Geeky license plate gallery

Wired's Robert McMillan has collected some of the geekiest license plates he can find for a fun little gallery. I've only ever owned a car once, the year I lived in LA, and I was happy to score COPYFYT for my crappy Hyundai (my wife, a gamer, got MAGELFG, only after being turned down for ZOMGWTF). Of course, attentive Boingers will know that our own Jason Weisberger sports the ultimate custom plate: DRUNK.

The Geekiest License Plates of All Time

(Image: rm -rf *, by Michael Foord)


  1. Ha!  Geek cred seekers kneel before mine: NO SMAUG

    (It’s a 1970 Mercury. I was rather delighted when it became smog-exempt in the mid-90s.)

    Okay, maybe I’m a different flavor of geek.

  2. Did you know that all it takes is an anonymous phone call to get a vanity plate yanked ? I used to have plates that read “RU ASI9″, and after a few months the Secretary of State called me to tell me that “somebody” had called and was “offended” by my plates (Dumb shit probably thought they said “Your Ass Is Mine” or something else Kramerian) and the SoS was pulling them. Didn’t cost me a dime to get new ones, so I chose “CENSRD 1″.

    I tried complaining, pointing out that the plate was not vulgar or profane, that it was simply a question being asked. SoS wouldn’t budge. I drew up a petition and got over 50 names stating that they weren’t offended by it. The SoS drone still told me that none of that mattered, and all it would take to lose “CENSRD 1″ would be another lone, sneaky chickenshit anonymous phone call, as anonymous as the oath of the confessional.

    I asked if it worked that way for everybody, and he said it did. I asked “You mean that if I see a plate that says, oh, “I PRY DO U” or “I LV GOD”, I can call up the secretary of state’s office, not give my name or anything, just whine that the plate offended me, and it would be yanked ?”

    “Yes. That’s all it would take.”

    “ANY plate in the state of Illinois ?”


    I stared at him for a second. “Are you trying to give me some sort of idea, chief ?”

    “I would not presume, sir.”

    I tested it a few weeks later, on a jagoff who kept using two of my apartment building’s parking spaces at a time. Presto, it worked. Tried it on the ratfuck who I think dropped dime on me. Zap, Gone.

    So. I’m not trying to give anybody here any IDEERS or anything, but….

    1. Wanderin’ around Sherman Oaks one day about eight years ago I saw a silver Porsche with PUDENDA on its plate.  Wonder how long that lasted.

      1. The funny thing was, the entire mess wound up only uinderlining the stupidity of bureaucracy. “RU ASI9″ went into the SoS’s “taboo” file, a “naughty” plate that nobody could ever use again.

        Yet, six months later, my fiancee decided to try “YRU ASI9″ for her new plates.

        Approved. Same address as me, too. Nobody batted an eye.

        Bonus round: Long before we divorced, my ex assented to my idea for both our cars, so that when they were parked side by side, the plates read:
        “WAS” and “NOT WAS”

        1. I tried to get “SCUD” which was my nickname in highschool (from the hockey team). It was already on a banned list for some reason. I have no idea why, nor could the DMV type person tell me.

          1. Huh. My guess would be that somebody didn’t like it’s resemblance to the “SCUD” missiles that did so much harm to US forces and it’s allies during the first Gulf War. 

      2.  It’s Latin. it’s the gerundive of pudeo, the verb meaning ‘to be ashamed’. So a silver Porsche is ‘that which the owner should be ashamed of’. I wonder what they did to get it.

        Or maybe it just means ‘rude bits’. I dunno.

        1. LOL.  Thanks for the actual definition….”naughty bits”, “shameful part”….what does it say about humans that it’s never “fabulous bits” or “exquisite part”?

          I have a Latin-derived plate myself.  Very few people “get it”, state officials or otherwise: COGIT 8.

    2. …and while we’re off on this little tangent, I remember this story from a few years ago that made me a little embarrassed of my adopted home state:

      “Six or seven-letter words like liquor or whiskey probably wouldn’t make it through the state screening process before the plates are issued. But merlot did and Eurick was fine until an anonymous caller told the state that merlot was also an alcoholic beverage.”

      1. Make that “The entire mess wound up only underlining the stupidity of bureaucracy…And the petty censorships of pissy little killjoys everywhere.”

        My daughter’s plate, a biochem major, reads “AZUMAR 8″

    3. Perhaps you should start a champaign of reporting every single vanity plate you see. Or get a list and just call them all. If everyone finds this a problem then they might be more willing to change it. Here I think they can only refuse to issue it again, they can’t recall it. (I could be wrong on that.)

      1. Hey, I get it – “Poorly-Written Sarcasm”, right ?

        Maybe YOU should be hunting down the tattletales and puritans who don’t have anything better to do than to take up various driver’s services clerks valuable time, pissing and moaning over taxpaying citizens who were having some harmless fun on their own dime –

        Because you sound just like one of them. I think that would be right up your alley, so to speak. You should be amongst your own people.

        1. Cool yer jets there snagglepuss – I’m on your side… I think. Wasn’t it you who complained that your plate was yanked because of a single complainant who prolly didn’t understand the plate in the first place?

