Monday, 14 September 2009

Registration Plate Cryptology

As I write this entry, the car registration plate you see is being auctioned. There are 18 hours left, and currently, the bid sits at 7,996 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly. That would be close to $13,000 U.S. Has the world spun off its axis?


When it comes to what Americans would call "vanity plates," yes. I'll share with you, dear readers, a little of the vehicular education I've gained since becoming a car owner in England. All cars are assigned plates. They belong to the car, not to the owner, so when you sell the car, you sell the plate with it. It is possible to transfer registrations between cars, and here's where a huge industry has crept in and set up shop.

There are multiple conventions for understanding the information printed on English registration plates, which are far too similar to the Enigma to explain here. Besides, I lack the codebreaking equipment (testosterone.) The government assigns a plate a car. If you are the lucky owner of a "valuable" registration, you may want to resell it in a very established auction marketplace. There are government auctions of good vanity plate combinations, and private dealers. This little gem is currently on offer for 500 pounds:

What rich nerd is interested in "logbook"? I have one thing to say - what about the starving kids in China? They are big business, despite how frivolous I find them.

I can live with all the vanity plates in the US, at least in my home state, as they cost the same no matter what they say. There's a push for more fundraising charitable plates, which don't bother me one bit.I didn't get terribly worked up over this phenomena until driving home today, when I saw this plate, blinked hard, and read it again. I have noticed that England is generally unafraid of overt sexuality, but I feel like I have the right to click together my little Puritan shoes on this one. I can't get a picture of it because some wealthy but perverse little so and so actually bought it, but it said the following:

MA57 UBT

Really. How precious. My dad used to laugh that he tried to register a hearse he owned as a teenager under the plate "STIFF", but the powers that be turned him down once they took note of what kind of car it would belong to. (I've never asked my dad why he was a teenage used-hearse driver. Perhaps I ought to.) In essence, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, might it be a good idea to check the switch here? Back home, prisoners used to make our license plates. I think making and selling this little combo is criminal, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What does MA57 UBT mean? I can't seem to figure it out..."Masterbate" is quite a stretch, but what else can it be..?