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NSW RMS bans “offensive” number plate

By Iain Kelly, 15 Dec 2020 News

Holden LJ Torana

GRN4DE number plate has been deemed to breach community standards for violence by the RMS

Photos: Ben Hosking 

JUST AS the good news of Peter Hansen’s win over VicRoads was coming through, we got word that well-known street machiner Stephen Sherry was denied the number plate GRN4DE by NSW Roads & Maritime Services (RMS).

Holden LJ Torana GRN4DE

Stephen’s Sting Red LJ Torry has been in his ownership since 1986, but was never registered until just recently. “Good old RMS! I applied for the GRN4DE plates on 21 November, paid for them and then received the rejection letter two days later,” says Stephen. “I’ve owned the car for 34 years and it has had four or five rebuilds, but it was never registered, so I used the show plates GRNADE. The funny thing is, I had GRNADE plates on my VE SS family car, and those plates are still on it on NSW roads! I don’t understand how those plates are allowed, but the minute I applied for GRN4DE I was rejected.”

| Read next: VicRoads returns WEPN number plates

A letter sent to Stephen states that MyPlates and RMS rejected GRN4DE on the grounds of it transgressing community standards for violence, and this doesn’t sit well with Mr Sherry.

Stephen Sherry

“If community standards are the issue, how can our sports teams be named after weapons, like Essendon Bombers, Brisbane Bullets and the like?” he questions. “My argument is that with the rebuilds of the engine, and the fact my engines never lasted, I went with a version of ‘grenade’.

“The people I’ve spoken to at RMS say they understand the connotation of grenade and an engine blowing up, but they had to refer to their team who review these things, so the issue is in their hands at the moment.”

Stephen recently spoke to Peter Hansen from Victoria about Pete’s fight with VicRoads over his WEPN plates, and reached out to the Sydney lawyer Peter Lavac, whose LGOPNR plates have been confiscated from him twice.

“They say in their ads for MyPlates that number plates give a loved car an identity, but then something must have gone wrong for them to deny me the GRN4DE plates but not have a problem with GRNADE or any of the other plates doing the rounds talking about drugs or guns and weaponry,” Stephen says. “I mean, the NSW-issued version of WEPN is still out and about on a Torana up here.

GRNADE plate

“Going by the reaction to what I posted on Facebook, it isn’t just car nuts who are upset about this. You can identify our cars by the plate, and it gives that machine a personality. I think there are issues around sensitivity regarding the wars going on and inquiries into soldiers’ actions over there, but it seems to be a bit of an oxymoron where they want to sell you an image and take your money until one person at the RMS gets offended.”

The great irony is that Stephen has gone to great lengths to prepare the car for road use, removing the blown 383ci small-block Chev in favour of a legal combo, yet it was his choice of number plates that caught the ire of authorities.

“I’ve fitted a street 307ci Chev to get it in under the threshold of capacity-to-weight rules, and it has passed all the licensing and rego in NSW on full registration – not club rego – so the vehicle is fine,” he laughs.

Fingers crossed the RMS review team will see sense and allow Stephen to have the GRN4DE plates.