Vanity, Thy Name Is License Plate
Who doesn't like vanity license plates? We may not like them as much as Bruce Powers of Falls Church, whose obsessive interest in them I write about in my column today. But they usually bring a smile to our faces.
I think the model of automobile most likely to have a vanity plate these days is the Mini Cooper. I would say half the times I see a Mini it has a personalized plate. Well, perhaps more than half, given that I see My Lovely Wife's Mini every day and it has a custom plate.
We bought the car in 2002. It was among the first batch sent to this country. We'd never had a vanity plate before (to be honest, we'd always considered them a little naff, as the English say: uncool), but the Mini was crying out for one. But what?
You may not remember when BMW's recreation of the original Mini was introduced, so common is the car now, but at the time it elicited great interest. Wherever we parked people would come up to us and say, "That's sooooo cute. What is it?"
We enjoyed these encounters and so when we sent off the registration for the car we requested a personalized plate that would answer the question everyone was asking: A MINI.
I guess seven years later it's not a very clever plate. Maybe we should have gone with MINI ME.
What about you? Take our insta-poll and then tell us in the Comments section which custom plates you've had/seen.
In the U.K. you can't order vanity plates. Each new car gets a government-issued plate when it's first registered and the plate stays with the car forever--except in certain circumstances. The plate may be transferred and so there are companies that broker deals, offering plates that have your initials, say, or fit with the car's name or the owner's profession or personality in some way.
For example, the owner of a company that makes stainless steel beer kegs bought the plate 1 KEG for his Jaguar. English people I know are amazed, and a little jealous, that we Americans can just order up vanity plates, though they probably think there isn't much sport in that.
Where Is Where in Washington?
Starting today each week's "Where in Washington?" will post at precisely 11:30 a.m. Look for it then.
February 16, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
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