          I too feel this is the wrong way to handle (potentially) offending vanity plates. 

          My thinking – wrong though it may be, as you so kindly* point out – is to protest these failings of the bureaucratic system by working within the self same system by turning it against itself. If you and I and others, (and I don’t think it would actually take too many people) complained about every vanity plate we saw, it wouldn’t take long before the process would be changed. Hopefully for the better.

          *This part is sarcasm. I think you where being kinda jerky.

          1. OK. Maybe I was being…ASI9 ?

            But, seriously. I don’t think that your plan would work, because any bureaucracy so willing to censor would most likely just get rid of the program altogether, rather than overhaul it. They don’t make THAT much money off of vanity plates, and they REALLY don’t need bluenoses raising a public stink about “taxpayer dollars being used to spread filth”. Two birds, one stone would be the way they saw it.

            Rewriting a directive wouldn’t solve this anyway, because the SoS / Driver’s Services isn’t the problem – It’s sidewalk supervisors and wet blankets everywhere, and a “questionable” license plate is just one more battleground in the age-old struggle between censorous old biddies and people who have, you know, a sense of humor or a life. I’m SO not recommending a retaliatory campaign to ban every faith-based license plate out there in the name of “fighting censorship”, because the irony would be too much to bear. I simply mentioned a possible method of hitting back against any particular petty moralist stupid enough to take action against somebodys’ making a joke which they neither get nor approve – But only as long as you can be sure that you’re hitting back against the right person. Tit for tat, and all that.

            Those are long odds, I know – Your typical tattletale is a sneaky backstabber, not the type to strut up to you and boast “I’M the guy who got rid of your dirty license plate, praise Jesus !” But if the opportunity presents itself….Shoving a prude into the same bureacratic gears that they used on you MIGHT teach them a lesson, but Who Cares if it doesn’t ?  They’re all cowards anyway, and sometimes you gotta take what little happiness you can find…

  3. “geeky”hunh…  well how’s this for geeky?  *nix is CaSe SeNsItIvE:

    >RM -RF *
    RM: command not found

    1. According to the Unix Haters Handbook, if you log in with your username in upper case, it will assume you’re on a teletype and accept all further input in upper case.

      But my teletypes are all ITA2 not ASCII, so I’ve never tried it.

      (Yes, I know I could use the same terminal window I always use, but we’re being retro-pedantic here.)

    2. Unfortunately, here in California, they shape the license plates with a case-insensitive file system.

      Actually, I had tried to get /dev/car but it was already taken.

      1. I used to know the guy with the Washington plate DEVAUTO.  We joked that he was a device driver.

  4. My personal favourite is one that was on the back of a VW bug. The plate simple read “FEATURE”.

  5. There used to be a Volvo in my neighbourhood that had “Use Unix” — perfect match of car and vanity plate….

      1. I can’t think of any good connection.  The one that comes to mind is that the Linus Torvalds (Finnish) wrote the first Linux kernel at school in Sweden, and Volvo is a Swedish car maker.
        Please forgive the stretch, it’s almost certainly not what gadgetgirl was thinking, and I’m pretty dense myself.

  6. Years ago as a newb I accidentially stumbled on a tricky variant of rm -rf * . I wanted to remove a bunch of dot files so I typed rm -rf .* The problem with this is that “.*” includes “..”, so the rm went right up to the root. Doh!

  7. My all-time favorite plate was on a Corvette in my wife’s office parking lot: WAS-HIS

    My second-favorite is currently a Hummer with “1 MPG”

    Neither are particularly geeky, though, so this comment is a bit off-topic.

  8. My Zombie Assault SUV (complete with all appropriate decals and zombie hunting permits), has plate BRAINZ. Frankly, even I think the zombie thing is well-past done at this point, but my vehicle still amuses me.

  9. a neighbour of mine who is a tech consultant has a PA plate:  47 45 45 4B (spaces added to aid comprehension :)

    i don’t who is the bigger geek: him for the plate or me for instantly recognizing what it said.

  10. Saw this one in VA coming home from work in a techy area of the state.
    less techy than ego trip but still.

  11. Allow me to challenge that photo credit. That’s my photo — and that was my car!

    I still have the same plates, but, alas, the car is no longer with us.

      1. Oh, there is a story! And it involves the head gasket blowing up in front of a cop on the day Obama came to town. Too long to recount the whole tale here, but the cop did correctly diagnose the problem (thankfully, he realized it wasn’t a car bomb gone awry) and almost bit when libelle asked the cop if he wanted to buy it. RIP, widdo blue Boxster.

        (FYI I’m the non-techie spouse.)

      2. The demise was probably a lot more boring than you’d like to read (tl;dr – those plates are now on a Subaru).

        The coolant system on that car was never very robust, and needed expensive repairs ever year or two. In its last year, there was a problem with coolant leaks in the engine block itself. The repair guys would claim that they pressure tested everything, and that it was not a gasket leak. I took it to several repair places including the dealer with no luck. I decided it was time to sell it.

