this 8 year old. When we went to white on blue/white on green plates I liked those much more than the black on white. IIRC, IA used to have black on yellow which would have been nice, but it was before my time.

  • avatar
    AKADriver

    For US states, anything that has stuck with a non-graphic design. Preferably keeping with raised lettering. Virginia’s was my favorite until a couple years ago they added the stupid slogan to it. Delaware’s standard plate is my favorite that I see regularly. PA would be fine if they dropped the website URL. I kinda like Vermont.

    The only graphic design I like is the Texas one with the big left side star, or maybe Colorado’s mountain range plate.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    As a UKer looking in, it has to be the 1980s California plates.

    The ones that adorned time travelling DeLoreans and California Games videogame titles!

  • avatar
    David McIntosh

    New Hampshire tags are the best. Stamped “Live Free or Die” and made by the state prisoners. Love it

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Kentucky’s current license plate is a horse running with the caption “Unbridled Spirit”. Many of the religious right have taken issue with that plate feeling it promotes gambling because of horse racing and now Kentucky offers a plate with the caption “In God We Trust”. I don’t see what all the fuss is about since Kentucky is is known for its blue grass and its horses. All my vehicles have the “Unbridled Spirit” plates.

  • avatar
    MLS

    Rhode Island’s isn’t bad.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    The New York “Empire” plates were fantastic and a nice balance between upstate and NYC with Niagara Falls and the Manhattan skyline, and the blue/white colors went okay with most vehicle colors.

    The current NY plates are a weird mashup — the state is spelled out in the font previously used for specialty plates, and the orange-yellow/blue colors are supposed to be a throwback to the ’70s. The real reason for the plate reissue was a combination cash grab by the state and wanting a design that improved machine-readability.

    Delaware is an interesting place state-wide. There hasn’t been a plate reissue since 1942(!) so if you have a tag number below 200000 you can get the reproduction porcelain white-on-black plates. As a result, there is a secondary market where people buy and sell low-numbered tags as a status symbol. Generally speaking if you have four or fewer digits on your plate, your family has lived in Delaware for generations, is rich, or both.

    I’ve seriously met people here with low plate numbers who say their plate is an investment for retirement or their kid’s college fund. And don’t get me started on the PC series plates…

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Texas has badass plates. Plain and simple, like something from an old b-horror movie. Very nice.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Corey Lewis: I am a VERY careful eater in the car. Took my time, had all the time I needed to eat slowly and with no...
  • Corey Lewis: I believe so. I am sorta unsure with the engine being in the Camry and all.
  • Secret Hi5: Premium >91 octane is required, correct? i.e. Not just a recommendation, but a requirement.
  • MoparRocker74: McDonalds and Taco Bell seated in white leather on a 1000 mile roadtrip…we have ourselves a...
  • redgolf: so it’s also a “smart” car too!

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States