Lee Clarke from Wellesbourne in Warwickshire is one of the few people to buy a 40-year-old car just to authenticate a personal number plate.
“I have always been interested in personal number plates,” he says. “I remember scouring the Exchange and Mart for hours at a time, in fact one of my biggest regrets was not being able to convince my parents to let me buy LCV 1P for £400 when I was 14 years old. With hindsight, I should have used the ‘it’s an investment’ argument.”
Lee purchased his first cherished number, LCO 27 in 1998 from Regtransfers, to go on a new BMW Z3. The number plate has been on the car for 13 years now, and both the car and the plate are looking good as it’s done only 18000 miles from new.
In 2000, Lee purchased another dateless plate. His employer at the time enforced a three-year-old limit on the company’s vehicles and cars and he didn’t want to keep having to buy new cars. HBN 102 has been on several of his work vehicles, including a Volvo V70 and a Wrangler Jeep, but now takes pride of place on Lee’s weekend play thing, a 1966 Volkswagen Splitscreen Camper Van.
“The van was imported from Indonesia,” says Lee, “and, when I got it registered in the UK, I had to give up its cool overseas plate ‘B 7997 Z’ for a ‘D’ plate which I didn’t like. So, I transferred HBN 102 onto the van.”
He uses the van to attend various VW shows and events, and it even has its own website at www.HBN102.net
Lee’s other personal number plate, 71 LEE cleverly combines the year of his birth with his name. “This has been on a couple of modern vehicles but, to mark my 40th birthday last year, I treated myself to a classic Volkswagen Beetle.
“My first car was a Beetle and I’ve always fancied owning one again.” But it couldn’t be any old Beetle, of course. It had to be the right age for the plate.
“I must be the only person who went out looking for a 40-year old car just to suit my number plate,” says Lee.
“The car is used daily to get me to and from work and was first registered in 1971, So, I’m Lee and I was born in 1971 and this is my car, also from 1971.
“Our three-year-old, Jacob, loves the Volkswagens. We attend many shows together, including our local VW show ‘Back to Basics’ in Warwickshire.”
Naturally, Jacob thinks all cars have their engines at the back and the owner’s name on the number plate.”