Published on Mornington Peninsula News Group website on 17 June, 2013.
VICTORIANS are preparing to welcome the first new number plate series in 60 years but not everyone will be making the move to the new system.
Mornington Peninsula Historical Vehicles Club secretary Margaret Griffin said older plates can still be seen on the peninsula.
Mrs Griffin said her husband Ray’s 1934 Pontiac still has its original six-digit number plates – 201-166.
“We’ve had it since 1968, and it’s still registered and roadworthy.”
She believed people became attached to cars and number plates because they represent a link to family history.
“People are really sentimental. An FJ Holden gets a lot of looks because everyone in the family has had one.
“It’s sort of a personal thing; something you remember from childhood.”
Mrs Griffin said the pattern was evident in her own family.
“Both our sons have Chrysler Valiants because we drove around in them during the 1970s and 1980s when they were kids.”
The changes announced this week by the state government will take the format from three letters, three numbers to number, letter, letter, number, letter, letter.
The first issued number plate, 1AA 1AA, was auctioned for $170,000 on a Melbourne radio station to benefit The Alfred Hospital.
Mrs Griffin recalled a similar amount of interest from the public when colour was introduced to number plates in 1977.
“I know there was a big to-do when they started with the green number plates.
“People went to an auction and it was auctioned off as well.”
She said many car owners still use the six-digit plates, which were first issued in 1932.
“In the car club movement, people like to have a number plate that matches the era of the car.”
Mrs Griffin said many members of the peninsula car club use specialised number plates from the Club Permit Scheme, which grants car club members cheaper registration for limited use of historic vehicles.
Car enthusiasts also search for specific number and letter combinations, she said.
“My dad had the number plate HOT 448, and apparently there’s an engine that’s a 448.
“A lot of my son’s friends have bought number plates that match the model [of their cars].”
The introduction of custom number plates in the past few decades has enabled people to display club affiliations, like football teams, on their number plates.
Mrs Griffin said some members of her club also use personalised number plates, which allow people to select colours as well as number and letter combinations.
“It just shows you how much money is out there,” she laughs.
Also published in print in multiple Mornington Peninsula News Group mastheads