Steve Eighinger

GRILLN 1, now there's a license plate to remember

By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 19, 2017 8:40 am

A year ago, I wrote a column about the popularity of vanity license plates in Quincy.

I also noted that Illinois had more overall vanity plates than any other state, according to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. The response to that column did nothing to disprove that.

After I listed 10 of my favorite vanity plates found in various Quincy parking lots, eight of the owners contacted me, most of them with stories about those plates. Throw in a plethora of phone calls, email, online responses and a few old-fashioned letters it became obvious to me how big a deal the vanity plate phenomenon in Quincy is.

Which brings us to "Favorite Vanity Plates, Part Deux." If you see your plate listed below, please feel free to email me at with your story.

º WAVS R US: Just guessing, but this probably belongs to an outdoor type of family.

º 2 CYBER: One of the many techies among us? (Honorable mention: GRIF-IT. I have placed many, many calls to The Herald-Whig IT department.)

º GRILLN 1: This is a person after my own heart. He or she grills, and I eat.

º BAKES 7: Not surprisingly, I found GRILLN 1 and BAKES 7 parked side by side outside a supermarket. (Honorable mention: BAKES 35.)

º QFINAL 4: The perfect license plate for a Quincy basketball fan?

º MAEHEM 3: Assuming the car owner's name has Mae in it somewhere, this is a quality effort.

º S KIDS 4: I should have thought of this one for my own vehicle since there's four kids in our family and I'm obviously an "S."

º URSA 82: I always enjoy the name of a town on a plate. Nice job.

º WEAZY 9: Fan of the old "Jeffersons" sitcom?

º BRI ROX 1: Someone named Brianne must rock. (Honorable mention: REBRI 87. Brianne rocks again.)

Here's some more information you might find interesting about license plates:

º There are more than 9.3 million personalized plates on U.S. roads, more than 1.3 million of those in Illinois. Virginia, however, has the highest percentage (16) of drivers with vanity plates, followed by New Hampshire (14) and Illinois (13.4).

º Pennsylvania was the first state to authorize a vanity plate, way back in 1931.

º Idaho had the honor of using the first graphic on a license plate. (If you guessed a potato, you were correct).

º The size of license plates did not become standardized until 1957.

º All but three states today have their license plates made in correctional facilities. (The three that don't? Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon.)

º New York was the first state to require vehicles to have license plates. That occurred in 1901.

So let's all give the state of New York a tip o' the hat. For without that foresight, today we would not be enjoying the likes of GRILLN 1 or MAEHEM 3.

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