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Car Registrations Stories: A Very Important Plate

The Story of VIP 1

On October 16th 2004, Pope John Paul II celebrates 26 years as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. It is said that he is the most recognised man in the world and he is by far the most widely-travelled pope in history with each country he visits providing its own version of the ‘popemobile’ for his use.

The question of exactly what vehicle the popemobile is, is more difficult to answer than you might think. Many of the vehicles used to carry Pope John Paul II, including a number of papal limousines, are called popemobiles, but the distinctive-looking vehicle with the bulletproof booth from which the pontiff stands to wave and greet the throngs made its debut in 1981, after an assassination attempt.

The original popemobile was probably a modified Range Rover. But he has been conveyed in a variety of adapted vehicles, including a Mercedes Benz and a six-wheel drive Leyland T 45. At least one model of the popemobile was made in Letchworth, England. For the Pope’s visit to Poland, version 5 was produced. The engineers’ goal was to produce a vehicle, on which the Pope could move during the services in large cathedrals.

The Polish popemobile has a revolving chair but does not have a glass top and it is equipped with a noiseless electric engine. The vehicle can run up to 60 kilometres a day at a maximum speed of 25 kilometres per hour.

It is nearly 25 years since His Holiness made his historic visit to Ireland in 1979 when it is estimated that more than 2.5 million saw him during a whirlwind weekend which criss-crossed the country.

In honour of his visit the popemobile was assigned a special registration, VIP 1 in Eire where he started his tour. He then toured Northern Ireland before coming over to the UK where the car had to be registered in the same way as all other vehicles.
Some time after his tour was over the car and registration were sold at auction, which is how it came onto the open market.

It has only had a couple of owners since then, one of whom bought it through Registration Transfers. We were recently able to acquire the registration and is now part of our extensive stock of top quality marks. It is, quite simply, one of the most desirable registrations currently available.

Would VIP 1 grace your private or business vehicle?

  • VIP 1 is a fantastic plate for marketing your business. Have you seen our selection of themes? Try starting your plate search here.

The picture above illustrates just one example of where the registration’s use would be apt – the transportation of high profile celebrities, politicians or business executives in a stretched limousine.

© Regtransfers – The World of Personal Number Plates Volume 2 Issue 3

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The role of DVLA

Car registrations and number plates, including personalised number plates, in the UK are the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle licensing Agency, usually known as the DVLA. It issues new registrations twice a year and also maintains the central database that records details of all vehicles licensed to drive on UK roads, along with their keeper and registration information.

Regtransfers works closely with DVLA to complete registration transfers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Regtransfers is a DVLA registered supplier of personal car registrations and number plates and is listed on the DVLA Registrations website. All number plates supplied by Regtransfers comply with DVLA's prescribed standards and regulations.

DVLA administers all UK registration transfers and issues updated registration documents when the registration number of a car is changed, or when a registration is removed from a vehicle and placed on a retention document in accordance with the DVLA Retention Scheme.

DVLA is a registered trade mark of the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency. Regtransfers is not affiliated to the DVLA or DVLA Personalised Registrations. Regtransfers is a recognised reseller of unissued Government stock.

Number plate regulations

When a car is on the road, it is an offence to display number plates bearing any number other than the vehicle's officially recorded registration number. If you purchase a private registration, you must complete the official transfer process before displaying the new number.

All registration number plates displayed on UK vehicles must comply with the official number plate regulations. DVLA oversees enforcement of number plates display regulations and maintains a register of approved manufacturers and retailers of vehicle number plates.

Regtransfers is not part of, and is not formally affiliated with DVLA.

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