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License Plates

There is quite a degree of variation in license plate policy and design around the world. Plates vary in size, shape, design and placement, from rear-only vanity plates in some US states to plates of different material and shape in the UK to highly standardized German plates. Living in the US, I'm used to seeing a lot of different kinds of plates, but today I saw a car with plates that threw me for a loop.

Illustration for article titled License Plates
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At first, I thought this Volvo's owner thought it would be cute to stick a euro-style vanity plate on the front of his S40, just like many VW and other German car owners do. However, on closer inspection, I noticed that its country identifier said USA, with a little compass symbol where the EU stars are supposed to be.

Then I swung around back to see what kind of "real" plate it had. And I was in for a surprise. Instead of the usual normal plate on the back, there was one identical to the front plate.

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Illustration for article titled License Plates

I notice that there is a EU-style plate bracket on the back, so maybe that's a clue. That said, this appears to be a USDM model. I'm really puzzled by this. Does anyone have a clue as to what is going on with these license plates?

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