Article Posted 10/08/2009
Car lovers splashed out millions of pounds on personalised number plates at the DVLA auction in Grove.
Hundreds of people, eager to spruce up their motors, bid for a range of unique number plates, including a 24-year-old driver who got his hands on the registration plate 4O.
Ghanim Al-Kuwari, who is a member of a wealthy diplomatic family from Qatar, ended up paying £63,128.75 for the personalised number plate after frantic bidding at the RBS Williams F1 Conference Centre on Thursday.
Mr Al-Kuwari, who lives in London, said he was determined to get hold of the number plate after hearing about auctions for 2O and 3O that took place earlier in the year.
“It’s a good price. I’m not sure how much we would have paid, but we would have gone a lot higher than that,” he said.
The same family has previously bought other plates, including 9OOO, and personalised mobile telephone numbers, for tens of thousands of pounds.
And Mr Al-Kuwari vowed to be back at future auctions to buy more private number plates, which he says are good long-term investments.
“This was my first time, and I liked it very much,” he said.
The bidder he defeated, cosmetic dentist Onkar Dhillon, overcame his loss by spending £19,355.50 on the number plate PAL4S for his 24-year-old brother Palas’ BMW 320 Coupé.
Mr Dhillon, from Birmingham, owns more than 20 personalised number plates, few of which he has ever had made up to fit on to cars.
He said: “It’s just about having them. You only have one opportunity to win them, because they only come up for auction once.”
Even Mr Al-Kuwari’s wallet-emptying purchase was overshadowed later in the day when an anonymous phone bidder, believed to be linked to Preston North End Football Club, paid £86,617.50 for 1PNE, outbidding another businessman closely linked to the club.
Hundreds of buyers travelled from across the country to the DVLA auction, where 1600 number plates were up for sale over three days.
It is thought about £3.3m will have been collected by the end of the sale.
Peter Silver, of Fringford near Bicester, paid £1,610.40 for his dream number plate, P51LVA, after hearing about the auction from a friend.
He said: “It’s the sort of thing you look for, for years, but never see one come up which has your name.
“I didn’t want to pay that much, but I just got carried away.
“I suppose there is a bit of snob value about at it, but as it will only be fitted to my Ford Mondeo I’m not too worried.”