Another car on the driveway of Theo’s house is a Volkswagen with LA53 NZAnumber plates. The VW belongs to his daughter, Zoe, who modelled for La Senza. Although Theo has sold most of his interest in the company, Zoe retains her personal plates.
“I bought two more plates from you recently,” Theo tells us. “One ‘Debbie’ and one ‘Theo’.” DEB 131E was purchased for Theo’s wife, and it turns out that there is quite a coincidence in the story behind his purchase of T1 HEO.
“It’s the weirdest thing. I met Ed and Emmy from Gaming Alerts [one of theDragons’ Den candidate projects in which Theo invested] for dinner to go through various bits and pieces, and when I was talking to Ed, he said ‘My dad’s got a “Theo” plate. He’s selling it if you’d like to buy it.’
I asked what the registration was and he said it was T1 HEO.
“So, I rang Kato [his nickname for Michael, his chauffeur and right-hand man] and said ‘Kato, don’t we ownT1 HEO?’ He said,‘Yes boss, we bought it last week’. So, Regtransfers acted as agent for that one, and it was Ed’s dad’s plate. What a small world!
“Kato often looks at plates and points things out. It was him who dealt with Regtransfers for me Everything went smoothly, tickety-boo.”
Theo firmly believes that a nice car should sport a good registration. “It’s an extension of enjoying nice cars and finishing them off properly. One of the ugliest things is having a nice car with a whole load of numbers on it like a serial number. It’s horrible and it can spoil the car. But put a decent plate on a good car and it adds to its beauty and its look. I’m very careful about the plates I buy. I’ve seen plates out there that aren’t very good – I’ve seen some shockers.
“My son Alex is looking for a plate. He just bought a new BMW 3 series convertible.
I said I would buy him a number plate for Christmas as long as I could choose it. I managed to find W411 KER. For some reason he’s not enamoured with it. I can’t imagine why. I actually had the plates made up and put them on his car, hoping he would go off to work with them, but he spotted them. They then rested on[fellow Dragon] Peter Jones’s Ferrari for a while before he realised his plates had been swapped!”
“It’s great fun. It’s something to collect and do. Looking around to find something to tickle your fancy… When you discover something, it’s brilliant.”
Theo has owned private number plates for a long time but, surprisingly, he doesn’t buy and sell them for profit. “No, I never sell. I’ve collected them for 15 years and when I find one I like then I’ll buy it. Of course, then I have to buy another car to put it on.”
The comment is made with tongue in cheek, but with the amount of travelling Theo has to do, cars are very important to him.