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Thread: Private Plates - any pros out there..?

  1. #1
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Private Plates - any pros out there..?

    So ironically inspired by a thread in the The Bear Pit that has a laugh at silly private plates, I've found myself considering getting one.

    I drive a tiny Smart car (which I love!), so I'm not exactly the flashy type But I do like the idea of having one plate forever, something easy to remember, and I guess I'm not immune to it being something a bit special (within reason).

    N = number
    L = letter

    Current front-runners are a 5 digit plate off DVLA (priced at £499) that has a decent link to my name initials (LN LLL), or a 4 digit plate off one of the main sites which is formatted (N LLL) with the 3 letters being a decent abbreviation of my surname. The 4 letter plate is clearly better and I much prefer the link is to the family name rather than my personal name, but also costs 8-12x the price of the alternative depending on the first number (at asking price).

    I have a few questions:

    What are the risks to a private plate? I'm not too worried about the £499 option, but if I fork out thousands I'd want to be quite sure I won't lose the reg. From my reading it seems like as long as you're sensible about transferring the number off the car well in advance of selling the car, you're OK there. But I hear some horror stories about stolen cars and insurance companies (something about the reg being attached to the car, not the car owner). Any first hand experiences on this? Or other risks to be aware of? (I'm aware that technically DVLA own the reg and can recall it if you mess about with it)

    How much value is there in the first number on a plate, other than '1' which clearly holds a big premium. For the plate I'm interested in I'm noticing over a thousand pound difference better the number 7 and the number 8 (seven being higher), is that premium on a 7 usual? Also the 7 incurs VAT whereas the 8 plate doesn't (due to the seller despite being on the same website), so needless to say I'm drawn more to the 8. Just wondering if there's some sort of value in the numbers beyond #1.

    Do insurance companies tend to care? I'd be expecting some sort of admin fee, but they're not likely to land me in some high risk category for a plate change are they? I honestly wouldn't put it past them...

    Any other gotcha's to be aware of from experience? Or recommended websites that folk have used with success?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    I bought 2 earlier this year via Regtransfers (no association). I made a fairly ruthless offer on both (separate sales) and got the one for my wife's car for 50% of the advertised price after some haggling and the one for mine at 65% of the advertised price.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  3. #3
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    I bought 2 earlier this year via Regtransfers (no association). I made a fairly ruthless offer on both (separate sales) and got the one for my wife's car for 50% of the advertised price after some haggling and the one for mine at 65% of the advertised price.
    Oh wow, that's really helpful info. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Most plates being sold by firms like Regtransfers are being offered on behalf of the owners of the plates , rather like estate agents operate. So, one would make an offer on a plate and the "middle man" would pass the offer on to the owner and come back with a counter offer or, maybe , accept ones offer , on behalf of the owner.

  5. #5
    Grand Master GraniteQuarry's Avatar
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    £499 all-in for ?1 ??? is a steal compared to e.g. 7 ??? from a dealer at 10x the cost, esp. when they are listing it on behalf of somebody at 4x what itíll cost them.

    I have two mirror plates 1 ??? / ??? 1 and quite honestly have stopped using as they seem to attract the wrong sort of attention and even anger.

    Check out the DVLA auctions as maybe something to suit and you can request them to list if unissued, although it may take time. You can also check historic auction prices which is useful when negotiating.

    Oh and VAT on some reseller listings is purely a seller-forced issue, like if coming from a company.

  6. #6
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    Oh wow, that's really helpful info. Thanks.
    These were 3 number prefix and 3 letter suffix.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  7. #7
    Master Harry Smith's Avatar
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    It is worth looking through the lists of plates to find something that looks really neat that no-one else has noticed, particularly dvla staff. I have bought a few interesting ones that way. A few years ago I had a Buell motorcycle, I spotted BUE 11X on a dvla auction and got it very cheap. It looked absolutely amazing on the bike.
    My current plate has an unforeseen advantage due to the spacing. Car park cameras don't recognise it, although I assume ANPR can sort it out.

  8. #8
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Thanks all.

    Quote Originally Posted by GraniteQuarry View Post
    £499 all-in for ?1 ??? is a steal compared to e.g. 7 ??? from a dealer at 10x the cost, esp. when they are listing it on behalf of somebody at 4x what itíll cost them.

