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Thread: Rear License Plate

  1. #1
    Junior Member Dave Schwaab's Avatar
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    Question Rear License Plate

    I remember when the Mk 4 was introduced, there was an issue with the space for the rear license plate. The standard size state license plate would not fit between the license plate light and the trunk handle. Several different solutions were suggested. Some people notched the plate, which most states frown upon. Some people notched the license plate light, which makes me uncomfortable about water and wiring issues. Some did a little of both. Others suggested using a Mk III trunk lid, which I never really objected to the "stinger" anyway. One even suggested using a remote, or electronic, trunk release.

    Has this issue been resolved by Factory Five, or is there now an accepted way to deal with it among the builders?

  2. #2
    The issue still exists. I would notch the bottom of the plate where it interferes with the handle.
    Mike

  3. #3
    Senior Member JIMOCO's Avatar
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    I cut a hole in my license and no one has noticed. PADOT rules require that the state name and number be clearly visible. I spoke with my state inspector and with a State Trooper and both agreed that the hole at the bottom was legal. Your DOT should be able to tell you their rules. I added back up lights to a chrome frame around the plate. So far so good. 20150812_172845.jpg
    Mk4 Roadster, Picked up complete kit 8/22/14. Most FFR options except Wilwood brakes and IRS. First start 11/11/14. Go-kart 3/8/15. 347 Stroker, TKO 500, 3-link/3.27 rear. PA street legal 7/29/15.

  4. #4
    Cobra *** (800x450).jpg

    Here's my solution. I turned the whole mechanism upside down. Not period correct but it works for me.

  5. #5
    Senior Member edwardb's Avatar
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    Agreed the issue still exists. Nothing has changed since the Mk4 was introduced. This is discussed a lot. I wouldn't say there's an accepted solution. There are many and you can decide which works best for you. I personally wouldn't consider a Mk3 trunk lid as a solution. The profile of the Mk4 looks a lot better IMO. But beyond that the hinges are completely different. The Mk3 uses external hinges. The Mk4 uses internal and much improved hinges. Pretty big price to pay to fit a license plate.

    I've personally done the license plate notch twice. Known around here as the "Kleiner mod." Wiring or light issues aren't a big concern in my experience. My first Mk4 I left the supplied incandescent bulbs and it always worked fine. My second, recently completed, I switched the incandescent bulbs for LED bulbs. A really nice mod copied from another forum member. MAL-S-WW2 Warm White with Silver Housing, LED license plate bolt lights from superbrightleds.com. Not only do they provide better light, longer life, and lower current draw, they are sealed and water is not an issue. The lights need to modded anyway, so it's really easy just to replace them with the LED's. These are pics from my build. Also requires the different mounting bracket shown, an easy fab from a piece of aluminum.



    Last edited by edwardb; 05-16-2017 at 12:19 PM.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member mcwho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by conger View Post
    Cobra *** (800x450).jpg

    Here's my solution. I turned the whole mechanism upside down. Not period correct but it works for me.
    Conger,

    That's an interesting solution, I have still not solved this issue, I am not a big fan of cutting the plate. Would the handle interfere with the rear bumper if mounted?
    Last edited by mcwho; 05-16-2017 at 12:28 PM.
    Baghdad Bob

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  7. #7
    Knotch the plate. Locate where the centre of the handle would be and use a step drill for a nice clean hole. Two short cuts and a few seconds with a file and you"re in business. Quick and clean. Although frowned upon by State officials, I've never heard of anyone being ticketed for doing it.

  8. #8
    Well Used Member boat737's Avatar
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    I did the Kleiner Mod as well. Added LED's too, looks like the same one's as EdwardB's from SuperbrightLED's. I have mounted the light assembly as high up, and a bit to the right to center it, as needed for the plate. That puts the light housing a tad above the pad on the trunk lid. I'll have that area built up to match and mate with the light housing when the body work starts.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member JIMOCO's Avatar
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    I like the Kleiner mod but I was told by the PA state trooper that he would not stop me just for obscuring the state name but, if he stopped me on another violation, he would add a fine for the license plate. He does that for the people with darkened plexiglass covers as well. He also said it would be an issue if you were photographed from behind by a traffic camera and the state name was not clear. I chose the route of least resistance.
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  10. #10
    I'm not sure if it would or not. So far I'm hoping the govt people won't force us to add bumpers like everything else. 2016 was a big crack down year for Alberta transportation and builders in future years have more hoops to jump through. As you can see they have a real hard-on about lighting. Back up lights, side marker, high brake and daytime running lights all mandatory now.

