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Running with No Front Plate?

retinadoc

Member
Dec 1, 2012
87
4
Westchester NY
I recently received my red delivery button. When it came to the front plate bracket question, I just could not bring myself to check yes. Aesthetically, no matter where or how you mount the front plate, it just looks awful. NY's current plate colors compound the problem, unless you are an alumni of the University of Michigan. Not a lot of mustard yellow on my Model S. I am sure the delta in aerodynamic drag from a front plate is inconsequential, but I would have thought that about the door handles as well.

With that being said, I am considering a minor act of civil disobedience and skipping the front plate all together. I know the law varies State to State on this issue. I would suspect in NY that if you park at all in NYC, this would be a very expensive proposition and you would likely get ticketed often. The thought of putting my Model S in the hands of the a NYC parking attendant brings to mind the scene in Ferris Bueller, and my car will not be braving the wilds of Manhattan. I am willing to accept 1-2 tickets/year, it beats the cost of therapy for treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

As an aside, one legend I read about the late Steve Jobs was that he would replace his Mercedes with a new one every 60-90 days because he could not stomach putting on a front plate, thus ruining the lines of the car.

I now feel his pain.:mad:
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
I am considering a minor act of civil disobedience and skipping the front plate all together. I know the law varies State to State on this issue. I would suspect in NY that if you park at all in NYC, this would be a very expensive proposition and you would likely get ticketed often. The thought of putting my Model S in the hands of the a NYC parking attendant brings to mind the scene in Ferris Bueller, and my car will not be braving the wilds of Manhattan. I am willing to accept 1-2 tickets/year, it beats the cost of therapy for treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

As an aside, one legend I read about the late Steve Jobs was that he would replace his Mercedes with a new one every 60-90 days because he could not stomach putting on a front plate, thus ruining the lines of the car.

I now feel his pain.:mad:

I encourage your civil disobedience (is that aiding and abetting?). I've lived in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland and never have run any of my cars with a front plate. I got into that bad habit when I bought an E-Type Jaguar in 1968 and could not stomach putting a front plate on that beauty. In my 40 plus years of driving without a front plate I've been stopped twice, yes twice. In both instances I was issued a warning and nothing else. On the other hand, I've been stopped for speeding probably about 20 times and in those instances the gendarmes never checked to see if there was a front plate was on the car.
 
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mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,867
Toronto, ON
They seem to be pretty agressive about it in Ontario, Canada. My brother broke his front plate mount and was ticketed within a day of the plate not being there. I think front plates are stupid, but will just suck it up and have the front plate installed.
 
Yes the law sucks.

Yes it makes your car look uglier.

But ask yourself this: When you throw a big party at your house, do you place a bunch of signs on your front lawn that read "Hey Police!!! Yes You! Come in and have a look around! Yes, anytime you want!"

If not, why do the equivalent on your car? I'm not suggesting that you are partying in your car, but in general having the police snooping around your person and personal property is kind of a damper on jubilation of any kind.

Think it through. I have posted extensively in ranting fashion about this previously on other threads so I will stop there, but I really can't think of a faster way to remove my Tesla grin than those flashing lights in my rear view mirror, and they always seem to come at the WORST POSSIBLE moment... particularly when you leave an open invitation to them for anytime and anywhere on your front bumper.

Cheers.
 
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contaygious

Active Member
Jul 25, 2012
1,102
64
Marina, San Francisco
I wish it was like that where I live. Many do that in Texas but got pulled over a week after getting the Roadster without a front plate. I agree, the front plates suck.

How much is the ticket? I've never gotten one in Ca, but if I did then I would probably just pay it and not think twice like a parking ticket because it's so rare. I have friends who still drive around with no plates at all and pay the occasional ticket.

Another trick I've seen is some drivers get a European style narrow license made with their real license plate numbers and put their registration stickers on it. Not sure how they get away with this.
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,278
151
Nevada
How much is the ticket? I've never gotten one in Ca, but if I did then I would probably just pay it and not think twice like a parking ticket because it's so rare. I have friends who still drive around with no plates at all and pay the occasional ticket.

Another trick I've seen is some drivers get a European style narrow license made with their real license plate numbers and put their registration stickers on it. Not sure how they get away with this.

