All over the U.S. drivers of classic cars have seen old original inspection stickers left on their old classics, only to lose the sticker when they had their windshields removed or had their car painted. After in some cases, years of fruitless searching for a replacement, VIOLA, an answer!
AutoTrader Classics recently caught up with Bob Hoyt of InspectionSticker.net and asked him how he got the inspiration for this niche market.
“When I bought my 1950 Studebaker, it needed about every bolt replaced and I felt I would never get it completed. Piece by piece it started to come together after several years in the works. Finally, it was done, and it came time to register it, I learned that New Jersey allows collectors to place a favorite or vanity plate on the front of the car. I determined I wanted my home state of Massachusetts plate on the front.”
“As a Christmas gift, I received a license plate from my father, back home in Massachusetts but it was a 1949 plate. I learned quickly that Mass along with a number of other states, issued no plates in 1950 due to a metal shortage partly due to the Korean War. This meant I needed to obtain a registration sticker to identify the 1949 license plate. Massachusetts issued a sticker for the windshield to validate the 1950 registration.”
“The plate dealer had no sticker nor any clue as to where to find one. Not even thinking about ancient inspection stickers, I began scrounging Mass junk yards hoping to find the elusive sticker.”
“After several trips and several junk yards I found an ancient 1950 INSPECTION sticker. It was in poor condition but I could photograph it with my digital camera, take it home and restore it on my computer. After several years of photo restoration experience the thought began burning in my mind, “Everyone will wonder where this came from, a 1950 Massachusetts inspection sticker on my 1950 Studebaker”.”
“It would be a couple years before I was able to locate a 1950 Registration sticker. After several days of restoration work and several weeks developing a procedure to make a legitimate sticker from my images, I began showing them at car shows. The response to the stickers was overwhelming. One after another the car people wanted stickers for their cars here in N.J. and neighboring NY and PA.”
“I began hitting New Jersey and PA junk yards with amazing success. A friend designed a web site for me and that launched our idea into a prosperous and successful enterprise.”
“Several years into our venture we have calls and stickers from all over the US. People everywhere are taking advantage of our free offer for a new recreated sticker in exchange for sending us the original image.”
“Now we have over 1000 inspection and registration stickers for nearly every state in the US dating back to our oldest, 1925. Some states did not have statewide inspections but as the reports come in, we are discovering that states like Illinois and Tennessee did have regional and city inspections and tax stickers. Virtually every state has had some sort of inspections if not statewide, frequently when the police pulled a car over for defective equipment, upon getting the repair, the garage would place a safety sticker on the windshield to identify the year, date and frequently the town the car was registered in. We have gone so far as to add a more popular item, by placing the license plate number on the sticker to further embellish a lot of work going into making a classic car more realistic to it’s day. We now are creating stickers for car clubs and special projects for car restoration stickers for everywhere.”
Bob and Nellie Hoyt