  11. #11
    Senior Member CraigS's Avatar
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    Per JIMOCO's picture the name of the state is at the top of the plate. Just some 'visit....' stuff at the bottom. Drill a hole or cut a notch. Where is the state name on your plate?
    FFR MkII, 408W, Tremec TKO 500, 2015 IRS, DA QA1s, Forte front bar, APE hardtop.

  12. #12
    Senior Member edwardb's Avatar
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    Michigan has the name at the top and bottom of the plate. The top is slightly covered by the notched light, but still visible and discernible. I don't expect any issues with local LEO's for the plate as it's installed.

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  13. #13
    I don't worry about modifying the light and rain. I live in Florida. When it rains, it does it big time. No problems with mine.

  14. #14
    Senior Member AC Bill's Avatar
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    Could you get away with using a different light assembly? This one is smaller, but has a similar look.
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  15. #15
    Junior Member Dave Schwaab's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your responses. I know I'm being ridiculous but this is the kind of thing that is off and would just annoy the hell out of me every time I saw it!

    I think conger might be on to something. His solution is more acceptable to me than notching the bottom of the plate.

    BTW, haven't been able to edit my profile yet so it shows I'm from Mickleton, New Jersey. The name is at the top of the plate so notching the light also creates the visibility issue.

    A lot of guys with the Mk III's modified the trunk lid to remove the "stinger" and round it off to a more original look. I may have to do something similar to create proper space for the plate myself. Either that, or always approach my car from the front so that I don't see the plate! It is that annoying to me. (Yeah, I'm a Leo, and I can be that anal sometimes.)

  16. #16
    Senior Member edwardb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Schwaab View Post
    A lot of guys with the Mk III's modified the trunk lid to remove the "stinger" and round it off to a more original look. I may have to do something similar to create proper space for the plate myself. Either that, or always approach my car from the front so that I don't see the plate! It is that annoying to me. (Yeah, I'm a Leo, and I can be that anal sometimes.)
    If that bothers you so much, wait till you try to use the Mk4 internal trunk hinges on the Mk3 lid as I mentioned. Unless you use the external ones like the Mk3 and prior. But that's a huge compromise IMO. The very shape of the Mk3 trunk is why there is so much space for the license plate. Put the two side-by-side and you'll see just how much the difference is. It's not just a matter rounding it off. After having both a Mk3 and a Mk4, looking at a Mk3 trunk vs a Mk4 trunk would bother me way more than the license plate. I guess we're all just anal about different things.

    If you don't want to modify the plate or the light, and you want to keep the same light/license plate fixture (and use the Mk4 trunk lid you already have...) boat737's solution is probably the best. Place the light fixture up slightly to fit the plate and re-shape/blend the pad to match it. Very elegant solution. I like it.
    Last edited by edwardb; 05-17-2017 at 03:10 PM.
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  17. #17
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    I notched the plate, used some 1/4 outside diameter clear tubing cut along one side as grommet, and don't even notice it anymore. I get lots of comments about the plate. Planning to drive to B.C. this weekend and might have to take one of my guns along for the ride. Some real tree hugging bunny lovers where I'am headed.

    Norm
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  18. #18
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    If notching the plate irritates your OCD wait until you instal the tail lights for the first time. I couldn't handle the pad on the body being too small for the base of the lights. I had to make the pads bigger.

    Good Luck

    Norm

  19. #19
    If you mod the light, you don't have to notch the plate at all. It looks completely fine. This seems to be the most "accepted" way of dealing with it. As long as you don't plan on driving upside down and backwards in the rain, it is a great solution. If you are worried that much about rain, you could easily waterproof it with some lexan and silicone.

    A notched plate would bother me.
    A MKIII trunk would REALLY bother me.

  20. #20
    Senior Member CraigS's Avatar
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    If you are seriously considering a MkIII lid, it may not be too bad. I have an old MkII that I did the drop butt mod to. I don't know how exactly that compares to a MkIV body, but the lowered rear makes the pointy trunk lid a LOT less objectionable.
    FFR MkII, 408W, Tremec TKO 500, 2015 IRS, DA QA1s, Forte front bar, APE hardtop.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Avalanche325 View Post
    A MKIII trunk would REALLY bother me.
    I didn't mean that quite how it looks. I just mean that it would be knocking one of the improvements off of the car that everyone complained about for years. If you like that profile better, go for it.