    I have two mirror plates 1 ??? / ??? 1 and quite honestly have stopped using as they seem to attract the wrong sort of attention and even anger.

    Check out the DVLA auctions as maybe something to suit and you can request them to list if unissued, although it may take time. You can also check historic auction prices which is useful when negotiating.

    Oh and VAT on some reseller listings is purely a seller-forced issue, like if coming from a company.
    Seems that's the market rates though for a 4 digit ageless plate. I guess there's a lot less of them. I did take a look at the last completed DVLA auction, you can download the results as an Excel which is handy. 4 digit plates were running between £3k-18k at auction, then with a few outliers in the £40-120k range (DSK 1 sold for £120k, not sure why!). The one I'm looking at is asking price £4.5k (on the 8 variant) or a couple grand more for the 7 variant which I think I've ruled out (as you say the VAT thing is off-putting for sure).

    Interesting what you said about not using the plates, I hadn't really considered the reaction of random people to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by notnowkato View Post
    Most plates being sold by firms like Regtransfers are being offered on behalf of the owners of the plates , rather like estate agents operate. So, one would make an offer on a plate and the "middle man" would pass the offer on to the owner and come back with a counter offer or, maybe , accept ones offer , on behalf of the owner.
    I think I'll put in an offer at the lower end of the DVLA auctions for similar X XXX plates if I decide to go for it, and then see how it goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    These were 3 number prefix and 3 letter suffix.
    Thanks. I kind of think the one I'm looking at isn't far off the mark given the public auction prices for that style of plate. I doubt they'd sell less than DVLA auction prices, which gives me about £1.5k of negotiation room to work with.

  9. #9
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    The risks to having a plate are that repeated misplacing can result in it being confiscated, and if your car is financed it can be tricky getting it off should the car be written off.

    Can I ask what your name is, I worked 20 years at DVLA and might be able to suggest some options.

  10. #10
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete-r View Post
    The risks to having a plate are that repeated misplacing can result in it being confiscated, and if your car is financed it can be tricky getting it off should the car be written off.

    Can I ask what your name is, I worked 20 years at DVLA and might be able to suggest some options.
    I'm pretty finance adverse other than the mortgage, so no worries there (quite happy to just have a cheap car if needs must).

    I'll PM you RE your kind offer

  11. #11
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    For me, dateless plates are much more desirable and more modern plates, especially with spacings altered, are a bit naff.

    Some years ago I bought ### LOU for Mrs Draft. Paid around 5k for it. While itís not an investment I donít expect it would would ever lose money, not that she ever wants to sell it. Itís certainly never attracted any adverse comments or attention apart from the police and port authorities in the Isle of Man, but I believe thatís more down to that islandís bent administration having marked my card than anything.

  12. #12
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by draftsmann View Post
    For me, dateless plates are much more desirable and more modern plates, especially with spacings altered, are a bit naff.

    Some years ago I bought ### LOU for Mrs Draft. Paid around 5k for it. While itís not an investment I donít expect it would would ever lose money, not that she ever wants to sell it. Itís certainly never attracted any adverse comments or attention apart from the police and port authorities in the Isle of Man, but I believe thatís more down to that islandís bent administration having marked my card than anything.
    That's a really interesting point, is there any legal restrictions to driving with a dateless plate abroad providing you follow the 'normal' plate rules (e.g. country mark etc)?

    I had a road trip around Ireland (Republic) planned, wouldn't want to find myself on the wrong side of the law!

  13. #13
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    That's a really interesting point, is there any legal restrictions to driving with a dateless plate abroad providing you follow the 'normal' plate rules (e.g. country mark etc)?

    I had a road trip around Ireland (Republic) planned, wouldn't want to find myself on the wrong side of the law!
    None whatsoever, ordinarily.

    The IoM issues its own number plates for cars registered there. Anyone permanently moving a car there is supposed to re-register it locally- like most other countries.

    This is Mrs Draftís car, registered to her UK address, which visits the Isle of Man quite often and attracts disproportionate attention from the local police and port authority. The reasons for this may form the subject of a thread in a certain Bear Pit at some future time. Letís just say I have to be careful not to step on the cracks in the pavement on that island.

