Alec Taylor worked as a salesman for Michelin tyres for nearly thirty years. He tells us that the famous cuddly ‘fat’ man emblem, used since the very early days in all their advertising is called ‘Bibendum’. ‘BIB’ is what all the employees called him and he features on all Michelin paper-work and everything connected with the company.
“When I saw a BIB registration advertised,
I made a bid,” says Alec. “The number was advertised as BIB 4321, a County Armagh, Northern Irish number. I saw it as quite a nice appealing sequence of numbers.
Not long after my bid was made, it was noticed by the advertiser that the number was, in fact, BIB 4231, so I made a reduced offer and that was accepted, presumably by the dyslexic advertiser.
“I held that number for probably 25 or more years and long into retirement I decided it was the time to allow it to go. My ties with Michelin were getting less and less, apart from my pension. A local coach firm that I used to call on knew all along that I had the number and had said that if ever
I wished to part with it, they would be interested. Nearly all their coaches bear ‘BIB’ registrations.
I put a proposition to him that, if he purchased a number that I’d seen, I would give him BIB 4231. This was acceptable to him and he placed his newly acquired number on a new Land Rover Discovery to be used as his own. Since parting with BIB 4231 I have never seen another BIB number advertised, so how old must the registration be?
“The number I obtained in exchange was W14 LEC which, with a little imagination, reads W14 LEC, my middle name by which everyone knows me. This stirred me into action for my other car and I obtained a near sister registration W444 LEC.
This was duly placed on my Smart Passion Cabriolet, enabling people to remark, as if they’d thought of it, ‘Smart Alec!’
“So now both ‘ALEC’s stand on my driveway. However, my Toyota Yaris, now three years old, or my Smart can have the numbers removed should anyone wish to buy either. It is a simple matter to place one or both on retention to facilitate transfer.
“W1 is, of course, the Soho and Oxford Street district of London which would serve as a suitable registration for a vehicle based there.”