As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Australia’s Best New Car News, Reviews and Buying Advice

What's in a Number – $13.6m??

There was a time when ‘personalised plates’ meant two letters, usually your initials, followed by three or four numbers-usually your birthdate…and they were free!

How things change. Next there was a small registration fee, but the plate was yours for life, then a wider range of letters and numbers could be specified and then there were annual fees.

Now there is a huge range of choices which vary from state to state…and a huge range of fees charged by each State Roads Authority.

The best deals seem to come out of the smaller states, where in Tasmania and South Australia, for example, a once only fee can secure a wide choice of personalised plates. In the bigger states, however, they are optimising their income with an ever widening range of choices and an even wider range of pricing.

Then, of course, there is the ‘second hand’ and ‘precious plates’ market. The highest prices ever reached for an Australian plate reputably runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars for number ‘888’ (unconfirmed reports also say the NSW plate no ‘6’ has also sold for a price approaching $1m), but that pales into insignificance when compared to the World record price.

 This plate sold three years ago in Abu Dhabi to a local businessman for an unbelievable $13.6m!

Now let’s return to earth and see what’s around us.

Our next door neighbour for a number of years carried the rather strange number plate PUMP FE on her Nissan. She managed the local gym. Weird, meaningless? Well, not really, when we finally worked out that “fe’ is the chemical symbol for iron.

Even more obscure was a local Toyota Corolla with the number plate, TIH5HO ,which puzzled us for ages. Until one day we saw the car- and the plate, in our rear view mirror. Then it dawned on us. The State Roads Authorities won’t permit offensive or rude plates, so it wasn’t long before they woke up and withdrew consent for this clever number. We notice, however, that some states will still permit this configuration to be purchased, which is a surprise (if you can’t work out why, have a look at the mirror image).

These are just two of the clever plates on the road, others include RU NXT (on a hearse), or RUNVS (on a Porsche). The last one we saw simply said  ‘SORRY’.  As it happened the car was in front of us in a traffic jam. Well, it wasn’t their fault, so what were they sorry for??

There are, of course, many more clever and funny number plates around. If you’ve seen one that is clever, or funny, let us know. Also what do you think about personalised plates? For sure they make money for the Government, but do they just satisfy an ego crave, or do they serve another role?  We want to hear from you so leave a reply below.

Footnote:- If you are interested in personalised plates here is the link for your state:-

VIC                                 NSW                       SA                      QLD

WA                                 NT                          ACT                    TAS


  1. Terry Hannagan says:

    Two that amused me
    and on a Hyundi-“Getzmethere”

    April 18th, 2012 at 6:47 pm

  2. C Schulze says:

    I nearly ran off the road when I saw this recently


    April 18th, 2012 at 7:40 pm

  3. Elliott Jacquin says:

    The BEST one I have seen , funny and….so real/pargmatical,, was on a hearse in Melbourne:
    “U2-1DAY”. Who would have thought of this,………Deserves a prize!!!

    April 18th, 2012 at 7:53 pm

  4. Keith says:

    Personalized plates are very easy to remember when they cut you off or give you the finger. A week later you see it in the shopping centre car park and you can guess the rest

    April 18th, 2012 at 8:30 pm

  5. Keith says:

    Another cryptic one is 370H55V (A….E upside down)

    April 18th, 2012 at 8:34 pm

  6. J Bell says:

    The best one I’ve seen were “VROOM” on a Porsche 911 – but we were both stopped at a red light…… And then a couple of years later I saw the same number plate on a DIFFERENT car!!! ( had the owner sold it? Or had he sold the Porsche?? )
    The second best one I saw was “4MYGL” (FOR MY GIRL).

    April 18th, 2012 at 8:44 pm

  7. mike says:

    CME2C from an optometrist and the cryptic 370H55V flip it and see

    April 18th, 2012 at 9:09 pm

  8. ARFA says:

    A NSW DENTIST with the plate “2THDR” which I thought was inventive

    April 19th, 2012 at 2:56 am

  9. KRN says:

    On a silver Ba Falcon: “HIHOAG” (Ag being the chemical symbol for silver… = “Hi Ho Silver”)

    On a maroon Corvette Stingray: “HAHAHA”

    April 19th, 2012 at 9:27 am

  10. Bob Rona says:

    The BEST number plate in Australia is ILUVOZ
    That about says it all!!

    April 19th, 2012 at 11:34 am

  11. Jim says:

    My favorite i saw on a 911 porsche was “stolen”

    April 19th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

  12. chris says:

    I had an SS ute with a canopy SSCARGO (escargot as in the snail) but it wasn’t snail like in movement

    April 19th, 2012 at 2:52 pm

  13. Brett says:

    One I found quite amusing was BAABAA on a black jeep (ie BaaBaa back jeep…)

    April 20th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

  14. Adrian says:

    TIGGER on the ute – as every child knows bouncing is what Tiggers do best, and what empty utes do just as well

    April 20th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

  15. Sean says:

    One I saw a few years ago on an SS Commodore IH84DV8

    April 21st, 2012 at 2:55 am

  16. bill says:

    how about the black jeep in Brisbane with number plates BAA BAA

    April 22nd, 2012 at 5:57 pm

  17. Philip Roussel says:

    years ago on the syd harbour bridge i was behind a car with the plate RUIN 269. they may have withdrawen permission for that plate.

    April 30th, 2012 at 12:26 pm