I’ve never really understood Britain’s take on the private registration number.
Others like to remind us of the sort of car they are driving – it feels like every late E36 BMW M3 in the country is running around with an ‘M3 XXX’ plate on it.
The only justified use I can really think of for a registration plate other than the one the computer randomly issued your car is to hide the age of a fairly timeless clunker.
I once met a bloke who had taken advantage of the Meccano contruction of the original Range Rover to change a 1971 three-door into a 1993-looking five-door, complete with late interior and leather seats, and who disguised his handiwork behind a £65 Northern Irish plate.
But these days, private plates are big business – somebody paid £254,000 for ’51 NGH’ three years ago – and the DVLA is anxiously puffing up its next auction of the things. This will include ‘1 0’, which sounds perfect for a millionaire computer programmer, and ‘1 HRH’, presumably for any wannabe members of the royal family. Both are anticipated to go for over £200,000.
If you’re happy with a more normal combination of letters and numbers its possible to buy yourself a private plate for as little as £250. But let’s face it, there’s only so much that lexical dexterity can do with Britain’s clunky ‘AA59AAA’ combination.
Over in most American states it’s possible to pick out any (non-offensive) combination of letters and numbers to make up a license plate, in exchange for a nominal fee.
Even better – I just checked and ‘IHRH’ is still available in California, for the princely sum of $40 followed by a $30 annual renewal. So instead of forking over a quarter of a million quid to the British exchequer in exchange for rights on a piece of Perspex, why don’t interested millionaires invest the cash in the plate of their dreams, something nice to screw it onto, a deluxe Californian timeshare and a few first-class flights?