Will the Mitten Get the Blues? Michigan Looks Anew at Old License Plates

Image: Keith Bell/Shutterstock.com

If you’re of a certain age, you likely remember the all-blue Michigan license plates with white lettering.

I know I do, despite not being a Michigander. That’s in part because the Great Lakes State wasn’t too far from my suburban Chicago abode – day trips to New Buffalo remain a treasured memory – and in part because enough tourists from the Wolverine State found their way to my fair city.

Now, those plates may be coming back. State senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) has introduced a bill (Senate Bill 1146) that would bring back the white-on-blue plates, as well as the white-on-black, as an option for an additional fee of $100. The money would go towards the state’s transportation fund, presumably to fix Michigan’s broken infrastructure.

As someone who lived briefly in the state years ago, and has spent many a minute in the Mitten, especially the DTW area, due to this career, let me just say, the state’s roads need a fixin’.

And before you @ me about how it’s not much better here in northeast Illinois, which is true, keep in mind that if Michigan roads weren’t so bad, Fiat Chrysler wouldn’t try to replicate them at its proving grounds as a way of testing suspensions. But they are and it does.

Michigan does already allow vintage plates that display a classic car’s model year, but those plates come with restrictions. If this bill passes, Michigan would be allowing any driver to get these plates as standard.

California brought back its yellow-on-black classic design in 2015 and attempted to also bring back the yellow-on-blue, before the yellow/black combo won out in terms of popularity among car owners. Oregon and Nevada also offer vintage designs.

As an Illinois resident, I’d love to see the plates made famous by John Hughes’ flicks return. Still, these are cool plates and the idea seems a tidy way to generate much-needed revenue without raising taxes elsewhere. Unless no one orders them, that is.

There’s also a minor connection to our little blog world here, as McMorrow is married to ex-Jalop EIC Ray Wert. Full disclosure: She also appears to follow TTAC on the Tweet machine.

Retro all the plates.

[Image: Keith Bell/Shutterstock.com]

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