By: Andy Newbound
So, your brand new car is sitting proudly on your driveway. It’s shiny. It sparkles. And you’ve been basking in admiring glances since the day you picked up the keys. Yet there’s something missing. To make a statement and really turn heads, you just need one more thing…a personalised registration plate.
Whether it’s your name, your nickname, favourite sports team, catch phase or something entirely different, a personalised registration plate helps you make a unique and…well…personal statement about yourself or your car. And there are lots to choose from.
Personal registration plates have been an official part of the UK’s driving culture since the DVLA first made them available in 1989. Prices start from just £250, and since the first plate was sold, the DVLA have used personalised plates to add over £2billion into the government’s coffers. Check out our
Guide to Personalised Registration Plates
to find out more.
Incredibly, drivers have been able to select their preferred plate since 1903, when Earl Russel made his butler queue up overnight of the offices of London County Council to secure the first ever registration plate, ‘A1’. The plate now belongs to the Sultan of Brunei’s brother, Prince Jefri and is one of the most valuable in the world.
All which got this blogger thinking about some of the other, almost as iconic registration plates owned by the rich, famous and even fictional. Here’s my list of favourites:
That’s right, there is a number plate containing the single number ‘1’. You might have caught it pinned to the front of a very impressive and ever-so-slightly vintage Rolls Royce. Belonging to no other than HRH Queen Elizabeth II. The plate has been in the possession of the royal family for over a century and some estimate its value in excess of £7million.
For those of us not fortunate to belong to the royal family, or perhaps those who think they should, there’s always the registration plate, ‘VIP1’. Originally introduced to adorn the Popemobile during the pontiff’s visit to Ireland in 1979, it is now owned by the Chelsea owner and reclusive billionaire, Roman Abramovich.
With a profile to match, and almost enough cash, The Apprentice star and business-mogul extraordinaire, Alan Sugar possesses perhaps one of the most recognisable personalised plates in the UK, AMS 1. We’re not sure what it’s worth, or how many people would actually want it if it came on the market, but for Sir Alan it’s as much a part of his successful persona as his finger-pointing ‘You’re fired’ catchphrase.
Back in the 80s and 90s, one of the biggest stars of the small screen was the magician Paul Daniels. His ‘…
not a lot
’ catchphase is now part of TV folklore and at the height of his fame, the chirpy magician splashed out a wedge of cash on the number plate, MAG1C. By all accounts, he hunted it for many years and eventually had to buy the Ferrari it was attached to in order to own it. I bet Paul loved that…’
not a lot
Another fan of personalised number plates is the much more recent and certainly more famous (albeit not quite as imaginative) David Beckham. His ‘D7 DVB’ plate features his lucky number 7 (apparently, it’s the shirt he played in at Man Utd) and the letters DVB which stand for…erm…DaVid Beckham? Nice work, David!
You’d be forgiven for thinking a number plate as iconic, recognisable and desirable as ‘F1’ might be owned by the billionaire former owner of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone, or a high profile (and mega-rich) driver such as Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton. Well, you’d be wrong. ‘F1’ is owned by wealthy Bradford businessman, Afzal Khan. He spent a then record fee of £440,000 for the privilege and has allegedly turned down a small offer of £6million. Wow! I wonder if he’s a Formula One fan?
Now for our first fictional number plate – ‘ECTO 1’ from the movie, Ghostbusters. Attached to a 1959 Cadillac in the original movie, then a 1982 Cadillac in the 2016 follow-up, the number plate is one of the most well-known and most-loved from the silver screen.
Hot on ECTO 1’s heels is ‘OUTATIME’ from the blockbusting movie franchise, Back to the Future. Not quite as famous as the Delorean it was attached to, the registration plate is nonetheless part of tinsel-town history.
Older movies were quick to get in on the act too. Penned by famous Bond novelist, Ian Fleming, the movie Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang featured a personalised plate on the movie’s feature car. Chitty can be seen sporting the plate ‘GEN 11’. Apparently, it was meant to stand for Genius. Hmmmm.
Hollywood has long used the personalised number plate to add a little charisma to its iconic cars. This blog isn’t long enough to list them all, but here’s a brief selection of some of the most memorable:
- FAB 1. Seen on Lady Penelope’s pink Roller in the film Thunderbirds.
- BAT 1. There’s only one place this plate could belong…Batman
- KNIGHT. From the near-legendary 1980’s talking-car series, Knight Rider
- HOP 21T. Perhaps a little bit cheesy, but then again Wallace & Gromit both love Wensleydale
- STARK 4. The perfect car accessory for Iron man’s lead character, Tony Stark
- ST 1. Made famous by the 1960s TV series The Saint. The plate itself sold for £100,000
- AU 1. Seen on the Rolls Royce owned by the Bond villain Goldfinger. Au is the chemical symbol for gold. How clever!
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