Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Truck plates 1986-93

1986 brought the first major design change to Indiana's truck plates in nearly 20 years.  The state abbreviation, weight class and two-digit year were all crammed above the plate number, and a new, wide county sticker graced the area at the bottom of the plate.

Month stickers finally became commonplace in 1986 as well; indeed, my dad's plate got two of them:  One in the upper left-hand corner (where it was supposed to be) and another in the lower left-hand corner.  Oops.

This design wouldn't have the staying power of the 1966-85 era; indeed, it would only last until 1993, and then only because the state finally crammed six digits and a small weight class letter at the end, at least on the 7,000-lb. plates

Truck plates 1980-85

If you look closely at the pictures at left, you'll immediately notice that there is no 1981 plate.  Right?


On Feb. 28, 1981, the 1980 plate expired, and the 1982 plate was issued, as Indiana finally included trucks in the staggered registration system.  However, since the corner boxes were still around, there was no good place to put a month sticker.

The corner boxes went away with the 1984 issue, enabling the use of month stickers, but most license branches didn't bother putting them on the plates.  Occasionally you'll find an example, but the majority of the ones I've seen are '85 issues.

One interesting note about the '85 plate pictured:  For whatever reason, the inmate running the embossing machine put in an "I" die instead of a "1."  This happened on quite a few plates.  The one pictured was never issued, but several were.

Finally, even though passenger plates went to a multi-year replacement schedule in 1981 (with the 1982 "Hoosier State" issue), trucks would retain yearly plates for a while longer.

Truck plates 1970-79

You may recall that passenger car and certain other plates in Indiana began expiring on a staggered basis with the 1970-71 issue.  However, the new registration system wasn't applied to trucks until much later.  That's why things get a little interesting beginning with the '70 issue.  It actually expired on Feb. 28, 1971, and so on.

Color schemes continued to match each year's passenger plate until 1977, when passenger cars got the first in a long line of new graphic designs.

The embossed corner boxes introduced in 1967 continued in that form until 1974, when they were squared off.

You may also notice that the state abbreviation and year traded places with the weight class indicator until 1975.  Beginning in 1976, the abbreviation and year moved to the top and remained there for the rest of the decade and beyond.

Truck plates 1967-69

Beginning in 1967, Indiana's truck plates continued the basic format established in '66, but changing colors along with the passenger plates.  Through 1969, the weight classes established in 1957 continued.  However, after '69, the 4,000-lb. class would be discontinued as most trucks were well over that limit.

Indiana truck plates, 1966: The stage is set

Beginning in 1966, Indiana's truck plates finally caught up to their passenger car brethren, being fully reflectorized for the first time.

The word "TRUCK" was no longer embossed alongside the plate number, but above it, along with the weight class.  On passenger plates for '66, you may recall that, with Indiana celebrating its sesquicentennial, the "150th YEAR" slogan appeared up top.

Indiana truck plates, moving into the modern era (1950-1965)

Beginning in 1950, Indiana's truck plates began to look a little more modern, even though plates numbered higher than 99999 -- were wider than standard plates.

The word "TRUCK" was embossed in stacked, squat letters to the left of the number.

Beginning in 1957, plates were divided into weight classes, with "A"-suffix plates signifying a 4,000-lb. gross-weight-rated truck (yes, some trucks were that light back then), and a "D"-suffix plate (as shown at left) signifying a larger, 16,000-lb. GVWR truck.  Prior to '57, when weight classes were signified at all, it was done through the sporadic use of weight tax plates that were usually attached to the main plate.

Color schemes were identical in all of these years to passenger and other plates.

The 1951 and 1954 plates were revalidated in 1952, 1953 and 1955 through the use of numbered strips, as on passenger cars.

Unlike most 1964 plates, however, 1964 truck plates were not issued with reflectorized numbers.  This would wait until 1965.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Indiana truck plates, the early years (1920-1949)

Indiana didn't begin issuing truck-specific license plates until 1920.  From 1920 to 1949, the only difference between passenger car and truck plates was the truck plates' "T" prefix.  In 1921, the "TRUCK" prefix was used, but for whatever reason, the state returned to "T" in 1922.

Pictured are 1926, 1937, 1947 and 1949 plates.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A new look

I thought I'd freshen up the look of the blog a little bit today. I hope you like it.

So ... why?

Well, it looked a lot like my DTV blog, and obviously this one is considerably different, so why not make it LOOK different?

