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Blog: Are personalised numberplates cool or naff?

New plates are available every March and September. But what do you think of personalised numberplates: are they cool or slightly naff? We take a look.



Motorists are no different to any other type of consumer – we love having the latest gear.

So for many, a 14 plate will be the latest must-have accessory this March, and there's also the new 64 plate in September. 

For fans of personalised vehicle registration numbers, the 14 plate in particular offers a wealth of opportunities as it can be read as I or A.

This is demonstrated on the personalised plate sported by Confused.com’s very own BRIAN the Robot, pictured above.

Personalised plates – cool or naff?

But are personalised plates cool – or just a bit naff?

I’m sure I’m going to come in for plenty of flak for admitting that for me, it’s the latter – I think personalised plates are a bit naff.

Why naff? Well, I normally spot them on motors driven by aggressive, male drivers.

You know the male motorists I mean – the ones behind the wheel of an Audi or BMW swaggering all over the roads as if they own them.

Conversely, another group who seem to be fans of personalised plates are so-called yummy-mummies, usually driving 4x4s that you just know have never been near a country road.

Driving a car with a plate that reads ‘pimp’?

While driving in Wembley in north-west London last month, me and my friends cringed as a man who looked about 50 - i.e. old enough to know better - passed us in a car with a plate that spelt P1MP.

I can think of much better ways to spend a few hundred pounds or more than on a personalised plate.

As one friend of mine put it: "I can’t help but judge drivers with personalised plates.

"I just assume they’re a bit of an idiot, spending money on something that isn’t beautiful or useful, and that says ‘I take too much pride in my car’.

"Of course, there’s something to be said for taking pride in your car – keeping it clean, having a decent stereo, for example - but who cares about the plate?"

The history of the number plate



Buying a personalised plate

But if you are set on a personalised plate, you can buy them from the DVLA, or from a dealer or a motorist in a private sale.

The DVLA also holds auctions of exclusive registration numbers around six times a year, with reserve prices starting from £130.

And on the DVLA Personalised Registrations site you can search to see which numbers are available and how much they cost.

I must admit, it's quite addictive to have a play around on the site for a personalised plate.

I found that for - just - £799 Confused.com could bestow BRIAN the Robot with BR14 NTR, for example.

But still, would I actually buy a personalised plate? The answer remains a firm no.

What do you think?

Are you a fan or personalised numberplates?

We want to hear from you! You can share your views on our message board below.

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Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick reports on all things personal finance at Confused.com. She started out on a weekly newspaper, via a national news agency and a stint in the fun but ‘not as glamorous as it appears on screen’ world of TV at the BBC researching consumer films for The One Show.

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