Every collection starts with a story and Paul Streater’s is no exception. Over forty years ago, on the way to school, Paul asked his father a simple question: "What are the letters and numbers on the cars for?" His father explained that each one had a different combination of letters and numbers and that, if he was very lucky, he would get one with his initials one day.
"From that day forth," says Paul, from Gillingham in Kent, "it was my desire and mission to get a number plate with my full initials, PLS (Paul Lyndon Streater)."
Because Paul’s wife, Yue, is Chinese he has spent many years among the Chinese community absorbing much of the culture, the lucky number ‘8’ was the perfect complement to the initials.
Now, many registrations which appear to date from the early days of motoring history were, for various reasons, held back from release and not made available until recently. Such was the case with Paul’s quest for PLS 8, which he finally managed to acquire in May 2014 after successfully bidding against a Chinese gentleman.
But Paul wasn’t satisfied with that. His adopted philosophy recognised a yin and yang situation and he had to have the reverse 8 PLS plate to complete the set. Again, he managed to secure the matching plate a year later.
That should have been the end of the story had Paul not realised a further opportunity with the format of the current registrations. In 2008, the registration PL58 PLS (the ‘5’ conveniently substituting an ‘S’ to form ‘PLS 8 PLS’) was issued and he was able to obtain it for a mere £399.
"My wife thinks that my expenditure on the plates is excessive and I kind of agree with her," admits Paul, "but, being Chinese, she likes to drive around with the ‘8’ plates, so I do not get too much stick about it. And my kids, Kelvin, Victoria (both pictured above) and Alex, love them.
"Am I a happy bunny now? Well, yes. But what will happens when PLS 88 and 88 PLS come out, and then PLS 888 and 888 PLS? Maybe you should ask my wife the answer to that question as I have a distinct feeling she will be making that decision but, being Chinese, I have high hopes."