Shakespeare once wrote “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
I’ll answer this over four-hundred year old question – a name is something unique to us, every person; an identity that we bring to the world which separates us from everyone else. Each of us was named individually by our parents or guardians and everything that we come into contact on a daily basis has a name.
Including our cars. Particularly our cars. Every car that we see on the road has an individual number. You could actually say that it has it’s own name because no two cars have the same number.
Every car has a registration number which identifies the vehicle, first and foremost for taxation and law enforcement. It stays with the vehicle until it is destroyed or exported.
Exceptions to the rule
However, there are two exceptions. Firstly, when a registration number is transferred, replacing the original one assigned or secondly, when it is retained. Private, personalised or cherished marks all describe a registration mark that is assigned to the owner rather than the vehicle. They can be transferred from vehicle to vehicle or retained by the owner.
Vehicle registration plates Vehicle registration plates have been in existence since 1904 and almost every motor vehicle, used on public roads are required by law to display them. Exceptions to the rule include vehicles used by royalty as they have no number plates.
A car owner can have an assigned registration mark or a private, cherished or personalised one.
1. Assigned Registration Number Plate
An assigned registration number plate currently consists of two letters, two digits and three letters. Generally speaking, the first two letters show which local office issued the mark. The numbers indicate the six-monthly period the plate was issued. The final three letters are individual to the vehicle but have no special meaning.
2. Personalised Registration Number Plate
Private and personalised number plates are generally associated with the rich and famous as they tend to pay a premium for their uniqueness. They generally don’t follow any particular format, e.g., AMS 1 is the registration for Lord Alan Sugar’s car.
Another term for personalised registration plates is cherished number plates. These are traditionally associated to old dateless car plates which have been on vehicles for many, many years. However, these days, cherished marks now include the more recent current style registration, e.g., JH06 SRL (Jayne Henry for me, 06 for my month of birth and SRL for Speedy Reg Ltd).
Whatever your choice of term for a private plate, they work. With over 31 million cars on British roads as per road statistics at the end of 2009, private, personalised or cherished marks allow a car to be unique, to stand out from the crowd or have its own identity in the world.