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Rear End

a cheeky number

Some personalised registration numbers convey their message at a glance as the word or name they spell is visually very obvious. Others take a little more deductive talent to appreciate: for example, those consisting of initials or birthdates.

There is also a third category that falls between the obvious and the cryptic. Some marks only really get their message across when read out, either aloud or in one’s head. Judging by the reactions Regtransfers has seen, some of these phonetic combinations can be amongst the most amusing plates to be seen on UK roads.

It is hardly surprising, when one considers the nature of Britain’s most enduring comedy masterpieces, that the phonetic plates that raise the broadest smiles are those with a touch of the Carry On or Benny Hill about them. The cheeky, but harmless, nudge-wink humour that Britain has successfully exported around the world. Take the plate R5 END which was sold by Regtransfers on behalf of Nick Huntridge. At first glance, the appeal of the plate might not be evident, but if one applies the “Platespeak” principle of converting numbers to letters (converting the ‘5’ to an ‘S’) and then if the plate is read aloud, all becomes clear – especially in the photograph above with its built-in clue.

Nick told us: “It seems that the number has gone from one motor sport enthusiast to another. Last summer two people came back from the ‘24 Heures Du Mans’ race telling me they had seen the number on a Ford Focus RS. That wasn’t the first time it had been there – I’d also taken it on my Fiesta Si.

“I was once stopped and offered good money for R5 END by an amused Jaguar driver. We agreed a deal but he wrote a couple of days later saying his wife wouldn’t have the registration number on their car! Eventually it was sold to a man in Stokesley. I was a little sorry to see the number go and local people still keep asking me what happened to it. I had my share of fun out of it and it was time for someone else to enjoy it. I now have 2CUF on my car, which Regtransfers is advertising for sale on my behalf.”

Nick hoped to acquire R5 OLE and R50 LES (apply the same process described above if the meanings aren’t immediately clear), but the issuing authority does sometimes hold back combinations that might be deemed offensive and he was told he couldn’t have those numbers.

The appeal is perhaps a little immature, as Nick is the first to admit. “I used to write things like that on the back of dirty lorries as a kid. It amused me in the same way that those old joke book titles like Floating Down the River by R Suppards!”

© – The World of Personal Number Plates Volume 2 Issue 2

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