Number Plates News
Number Plate News - January 2012
25 January 2012
It seems that an impressive 10% of UK drivers now own a personal number plate. The figure, which is claimed by a well-known motoring organisation, equates to nearly 4 million of the country's 38 million motorists.
It does not, of course, include the countless numbers of lucky individuals whose cars were allocated distinctive plates by pure chance in the natural registration process, or those fortunate enough to have inherited them with a secondhand vehicle.
The survey concludes that the most likely owners of personal plates are those from the professional classes, although a good percentage are semi-skilled or unskilled workers.
Perhaps surprisingly, the report cites the North-East of England as the most popular area for personal plate ownership, ahead of London.
The report claims that Britain's 14 million women drivers are less likely to display custom plates and, somewhat predictably, promotes the usual explanations based around a supposed psychological need for males to demonstrate 'individuality' - a criticism rarely levelled at those who customise and personalise their cars in other ways.
However, the report does go on to accept that one very valid reason to own a personal plate is to effectively disguise the age of your vehicle.
The findings single-out plates which appear to spell words as a less popular variation, although the truth is that good examples are simply much harder to find.
Aussie plate enthusiasts are fortunate to have a registration system, similar to that of the United States, which allows letter-only plates, thus giving rise to some spectacularly blatant words.
'FACEBK', a plate from the state of Victoria, is currently for sale for the equivalent of more than £75k. the seller also has 'PAYPAL' up for a mere £675,000.
The present owner, Tai Tran, is confident that either or both plates will be snapped up by "an internet entrepreneur" or a speculative investor.
"Gold is only a lump of metal," says Mr Tran. "The only thing that makes it valuable is that it's rare."
VicRoads, the state's transportation authority, sells around 50,000 custom plates every year and, just like the UK, the Aussies have many dedicated plate websites.
Here are some other examples currently up for grabs:
President Yousuf Raza Gilani is reported to have been sporting a fake registration on his car.
As if he wasn't in enough trouble already, after being held in contempt of court over an ongoing corruption investigation, the 59-year-old premier's car was seen to be displaying the number LRZ-786 when he arrived to answer the charges.
The registration was identified as actually belonging to an ordinary private motorist, Lahore resident Muhammad Riaz. According to Mr Gilana, the registration was changed in response to security concerns.
'786' holds a special significance for some Asian muslims who consider it to be a lucky number. Just as well, because it looks like the president is going to need it.