Articles > South Australian Grand Prix


In 1985, the prestigious Formula 1 Grand Prix 'circus' made it's way to Australia when Adelaide won the bid to host the race and commemorative number plates were issued to mark the event.

The South Australian Grand Prix plates consisted of two different issues. The first in the series were plates with black bases which were auctioned on the 2nd of November 1985 during the inaugural grand prix week. Initially only the first ten numbers were auctioned along with plate #1985. This black issue was earmarked for a yearly release by the way of auction with 10 more plates being released in each of the years 1986, 1987 and 1988.

  The remaining plates in this black auction issue, up to and including plate #199, were offered at the reserve price of $500 during 1988 and available from the Grand Prix Office.

Each plate featured the official Grand Prix logo in white, green and yellow consisting of a kangaroo and a chequered flag with the words 'Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix Adelaide' above. The characters were embossed in white with 'SOUTH AUSTRALIA' screened along the bottom of the plate.
Single and double digit plates did not use leading zero's and the logo on these plates was larger at 230mm in length. Three digit plates used a shorter logo of 190mm in length.

The second issue in this series was made available at the Motor Registration Division and started from number 1000 and went to number 5000. Later, the Motor Registration Division allowed from 200 to 999 and 5001 to 9999. These plates used a white base, black characters and the official Grand Prix logo, however the logo was shorter again in length at 140mm. The words 'ADELAIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA' were screened in black along the bottom.


White GP plates are similar to personalised plates, ie they can be held "off the vehicle" for up to 5 years, after then the rights are lost. In the past white plates could be sold to another person or new numbers issued. Now they can be used only by their present owner, no trading or new numbers are allowed. This change was made because they overlap with numeric passenger plates.


While the white base plates are plentiful amongst collections, the black auction plates are becoming a little harder to find.


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