Monday, 24 September 2007

Number plates gallery revamped

Just a quick one today because someone seems to have stolen a few hours out of the day. It really should only be about 11am. If it was you, give them back. It's not big or clever - it's just childish and silly.

We're updating the gallery on Numberplates.com as we speak. It's a fairly long and tedious job, but it's certainly looking much better. There's a whole lot of new pictures to add, including ones which have been submitted to our competition over the weekend as well some photos we took in West London a little while ago. The end result will be a plethora of photos of quality number plates for you to peruse at your pleasure. If you've got any photographs of number plates, please do send them in to us.

Friday, 21 September 2007

The first personalised number plate

As you'll now be well aware (give yourself a slap on the wrist if you're not), the industry of personalised number plates is massive, but nobody really knows how the fascination began. Lies. I do.

In fact, if you discount the rush for A 1 at it's issue, which was won by Earl Russell, the earliest known personalised number plate was T 8, owned by Scottish comedian and musical hall artist, Harry Tate. The plate is now owned by Johnny Tate of the sugar company Tate & Lyle. Funnily enough, that's not where this sweet tale ends. Prior to finding his fame in the music halls, Harry Tate worked for Henry Tate & Sons, a sugar refining company. The pioneer of the phrase 'How's your father?' was unfortunately killed in the Blitz in 1940, but his son Ronnie continued his act under the name of Harry Tate Jnr.

So, there you have it - the earliest personalised number plate. Fact.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

A small magazine preview...

With the next issue of our magazine due for release in a fortnight, we're already getting stuck into work on the New year 2008 issue. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of interviewing former Big Brother winner Cameron Stout, who purchased a car registration from us recently. Cameron's mad about number plates and cars in general, so the interview will make for an excellent magazine article come January. In the interview, Cameron talks about his passion for cars and personalised plates as well as his fascinating stories following his Big Brother experience.

Many people look down their noses at reality television, and I must admit that I'm not all too keen on it myself, but Cameron comes across as a very down-to-earth man who was never hungry for fame or fortune, but the experience of Big Brother. During his stay in the Big Brother house, Cameron was whisked off to South Africa for a week and has since been invited back to the continent by none other than the Founding President of Zambia. One of his latest projects (Cameron Stout, not the President of Zambia) involves a long-haul drive from Scotland to China, dubbed Paisley to Peking, which is due to commence in the summer of 2008. The project is in aid of a Glasgow charity, Sanctuary In The City.

However, if you just can't wait until January, our Autumn 2007 issue contains exclusive interviews with racing legend Sir Stirling Moss and Olympic gold-medallist Tessa Sanderson and is due for release in the first week of October. As soon as the first copy reaches our office, we'll announce it on Numberplates.com so make sure you don't miss it!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Rude and risqué DVLA number plates

We get a lot of people commenting on the rude and risqué DVLA number plates they've seen around the country, and it's no secret that this type of car registration is by far one of the most popular. As the old saying goes, sex sells!

With this in mind, we've put together a selection of our favourite naughty numbers for your pleasure. Why not let us know which risqué registrations you've seen? The article can be found here:-
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the picture that accompanies this blog post was chosen entirely at random. Honestly.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Car registrations - Auction madness in China

Again, a few days without a blog post. However did you cope? To be completely honest, there's not a whole lot of number plate-related news around at the moment, with the exception of a story which landed on my desk this morning from China. It seems they're really good at making paper aeroplanes over there. As you will have noticed from the Numberplates.com website, there has been some tremendous sales of car registrations at auctions in other countries around the world, and these auctions certainly seem to be the place to buy car registrations at ridiculously over-inflated prices.

This story in particular focuses on an auction in Shanghai this weekend. That's the Shanghai in China, by the way; not the one just outside Macclesfield. They seem to have a rather different system for issuing and auctioning off car registrations in China, and I'm not sure I entirely understand it just yet. However, the record price for a plate was broken with a £3,330 bid, or the equivalent in Chinese Yuan. Now, that doesn't seem a whole lot of money for a 'record' number plate, so I'm not completely sure this particular registration was all that good. In fact, my news sources don't even state which plate it was. How am I supposed to work with this kind of information? Absolutely ridiculous. In contrast, the 'bottom level' of car registrations sold for £3,235. Now, I'm no maths genius but that seems to show a deviation of £95 between the cheapest number plates and the Chinese Super Mega Hyper World Record plate. Most odd.*

In other news, the next issue of the Regtransfers magazine is coming along nicely. It features Sir Stirling Moss on the front cover as a prelude to a fascinating interview with the man himself. We can also reveal that the issue after that will feature multi-millionaire businessman and star of BBC's Dragons' Den, Duncan Bannatyne. The Stirling Moss issue is due for release in the first week of October, with Duncan Bannatyne appearing in our New Year edition in the first week of January. Don't forget that you can request a copy of our magazine (the latest copy contains an interview with Amir Khan) at any time through Numberplates.com.

* I had actually tried to work in a sneaky reference to Chinese Communism and distribution of wealth, but I then realised that I actually know nothing about the subject and couldn't finish the sentence. So there.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

2 B or NOT 2B?

Apologies for the lack of blog post yesterday, but I had to take on a small army of midgets who had attempted a military coup on our office. No, really. They had sticks and everything.

