Thursday, 10 January 2008

Coveting a number plate

In England, the number plate (= US 'License plate') on a car is strictly regulated - the plate itself and the letters on it have to conform to certain dimensions. You are not allowed slogans on the plate as are allowed in some places in the USA and you cannot make up a number and order it. There are only the numbers that the system has produced. This creates a lucrative market in "personalised" number plates which happen to fall out in desirable combinations. You can transfer such a number to your own car after a fairly involved bureaucratic process.

For example, one of my local funeral directors, Albins, has the number plate ALB 1NS on its best hearse (a 1930s Roller that is still on the road.) The rules have changed from time to time about the arrangement of letters and numbers so there are various ways that you can ingeniously use the different combinations. Some numbers can be seen as though they are letters. "1" is obvious but "4" can also look like an "A".

Today, I followed a Golf GTI along Halfway Street that I thought had a clever one: K4 FLX. Unfortunately we did not stop together at any traffic lights so I could not ask him how much he wanted for it ;-)
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