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Got the license plate!

November 1, 2006

Vespa Seattle called today… the PX’s license plate is ready to be picked up.

In Washington, license plates are assigned to the vehicle, so there’s a period of time during which you display a paper temporary permit until your license plate arrives. Steve says most people really hate having the temporary permit on their scooter or motorcycle, thinking it makes them look like a newbie. Me, I hope at least a few people out there will see a scooter with a temporary permit and think, “okay, this guy is still getting used to his new bike, so I’d better be careful and give him some extra space.” Hey, I belived in the tooth fairy for a long time…

This last batch of PXs was not originally intended to be sold in the United States, so the license plate mount is a bit, well, hokey. On delivery, I was given four 10 mm bolts with acorn nuts. These would go in the holes in the bracket, which oddly enough correspond to the four holes in the corners of the license plate.

Here’s a bit of trivia for you: in the U.S., two sizes of motorcycle license plate are permitted; 7.5 x 4.5 inches, and 10 x 6 inches. Since Wisconsin switched to the smaller size a couple of years ago, Massachusetts is the only state still using the larger size (all of Canada’s provinces and territories use the larger size).

Since number plates everywhere else in the world are permanent, they are attached in ways that make them difficult or impossible to remove. In the U.S., you could find yourself putting a new plate on your vehicle at any time, so we use things like screws and bolts and other easy-to-remove fasteners, with correspondingly easy brackets.

The PX’s license plate bracket is attached to the body by four screws, which thread into four 7 mm nuts on the inside of the rear bodywork. When properly attached, there is no room to insert any of the bolts into any of the holes in the bracket.

Steve said to just bend the bracket to get the bolts in, but that offends my desire to keep new things looking new. It’s easy to loosen the screws attaching the bracket to the body; just get a 7 mm box-end wrench and reach up underneath the body. You’ll discover, as I did, that a lot of dirt collects there, so make a note to squirt a high-pressure stream of water up there from time to time, especially if you live someplace where the roads get salted in winter.

Once you’ve loosened the screws, it’s easy to pull the bracket away and insert the bolts. The bolt heads will be behind the bracket once you’re done.

Once you have all four bolts facing out, tighten the bracket mounting screws/nuts. Put the plate on, then put the acorn nuts on the bolts and tighten them. You’ll need to use a 10 mm open-end wrench to hold the bolt head while you tighten the acorn nuts. 

This does sound complicated, doesn’t it? Hopefully, you won’t need to put a new plate on for a long time. Favicon


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