Licensed to Thrill


Diana Vreeland, the late fashion maven, once said, “I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity.”

So, apparently, do 251,000 Michigan drivers, whose vehicles sport “vanity” plates. Michigan motorists have been flaunting a ‘bumper’ crop of vanity for nearly 40 years; Great Lakes plates got personal in 1973.

Ken Silfven, Michigan Secretary of State spokesman, says Oakland County leads the personalized pack with 37,741 vanity plates. Wayne County vehicles sport 36,548, Macomb has 21,431, and Wash-tenaw, 9,494. In the Upper Peninsula’s Keweenaw County, automotive egos total 63.

There are other ways to exercise a little personal expression on the road. University plates tout academic achievement and varsity spirit. Spartans are historically the truest to their school, Silfven says.

The collegiate license-plate ranking shakes out as follows:
> Michigan State University, 46,876;
> University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, 33,188;
> Central Michigan, 7,141;
> Western, 6,672; 
> Ferris, 3,910.
> Wayne State, a largely commuter university, boasts just 2,579 self-branded road “Warriors.”

The metal messages (ranging from cute to creative) serve as brainteasers, with cryptic codes sometimes proving as distracting to drivers as a cell-phone text and as challenging as The New York Times Sunday crossword.

And like a crossword dictionary, various websites offer translations of plate speak.

Some examples:
1DR (wonder), DVS (devious), FREQ (freak), N2 (into), RT (arty), 10S (tennis), 4ORD (Ford), and YN (wine).

For those who face the daily rush-hour jam, a smart EGOTRIP might be one that warns the overly aggressive tailgaters in your rearview mirror: W8.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Fall Arts Preview: Upcoming Events

Cultural life is especially vibrant this season. In this section, we offer a glimpse of upcoming exhibits, concerts, and drama, along with an introduction to the fresh faces of the DSO and a look inside a new book devoted to Detroit’s architecturally stunning churches.

Men's Spring Fashion: On The Town

Men's Spring Fashion.

Bridal Fashion: Garden of Love

Ethereal silhouettes, couture details, haute bijoux, and abundant blooms are the essential elements for undeniably romantic bridal fashion.

Stop & Glow

The Auto Show Charity Preview and the AutoGlow that follows (Jan. 14) offer an opportunity to shine in formal attire.

Spring Fashion: The Hour of Enchantment

In a secret forest where the forces of good and evil collide, a fantastical cast of characters brings the season’s most magical fashion to life.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. An Animated Life
    As Rob Paulsen prepares to publish his memoir, the Hollywood veteran and voice behind some of the...
  2. An Hour With ... Teddy Dorsette III
    President, Detroit Black Deaf Advocates
  3. State of the Arts
  4. A New Noodle Shop on the Block
    Midtown Detroit welcomes Urban Ramen
  5. Gold Standard
    Tucked into an industrial strip in Ann Arbor, a new restaurant offers French fare
  6. In Tune
    Influenced by its storied past, Willis Show Bar sets the tone for a nostalgic sound
  7. Drink Beer, Do Good
    Local breweries and pubs jump on the charity bandwagon
  8. Recipe: Roast Boneless Pork Loin With Tart Cherry Chutney
    Executive chef at Ford’s Garage, Darin Thompson’s boneless pork loin marvel
  9. Business Class
    Trim suits, creative layers, and crisp white shirts - Fall's wardrobe essentials are fitting for...
  10. Woah, Deli!
    Rocco’s Italian Deli offers classic sandwiches with a fresh, Detroit twist