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This Is The Most Unfortunate Vanity Plate In This History Of Humankind

Illustration for article titled This Is The Most Unfortunate Vanity Plate In This History Of Humankind

You know, very often, when dealers have loaner cars, they like to give them custom license plates so people know where they’re from? And you also know how some numbers look like letters? Well, sometimes these two concepts conspire to do terrible things. Like what they did to this poor Volvo S90.


The dealership in question here is Borton Volvo, of Golden Valley, Minn. And I’m sure they’re a fantastic Volvo dealer. But their naming convention for their loaner cars, I’m afraid, has a severe, crippling flaw. See, they use this basic convention for vanity license plates for loaner cars:

[integer] + BORTON

That means, if they have, say, six loaner cars, they’ll have plates that read 1BORTON, 2BORTON, 3BORTON, 4BORTON, 5BORTION, and 6BORTON.


The system fails at number 4, because on a license plate, 4 looks a lot like an A, and 4BORTON looks a hell of a lot like ABORTON which looks a hell of a lot like ABORTION.

Didn’t anyone take a look at this plate and think, huh, maybe we could put the number after the name? That would reduce the amount of license plates that seemed to be about the termination of a pregnancy by oh, 100 percent or so. And I bet that’s a good thing, from a marketing standpoint.

I called Borton Volvo to confirm that this plate is real. It is. They seem to have no idea that it may not be the best choice. I didn’t have the heart to tell them.

Deep down, I’m sure they must know.

(Thanks, Jonathan!)

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!:

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They probably have one of these on the car somewhere, too: