Personalised Number Plates

UK car registrations formats only allow up to three actual letters to appear consecutively without intervening numbers, so a little improvisation with numbers is usually necessary in order to represent names and words on personalised number plates. This is achieved by combining actual letters with numbers that (in context) resemble letters. Far from being a limitation, it's all part of the fun!

How to read personalised plates

To demonstrate how it works, consider the registration number H34 VEN. If one allows that the 3 looks like a reversed letter E, and that a 4 can look like an A, then a seemingly random string of characters becomes the word "HEAVEN" – an appropriate personalised number plate for a priest, perhaps.

How to read personalised number plates

At Regtransfers, we call this language of personal registrations "platespeak". Our infographic sets out some of the popular ways of using numbers to represent letters, and shows examples of genuine personalised numbers that employ these principles.

Here's a summary of those character substitutions in text form.

  • 0 = O or D
  • 1 = I or L
  • 2 = R or Z
  • 3 = E
  • 4 = A
  • 5 = S
  • 6 = G, B or O
  • 7 = T or Y
  • 8 = B, O or A
  • 9 = G or O
  • 11 = H, N or U
  • 12 = R
  • 13 = B

Similarly, consider B16 DAY. The number one is the same shape as the letter I, and with a little imagination one could easily allow the number 6 to represent the letter G. "BIG DAY" would, therefore, be a fine registration for a limo hire company specialising in wedding cars.

Celebrities with personalised number plates

Let's look at the personalised number plates that have been owned by a few of the celebrities who have appeared in our free magazine and see how they have used the language of platespeak to get their messages across.

Theo Paphitis from Dragons Den with his very effective Ryman number plate
Amir Khan and his BOX 111G number pate promoting his chosen sport
Famous chef James Martin with his 6 HEF chef personalised number plates
Nicky Clarke with his H41 RDO hairdo number plate
One of the UK's most well loved singers, Russell Watson poses with his T3 NOR personalised car registration
  • Autocar
  • Autotrader
  • Car Magazine
  • CLassic And Sports Car Magazine
  • Country Life magazine
  • Daily Mail
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Easyjet
  • Google
  • Sunday Times
  • Top Gear Magazine

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