  14. #14
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by draftsmann View Post
    None whatsoever, ordinarily.

    The IoM issues its own number plates for cars registered there. Anyone permanently moving a car there is supposed to re-register it locally- like most other countries.

    This is Mrs Draftís car, registered to her UK address, which visits the Isle of Man quite often and attracts disproportionate attention from the local police and port authority. The reasons for this may form the subject of a thread in a certain Bear Pit at some future time. Letís just say I have to be careful not to step on the cracks in the pavement on that island.
    Sounds like an interesting future read in the Bear Pit then

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    If youíre not overly bothered, ones with Ďoddí letters are a lot cheaper. Something like 3ATD would sell for much more that 3VXV or something as itís less likely to be somebodyís initials.

  16. #16
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave O'Sullivan View Post
    If youíre not overly bothered, ones with Ďoddí letters are a lot cheaper. Something like 3ATD would sell for much more that 3VXV or something as itís less likely to be somebodyís initials.
    This, when I last bought part of the sales pitch was the number of people (demographically) who's initials matched the plate.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  17. #17
    It is worth looking at DVLA site for upcoming auctions, timed and live.

    Some registrations sold are bargains whilst others are head scratchers. If two people want the same registration, the price can be sky high.

    I've never had an issue with a private registration.

  18. #18
    Check eBay
    Youíll be surprised at the amount of time some sellers have gone to in the way of mocking up names etc with the numbers and letters

    Mine is J99HN C

    Iím v v happy and have had it for about 15 years I reckon


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  19. #19
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prexelor View Post
    It is worth looking at DVLA site for upcoming auctions, timed and live.

    Some registrations sold are bargains whilst others are head scratchers. If two people want the same registration, the price can be sky high.

    I've never had an issue with a private registration.
    Thanks - I've taken a look at the next set and nothing's particularly of interest, but worth keeping an eye out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweepinghand View Post
    Check eBay
    Youíll be surprised at the amount of time some sellers have gone to in the way of mocking up names etc with the numbers and letters

    Mine is J99HN C

    Iím v v happy and have had it for about 15 years I reckon
    Nice - I immediately thought of this!



    Quote Originally Posted by Dave O'Sullivan View Post
    If youíre not overly bothered, ones with Ďoddí letters are a lot cheaper. Something like 3ATD would sell for much more that 3VXV or something as itís less likely to be somebodyís initials.
    It's a bit vain, but I think I am bothered with the letters to be honest! Not overly precious, but I'd like at least some vague link to something meaningful to me. That said, if I can't do it in budget then I'm happy enough to walk away too and just keep the standard plate. Chucked an offer of £3,250 at the one I like... let's see!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    This, when I last bought part of the sales pitch was the number of people (demographically) who's initials matched the plate.
    Yea makes sense, wish that info was public so it could be used both ways!

  20. #20
    I have always liked private plates from the days many years ago when I collected car numbers as well as went train spotting :)

    A huge benefit for me is it makes my car easier to find in large car parks as my car is grey like thousands of others and the car just looks like thousands of others (they all look the same to me), helps me in my senior years :)

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Sweepinghand View Post
    Check eBay
    Youíll be surprised at the amount of time some sellers have gone to in the way of mocking up names etc with the numbers and letters

    Mine is J99HN C

    Iím v v happy and have had it for about 15 years I reckon


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    It would be.

  22. #22
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Small update. After making the offer I had a call from a friendly chap, not pushy but essentially saying they've already had a larger offer declined by the seller so they can't progress my offer unless I want to go higher that the previously rejected number.

    Interesting, could be a sales tactic to try and push the price up and instigate a sense of urgency as someone else is allegedly bidding, but equally could be totally true. I said I'd think about it.

  23. #23
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    Small update. After making the offer I had a call from a friendly chap, not pushy but essentially saying they've already had a larger offer declined by the seller so they can't progress my offer unless I want to go higher that the previously rejected number.

    Interesting, could be a sales tactic to try and push the price up and instigate a sense of urgency as someone else is allegedly bidding, but equally could be totally true. I said I'd think about it.
    I had similar.