Today we were informed that a former colleague's mum's best friend's milkman (or something) had seen two cars parked on a driveway somewhere in London with a pair of personalised number plates reading "2 B" and "NOT 2B". Barry, our resident thespian, was predictably ebullient at this revelation and immediately declared his intention to scour every last corner of London in his quest for what has to be the ultimate pair of number plates for any fan of the Bard or of theatre in general.

Like anyone, we love our quirky number plates and pairs of plates which relate to each other always look absolutely superb. If you've got any suggestions for ideal pairs of plates, or if you've seen any on your travels, leave a comment on this post and let us know.

Please excuse the brevity of today's post. I'm still very tired from all the midget-beating.

Friday, 7 September 2007

And here's the latest from the world of car registrations...

'Afternoon all. You'll be pleased to hear that my skull is free of stationery equipment today, so we can get on with some real news.

One of the areas of Numberplates.com which our members find most interesting is our constantly updated news section. Whenever any stories emerge on subjects of motoring or car registrations, we feature it on the website in an informative and impartial manner. No, that wasn't a typo - I actually did mean to write 'impartial'. If your first experience of Numberplates.com was coming across this blog, however, you probably won't have seen our previous news stories. I very much doubt your first instinct will be to read through two years' worth* of news, so I've very kindly aggregated some of the more humorous articles here for you.
  • Controversial GAY number plate banned - This one gave us quite a chuckle. I'm not going to go off on one about the DVLA banning number plates as I'd be here all day, but the fact that H8 GAY was owned by a gay couple as an ironic joke really encapsulates the spirit of number plates. Of course, if it had been used by a homophobic bigot as message of hatred, the decision to withdraw it certainly have been justified. How on earth did it ever get issued anyway?
  • "Nazi" number plates cause a stir in South Africa - In a similar vein to the above article, this could certainly cause some offence. Shanaaz Ismail displayed NAZI-WP on her car in South Africa as her nickname is Nazi - a contraction of Shanaaz. The South African authorities, however, had other ideas.
  • Don's £12 number plate now worth £10,000 - A perfect example of how lucrative investing in number plates can be. Don Hampson purchased DON 80 for £12 back in 1968 and it has recently been valued at over £10,000.
  • British cyclists may need number plates - Speaking as an occasional cyclist, this plan was a complete load of old twaddle. Fortunately, it seems to have fallen by the wayside. The proponent of this sheer lunacy? None other than Ken Livingstone.
  • Number plate sells for £3.5million - This was the big one - the world record for a personalised number plate. The plate, reading simply '5', was bought by a man who claimed the number had no significance to him whatsoever. He just happened to be passing with £3.5million in his pocket.
  • Losing £10,000 on private number plate 'not an issue' for Harry - Another man for whom money is no object. Maybe he'd like to do my job for a few months.
The tendency is for new stories to be added to the site on an (almost) daily basis, so it's worth checking the front page of Numberplates.com regularly. Right, I suppose I'd better do some real work...

*This phrase became a bone of contention in our office this afternoon. However, after unsuccessfully consulting our faithful 1957 copy of Fowler's Modern English, we turned to Google who confirmed the legitimate presence of the apostrophe. Sorted.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

It's the car registrations season!

...or nearly Christmas, as I like to remind my office chums. "Here's a stapler in the back of your head", they tend to reply.

Before we get onto the nitty gritty of number plates, I'd like to have a little moan, if I may. This week, I had an epiphany. An air of tranquility came about me and as the light descended a little voice inside my head said "Walk to work you lazy tyke". To be fair, the abusive voice had a point. I live within a mile of the office but had got into the habit of driving to work and back a couple of times a day. Realising that I could save money on petrol, car insurance and gym memberships by simply walking to work, I decided to give it a go. Now, the more eagle-eyed amongst you will have realised that thousands of British schoolchildren appear out of nowhere during the first week of September. Similarly, so do the conga lines of Range Rovers and RAV-4s employed purely to escort these little darlings to their institution of education. As a person who relishes peace and quiet (don't laugh, office chums), schoolchildren and lots of cars maketh not a happy Adam.

Eh? Ah yes, number plates. September also signals the year's second brand new batch of shiny car registrations, and those of you who are planning to purchase a new car will have the option of adding a 57-series registration number to your vehicle. Of course, any car registered before 1st September 2007 will not be allowed to carry a 57-series registration, but then you'd never buy a new car, right? There's a news story on Numberplates.com about this, offering a selection of car registrations that can be used under the new series. The child inside me still lets out a little titter at 'MU57 WEE'. For the record, I don't actually have a child inside me. That would just be silly.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Another number plates blog?

Well... yes. There's not a lot I can say or do to justify it but we've got to have some fun somewhere along the line haven't we?

The blog will serve a purpose, however. Here, I'll be able to put a slightly more satirical spin on the number plates news stories we post on Numberplates.com as well as looking at some more off-beat motoring-related news items. I'm sure there'll be plenty of days where I come on here purely to scream about the latest idiot driver I've encountered on the road that week, but that's what a blog is for... right?

Believe it or not, we actually do enjoy being the number one online resource for all things pertaining to personalised number plates and this blog adds yet another dimension to the unrivaled interactivity of the Number Plates Club. Our members' forum, regular competitions and personalised plates gallery serve to bring the world of private number plates to life and we hope the blog will become an extension of this.