DriveArchive Article 343

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The Appeal of Personalised Number Plates

BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den star and businessman, Theo Paphitis, is the proud owner of several private number plates. Owning registrations to personalise his vehicles, as well as for promotional purposes, he believes that “a decent plate on a good car…adds to its beauty and its look”. Many owners of personalised number plates buy for this very reason – to enhance their cars. A well-chosen registration is truly exclusive, looks smart and is chosen, rather than issued. In addition to aesthetic considerations, there are several other reasons why more and more people are being drawn to the market for personalised number plates.

Reasons Why People Buy

The common view, though fading as time goes by, is that people buy number plates for prestige. It is true that this is still a reason for buying, but below are some other more material reasons:

  • To disguise the age of a car with a personalised plate. It’s cheaper than buying a new car!
  • A proven investment potential. Low number, dateless registrations are especially sought after, as well as particular name plates, such as PAU 1Y. This plate was purchased for £3000 in 1996, but is worth £45,000 today.
  • Distinctive for businesses wanting to promote their companies. As an example Plumbing company, Pimlico Plumbers, have a fantastic collection of relevant registrations, including W4 TER, LAV 1, BOG 1 and DRA 1N. They have found that personalised number plates on their company vehicles have been their most effective form of advertising.
  • Complete uniqueness. Unlike other car modifications, a private number plate cannot be copied and is exclusive to the owner.
  • A personalised number plate allows you to express your personality and have some FUN

Have Fun With Buying

You may choose to display private plates that depict a name, a favourite hobby or a word that can be associated with your profession. Professional boxer, Amir Khan, for example, displays BOX 111G on his BMW. Also increasing in appeal are registrations that are simply fun and cannot fail to raise a smile. Perhaps one of the registrations below would be a perfect addition to your car:


Another option is to choose a model-related registration. For Ford owners, there are numerous options, such as the following for example:


Or, how about C10 RSA for the owner of the popular Vauxhall model, or A5 TRA for a proud Astra driver?

For a car, such as the unique and charming Mini, there is the option of a model-related plate, such as C100 PER, or you could express your Mini’s personality with M11 NNY, D11 DDY or T1 TCH.

Stick To The Rules

It is very important to be aware of today’s regulations. It is now more crucial than ever that number plates are easily distinguishable for roadside RNPS cameras and witnesses of accidents or crime. To make visibility as clear as possible, all typefaces should use the standard font, ‘Charles Wright 2001’. Additionally, with the exceptions of an optional, coloured border and one national emblem, there should be no other decoration on plates. A Football Team logo may look great, but it is illegal to display it on the registration plate. Altering of spacing or characters with, for example, carefully placed bolts is also not permitted as it may disguise the true registration number of the vehicle. BSAU-14e is a new standard for the display of number plates very recently introduced by the Department of Transport and this disallows the use of graded fonts whilst allowing the use of 4D and 3D gel number plates.

With lawbreakers facing a fine of £1000 and confiscation of the registration, it makes far more sense to allow your registration to receive all the admiration with it displayed legally.


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