My SAABs and I
German plates, finally
by, 18 April 2012 at 21:19 (1433 Views)
Today I took the car back to the inspection site, where the inspector verified that my back up lights and license plate lights were fixed, then stamped and signed the inspection paperwork. I then waited 45 minutes at our local Army base vehicle registration office, and soon I walked out with German plates.
The French plates were riveted to the car (is there a lot of license plate theft in France?), and I didn't have a drill handy, so I literally taped my new German plates over the French ones, then drove to a trusty car mechanic shop, to have them drill out the French rivets and then install my German plates.
Getting to the mechanic I looked for the one guy I like there. He is honest and he speaks good English, which is a big plus. He wasn't there today, so I got the old dude who knows kein Englisch. With my broken German and some pointee-talkee I explained to him that I needed the French rivets drilled out and the German plates installed. He understood and went inside to get his tools.
Thank god I hung around over his shoulder like a parrot, looking at what he was doing. First he drilled out the rivets, no big deal. Unfortunately the rivet holes were too big and they didn't have rivets, but screws. That means... more holes! OK, I thought, I'll just have to rust proof them later, but let's see how he does this.
He got one of the big, black European license plate holders, eyeballed it (pretty well) on the center of the rear hatch, then proceeded to mark with a pencil where he would drill. That's when the red flag went up: he marked on the extreme outer edge of the license plate holder, and was starting to drill before I told him to stop. I then spent about two minutes trying to explain to this guy that I might be bringing this SAAB back to the US, and our plates are narrower, and if he drills there I will have holes showing on my car. He got a bit frustrated, but soon understood it.
Problem averted, he drilled on a more central position, and then installed his garage's license plate holder. I thought about asking him to keep my ANA Trolhättan frame, but decided that's something I can do later at home. Let him plaster my car with his advertisement for now...
The installation of the front plate was less eventful, and the guy charged me nothing for it. Since he put his advertisement on my car I think that's a fair price!
So now the SAAB is German again, no longer a French, and there are two extra holes on the car... tomorrow I will install the ANA frame, and rust proof the new holes.