    I responded by giving them my limit for the plate (I increased my offer by a few £100's) and said I was happy to proceed at that or leave it.

    They rang me back the following morning at 08.30 saying it had been accepted. Plate was originally up for £3.5k plus fees, I got it for £2200 all in.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  24. #24
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheTigerUK View Post
    I have always liked private plates from the days many years ago when I collected car numbers as well as went train spotting :)

    A huge benefit for me is it makes my car easier to find in large car parks as my car is grey like thousands of others and the car just looks like thousands of others (they all look the same to me), helps me in my senior years :)
    I just press the boot open button on the remote and look for the tailgate lifting.

    It does have the wifeís plate on it though!

  25. #25
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    I had similar.

    I responded by giving them my limit for the plate (I increased my offer by a few £100's) and said I was happy to proceed at that or leave it.

    They rang me back the following morning at 08.30 saying it had been accepted. Plate was originally up for £3.5k plus fees, I got it for £2200 all in.
    Ooh that's a good discount. The one I went for was up at 4.2k and I offered 3.2k. I based this on similar plates on DVLA auctions, so thought it seemed reasonable.

    The offer that was apparently rejected was at 3.8k, so suggests there's little-to-no wiggle room in the price.
    Last edited by M1011; 5th October 2021 at 21:55.

  26. #26
    Grand Master GraniteQuarry's Avatar
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    I think they’re talking bollix.

    Typically they list at a multiple of what the actual owner will get… a few years ago a dealer offered to list and sell one of my 1 plates at £13k paid to me, when reality it cost me under £4k.

    Another dealer offered £1.5k to physically buy another 1 plate that cost me around £4k, and of course would’ve been relisted at a similar circa. £13k.

    In short, don’t be afraid to lowball. I’m all for capitalism but a lot of these companies are taking the P, the vast majority are acting as brokers and nothing more.

  27. #27
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    Ooh that's a good discount. The one I went for was up at 4.2k and I offered 3.2k. I based this on similar plates on DVLA auctions, so thought it seemed reasonable.

    The offer that was apparently rejected was at 3.8k, so suggests there's little-to-no wiggle room in the price.
    That is likely the seller rather than the agency (assuming you are buying via third party).

    Some folks get over buoyant over the value of a plate and this is not helped by over optimistic valuations from aforementioned agencies.

    I would stick to your offer and maybe move to add transfer fees on top as a final offer?.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraniteQuarry View Post
    I think theyíre talking bollix.

    Typically they list at a multiple of what the actual owner will getÖ a few years ago a dealer offered to list and sell one of my 1 plates at £13k paid to me, when reality it cost me under £4k.

    Another dealer offered £1.5k to physically buy another 1 plate that cost me around £4k, and of course wouldíve been relisted at a similar circa. £13k.

    In short, donít be afraid to lowball. Iím all for capitalism but a lot of these companies are taking the P, the vast majority are acting as brokers and nothing more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    That is likely the seller rather than the agency (assuming you are buying via third party).

    Some folks get over buoyant over the value of a plate and this is not helped by over optimistic valuations from aforementioned agencies.

    I would stick to your offer and maybe move to add transfer fees on top as a final offer?.
    I think I'll leave the next move with them to be honest. If they follow up then great, if not I'm sure another will come along that catches my eye.

  29. #29
    Grand Master GraniteQuarry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    I think I'll leave the next move with them to be honest. If they follow up then great, if not I'm sure another will come along that catches my eye.
    A sound plan! Thereís a lot out there, something will turn up soon enough

  30. #30
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    Have you seen the same reg listed by another broker? It isnít uncommon to see several listings for the same number, at different asking prices.

  31. #31
    Grand Master Seamaster73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweepinghand View Post
    Mine is J99HN C
    Itís J99 HNC.

  32. #32
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    I can appreciate correctly spaced plates that are unusual or mean something but incorrectly spaced plates should lead to your car being crushed

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Seamaster73 View Post
    Itís J99 HNC.
    J99 PHD wasnít available.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by deepreddave View Post
    I can appreciate correctly spaced plates that are unusual or mean something but incorrectly spaced plates should lead to your car being crushed
    And yet some of the most expensive plates you can buy require said spacing to form the word/name.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaytip View Post
    And yet some of the most expensive plates you can buy require said spacing to form the word/name.
    Yep and my comment is largely in jest, although I do think that many such plates suggest the owner's need to indicate their status; that's the very opposite of cool in my book.
    Last edited by deepreddave; 6th October 2021 at 14:36.

