Remember Q registration plates? This country’s vehicle licensing agency, the DVLA, issues these to vehicles ‘whose age or identity is in doubt’.

I believe a sizeable number of the British home-working population currently qualify.

You used to know what a Q-plate meant: some shiny new components had arrived in someone’s garage and been placed alongside a photocopied set of vague instructions and a broken Ford Cortina.

Several summers later, these and some other used parts would be united, diligently or otherwise, following a build process that culminated in something resembling a car – albeit not necessarily an attractive one.

That was taken to a test centre and given a Q front and rear. But a kit car’s value was, and I believe remains, higher if you could avoid the dreaded plate.

If everything in a self-build is new, a car can be given a current registration plate. At times, you can apply for an age-related plate, based on how old some parts are.

There has been additional cachet, then, to avoiding the ‘in doubt’ plate, and I don’t think you see Q-registered cars as often as you used to. These days, you’re most likely to spot them on eBay, accompanied by the term ‘project’ or ‘barn find’. Or on a Pagani Zonda in central London. Wait, what?

Yes, there is a Zonda that, it seems, was imported to the UK and has been altered in specification since it was first built. Either way, I doubt the owner of Q821 GFE is too fussed about the provenance suggested by his or her numberplate. And perhaps in future neither will the rest of us.

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