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In April, Dutch resident Michael Alan took the standard blue and white “Pure Michigan” sign off the rear bumper of the Toyota RAV4 and replaced it with a new, corn and blue “Water-Winter Wonderland” plate.

Water-Winter Wonderland signs were issued to all Michigan drivers between 1965 and 1968, but they made a comeback after a 54-year hiatus as a “new / old” design option for motorists six months ago. Well, Alan said he sees them everywhere.

Alan suggested that the plate has the unique quality of being fresh and nostalgic at the same time.

“I just think they look cool compared to the boring Pure Michigan records, and I love our Water-Winter Wonderland,” he said. “I kind of keep my eyes on garage sales of old Michigan records. The new ones are a throwback to 1965.”

The Water-Winter Wonderland record is not the only new sign plate that turns heads in Michigan this summer. Digital license plates also officially entered the Michigan markets this month, offering users various customizable features and the ability to mark a vehicle as “stolen” at the click of a button.

In addition to the standard blue-and-white “Pure Michigan” plate, there are 43 different plate design options for Michigan drivers that feature a variety of state universities, nonprofits, and American veterans. The Water-Winter Wonderland record is already underway.

The Secretary of State told Bridge Michigan that in the six months since the record was re-released, more than 227,000 of the “old / new” special records have already been purchased by Michiganders and are on the road.

By comparison, when the Mackinac Bridge disc, another specialty disc, was released in 2013, just over 88,400 individuals chose that disc over the standard alternative during the first six months. All three standard disc options – Water-Winter Wonderland, Mackinac Bridge and Pure Michigan discs – cost the same: a $ 5 graphics fee.

So why is the alliterative throwback record suddenly so popular?

According to Tracy Wimmer, spokeswoman for Michigan’s Secretary of State, the high sales figures since the release of the record suggest that other drivers choose the Water-Winter Wonderland record over the standard for the same reasons as Alan. Of the 73 standard sign designs that have been issued to Michigan drivers since 1910, Wimmer said that this particular historic record has long been a favorite among sign collectors.

The record debuted in 1965 as the standard record option – what the “Pure Michigan” record is for drivers today – and the “Water-Winter Wonderland” brand remained on the standard record until 1968. The combination of corn and blue color was intended. to commemorate the University of Michigan’s centenary, or 150th anniversary, which took place in 1967.

“The Water-Winter Wonderland records have been a collector’s favorite for years, and the number that has been sold and seen on cars around the state speaks to both their historical significance and the enduring popularity of their retro look,” said Wimmer.

Also hitting Michigan roads for the first time this month is a new, high-tech license plate.

In 2019, Michigan became the first state to pass legislation approving the implementation of digital license plates. However, Michigan has lacked digital plate suppliers until now.

Last week, the high-tech digital signage company Reviver officially began offering its products to registered Michigan drivers, making Michigan the third state – behind California and Arizona – where digital signs are now used on open roads.

Digital license plate company Reviver has started selling RPlates at certain car dealers across the state. (Bridge courtesy photo)

Neville Boston, Reviver’s co-founder, wrote in an email to Bridge Michigan that the company has already sold around 2,000 records in the state. The plate is designed to work with all vehicle makes and models.

“RPlate users tell us they love the plate for a variety of reasons,” Boston wrote. “Some people appreciate the convenience of renewing their registration with two clicks through a mobile app. Some people appreciate the visibility of the integrated GPS features. Many people are car lovers in general and appreciate the visual personalization and how RPlate can improve the aesthetics of their vehicle.

The California-based company currently offers two types of RPlates: a battery-powered one that can be installed itself and a hard-wired option that must be professionally installed on the back of the car. Both RPlates have a digital screen that displays the license number along with a customizable banner message.

Although the plates are still registered through the Foreign Minister, the license plate can be easily renewed and tracked through Revier’s app. If the car is reported stolen, the owner can click on the app on the phone and the word “stolen” will appear on the digital plate to help police identify the vehicle.

Michigan drivers can now purchase the digital license plates online and through certain car dealerships throughout the state for around $ 20 monthly or an annual fee of $ 215.40. None of the additional costs consumers pay for the digital disc go to the Secretary of State.

Howard Wickings, CFO of Feldman Chevrolet in New Hudson, Lyon Township, said his dealer is not currently selling RPlates, but he just ordered one to put on his own Chevy Silverado 3500 truck for the next four years. Although he has not received the record yet, he said that his colleagues have talked about the benefits of digital signs, so he felt encouraged to try it out and see if RPlates really has a place in the future of the automotive industry.

“I like the whole idea,” Wickings said. “My co-worker got me on the Reviver website, and it just looks really cool. When I knew we were just the third state to make [digital license plates], I thought it would be cool to jump on it.”

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