So… I was going to write a rant about front license plates, but the esteemed editor here at Autos.ca told me (and I quote) “I don’t know if it’s really an important topic.”
Maybe not, but it’s a thoroughly irritating one, at least for those of us who live in BC, Ontario, Manitoba or New Brunswick, where the powers-that-be, in their infinite wisdom, still mandate the wretched bloody eyesores. So now I have to write about my latest traffic peeve, too, but not before I’ve vented to my heart’s content about those dang front plates.
A couple of years later, Alberta abolished front license plates, but I’d moved to BC by then. Alberta isn’t the only province to ditch front plates. Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon have all abolished the big rectangular monstrosities, and it hasn’t caused a zombie apocalypse in any of those jurisdictions. In fact, they’ve all saved buckets of money on stamping and materials costs.
Even if you side with those who say front plates are a public good, you have to ask yourself why it is that 60 years after the North American license plate size standard was introduced, and after we’ve moved away from 7-inch sealed beam headlights, 5-mph impact barrier bumpers and all manner of other antiquated standards, and after we’ve seen automotive design evolve far beyond the aesthetics of the 1950s, why are those provinces and states that still require front plates stuck with only one size of license plate for the front of all automotive designs?
The old style license plate might as well be an air brake on some cars, sucking money out of your wallet with its ruinous effect on fuel efficiency.
Here’s my take on it: We can order personalized plates, so why can’t we pay extra for the privilege of running a euro-style front plate? Check out how this might work on a Fiesta ST. Much better, no? Although it’s even better without the plate at all. (It doesn’t help when car manufacturers create designs that have nowhere you can possibly put the plate except smack in the middle of the grille, but even then a Euro-proportioned plate looks lower and wider, which is far better. Just sayin’.)
Anyhow, that’s not what this rant is about, because the topic, as the editor says, isn’t really that important (although if you really want front license plates outta your car’s face then I suggest you write a letter to the motor vehicle administration in your area, and to your MPP, and perhaps go online and find one of the active petitions in BC, Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba seeking the abolition of front license plates).