Number plates shouldn't be worth more than cars

With news that a number plate is expected to fetch £1 million at auction - yes, one million pounds - we argue against the logic of such a purchase

By ashley.winston 17/09/2012 11:25

Some people feel that a car should always be left as the manufacturer intended. Not upgraded, not changed, not modified. I disagree.


During my rather chequered motoring past, I have added larger wheels to cars I’ve owned, lowered suspension, had performance upgrades fitted, changed bodywork and even custom-painted cars. I am a great believer that if you can make something better, then why not?


But there is one very common item of car customisation that has always confused me: personalised number plates.


Who doesn’t love car number plates that have a humorous message?


My confusion is that they take up such a small amount of space on a car (0.1 metre squared to be precise). I just don’t know why so many people bother.


Don’t get me wrong, I think they can be cool. Who doesn’t love car number plates that have either a humorous message or relate to the make and model of the car (e.g. A911 POR for a Porsche 911)?


Despite the fact that in my opinion people who put their actual names, or similar, on their number plate is the motoring equivalent of writing your name in the label of your underpants, if spending £250 to £1,000 on a number plate keeps you happy, who am I to get in the way?


Who is crazy enough to pay £1m for a number plate?


But, recent news that the registration plate ‘X1’ will be going up for auction and is expected to fetch £1 million has me dumbfounded. Who is crazy enough to pay this? In my opinion, a number plate should never ever be worth more than the car it is on.


This is more than double the previous record paid for a number plate in the UK: £440k for the plate F1 in 2008.


If whoever buys this number plate sticks it on a BMW X1, the registration number will be worth 40 times the cost of the car! Even if they put the plate on a new Rolls-Royce Phantom II it will be worth three times the car’s value.


The only justification I can find is that the X1 number plate will be a good investment, but judging by recent events in the personalised number plate market, this is far from the case.


So, is this just a case of more money than sense? Sadly, I think so.


X1 number plate up for £1m at auction
The most valuable number plates in the UK

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