ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates–A legal U.A.E. license plate with nothing but the numeral “1” was sold to Saeed Khouri at a charity auction for $14 million. Mr. Khouri has a number of automobiles and would not say which one might carry the record-breaking plate. News reports say Mr. Khouri is a member of a “wealthy” Abu Dhabi family. Ya think?
I have a yen for a special plate. In fact, last July 30 I sent the following message to a friend in Pennsylvania:
DICK is available in Vermont.
DICK is not available in Florida.
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Here’s the rest of the story.
I’ve always wanted former local Ford Dealer Dick Wright’s “DICK” plate. His widow, Kelly, kept it after he died. Put it on a Toyota, I think, which would have had him chewing on the coffin lid for sure. She has moved to (where else) Florida.
A couple of weeks before this saga began, I bought an older LeBaron convertible from a fellow in southern Vermont. I decided to get the plate for it. After some fairly extensive discussions with DMV offices here and there I discovered that DICK was available again in Vermont but DICK was not available in Florida.
I asked a genuine DMV Customer Service representative if Vermont would let that vanity plate out again; she said, “sure.”
I drove to the DMV outpost in St. Albans and did the deed. The DICK was (supposed to be) in the mail.
The saga continues.
Vermont DMV sent me a form letter. “THE CHOICE YOU WANTED HAS BEEN REJECTED,” the letter informed me, “BECAUSE IT IS A SLANG REFERENCE TO GENITALIA. PLEASE MAKE ANOTHER CHOICE OR LET US KNOW IF YOU WANT REGULAR PLATES.”
Now wait just a darned minute. I called DMV before I registered the car; they said the plate was available and the name did not appear on their “dirty word list.” And I know Dick Wright had it for years.
Girding my lions, I called DMV. Then I called again. And again. Then I wrote to DMV Commissioner Bonnie Rutledge. I told her that I am hurt that State of Vermont has decided that my own name (and the name of our popular former governor) is a “dirty word” and asked her to issue the plate as requested. She set up a hearing before a hearing officer.
Getting a vanity plate should not be this hard.
The hearing officer denied my application; the LeBaron now has HARPER in white letters on a lovely green aluminum background.
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Here in Vermont the Guv gets plate #1, election but no auction required. The DMV tells me that they do not auction special number plates and that any specialty plate costs only 20 bucks extra. aot.state.vt.us/DMV has the history of plates in Vermont.
I’m thinking that Mr. Khouri couldn’t get DICK here, even for his $14 million although that would surely pay for enough litigation to win the darned thing.
I’m also thinking I know why my 12 gallon fill up just cost me $38.99 leaving me a bit short for the litigation.