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.