Leading Zero Plates- the rarest historic plates

The Historic Plate Leading Zero Series

After some extensive research by historicplates.com.au we can proudly announce a brilliant "quirk" we've discovered in our historic plate history, the rare "leading zero" series of historic plates.

The existence of these plates has largely gone unnoticed by collectors and SA plate enthusiasts.

Our research shows that in January of 1918 a series of historic plates were originally issued with a leading zero, a highly unusual move by the SA authorities.

No other state or territory in Australia did this, making these historic plates unique in our country.

There is no real explanation available for this, other to say that maybe the authorities didn't quite think the car (and therefore the need for registration plates) would catch on and thus they thought that the low in numeral plates we covet so highly today would be easier to administer....

Over a decade after the first SA historic plates became mandatory, by 1918 vehicular technology had progressed rapidly and with the greater affodability of cars like the Model T Ford (1908-1927) car sales and registrations started to increase quickly in SA.

Ten years later, authorities were faced with issuing the ten thousandth registration, as by January of 1918 nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine historic plates had been issued.

At this point, instead of rolling onto historic plate number 10000, the SA authorities decided to begin issuing historic plates beginning with a leading “zero”, that is, commencing at plate "01" and then progressing on to "02", "03" etc.



Historic plate 01 (therefore actually the ten thousandth registration issued ) naturally was the first plate of this series to be issued, which I call the Leading Zero Series (or Zero series), and this leading zero format continued through to historic plate 09999.

At this juncture the authorities then changed their minds, as once registration 09999 was reached, the original number format was then reverted to and historic plate 10000 was issued.

This roll over back to the original format came with the registration of historic plate 10000 in May of 1921.

Plate "01" was famously owned by Chrysler Australia Ltd, and I understand that the plate was used on the Chrysler Australia Managing Director's personal car. Well, if you were the MD you would have commandeered plate 01 too.

The rare historicplates.com.au records show that in 1964 "01" was registered to a Dodge, a 48.9 h.p. we understand to have been a Phoenix, the top of the range car Chrylser produced here at this time. I understand that with the changeover to Alpha-Numeric plates in 1966 that this Phoenix was the last car to wear plate "01". Our 1965 and 1966 records do not list this plate again.

Some years ago in the 1980's I can remember the ex MD's Phoenix proudly wearing plate "01" advertised in Unique Car's Magazine, sadly I didn't keep the clipping.

www.historicplates.com.au would love to hear from anyone with more information on the "01" Phoenix or any other low, leading zero historic plates.

Today these numbers are a rare sight on our roads, and are an absolute favourite of ours here at historicplates.com.au.