I live, like many millions of people, quite close to a city centre. This means that I have to park my car in a specific controlled zone. My zone happens to called “S1”, and if I was particularly forgetful I could purchase a private number plate for my car which reads “S1” to remind me. Unfortunately however, doing this would cost me £404,063. Welcome everyone to the very expensive world of private registrations. In the past ten years or so the notion of having a slightly confusing bunch of letters and numbers adorned to the front and rear of your car has really taken off. Websites have popped up everywhere offering every Tom, Dick and Harry the chance to put their stamp on their car. Even the DVLA registrations department has realised how much money can be made and set up a website offering plates that not so long ago were purely for the domain of the rich and famous. All this is very empowering; however, there are a few pitfalls which I would like to now explain.
Firstly as briefly mentioned already, private registrations can cost an obscene amount of money, which when you consider how utterly useless they actually are make them seem rather silly. Some examples; do you live near the M1 motorway and adore its vast expanse of tarmac so much you fancy the number plate M1? Well it could be yours for the costly sum of £331,500. Are you David Cameron? Do you want to rub in the fact you now live at number ten Downing Street by putting “10” on the plate of the Jag XJ? It could be yours for £210,242 of fine taxpayer’s money. These registrations really did sell for these prices albeit not those buyers, but still, not one penny of their pointless cost went to any good cause whatsoever.
The next pitfall is what do some registrations actually mean? I have spent countless car journeys transfixed, trying to figure out what the Porsche Cayenne’s number plate in front of me actually means. Pondering so hard that I barely notice the light change to red or the squirrel run out in front of me, only to eventually realise that S5 HRT means “shirt” and has no significance at all, to anything. Another issue with private plates is choosing the right one. They have the ability to make your car look older and worse than it actually is, especially if you buy one with the standard UK 7 digits. For example P787 ATE might have significance to you, attached to your Ford GT. But if a person who knows nothing about cars see’s it they might just tell others they saw a sporty P registration Ford. And I would immediately presume they spotted a rusty Ford Probe, oh how exotic!
Arrogance is my final problem with the private registration. Adorning whatever car with cherished number plates like; B16 BOY, G5 POT, BOS 555Y, FR51 SKY and HU57 LUR make whoever is driving it look like a total tool! Fair enough the people who buy them might have the confidence to drive around with them on, but inside, secretly, everybody else thinks they just look stupid. The owners will also have to remember that owning such a plate makes their white Range Rover Sport on 22 inch rims stand out even more from the crowd. Meaning that if said vehicle becomes recognised for questionable driving, seeing that distinct plate trying to pull out from a junction is likely to be met with hostility rather than a friendly wave, be prepared!
In conclusion then, personalised plates are hugely popular, hugely expensive and utterly pointless. They have the ability to make cars look old and their drivers idiotic if chosen wrongly. But there is no question that they can make ordinary people like you and I feel a little bit unique and special, in a world where everyone seems to be driving the exact same car and wearing the exact same jacket as you. Just please think carefully before buying because we really don’t want a B16 SXY PR08 LEM.