  22. #22
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    After getting the licence plate in Alberta in 2014 for my MkIV, I went home and took great care to cut the bottom of the plate to fit around the T handle. I secured it in place and shortly after received a call from the Registry Office. "Mr. Howard, I'm very sorry but we gave you the wrong plate". YIKES. I had to bring it back and get another. It was a fast in and out, and no looking back.

  23. #23
    Well Used Member boat737's Avatar
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    Three more comments.

    As for notching or putting a hole in the plate, I don't really care what the state thinks. I just hate ruining a personalized plate, that may just end up on my garage wall in 30 or 40 years (that would make me 100 by then, yeah, that'll work.)

    For the California crowd, both the black 60's plate, and the white (current) plate fit in the Kleiner mod without covering up the state name. (mostly, see below.)

    And finally....

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardb View Post

    If you don't want to modify the plate or the light, and you want to keep the same light/license plate fixture (and use the Mk4 trunk lid you already have...) boat737's solution is probably the best. Place the light fixture up slightly to fit the plate and re-shape/blend the pad to match it. Very elegant solution. I like it.
    EdwardB just made my day (or year). I am So-o-o-o honored. More than I can convey. Thanks Paul.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member mcwho's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, my State FLORIDA has the words "MYFLORIDA.com" in an arc at the top of the plate, see my avatar

    <-----------------------

    The Center of the FLORIDA is only about 3/8 inch from the top of the plate.

    I think for me a combination of a small notch on the bottom and a Kleiner mod on the top should work. ALso in the county I live in "Volusia" the sheriff is all over tail lights, brake lights, and license plate lights out, which means they really scrutinize rear lights and such here.
    Last edited by mcwho; 05-17-2017 at 09:00 PM.
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  25. #25
    Junior Member Dave Schwaab's Avatar
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    Whoa, folks. I'm not really serious about using a Mk III trunk, although many were mounted using internal hinges.

    I will have to make a decision sometime in the future, probably after I actually have the kit in my garage and have a chance to see how much I would have to notch the light and/or the plate. I like conger's idea with the handle moved to the body below the trunk, if the notching is going to be too drastic.

    I may still play with the idea of reshaping the trunk lid, perhaps a little more than what boat737 is doing, just as a thought. Might be fun to see what it would take to truly fix this issue.
    Last edited by Dave Schwaab; 05-18-2017 at 01:51 AM.

  26. #26
    Senior Member edwardb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Schwaab View Post
    I'm not really serious about using a Mk III trunk, although many were mounted using internal hinges.
    Mark at Breeze does sell an internal hinge setup for the Mk3 and earlier. For $139 plus the price of the Mk3 lid you can get what comes standard with the Mk4. Not to mention the extra work and then it looks like a Mk3. Hmmm...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Schwaab View Post
    I will have to make a decision sometime in the future, probably after I actually have the kit in my garage and have a chance to see how much I would have to notch the light and/or the plate. I like conger's idea with the handle moved to the body below the trunk, if the notching is going to be too drastic. I may still play with the idea of reshaping the trunk lid, perhaps a little more than what boat737 is doing, just as a thought. Might be fun to see what it would take to truly fix this issue.
    So you don't have your kit yet? I'm guessing when all is said and done you'll find plenty of other things that take your attention and energy way more than fitting the license plate. Good luck with your build.
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  27. #27
    Senior Member chopthebass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JIMOCO View Post
    I cut a hole in my license and no one has noticed. 20150812_172845.jpg
    Hey Jimoco, where did you get the chrome surround? Looks nice.
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  28. #28
    Out Drivin' Gumball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Schwaab View Post
    Whoa, folks. I'm not really serious about using a Mk III trunk, although many were mounted using internal hinges.

    I will have to make a decision sometime in the future, probably after I actually have the kit in my garage and have a chance to see how much I would have to notch the light and/or the plate. I like conger's idea with the handle moved to the body below the trunk, if the notching is going to be too drastic.

