CC Outtake: The GR8 Pacifica Mystery

pacificrap license

Exiting the local Target store early one morning about a week ago, I was struck by an unusual car/license plate combination. The vehicle was a Chrysler Pacifica, which is becoming a rare bird here in the Metropolitan NY area.

This isn’t the actual plate, though. I imagineered this image to represent the general consensus of people I know who have experience with Daimler-Chrysler’s early example of the crossover style.

When I looked up the Pacifica history, it surprised me to find that these cars were in production much more recently than I had remembered. Friends had one of the first generation examples, and grew to hate it. My research indicates there’s good reason for such an opinion. Underpowered and saddled with an abysmal quality record in year one (2004) the brand became an untouchable. Newer examples were better, and the marque had notably improved by the time it went out of production late 2007, but it never sold as much in any other year as the 67,000 that Wikipedia reports for ’04.


But, apparently, somebody loves this one. When I noticed it on a cold February morning, it was the first Pacifica that had caught my eye in years. I spied it first from the side, and might have photographed it anyway, but when I cruised around front and got a look at the license plate, shooting it for CC became a no brainer.

Yes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The owner of this car certainly seems to think so.

Unless the plate is older than the car. Blue and white New York plates went out of production in 2010. This Pacifica sports the droopy headlights of the ’07 -’08 years, so there’s no conclusive evidence there.  But, were Pacificas considered SUV’s? Had the term “crossover” been coined eight years ago?

Did this car inherit its plate from a previous love?

Doesn’t seem likely. A car has to prove its mettle to earn a GR8 plate. If it was bought new in ’07, it would normally be delivered with a randomly numbered plate, and the owner would have to take the initiative to order a vanity plate later– and be willing to pay a premium for it, then and every time it needed renewing. And, if the plate came from a previous ride, why pay extra to keep it, unless you were proud of the current car wearing it?

Or, am I off by 180 degrees? Is it wrong to assume this car’s owner loves it? Would someone pay for a vanity plate to satire his/her own choice in cars?

Its a GR8 mystery.