UK car companies have some of the most desirable registrations in the land. We spoke to a few to discover their passion for plates.
Personalised registrations are generally owned by individuals, reflecting someone’s name, their passion for something or even for someone. Many though are owned by companies and some of the most interesting and for that matter valuable, are owned by car companies.
The most notable of these private registrations is CAR 1 which belongs to Ford of Great Britain and has been in its possession for decades. Like many registrations owned by automakers, it is moved from one vehicle to another, often being used on cars used for press fleets or marketing events. So how much is CAR 1 worth? Well not surprisingly it’s worth around £175,000 but we don’t think Ford will ever sell it.
We also don’t think Porsche Great Britain will ever part with some of its cool plates, the coolest of which has to be A 911, valued at a rather hot £225,000. It’s one of a collection that Porsche owns, including 911 GB. The company has always had a thing for personalised registrations and going back a few years it owned THE 928S on, not surprisingly, a Porsche 928 S.
Another very well known one that is often seen in marketing material is AML 1, belonging to Aston Martin Lagonda. Valued at £185,000 it is also moved around vehicles both old and new. One minute it might be on a brand new model straight off the production line, the next on a heritage vehicle from the 1960s. It’s one of a number of registrations belonging to the company including DBS 1, usually found on an Aston Martin DBS and V12 AML.
Across the road from Aston, Jaguar Land Rover has the most valuable plate that we are aware of within those owned by automakers. LR 1 is usually only found on the car used to shuttle the CEO or visiting dignitaries and VIPs around. It’s worth a cool quarter of a million and is unlikely to ever be seen on sale.
Another one that will probably never be sold is 1 WO which belongs to Bentley Motors Limited and reflects the initials of the company’s founder W.O. Bentley. The luxury automaker has a series of registrations that end in BML with the first digits usually reflecting the project number of a specific model.
When it comes to VIP transport it’s quite common to see personalised registrations. They are great at hiding the age of a car so VIPs never know how old the Mercedes or Range Rover is that they are being shuttled around in and they can help as a marketing tool for the company. BMW UK has 1 BMW and 2 BMW on its VIP cars, with 1 BMW valued at around £100,000. We’ve rarely seen these plates out and about, only once spotting them in the multi-storey car park at BMW head office in Farnborough. Clearly you have to be very special to be shuttled in a car wearing this plate.
Another interesting one we discovered is SU13 ARU, which we’re quite sure you can tell reads as Subaru and belongs to the importer of the Japanese marque, IM Group. They have a few others too but none are quite as close to the actual name as this one, or at £18,000 worth as much.
Volkswagen owns a few too, including VWW 1 which is currently on an original Beetle in the UK heritage fleet. It also has G8 VWW on a Golf 8 GTi. but one we particularly like is P45 SAT, or Passat. It’s worth around £8,000 and with VW soon to end production of the Passat, we wonder if it might find its way onto the market.
If you are after a desirable plate, then you can’t get much better than DE51 RED, desired. Worth around £35,000 it belongs to Vauxhall.
In the course of our research we were contacted about quite a few examples of personalised registrations, some more clever than others but one that had us baffled for a while was OEM 155N on a Kia. OEM is the abbreviation of original equipment manufacturer, the official term for an automaker, but we couldn’t figure out the 155N. Was it the power? Maybe the location of the factory at 155-degrees north? Eventually we gave up and it was explained to us – it’s not OEM 155N, it’s 0 EM155N or zero emission on a Kia E-Niro electric car, valued at about £3,000. That’s quite clever. Another we rather like and which didn’t tax us too much is VW51 EEP, which is used on one of their California camper vans.
There are plenty more around, including MMC 11 which has been with Morgan Motor Company for over 50 years, T1 FCV which sits on a Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle and B16 HYU which is on the big Santa Fe SUV of Hyundai which also has N1 HYU on one of its N performance models. RR1 belongs to a private individual who won’t sell so Rolls-Royce has to settle for RRM 1 and Ferrari has a series of plates ending in FNE for Ferrari North Europe.
Then there’s a registration that one manufacturer would really like to get their hands on. AUD 1 (AUDI). It belongs not to Audi UK, but to the Jardine Motor Group. Valued today at £125,000 it has been with the Group for many years and we’re told that they have no intention of parting with it.
Finally a plate that might have no major financial value – RE20 WTF. It sits on an electric Honda-e belonging to Honda UK and we happen to think it summed up 2020 rather well.
So the next time you see a plate on a car in an ad on the telly, don’t assume it’s a made up registration, it could actually belong to the car company concerned. Search & buy your very own number plate today at Newreg.co.uk!