Cars of this caliber have taken years, hundreds of thousands of dollars and plenty of hard labor to prepare. When the final bit of wax is wiped away and the cars roll onto the Victorian Avenue sidewalk, car owners want a license plate that speaks to the car, themselves and their journey to get the car in prime condition.
Wednesday afternoon provided ample opportunity to view unique license plates from Hot August Nights entrants, and here are a few car owners who didn’t mind sharing the simple, or unique, stories behind the seven characters:
Car & Owner: 1955 210 Chevrolet, Rob Paszek
Meaning: “I have a 383 stroker in it and it is putting out 425 horsepower. I love horsepower. I came up with this plate because with those 425 horses, it is fast. I am 62 years old, and I just love the power this thing has.”
Reason for custom plate: “For the character of the car itself and showing people what it is. When people look at it they know it is an old car, but now they know it is a fast car. If it was a slow 55 people would be thinking they could pass it.”
Cars & Owners: 1967 & 1968 Plymouth Barracudas, Steve and Sue Rich
Plates: CLDASIC & HTBLDED
Meaning: “We were visiting my sister who was the housekeeper for Lou Gramm, who was the lead singer of Foreigner for many years, and he had a car collection he showed us while we were at his house. Lou said he went to the DMV in California (where he had just bought a 1967 Dodge Dart) and he said ‘Everybody has personalized plates out here in California.’
“He told my wife he chose DWBOY, for Dirty White Boy, one of their first hits. On the way home the next day, my wife was writing down different ways to figure out a Foreigner song that can go on her license plate. The next year she took a picture of the Barracuda to show Lou, and he signs it saying ‘Sue, you’re hot blooded.’”
Reason for custom plate: “Only because Lou said he has a custom plate. That got my wife going. I wasn’t going to get a plate on mine, but she wanted me to. When you are married, you do things your wife wants you to.”
Car & Owner: 1963 Lincoln Continental, Mike Mansfield
Meaning: “I have three kids and we were sitting around trying to think of something for the plate and everyone would always come up and say ‘cool Lincoln, cool Lincoln.’ Well, the kids aren’t really using cool anymore they have really gotten into using ‘sick.’ Sick means cool so we went with that.
Reason for custom plate: “It is just something else that draws the attention of the fans who come to the shows. Somebody will see this car from a long way off and see the license plate and say ‘Look at that,’ and that brings the rest of his friends and family over to look at the car. It is something the younger generation loves.
“Owners also love to have something to separate themselves and something that is personalized.”
Car & Owner: 1967 Plymouth Barracuda, Connie Wikel
Plate: MNE PIT
Meaning: “What it means is we have way too much money in that car. My husband said he was going to pick out everything in the car, but he would let me pick out the license plate. It took eight years to build the car. I kept telling him ‘You’re putting way too much money into this car.’
“When the time came to pick the license plate out I said ‘I’ve got it. It’s money pit.’ ”
Reason for custom plate: “We have another car, which we bought brand new, and the license plate says 1OWNER. We get so many comments on our license plate and I think people really do notice a license plate a lot. This license plate (MNE PIT) has gotten a lot of attention and this is only the fifth time it has been shown. They want to hear the story.”
Car & Owner: 1955 Dodge Coronet, Dennis Prutch
Meaning: “I laid the car out from the very beginning, and to get the right colors I changed my mind maybe a dozen times. I saw this color, combination, not on a car, and I thought it would fit perfect on this type of vehicle. I ended up painting it a tangerine, pearl and cream. After doing that, I came up with the license plate for dreamsicle.”
Reason for custom plate: “I have five vehicles and this is the only one that I have a custom plate on. I grew up with dreamsicles and after seeing the color of the car it just fit. It was just a matter of getting the right letters to spell it out.”