And by drivers I mean, me.

I don't consider myself to be a "gearhead" by any means, but even I thought this was cool-- and that's saying something!

WKFR logo
Get our free mobile app

I was recently on vacation visiting friends near San Jose when I found a piece of The Mitten all the way in Cali!

I had just walked out of a convenience store located in Sunnyvale, CA  when I saw a bit of home. In this case it was a Pure Michigan license plate attached to a very interesting looking vehicle. And this wasn't your average license plate either!

Electric Truck Maker Rivian Recalls Almost All Of Its Vehicles Over Steering Issue
Getty Images

I happened to be looking at the newest Rivian model and what made the vehicle stand out to me was not only the color, but the unique license plate that was associated with the vehicle. It wasn't just your standard Pure Michigan plate but a combination of letters and numbers I'd never seen before.

Immediately I knew what this vehicle was: a prototype!

Sneak Peek

The only reason these prototype-vehicles are even on my radar in the first place is because of the test track facility located in the U.P. Have you heard of the Smithers Winter Test Center near Brimley, Michigan?

Each year Michigan's automakers head Up North to use the test tracks near the Sault Ste. Marie area to test new model vehicles before they hit the public market. It makes sense that in the winter they'd test these new vehicles in one of the snowiest places-- Michigan's Upper Peninsula-- and in the summer they head out to sunny California!

How Can You Spot a Test Vehicle?

If you look closely the plates on these test vehicles reads "manufacturer" on the bottom. You'll also notice the unique patterns printed on the sides of the vehicles. This camouflage wrap is meant to conceal the body lines of the vehicle.

As the website MotorBiscuit explains, "Naturally, our eyes will follow the patterns of the wraps instead of what’s actually beneath them." Top secret!

Check out pictures of the newest Rivian, as well as other models that were recently being tested in the U.P. below:

Check Out These New Cars Currently Being Tested In The U.P.

It's winter test time! These new test cars were recently spotted in downtown Sault Ste. Marie.

Nine Things You Shouldn't Leave in Your Car on a Hot Michigan Day

Leaving these items in your car on a hot summer day in Michigan can have consequences ranging from mild to severe.

More From WKFR