Friday, October 30, 2009

UPDATE to my trade plates list

All of the previously-available plates I listed for trade are still here, but I recently got some more that I'd be willing to part with for the right trade offer. All plates are in at least VG condition except where noted differently.

1972-73 #82A6830
1974 #82E8542
1975 #82J2190
1976 #29B5192
1976 #82C3858
1978 #82E9500 (in good shape, but background is darker than it should be)
1988 #6B4038 (Back Home Again base)

2006 #615 LHA (smiley base, Daviess County)

1996 unstickered #3K 2501
1997 stickered #8F 4387

Saturday, October 3, 2009

RV plates

When we got our "new-to-us" 2000 Jayco Designer motorhome recently (you'll find its photo at left), it started me thinking about RV plates from different states.

Oklahoma, which is where we got our rig, does not separate RVs from any other vehicles. Thus the motorhome had the standard "Native America" plate that Oklahoma had used since the mid-'90s.

Indiana and Kentucky, of course, do have special RV plates.

Indiana's RV plates since 1980 or so have been similar in design to passenger plates (except for no county coding until last year and the letters "RV" to the left of the plate number). In the early years of the multi-year plates (1984-1992), RV validation stickers were different, but since 1993, they've been the same as all the others.

Kentucky, on the other hand, didn't switch RV plates to the basic passenger plate design until the wildly unpopular "smiley sun" plate debuted in 2003. Prior to that, they were based on the plainer truck plate design. On the "smiley" issue, the plates maintained the stamped "RECREATIONAL VEHICLE" designation across the bottom of the plate. This proved rather difficult to read, as the dark blue lettering on the dark green "hills" became nearly invisible at a distance.

When former Governor Ernie Fletcher announced to much relief (!) that the unpopular "smiley" plate would be killed off in 2005, RV plates switched to the new -- and current -- "Unbridled Spirit" design. This time around, instead of stamping the designation into the plate itself, "RECREATIONAL VEHICLE" is printed in white on a bright blue sticker. It is placed on the plate in a debossed area between the lower two bolt holes, not unlike county stickers on passenger plates.

You will notice that, despite the fact that this is a newly-issued plate, it uses the same number stamping dies that Kentucky used beginning in 1987, not the new, narrower (and, arguably, harder to read) set introduced last year.

I'm not sure why RV plates haven't yet switched to the new dies, but if I were to venture a guess, it's probably because there are far fewer RV plates issued than most other varieties, and the state usually stockpiles far more plates than are normally needed. The repeating holographic security image (a silhouette of Kentucky with two digits inside) in the center of this particular plate marks it as having been made in 2007, well before the new dies were introduced.

As far as numbering, all RV plates begin with 1H at this point. Once 1HZ 999 is reached, it's my understanding that the next plate in the sequence will be 2HA 000. The "H" is constant, signifying RVs' former name: House cars.

I'm still studying how other states designate RVs on their license plates, so if you have information to contribute, please let me know!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Plates I need (with a list of my traders)

Since I've gotten all of the old plates I need, what I'm doing now is replacing crummy plates and adding the newest ones.

Here's a list of what I need now:

Current "In God We Trust" plate; years '08-'09-'10
Current "Lincoln's Boyhood Home" plate; years '09-'10
Current dark blue state seal plate; '10

And here's what I have to trade (just a partial list at present, please e-mail for pictures):


Undated #MLK 359 (Rainbow base)

1973 #J/O S 11231
1974 #R/N M 2767
1981 #M/I C 397 (dark blue wheat base)
1988 #J/F J 1447 (white sunflower/wheat base)

2005 #902 MNG (Smiley base)

1976 #P7F-128 (late darker blue base)

2004 #EW39YA (Bicentennial base)

1996 #019 HXB (Ski base)


1996 #BDG-629 (New/Nouveau Brunswick "ship" base)

1989 #NRJ 237 (wheat base)


Thanks for stopping by my new License Plate Blog! Since Yahoo! is pulling the rug out from under my six-and-a-half-year-long project over at my website, I decided to move my Indiana plates on over here to Blogspot.

This isn't as fancy as my old site, but I have tried to make it user-friendly. If I've failed, I apologize. Any suggestions you might have are welcome, and you can e-mail me or leave a comment at any entry on the site.

I started this crazy journey to collect one license plate for every year Indiana has issued them back in about 1983. With a lot of help from family, friends and even total strangers, I finally plugged the last gap in the collection -- my 1914 plate -- thanks to my beloved wife, Ginger, who bought it for me on eBay as a birthday/anniversary present.

