Aide de memoir

Aid de memoir

Mr W G Tyson grew up in the 1950s and the first family car he remembers was a Morris 7 with the registration DWE 111.

“My grandmother was really the car’s owner,” he recalls. “She next bought an Austin A40 which bore the number NWJ 328. That served well but was eventually superseded by my favourite, a two-tone, maroon and silver-grey Wolseley 1500 with the registration 373 CWB. My father acquired a Vauxhall Victor, registration 5004 WA.

Readers familiar with car registration regional codes may have gathered that the Tysons lived in Sheffield during that period, and most readers will have gathered that Mr Tyson has an amazing memory for the details of his family’s vehicles.

“Our last car from that city was a 1961 Mini, bearing 4825 W. Sadly it was written off in a serious accident shortly after we moved to Cheshire. I cannot help but wonder if any of the other registrations have survived and, if so, what they are worth today.”

The mnemonic qualities of certain number plates are part of their appeal for Mr Tyson.

“Numbers then were easy to remember, and perhaps that is one of the attractions of personalised plates nowadays. One of my own first vehicles was a Ford Fiesta Ghia 1.1. I was given several numbers to choose from by the dealer and I chose A580 WCA. The number of the East Lancashire Road, Liverpool to Manchester, is the A580. That made it memorable to me.”

Mr Tyson remembers the first deliberately personal registration bought by his father. As he recalls, the purchase was, perhaps, a little out of character.

“My father did not like distracting gadgets in the car and even refused, for a long time, to have a car radio, because he would have to take his attention off the road to turn it on or change it. Perhaps in the same way that mobile phones in cars are considered potentially dangerous.

He also did not approve of GB stickers on cars because he thought that the owners were just “showing off” by saying that they had been to the continent, while we seldom got out of Yorkshire!

“It was all the more surprising, therefore, when he and my mother jointly purchased DMT 2. The ‘D’ for his first name, ‘M’ for her first name and the T for our surname. My parents kept DMT 2 on a variety of vehicles, including a classic-looking Vanden Plas Allegro. For the last few years it has been on a Toyota Yaris Verso, a versatile model that has proved able to transport the mobility scooter as well as the dog travelling cage for my dog, Douglas – who shares the first initial from the registration!”

Mr Tyson’s own interest in registration plates was originally stirred while he was living in Northumberland. He noticed a bread van (Sunblest, he thinks), bearing the plate GTY 49N. His dream became, and remains, to own the next one in numerical sequence, GTY 50N, but he says that he fears that one may have been lost. Unless, of course, one of our readers knows better.

In the absence of his ideal registration, Mr Tyson decided to settle for WGT 1M.

“It cost me rather more than I actually wanted to pay, so I regard it as an investment. When I got the number plate it went onto a Citroen AX14, arguably the least favourite car of all I have owned. Since then it has been on a selection of BMWs and Mercedes. It is currently on an A170 CDi Mercedes, a car that is compact enough to park in confined spaces, powerful enough to cope with long motorway journeys, yet economical and green enough not to make me feel too guilty.

Of course, it has the Mercedes ‘ring of confidence’ (or style, or class, or whatever). I am actually now so attached to WGT 1M that I have included it in my email address. I wonder how many others of your readers have done this!

“I have recently seen both CTY 50N and DTY 50N advertised, but cannot really afford to put in an offer on either and I still slightly worry about the ‘snob value’, so I will go back to the investment element.

“Keep writing your magazine, and if you should come across that elusive GTY 50N plate, please let me know!”

Rick Cadger

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