    I may still play with the idea of reshaping the trunk lid, perhaps a little more than what boat737 is doing, just as a thought. Might be fun to see what it would take to truly fix this issue.
    Lots of things to nitpick at on any FFR... but, the company has done a great job of eliminating many of those with the Mk4. We don't see many builders these days talking about doing the drop-butt mod, rolling cockpit edges, straightening crooked scoops, or trying to figure out how to make durable hidden body mounts anymore. Sure, there will always be things that you can improve to your taste and there will likely be things that aren't quite "right" compared to the original cars or other replica brands - say for example, a Kirkham, but most are easy for the builder to tweak to make it just the way they want and probably more builders than not don't even sweat those.

    My Mk3.1 has tons of body mods, mainly because I did my own bodywork and also because I was shooting for the most accurate car to the original I could build using a base kit from FFR as a starting point. As for the trunk, I chucked the lid from FFR and went with a third-party supplied part (Karl Gess version - but there are others out there that are still available) to solve that issue.

    Later,
    Chris

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  29. #29
    Senior Member JIMOCO's Avatar
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    Thanks, I got it and the LEDs at Pep Boys.
    Mk4 Roadster, Picked up complete kit 8/22/14. Most FFR options except Wilwood brakes and IRS. First start 11/11/14. Go-kart 3/8/15. 347 Stroker, TKO 500, 3-link/3.27 rear. PA street legal 7/29/15.

  30. #30
    Junior Member Dave Schwaab's Avatar
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    Yeah, there are always a lot of things you can do to your kit to build it your way. I know that. I had a Mk III before, which I sold unstarted because my son decided he wanted to go back and finish college. Now he's doing well and I'm retired, so I'm back to planning my build.

    A lot of the issues I had with the Mk III have been resolved in the Mk 4. The space for the license plate on the new trunk is really the biggest problem I can see facing, at least without actually starting my build. I will check into a third party trunk lid, when I'm there, and see if that is feasible. Then I will have to see if notching the light and/or plate, raising the light and building up the trunk lid slightly (a la boat737), moving the handle to the body (a la conger) or some combination of them is the way I will finally go.

    Thanks again for all your responses. You've really given me food for thought on the solution.

  31. #31
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    Dave, I have a Mark IV. I ended up doing the Kliener mod. If it would help you at all in deciding what to do, you are more than welcome to come see it.

    Olli

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by edwardb View Post
    Agreed the issue still exists. Nothing has changed since the Mk4 was introduced. This is discussed a lot. I wouldn't say there's an accepted solution. There are many and you can decide which works best for you. I personally wouldn't consider a Mk3 trunk lid as a solution. The profile of the Mk4 looks a lot better IMO. But beyond that the hinges are completely different. The Mk3 uses external hinges. The Mk4 uses internal and much improved hinges. Pretty big price to pay to fit a license plate.

    I've personally done the license plate notch twice. Known around here as the "Kleiner mod." Wiring or light issues aren't a big concern in my experience. My first Mk4 I left the supplied incandescent bulbs and it always worked fine. My second, recently completed, I switched the incandescent bulbs for LED bulbs. A really nice mod copied from another forum member. MAL-S-WW2 Warm White with Silver Housing, LED license plate bolt lights from superbrightleds.com. Not only do they provide better light, longer life, and lower current draw, they are sealed and water is not an issue. The lights need to modded anyway, so it's really easy just to replace them with the LED's. These are pics from my build. Also requires the different mounting bracket shown, an easy fab from a piece of aluminum.




    Ed, can you hook this up to the 12 volt power supply directly?

    Thanks
    Kevin

  33. #33
    Well Used Member boat737's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boat737 View Post
    I did the Kleiner Mod as well. Added LED's too, looks like the same one's as EdwardB's from SuperbrightLED's. I have mounted the light assembly as high up, and a bit to the right to center it, as needed for the plate. That puts the light housing a tad above the pad on the trunk lid. I'll have that area built up to match and mate with the light housing when the body work starts.

    IMG_0595 small.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by Kpt112 View Post
    Ed, can you hook this up to the 12 volt power supply directly?

