Having a fantastic car isn’t enough for a lot of wealthy celebrities as anyone else with enough money can probably have one the same or better. The one way to stand out with something nobody else will have is to get a private number plate to go with the flash car. A lot of the time, a plate that’s just noticeable or memorable isn’t enough, so it really should be something that refers to who they are or what they do for a living.
Unlike places like the United States, where you can have just about anything you want as your license number as long as it isn’t taken, celebrities here in the UK are constrained by the same DVLA rules as the rest of us. The difference is they often have the money to buy particularly expensive plates, so here are some of the numbers plates owned and proudly displayed by celebrities over the years here in the UK.
Ronnie O’Sullivan – CUE 13OY
This is a great example of using the DVLA number plate character system to spell something out, and the story behind the plate is an interesting one. The idea is that the plate spells out CUE BOY, which is the perfect plate for its former owner, Snooker World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan actually bought the plate for £2,500 from another legend of the green baize, Jimmy White, but O’Sullivan sold it back to him after a couple of weeks as he didn’t like the attention it drew or the fact people knew where he was the night before.
Roman Abramovitch – VIP 1
If you’re the owner of a Premier League football club you’re going to have to go some to have a number plate that outshines the ones your players will have on their Bugatti Chirons, Lamborghinis and Bentleys. Of course, being one of the world’s richest men will certainly help with the funds to buy a pretty special number plate, and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovitch is rumoured to have gone all the way by purchasing the number plate VIP 1. It’s not known what vehicle he has it on at the moment, or even if he really is the true owner of this incredibly audacious plate. Then again, it probably won’t be bothering him as he’s got bigger worries with a few visa issues at the moment we hear.
Alan Sugar – AMS 1
Apprentice star and stellar businessman (Lord) Alan Sugar is the owner of perhaps one of the most famous and recognisable celebrity number plates of recent years. You have to give him extra points for sheer class too. His AMS 1 number plate simply represents his initials (Alan Michael Sugar), and it’s always on his signature Rolls-Royce Ghost. With nothing to hide and nothing to prove, the owner of Amstrad and many other companies has no reason to be shy, and you’ll certainly know who’s likely to be sat in the back of that car with that plate if it ever crashes into you.
Paul Daniels – MAG 1C
You know how some people buy number plates that you really have to be on the same psychological wavelength as them to be able to understand what word they’re trying to spell out? Well, you don’t need to be a mind reader to understand the connection between the number plate MAG 1C and its owner, the late magician and TV celebrity Paul Daniels. Daniels originally bought a Ferrari many years ago that had this plate included as part of the sale. The plate was originally issued in Kingston Upon Hull, and it certainly found a suitable home with its famous owner.
Jimmy Tarbuck – COM 1C
Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck owns a very similar plate to Paul Daniels and it’s probably even better known. Jimmy’s COM 1C number plate isn’t associated with a particular car in the way Lord Sugar’s AMS 1 is, but it has to be one of the most distinctive and appropriate plates out there. The plate has been owned by Tarbuck since the 1960s and has been on many cars including Aston Martins and a 1973 Volvo P1800 ES that was last sold in 2017.
Chris Eubank Jnr – 1 KO
A number of boxers appear to be keen on us recognising them when they’re behind the wheel, but it’s perhaps one of the lesser lights of the noble art that has one of the most appropriate number plates. While former WBO, WBC, IBF, Featherweight World Champion, Prince Naseem Hamed has the plate NAS 1, and Eubank Senior has 1 BOX, Eubank Jnr trumps them both with 1 KO, which has to be the best plate a boxer could ever have. Looking at his record, however, there are probably a few who could lay greater claim to such a plate.
Max Bygraves – MB 1
Unless you are of a certain age you’ll probably have no idea who the late Max Bygraves was, but this is a plate that deserves a mention because for many years it was said to be among the most sought-after plates in the UK. There are certain number plates you’d assume would be owned by a certain person or company, but that’s not always the case. For example, you’d assume the plate F1 would be owned by someone like Lewis Hamilton or Damon Hill, but it’s actually owned by a Bradford entrepreneur called Afzal Khan. It’s said that Mercedes-Benz tried to buy the plate MB 1 for years that was owned by London Palladium favourite Max Bygraves and that he even turned down a £50,000 bid from them that would have been a record price for a plate at the time. It’s believed that Max finally sold it to a lottery winner shortly before emigrating to Australia to be nearer to his grandchildren.
Chris Evans – FER 1
To be honest, we could easily write an entire list article about the cars and number plates owned by TV and radio star Chris Evans, but perhaps the most famous one we know he has owned is the FER 1 plate previously assigned to a stunning vintage Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder SWB. The car is perhaps more interesting than the plate, even though Chris only kept it for a couple of years. Evans bought the car in 2008 for £5.6 million, and it was previously owned by the considerably more famous James Coburn. Coburn bought the car while filming The Great Escape after the car’s original owner handed it back shortly after taking delivery in Brussels. Coburn kept the car for 25 years until it was sold to a Mr. Cohen after being on sale for just a day, and he then sold it to Evans in 2008.