Anyway, this is it, so come on in and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Staggered registration in Indiana (current system)

Beginning in 2008, Indiana modified, for the fourth time, its staggered registration system. When I lived in Indiana, as a kid, my family's plates expired on April 30 each year. In 1986, however, we were moved to the end of July. Now, my brothers and my parents all have until August 21 to get them renewed.

Here's how it shakes out now:

JANUARY 31 -- Corporate fleet vehicles
FEBRUARY 7 -- Last names beginning with AAAA through ARNN
FEBRUARY 14 -- Last names beginning with ARNO through BATE
FEBRUARY 21 -- Last names beginning with BATF through BLAI
FEBRUARY 28 -- Last names beginning with BLAJ through BRID, and also rental fleet vehicles, heavy weight vehicles and trailers
MARCH 7 -- Last names beginning with BRIE through BUSD
MARCH 14 -- Last names beginning with BUSE through CHAN
MARCH 21 -- Last names beginning with CHAO through CONN
MARCH 28 -- Last names beginning with CONO through CURL
APRIL 7 -- Last names beginning with CURM through DICE
APRIL 14 -- Last names beginning with DICF through EDDY
APRIL 21 -- Last names beginning with EDEA through FERG
APRIL 28 -- Last names beginning with FERH through FRYA
APRIL 30 -- All personalized license plates
MAY 7 -- Last names beginning with FRYB through GLOR
MAY 14 -- Last names beginning with GLOS through GUMZ
MAY 21 -- Last names beginning with GUNA through HART
MAY 28 -- Last names beginning with HARU through HILE
JUNE 7 -- Last names beginning with HILF through HUCH
JUNE 14 -- Last names beginning with HUCI through JERR
JUNE 21 -- Last names beginning with JERS through KEEL
JUNE 28 -- Last names beginning with KEEM through KNUD
JULY 7 -- Last names beginning with KNUE through LAWR
JULY 14 -- Last names beginning with LAWS through LOPE
JULY 21 -- Last names beginning with LOPF through MART
JULY 28 -- Last names beginning with MARU through MCKI
AUGUST 7 -- Last names beginning with MCKJ through MILL
AUGUST 14 -- Last names beginning with MILM through MUND
AUGUST 21 -- Last names beginning with MUNE through NUNG
AUGUST 28 -- Last names beginning with NUNH through PATT
SEPTEMBER 7 -- Last names beginning with PATU through PONT
SEPTEMBER 14 -- Last names beginning with PONU through REDM
SEPTEMBER 21 -- Last names beginning with REDN through ROBE
SEPTEMBER 28 -- Last names beginning with ROBF through SANC
OCTOBER 7 -- Last names beginning with SAND through SERM
OCTOBER 14 -- Last names beginning with SERN through SLON
OCTOBER 21 -- Last names beginning with SLOO through SPRI
OCTOBER 28 -- Last names beginning with SPRJ through SUCE
NOVEMBER 7 -- Last names beginning with SUCF through THOP
NOVEMBER 14 -- Last names beginning with THOQ through VANO
NOVEMBER 21 -- Last names beginning with VANP through WALD
NOVEMBER 28 -- Last names beginning with WALE through WATT
DECEMBER 7 -- Last names beginning with WATU through WILK
DECEMBER 14 -- Last names beginning with WILL through WRIG
DECEMBER 21 -- Last names beginning with WRIH through ZZZZ

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recycled plates?

As I updated in my last post with the pictures of the current Indiana regular-issue plates, evidently the state has started making plates out of recycled materials.

I doubt the reflective sheeting is recycled, because Scotchlite (or whatever 3M product they're using) doesn't last forever, and I'm not sure that actually is recyclable, but I feel like it's probably the aluminum that's recycled.

Plates made in this fashion bear the three-arrow recycle symbol, which unfortunately I do not have a photo of as of now. Once I get one, you'll see it here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2007-present: Choices, choices, choices!

In 2007, Indiana decided to jump on the bandwagon with other states and issue a patriotically-themed "In God We Trust" plate as a no-cost alternative to the standard "" plate.

The plate proved extremely popular from the get-go, probably because:
  1. Hoosiers are patriotic by their nature.
  2. Many Hoosiers believe in God.
  3. It's free.
  4. It's prettier than the standard plate.
Regardless, the ACLU sued the state, but lost, so as of this date, the IGWT plate continues to be more popular than the other available no-cost choices.

Yes, I said choices. Plural.