    Thanks
    Kevin
    I did, that is, wired through the headlight switch on the Ron Francis harness (parking light position). No resistors needed.
    Last edited by boat737; 05-19-2017 at 11:25 AM.
    If Brute Force doesn't work, you're not using enough of it.
    Bought a partially completed MK4. The Basic Stuff: MK4 Complete Kit #8439. The Extra Stuff: Wilwood's, 17" Halibrands, Stainless brake and fuel lines, Breeze cooling and Battery mount.
    The Old Fart Stuff: Heater, Seat Heaters, Footbox Fresh Air, Stereo, Keyless ignition, Power Steering, Hyd Clutch.
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  34. #34
    Senior Member edwardb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kpt112 View Post
    Ed, can you hook this up to the 12 volt power supply directly?

    Thanks
    Kevin
    As already stated, yes. It hooks right to the supplied 12 volt RF harness license plate wire. Turns on with the headlight switch per normal. My 20th Anniversary Roadster build is 100% LED lighting. Other than changing the flashers to solid state versions, all of the RF harness was used exactly as is. No special voltage or wiring required.
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  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by edwardb View Post
    As already stated, yes. It hooks right to the supplied 12 volt RF harness license plate wire. Turns on with the headlight switch per normal. My 20th Anniversary Roadster build is 100% LED lighting. Other than changing the flashers to solid state versions, all of the RF harness was used exactly as is. No special voltage or wiring required.
    Thank a bunch, just placed my order. I used crappy led lights I bought from Pep Boys. They look flimsy and flop all over the place. This is a much more elegant solution.

    Kevin

  36. #36
    Senior Member mcwho's Avatar
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    I have finally decided, after years of contemplating the options, the Jeff Kleiner mod is the way I am going. I have started with the mod, turned the bracket around and awaiting delivery of the LEDS to see if I want to use them. Right now I can still use the incandescent bulbs. I am cutting the clear plastic piece today.
    Baghdad Bob

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  37. #37
    Senior Member mcwho's Avatar
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    Has anyone actually tried the plate frame that FINISHLINE sells ?

    They list the frame and the light separately. Just Wonderin !

    http://www.finishlineaccessories.com...cket-rear.aspx

    http://www.finishlineaccessories.com...ight-l467.aspx
    Last edited by mcwho; 05-21-2017 at 12:05 PM.
    Baghdad Bob

    Complete Kit ordered Feb 2009, Delivered July 2010, serial @ 7287, Power Brakes, Power Steering w HEIDTS Valve, Hydralic clutch, 15" Wheels, BFG Tires, 331 stroker w Edelbrock Performer RPM Heads, Edelbrock Performer Air Gap Intake and Quick Fuel 650 carb. IRS w 3.27, TKO-600.

  38. #38
    Senior Member DaleG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Prescott, AZ; formerly from the Bay Area
    Posts
    813
    Or, you can ditch the trunk handle entirely and install an electric latch from a mustang; hit a switch in the cockpit and the trunk opens (with struts, of course). Plate covers the hole in the lid for the latch; dead battery?, a screwdriver thru the whole will key the latch open. More work, but fun.
    SOLD 03/2013: MK II #5004: 5.0 EFI: 8.8, 3.55, E303, TW heads, GT40 intake, 24#, 70mm MAF

    Ordered MK IV Coyote Complete Kit.

  39. #39
    I have the Finishline bracket and light and it causes more interference with the handle than the FFR parts. I did the Kleiner mod on the FFR parts with led license plate bolts inside. It is the best solution.
    JRL16
    Mk4 delivered 4/28/16. First start 10/15/16. First gocart 11/10/16. Engine Factory 427W. 750 carb. Tremec TKO600. 2015 IRS. Power steering. Whitby power brakes. Wilwood brakes. 18" wheels. Falken tires. Sway bars front and rear. Forte hydraulic clutch and mechanical throttle linkage. Scott's Hot Rods triple reservoir. Ceramic coated headers. Stainless side pipes. Heated seats. Herb Fraser walnut door panels. Wipers. Console.

  40. #40
    I labored over this for a while. I bought some accessory tube brackets made of billet aluminum from Speedway and made an aluminum tag backing plate that holds a new LED tag light. I mounted the assembly on the rear chrome bumper away from the trunk lid and the trunk latch handle. The hardest thing was running a wire to the light in as much a concealed way as possible. The trunk is very easy to open now and the tag is displayed clearly which keeps Johnny Law off my tail. I polished the billet aluminum brackets so they look like they're chromed as well. However, certainly not like any original Cobra. If anybody is interested, I'll take a picture tomorrow to illustrate. Just let me know.

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