I received the following unsolicited e mail today:

hi would you be interested in purchasing a private number plate for
yourself reading ALF 669 ? If so please contact me on 07973 618 243,
regards Rob

I chose not to waste my time and money by calling ‘Rob’, since apart from the fact that he’s too bloody lazy to even put together a literate e mail I wouldn’t spend 50p on a plate like that, let alone the four figure sum he is no doubt asking for.

I mean, what does such a number plate tell other road users other than there goes a bloke who may be called Alf – and perhaps he owns 669 chickens or lives at 669 Airhead Road.

That’s in addition to informing everyone that you’re a moron with more money than sense. Because that’s what virtually every ‘private’ plate I see on the road tells me. Unless I owned ALF 1E what is the point of a private plate?

In 99 per cent of cases they’re cobbled together words that inform you of absolutely nothing other than there passeth another driver who has been taken to the cleaners by the DVLA. Since this avaricious government department got into selling private number plates a few years ago you see more and more absolutely ridiculous combinations of letters and digits that mean nothing to anyone other than the owner – stuff such as G10 ABC, S1 ANY and M3 BBE might mean something to the fools who paid hundreds of quid for them, but to the rest of us they’re a total mystery.

Take this for an example. An ad I saw in a 4×4 mag the other day offered some lucky individual the chance to own H14 HDC for a mere £350 ono, which would buy you a decent pair of skis or pay for a flight to somewhere nice. Just in case you were wondering what on earth that might stand for the advertiser was good enough to enlighten us – apparently it’s ‘ideal for Land Rover with hill descent control, hence the HDC’.

Marvellous! Apart from the fact that for some time now all vehicles have been manufactured with HDC – otherwise known as ‘brakes’ – why would anyone need to advertise this fact at a price of £350? And what about the prefix of H14? Maybe that would appeal to a not-quite-bald bloke who wishes to inform the world that he has 14 hairs still remaining on his head, ‘hence’ H14?

Equally sad are those car owners who can’t quite get the letters they can afford to make the word they want, so a number 4, say, takes the place of a letter A, or an E becomes a reversed 3. There’s a peculiarly British desperation in this willingness to spend money to be seen to be an ‘individual’ when all it really reveals is that you’ve just been sucked in and – excuse the pun – been taken for a ride by the system.

And as for a ‘system’ that contrives to give us ridiculously convoluted numbers that are deliberately designed to create ‘words’ so that each year new plates can be sold at a premium – well, that just shows what an appallingly desperate state the UK’s economy is in when the government has to stoop so low to bring in revenue.

Now, how much for PEN 1S I wonder…?



One Response to Your Number Is Up

  1. Dove says:

    I once witnessed a souped up sporting job roar past me with the number plate VUU2. I was impressed .. probably more so with my ability to interpret the message than the message itself.

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