Mine was actually an official warning ticket so was lucky but still got pulled over. They do check if you are pulled over to see if your front plate is there. I think a European style front plate is a great idea. I don't see how the states could complain with they. They say they need them to identify your car from the front so don't see why the plate has to be identical in size and shape to the back. Maybe easier to produce two similar plates and simply because that is the way it has always been done.

If it was simply a fix-it ticket that is one thing but agree it is just inviting them to pull you over. Many here don't have one so it is possible.
 

Todd Burch

Voltage makes me tingle.
Nov 3, 2009
7,916
29,600
Smithfield, VA
For what it's worth, I was pulled over within 2 weeks of receiving my S. Why? The police officer, driving the opposite direction, noticed that I had no front plate.

It was all fine, because I had the temporary registration (haven't been able to get plates yet!)...but I'd be concerned about making generalizations about how frequently or infrequently you'll get pulled over.

I'm in Virginia. I was stopped within 2 weeks and 1000 miles of driving. Your mileage may vary (literally!)
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,278
151
Nevada
It varies wildly on where you live I'm sure and on your comfort level with dealing with the annoyance on getting pulled over.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
For what it's worth, I was pulled over within 2 weeks of receiving my S. Why? The police officer, driving the opposite direction, noticed that I had no front plate.

It was all fine, because I had the temporary registration (haven't been able to get plates yet!)...but I'd be concerned about making generalizations about how frequently or infrequently you'll get pulled over.

I'm in Virginia. I was stopped within 2 weeks and 1000 miles of driving. Your mileage may vary (literally!)

Just another example from the police state of Virginia:) Remember, this is the state where radar detectors are illegal and the police can impound your car for having one if they so chose. So much for the land of Jefferson:wink:
 

sp4rk

Banned
Apr 25, 2012
1,219
3
Schaumburg, IL
It varies wildly on where you live I'm sure and on your comfort level with dealing with the annoyance on getting pulled over.
\
I ran with no front plate on my Lexus for 5 years. Never a problem.
Then one day I left the car parked in Chicago proper and, within 5 minutes got an $80 ticket for no front plate.
So I went and got one.
I can understand why in Europe I need one (all the Average Speed cameras and what not), but I am not aware of anything here in the USA (cameras) that record our front plates?
 
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dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,278
151
Nevada
I understand it is an excellent reflective surface for the laser guns used to catch you speeding which is the main reason why they are desirable. Am not totally sure about that but not every state requires it.
 

gsxrex

Member
Oct 6, 2012
140
2
NorCal
How much is the ticket? I've never gotten one in Ca, but if I did then I would probably just pay it and not think twice like a parking ticket because it's so rare. I have friends who still drive around with no plates at all and pay the occasional ticket.

Another trick I've seen is some drivers get a European style narrow license made with their real license plate numbers and put their registration stickers on it. Not sure how they get away with this.

No license plate in CA is a $25 fix-it ticket (got hit with this on my STi). So $25, plus the time to hunt down a cop to write the ticket off as corrected. I've been running no plates on my cars since I moved to California in 2001 (Arizona, where I'm from, doesn't require them). I've only been hit once, and the only reason he hit me was because I had tinted taillights, so he went for a clean sweep of my car.
 

joefee

Active Member
May 29, 2011
1,291
675
CA
i'm in CA too and I am taking my chances with a "fix-it" ticket after doing an informal poll of about 15% cars in my area which have no front plates. Also, I asked several front plateless drivers how long they have had no front plate and most were in the 5 to 10 yrs range!
 

Doug_G

Lead Moderator
Apr 2, 2010
17,881
3,347
Ottawa, Canada
They seem to be pretty agressive about it in Ontario, Canada. My brother broke his front plate mount and was ticketed within a day of the plate not being there. I think front plates are stupid, but will just suck it up and have the front plate installed.

That's pretty bad luck. It probably depends on the city, not just the province.

I drove my car for several weeks around Ottawa with no front plates and no one noticed. Then again around here we have plenty of cars from Quebec so it doesn't stand out or anything. Mind you I did drive to Toronto a couple of times.
 

Timothy

Driving on Sunshine
May 4, 2011
412
108
I haven't used a front plate on my cars for 30 years. I get a 'fix it' ticket about every 10 years, put the plate on, pay the 30 bucks or so, go home, take the plate off, and wait 10 years for the next ticket.

A couple of times I was waiting on a corner for 30 minutes and decided to count how many cars passed without front plates. It varies from 5-10% of cars--a lot when you think about it.
 

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