Seven-character license plate auction to generate more cash for state's general fund

January 25, 2013 6:56:16 PM PST
How much would you pay for the right to cruise with a popular personalized license plate? Well, the Houston Auto Show banked on some big bidders to compete for a few coveted customized tags.

For 33 years, we've only had six characters on license plates. Now you can have seven, so it's opened up even more words.

The Houston Auto Show is the place where you can dream about finally getting into your ultimate ride. And when your dream car comes with an already expensive price tag, why not go big with a customized plate no one else has?

"When I finally get the car that I want, I'm finally gonna put my last name on the plates. And then with my mom's Camaro, we are going to put a message on that," custom plates shopper Colton Capell said. opened in 2009 after the Texas legislature decided to contract out their specialty license plates. Myplates now designs and markets custom plates on behalf of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

So if you purchase one, you'll also be helping the state of Texas' cash-strapped general fund. About 40-50 percent of every purchase on their website goes to the state general fund.

On Friday night, a special auction at the auto show for seven-character plates was held to send even more money to the state.

"Now at auction it's even a higher cut for the state because this is a special event. Who knows what these plates go for, so when you get up in the thousands and thousands of dollars, the state gets an even bigger cut," said Kim Drummond with

Some of the names that were up for grabs were: Bentley, Houston, Maybach and Phantom. Last year in Dallas, a seven-letter plate by the name of Ferrari went for $15,000.

"I'm sure there is someone in Houston that will pay some money for those plates, but I wouldn't be one of them," custom plates shopper Bill Mahurin said.

Ten plates were for auction, and the winning bidder gets them for 10 years. The owners can then keep renewing for $795 a year and can even let their kids inherit them or sell them to someone else.

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