Discovery: celebrating the off-centre number plate

To much fanfare and razzmatazz, the 2017 Land Rover Discovery has been unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. Land Rover spent a few quid at the local party discount store, invited a few close friends (having paid them lots of money) and told the world to look at its shiny new Disco, complete with off-centre number plate.

That’s right, folks: in a nod to the Discovery’s heritage, dating back to 1989, Land Rover has decided to retain the off-centre number plate, despite the fact that the new Disco doesn’t feature a spare wheel mounted on a side-hinged tailgate. It’s likely to be one of the car’s more controversial features, although it does draw attention away from the fact that it’s probably the most underwhelming reveal of recent years.

Harsh? Perhaps, but there’s a sense that we’ve seen it all before, not least because it looks like a larger version of the Discovery Sport. And, well, Land Rover has been teasing the new Disco for a little while. But hey, the off-centre number plate is cool, right?

While the big book of motoring history isn’t exactly littered with examples of plates mounted to the left or right, there are enough for PetrolBlog to produce a gallery of some of the best (or worst, depending on your point of view). Let’s face it, the off-centre number plate is either a quirky dream or an OCD nightmare.

Some plates are mounted off-centre to allow for the fitment of a spare wheel, while others – specifically at the front – could be to aid cooling. In the case of Alfa Romeo, it’s simply because they look cool. There’s a conspiracy theory that centres (centres – geddit?) on the fact that a number plate is mounted to the left or right, depending on the political leaning of the carmaker’s CEO at the time.

Others think that a number plate mounted off-centre is good for an extra 50hp, while some reckon that if you rock up in a car with a plate that isn’t centred, a girl will immediately remove her top and go on a date with you.

Whatever, in true PetrolBlog style, let us celebrate the joy of the off-centre number plate – the perfect accompaniment to the single wiper. Another feature to add to the perfect PetrolBlog car? Discuss…

This list is by no means exhaustive – it’s early and not enough coffee has been consumed – so if you have an asymmetrical hero of your own, get in touch. Enjoy, but don’t have OCD nightmares.

All photos © manufacturers, except Avanzato © PetrolBlog.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

1 comment

  1. September 29, 2016
    NMG

    I have total respect for the off-centre number plate on an Alfa Romeo or a 4×4 with a spare wheel on the back door but one car which really annoys me is the 2nd generation Hyundai Sant Fe (2007/2013) because it has only a “slightly” off-centre rear plate and you might not notice the poor design when glancing at one, but if you look at it for more than 5 seconds, it becomes annoying. The rear door has a clumsy looking handle which sits to the right of the number plate resulting in longer Euro-sized number plates being pushed a couple of inches to the left between the rear lights. The designers seemed to have forgot that number plates are longer in Europe than in the US or Asia. Hyundai’s designs in recent years have been very good but the Santa Fe’s rear just doesn’t look right.

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