  36. #36
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    Incorrect spacing just looks desperate and sad to me. If it doesn't 'work' with correct spacing, forget it AFAIK.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweepinghand View Post
    Check eBay
    Youíll be surprised at the amount of time some sellers have gone to in the way of mocking up names etc with the numbers and letters

    Mine is J99HN C

    Iím v v happy and have had it for about 15 years I reckon


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    Didnít want to change your plate after the ban from SC?


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  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    It would be.
    Yours Iím sure could be similarÖ..
    so keep your opinions to yourself


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  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Mj2k View Post
    Didnít want to change your plate after the ban from SC?


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    No as I spoke to the BOSS of the site - you know, the guy who runs this whole thing?
    He is ok with me - but you know how it is with people that get sooooooo upset about little dings didums
    Itís lovely to see people buying AND indeed (of course) selling to me - enjoy xxxx


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  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Seamaster73 View Post
    Itís J99 HNC.
    Thatís correct - however the constabulary are not interested in minor indiscretions - itís legible and easily identified
    Indeed when in receipt of points for speeding a year ago there was no mention from the friendly constable

    Times have moved on - itís when tape and screw heads are used to obscure or change the look of a number or letter they intervene


    As many would sayÖ. There are more important things for the police to be dealing with
    But if stopped Iíd be told to go to an MOT centre and then produce docs to prove rectification at the local station which I have no issues with at all

    Do you ever do 31 in a 30? Oh dearÖ. You too are breaking the law


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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by deepreddave View Post
    Yep and my comment is largely in jest, although I do think that many such plates suggest the owner's need to indicate their status; that's the very opposite of cool in my book.
    You're gonna hate mine with a passion then!


  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by uktotty View Post
    You're gonna hate mine with a passion then!
    Haha! I totally respect it's your choice but I'll judge you accordingly

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by JonRA View Post
    Incorrect spacing just looks desperate and sad to me. If it doesn't 'work' with correct spacing, forget it AFAIK.
    I think you mean AFA 1K

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gyp View Post
    I think you mean AFA 1K
    PM5 L
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  45. #45
    I have 3, but the most I have paid is £250 inc VAT and fees all in from DVLA

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweepinghand View Post
    Thatís correct - however the constabulary are not interested in minor indiscretions - itís legible and easily identified
    Indeed when in receipt of points for speeding a year ago there was no mention from the friendly constable

    Times have moved on - itís when tape and screw heads are used to obscure or change the look of a number or letter they intervene

    Did you bride him with an incredibly rare vintage bubble bath?

    I once saw Y110NNE fetch over £11k at a DVLA auction (YVONNE in case anyone is wondering). As itís the DVLA who sold it, presumably the sloping ones are acceptable!

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweepinghand View Post
    No as I spoke to the BOSS of the site - you know, the guy who runs this whole thing?
    He is ok with me - but you know how it is with people that get sooooooo upset about little dings didums
    Itís lovely to see people buying AND indeed (of course) selling to me - enjoy xxxx


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    Boss may think youíre legit.

    Many others think about meeting up next Tuesday.

    The recent attempted small profit sale and then return to eBay seller on a metal G was utterly shameful. You just canít see it though.

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Mj2k View Post
    Boss may think youíre legit.

    Many others think about meeting up next Tuesday.

    The recent attempted small profit sale and then return to eBay seller on a metal G was utterly shameful. You just canít see it though.
    Iíd prefer Seeing you next Tuesday
    As thatís more what you really want to say
    I donít give a monkeys tbh
    Youíre not John F Wayne
    In fact your number plate must be 181 GC

    Iíll leave you to your Columbo films


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  49. #49
    Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Hertfordshire
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gyp View Post
    I think you mean AFA 1K
    1 DKT ;)

    Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk

  50. #50
    I see this often, it looks good without being messed about much.

    MR5 5OUL

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