We may dye our hair, customise our clothing and like to sport a suntan; so what's different about stamping our identity on our trusty set of wheels?
Fluffy dice hanging from the interior mirror, fake spoilers and hub caps might have been very 1980s – but personalised or private plates still adorn the front and rear of cars. You have to pay for the privilege of course.
Few of us would shell out £7m just for the number '1', understood to be the world's most expensive plate, according to the DVLA; private plates might be seen as a status symbol or an investment by some drivers, while others might see them as extravagant.
Gov.uk has a web page which explains how to find and register a personal plate. You can enter initials, your name, or anything else you would like to have and see a selection of available choices.
But what about those who already have private regs?
The world's most expensive private number plates
'VIP 1', £285,000, Roman Abramovich, UK, 2006
Sheer modesty in the making, 'VIP 1' has been owned by several important people: it was originally commissioned for Pope John Paul II’s popemobile on his papal visit to Ireland. The Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, has since purchased the plate.
'F1', £440,000, Afzal Khan, UK, 2008
Bradford businessman, Afzal Khan, spent £440,000 on 'F1', making it the most expensive UK number plate ever. It is fixed (securely one would hope) to his SLR McLaren.
'1', £7million, Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri, Abu Dhabi, 2008
Saeed Abdul Ghaffer Khouri is claimed to have set the world record after purchasing a number plate with the single digit '1' at an auction in Abu Dhabi.
Memorable private plates
But it's not just celebrities and self-confessed VIPs who like to make their motors ‘more me’. Many films and TV programmes serve up unique identities on a plate. Here are a few:
Batman – 'BAT 1': The Batmobile from the 1966–1968 TV show sported a black number plate with ‘BAT 1’ embossed in white, with the word Gotham written underneath.
The Saint – 'ST1': Playing the detective Simon Templar, Roger Moore drove around in a white Volvo P1800, displaying the initials of his name.
Ghostbusters – 'ECTO 1': Sitting proud on the old ambulance, this plate refers to the gloopy substance left behind by ghosts the team had to deal with.
Knight Rider – 'KNIGHT': Not the most cunning of names, the famous black car epitomised the TV series, starring David Hasselhoff, also known as The Hoff.
Back To The Future – 'OUTATIME'. Not the album title of a famous American band, the letters aptly describe the plot behind the film. The original number plate didn’t last long though; it was replaced by 136113966 (a barcode licence plate), understood to represent the future when Doc returned from 2015.
Not many of us would spend more on the plate than the price of the vehicle itself, and what about car insurance? Typically, adding a private plate will not affect your car insurance premiums but, you could check with your own insurer. Whatever you’re willing to pay it seems private regs clearly have a place in the British and overseas’ psyche.
So, if you decide to stamp your identity on your set of wheels, remember to ask: ‘what would it say about you?’
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