As of 2009, there are three no-cost passenger plates from which a motorist can choose, and they are the new standard plate, which debuted last year (more on that in a moment); the IGWT plate; and the new Lincoln's Boyhood Home plate, which celebrates the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

With the new '09 standard plate, it seems the BMV is looking to push people into the other options, because they haven't come out with a standard-issue plate as plain and undistinguished in appearance as this one in more than three decades.

It's the first to have a dark blue background since 1960. And yes, it's still flat, as are, now, all Indiana plates.

And that's not all. For the first time since the introduction of county code numbers in 1963, the BMV changed the numbering system. Each county is represented (as on the plate in my collection above) by a black-on-white sticker across the top of the plate with the county's number and name (in this case, Hamilton County, #29).

"INDIANA" rides at the bottom for the first time since 1987.

And the numbering could be three numbers and a single letter (ex. 123A), three numbers and two letters (ex. 456BC), or three numbers and three letters (ex. 789DEF). There seems to be no rhyme nor reason as to which plates get what combination, or where they are issued.

I guess it's just another reason to try one of the other alternatives, which my parents did in 2008. Mom's Freestyle and Dad's 2003 Dodge Ram pickup both wear IGWT plates, and wear them proudly.

Now, if I could convince them both to switch to the Lincoln plate this year, I'll finally get a couple of IGWT plates in my collection ... HA!

UPDATE, JUNE 1, 2009: During the spring of 2009, it appears Indiana has switched to recycled aluminum for its license plates. A small recycle symbol (familiar to most of us) is now printed in the lower left-hand corner of each plate. I've seen it on standard and IGWT plates.

Where they're from:
  • The In God We Trust plate belonged to my grandfather, Floyd Newkirk, and was used on his 2005 Chevrolet Venture.  Its sibling, TO 8774 (not pictured), was used on his 1985 Chevrolet Silverado. 
  • The standard-issue plate from Hamilton County (738PAU) came in a trade from Dave Nicholson.
  • The LBH plate image is from the Indiana BMV, used with their blessing in an exchange whereby they're using some of my plates on their site. The 2009 standard plate is from Hamilton County.

2004-08: Flatter than a pancake?

You can well imagine people's shock and dismay when this plate came out.

And there was much gnashing and grinding of teeth, and wailing and moaning ... oh, wait, that's a different story. Sorry about that.

But as much as people really wanted to like this design, it lost about 90% of its appeal somewhere in the process between the design's victory in online voting against its rivals and production.

The original design bore the famed "Back Home Again" slogan, but somehow, someone at the BMV decided instead to put the state's web address, there.

And that wasn't the half of it.

For the first time, Indiana's plates were completely FLAT, manufactured using 3M's Digital License Plate technology. Hideous numbers and letters, all the same size, looked NOTHING like what folks were used to. Even law enforcement complained.

Therefore, early on in the process, the design was changed and even the spacing of the numbers and letters was made to look more like what folks remembered from the past.

It was an improvement, but just barely.

The good news was that license branches -- of which there were fewer after Governor Mitch Daniels' minions got done revamping the BMV -- could store more plates in less space, and plates required less manpower, all of which saved the state money in the long run, I guess.

But this plate would prove to be only the first affront to Hoosiers' plate sensibilities. The ultimate assault was yet to come.

Where they're from:
2004: Daviess County
2005-07: Spencer County (The 2007 plate was, once again, my mother's; it was issued for her 2001 PT Cruiser and later transferred to her 2006 Ford Freestyle SEL when she got tired of the Cruiser costing her a small fortune in minor repairs. Oh, well, that and the air conditioning crapped out on a 95-degree day. But that's another story for another time.)
2008: Tippecanoe County (This one, for the first time, came from my younger brother, Matt, who elected to remain in Lafayette after his graduation from Purdue University a few years ago. He now makes his home there with his wife and son.)

1999-2003 - The Crossroads of America

For 1999, Indiana issued another relatively plain but tasteful graphic design, this time featuring the most detailed depiction yet of the torch and stars design on the state flag.

By this point, the stamping dies were well and truly worn out, so it is not uncommon to find two -- or more -- different die types on the same plate!

The 2003 plate shown here is the last one issued to my late grandfather, retired Indiana State Police Lt. Max Bruggenschmidt (1922-2003). His plates carried the number 2400 from 1950 until his death from complications related to Alzheimer's disease.

Where they're from:
1999: Harrison County
2000: Noble County
2001: Allen County
2002 and 2003: Spencer County (The 2002 plate was Mom's once again; this time it was used on her 1997 Plymouth Voyager, and later on her 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser Limited Edition.)