The new September ’67’ plate is here and with it, some outstanding opportunities to source a unique plate that is both lewd and crude. Well, there would be if it wasn’t for those hawk-eyed folk at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). As ever, they’ve been culling the worst offenders to ensure that the sensibilities of UK drivers aren’t offended while out on the road.
Cover your eyes now!
According to AutoExpress Magazine, some of the ‘highlights’ from the ’67’ plate batch include OR67 ASM, DO67 SHT, DO67 GER, NO67 HED, AR67 OLE and BA67 ARD. These are but a handful of those detailed in an epic, ten-page document that the DVLA gave to the publication.
The agency conducts the culling process twice a year. Its remit is not just to stop smutty plates making it out into the wild, but also to stop anything that could be deemed potentially offensive on racial, religious or political grounds. Examples include JE55 US and U16 OUT (the latter in relation to the then-impending Brexit referendum).
Despite the DVLA’s diligent work, out-of-order number plates have been known to slip through its net. Sassy drivers though shouldn’t rest on their laurels if they do manage to bag a rude plate – the agency has the power to recall them whenever it wants. Even those who try the personalised plate route can expect to be pulled up if they dream up something that crosses the line.
Why punters pay to personalise
The big question is why people want such plates on their cars in the first place. Unique and personalised number plates are big business. We’re buying more and more of them, with 335,000 of us buying personalised plates in 2015 alone. The trend generated a whopping £102 million for the government over the course of the year.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Angela Bahn of Regtransfers magazine revealed that such plates were seen as distinctly downmarket in the 80s and 90s. However, that snobbery all but vanished in the Noughties. Bahn cites several reasons for the increasing popularity of personalised plates, from the old tactic of trying to hide the age of your car, through to promoting your business. Of course, some personalised plates act as nothing more than a source of enjoyment for the driver.
How much would you pay for personalisation?
For some people, it’s not rude words that are the most offensive thing about unique or personalised plates, but how much people are prepared to pay for them! Here’s Autocar’s top ten list of the most expensive plates ever bought in the UK and what they cost their spend-happy owners:
10. D 1 – £300,096
9. GB 1 – £325,000
8. M 1 – £331,500
7. 1 S – £340,000
6. 1 D – £352,411
5. S 1 – £404,063
4. F 1 – £440,625
3. G 1 – £500,000
2. X 1 – £502,500
1. 25 O – £518,480.
According to Regtransfers Magazine, such illustrious plates also accrue value over time. ’25 O’ can currently found on a 1961 Ferrari 250 SWB and is now worth an eye-watering £750,000.
Even the runner-ups are doing well – the ‘F 1’ plate currently attached to the bumper of a Bugatti Veyron (after being rescued from a Volvo S80, no less!) can be bought for a cool £10 million according to its owner. If your budget can’t quite stretch to that, fret not, because the DVLA’s searchable database reveals that ‘WB67 KER’ is still available for a far more reasonable £399…
Are personalised plates the ultimate display of vanity? Or are they important for expressing a driver’s individuality? Let us know your opinions below.