Since the beginning, I have purposely hung the license plate without a bracket, due to my original shyness of branding. As time went on, I eventually opened up and became more accepting of having logos on the car. In a selective manner, of course. After coming across an OEM part number for a Mazdaspeed license plate bracket, I finally decided to make things a little bit less bland.
For just a license plate bracket, it was surprisingly well thought out. The plate came with small spacers, fastener caps, and a strip of foam. I added a few more strips of neoprene foam myself to enhance the solidness of the mounting. I also stuck the foam strips to the bumper, rather than to the back of the plate. This way, if any dirt or contaminants gets between the foam, it won’t be marring the bumper’s paint. The plastic fastener caps that were included did not close well, so I bought a different set from good ol’ eBay.
Moving to the front, I filled the molded bracket with an “RX-7” half-plate. I remember I bought a couple of these half-plates a few years ago from an RX7Club member that was making and selling them. Since he stopped producing the plates, it left a void… that is until recently. A seller named AZPerformance brought these plates back into the market and sells them on Etsy. I purchased a steel version and then asked him if he could make me one in aluminum, which he was nice enough to oblige.
All of the plates are high quality with good paintwork and edges. Since I also applied neoprene strip padding to the front bumper’s bracket area, this made the recess of the mounting holes more pronounced. And unfortunately, due to the lighter nature of the aluminum, a concave dimple can be seen around the bolts when tightened down. I’m sure it can be alleviated with the right spacers, but I decided to take the marginal weight penalty and revert back to the steel version.
Installed with the eBay special fastener caps, and stainless steel button head screws underneath.
Since I was ordering the Mazdaspeed bracket from a Mazda dealer anyway, I added in another relatively obscure item… a chrome e-brake button from a Miata. This is a metal counterpart that fits perfectly.
Taking care of the minor details always gives me great satisfaction. Even better when the install takes literally 2 minutes.
With the front bumper repainted and the old emblem sacrificed, I reinstated the Flying M with a new spare I conveniently had on the shelf. I’ve developed a habit of buying duplicates of strategically important parts.