        I had it at the dealer for one last attempt to get the issue resolved. It turned out that this was the very day president Obama was visiting West LA, and as I was driving the home from the dealer, I noticed a high density of police along the route.

        As I passed through a busy intersection, I heard the “whoosh” of something along the lines of an angel’s soul leaving its corporeal body. In the rear-view, I saw a sudden billowing of black and white smoke and steam. I also saw, from the corner of my eye, several bored cops suddenly become alert and focused.
        By the time I made it to the curb, there were several officers vectoring in.

        “You just blew your head gasket, son,” said one. “But you need to get this fancy car out of here before the President comes through.”
        “If you want it, I’ll make you a deal on it,” was the best I could reply.
        Surprisingly, he  briefly seemed to consider buying it. But then he did the repair cost math, factored in what his wife would say, and told me that he’d radio AAA to tow it back to my house instead.

        In the end, I sold its remnants to an enterprising young man who was going to learn to rebuild the engine as part of an apprenticeship to his friend who ran a repair shop.

        1. Thank you.

          Excellent prosaic detail intermixed with solid first hand observation. Tie in with the current phase of election cycle is a good addition. The supporting letter from a significant other, a spouse without any apparent grudge against this vehicle, is a dangerous gambit but I think it pays off.  Dumping a car due to simple coolant reformatting seems harsh. But overall, I’m inclined to consider your claim valid.

          1. In keeping with the campaign theme, I’d be happy to post (redacted) copies of my birth certificate, marriage certificate (which confirms 3ringquercus’s assertions),  and all of the repair receipts to any interested media representatives :)

    1. My little brother worked as a valet at a hotel in downtown Seattle during the summer and parked Gates’ car for a few weeks.  Turns out he drove a 2002 Honda Accord.

      He’s got a lot of cars.  But he’s more of a collector, and likes the practicality and low profile of a regular middle-end machine.

      My little bro doesn’t remember the plates.  But he’s pretty sure they weren’t vanity.

  12. Back in the 90s I saw a car driving down 580 in Dublin CA with plates “DOGBERT1″, presumably belonging to Scott Adams.  I had recently moved to California, and it was a nice change from the more typical vanity plates like “BMW4ME” that were common at the time.  

    Of course, if you want geeky license plates, there’s the New Hampshire “UNIX” plate that belonged to Armando Stettner back in the day.

  13. Best license plates I ever saw:
    II V I
    V1V2RT8 (leaving DFW)

    Worst (and not-so-geeky):
    2RCH4U (on an Acura NSX)

    I’m attaching another good one, though again, not-so-geeky.

  14. I saw my favorite geeky vanity plate about fifteen years ago, in Orlando:

    At first my friend and I thought the joke was simply having a random binary number as a vanity plate. Then we converted it…

        1. Since when is decimal a default assumption — or even a third option — for computer geeks?
          (though I did go back to the comment thread before trying octal)

  15. My 700hp 74 vette plates said “L33T”, my Porsche 996 said “PROGRAMR”, and my Delorean said “WQQQSH” if that counts. Had other custom plates on other cars, but those were the geeky ones.

  16. I find this one really funny, but I keep forgetting to apply for it before my tags are about to expire.

    “TRUNCAT”  :D

  17. Outside a SF convention in Chicago a few years ago I saw two cars side by side, with the plates:

  18. There’s an Audi with “O HAI” here in SF, but the best I saw years ago was “X OVR 0″ on an Infiniti (driving on 280, of course).

  19. My favourite (which I added to Instagram a while back, but appears to have disappeared 0.0 ) was ‘Y 5AVE’ (Why Save?).  It was on a massive Bentley.

    Edit: Oh, I also saw Peter Molyneux’s car parked outside a conference in Brighton a handful of years back – it had a good number plate,but I forget what it was :(

    1. My friend who collects vintage Bentleys and is Jewish has a plate that reads P YIDDY.

  20. Not geeky, but the other day I saw a brand new bright yellow Lamborghini with “1 PRCT” as the license plate.

  21. Every time I drive to work, I end up behind a guy in an LS300 with TIMELORD on his license plate.

  22. I’ve seen a bright blue car with the plate DRMNHTN.  (Someone else commented that this is the one situation where Truck Nutz would be acceptable.)

    And a bright yellow one with FFFF00.

  23. A close friend of mine has a blue Hyundai with the license plate TARDIS

    There’s a white Honda around here with the license plate G33K.

    Saw a plate a while back that said “NBYOND” The car was an Infiniti.

    Not geeky, but I still think the bright blue Mini with the license plate WHEEEEE was hilarious.

  24. OT since it wasn’t actually a license plate, but was redolent with geekery: driving down Foothill Boulevard in La Canada, a mile or so from JPL, I saw a reddish Volvo with this bumper sticker: “If this car looks blue, you’re driving too fast.”

  25. I can’t find the picture I took of the FUNNY+5 plate on an SUV in a Bay area locals sekrit climbing spot.  Turns out it’s also impossible to google – for the level of google-fu I was willing to devote to it, anyway.  

    /. geekiness (happy 15th!)

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