Little things for which I have an irrational loathing. Number 1

…of what I expect will be a very long series. First up, then – personalised number plates. I remember explaining the British number plate system to a German friend, and almost causing him to choke on his beer when I revealed how much people will pay for a particularly apt plate. I suppose if you could get AB 1, assuming your initials were AB, then it might be worth a bob or two, but actually, who cares? Well, quite a lot of people it seems, judging by the lengths people go to in order to have something approximating to a name on their plate.
The worst kind are the ones which have no discernible meaning, but which have to be imaginatively reinterpreted to yield some kind of name. You know the ones – a B can kind of be fashioned by putting a 1 and a 3 close together, or a 5 stands duty for an S. Really desperate ones also use a strategically placed screw with a black cap to sort of make a 1 into an L. I saw one recently where J2NNE was supposed to spell Jenny. How do I know? Because of the most tragic aspect of the enterprise, in which the owner has to put what the plate is supposed to spell in very small letters under the actual registration number.
My all time favourite was one such, although this was not on a personalised plate. No, under a perfectly ordinary plate, someone had seen fit to have added “Jeanina Topping BSc (Hons) QTS”. Maybe the car was a graduation present from Mummy and Daddy Topping…

CC BY-SA 4.0 Little things for which I have an irrational loathing. Number 1 by Dr Rob Spence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

10 Responses to “Little things for which I have an irrational loathing. Number 1”

  1. It wouldn’t surprise me if there wasn’t more personalised number plates in Lytham than anywhere else in the country. Have you noticed how many of them there are in that town?
    I wonder why people feel the need to have a personalised number plate? I don’t even know my registration number. If I was stopped I’d have to get out and have a look or search my glove compartment. I hope the plate doesn’t say ‘kat’ or ‘Kath’ – I’d be terribly embarrassed.

  2. My local favourite is ‘PIMMP’, on a smoky-windowed, fat-tyred…….Astra. There are also far too many cars proclaiming ‘Bi6 Jon’ and varieties thereof. I have to confess a secret respect for ‘Beni9n’, though.

  3. It’s not just here! When I worked in Germany all company cars were registered in Munich (and the guys who lived in Hamburg had to drive their old cars down to Munich to collect new ones). The plates were all M-WW and then the numbers, the company was called Wienerwald, hence the WW and had been started in Munich and thus they wanted all the fleet to have Munich plates.

  4. …and I saw today, in the centre of personalised plates, the Fylde coast,a plate that would have been very desirable in Hamburg (with the HH registration) – that was HH7

  5. I’ve checked my number plate and it is KNA which stands for ‘Kath Not Applicable’. I’ll remember it now. The first part is T509 which is probably a very hard OU course concerning the technology behind the advanced tracking of car registration plates.
    My very first car had the registration ETC. I admit to liking that.

  6. I saw S7 VNS today – completely unremarkable, except that all the figures had been moved together, and the 7 straightened so that, if you squinted, it might look like a t. Do you think it could possibly be owned by somene called Steven? Sad.

  7. Best I ever saw was in Lytham about ’87 or ’88. A lovely red Ferrari (natch) with the registration PEP51.

    I have always wondered if there was any connection to the PepsiCo company or if they bought it later on?

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