Sometimes, cars just aren’t enough of a statement. Private number plates have long been an easy way to personalise a car – but easy doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. While most private plates can be in the low hundreds, some have paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to flaunt their most prized digits.
Here are just some of the most expensive number plates. It may come as a shock to you – but they’re actually not all rude puns, either.
K1 NGS – £250,000
Perhaps the perfect plate for Prince Harry, as he won’t get to wear the king’s bling himself. This plate was sold to a Saudi royal in the 1990s for the best part of £250,000.
An imperious plate demands a imperious car, so we’d fix this to a Bentley Mulsanne. The long wheelbase version, naturally. After all, you wouldn’t be driving yourself.
FU 2 – £150,000
Buy this to turn your car into a two-wheeled two fingers. First owned, appropriately enough, by Soho porn baron Paul Raymond, it also spent time strapped to the front of a Mercedes S-Class owned by Hannah Smart, progeny of circus owner Billy. (Seems the family have a thing for blue plates – in the 1970s, her dad bought BS 1 for his purple Rolls Royce.)
For a Merc that matches the plate’s attitude, a Maybach beats an S-Class. Being in the back seat is the best FU to the little people.
F 1 – £440,000
If almost half a million for a number plate seems steep, know that its owner, businessman Afzal Khan, turned down a £6m offer a few years later. Ideally, you’d attach it to an actual F1 car. But it seems a waste since they’re not road legal (and therefore don’t need a registration plate).
Khan put his on a McLaren-Mercedes SLR which, while a lovely drive, misses the opportunity to attach F1 to a McLaren F1. Just think of the Instagram likes.
VIP 1 – £285,000
If you feel the need to tell folks you’re a VIP then the chances are you’re probably not. Even if the price tag hints that you’re not just behind the velvet rope, but own the entire nightclub. Roman Abramovich is, allegedly, the owner in question. But it was first registered for Pope John Paul II, when he visited the UK in 1979.
You could attach it to a stretch limo then cruise Mayfair, but you’ll still never beat the Popemobile for Very Important points.
PEN 15 – £90,000
The DVLA has an office that is supposed to censor plates that spell out rude words. They were clearly on holiday when this slipped through the net. This plate last sat on a Smart FourTwo owned by regtransfers.co.uk. As they’ve stuck it on a car so small, we can only imagine that the guy who made that call has no worries at all in that department.
We’d keep it on the Smart. We wouldn’t want anyone to think we were making up for something.
1 D – £350,000
The band may be gone, but the number plate lives on. The plate was last sold in 2009, the year before Simon Cowell conjured the fivesome into being – a prescient investment if ever there was one.
Its ideal home is the front of the remaining lads’ tour bus. Maybe that kind of swagger will bring Zayn back.
25 O – £518,480
This registration is a nod to the most expensive car ever sold at auction – the Ferrari 250 GTO. It sold for more than £30.5 million. But the plate dedicated to 250 didn’t come cheap either – it’s rumoured to be the most expensive number plate sold in the UK to date.
M1 – £330,000
Mike McCoomb made his fortune selling his Mobile Phone Store chain in 2000. He then bought this number plate for his son in 2006 – who was only six years old at the time.
A Back To The Future Mark I time machine would work.
5 – £3.5m
Talal Ali Mohammed Khoury, from Abu Dhabi, bought this number plate in 2007 for an absolute tonne of money. He also bought the number plate 55 at the same auction for the smaller price of £800,000. When asked, he said the numbers held no particular significance. What a mystery.
1 – £7.25m
This whopping wad of cash was handed over by Abu Dhabi businessman Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri in 2008, at an auction at the Emirates Palace. He clearly wanted to be known as a numero uno kind of guy.
A tiny one-seater would be pretty funny for this one, but we can’t see that happening somehow.
S1 – £404,000
This comparatively moderate sum was the price paid by an anonymous bidder in 2008. It’s alleged to be Scotland’s first ever number plate, and was originally the number plate on a car owned one of Scotland’s first car owners, Lord Kingsburgh, way back in 1903.
The unknown successful bidder apparently said its new home would be on old red Skoda. Well, at least its plates will be worth something, even if the car isn’t.