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The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Explained

September 28, 2015
Posted in Media — Written by Nationla Numbers

Volkswagen, one of the biggest vehicle manufacturers in the world, is in a lot of bother right now. The company has already paid the price with a huge drop in shares, but this is only just the beginning.The company will likely see billions in fines, as well as potential prison time for some key figures. If you’re just catching up …

This Is Everything You Need To Know About The Volkswagen Scandal

volkswagen omissions scandal

What has Volkswagen done?

Volkswagen diesel vehicles in both the United States and Europe have been found to contain software which circumnavigates omissions tests. The so-called “Defeat Devices” recognises when the vehicle is being tested and chances to performance accordingly, thus making the vehicle appear cleaner than it really it. Diesel vehicles have been found to produce as much as 40 times the legal level of nitrogen oxides.

Who found out?

An independent group, the International Council on Clean Transportation, commission a study on the vehicles in 2014. It was West Virginia University that first discovered what Volkswagen had been doing. ICCT brought the findings to the key authorities in the US, which of course rippled to the company being found out in Europe as well.

Who is to blame?

It is too early to say as Volkswagen is still under investigation, but we have a rough idea. Martin Winkerton, the former CEO of Volkswagen, has claimed responsibility since resigning recently but he also denies any wrong-doing. Volkswagen have agreed to work with German prosecutors in a criminal investigation. Employees found to have had a hand in the scandal could receive fines and up to 10 years in prison for fraud.

How many vehicles have been affected?

It is estimated that around 11 million vehicles will hold the fault. The key years are between 2009 and 2015, and it affects more than just Volkswagen. Around 2 million Audi vehicles, which use the Volkswagen diesel engine, have also been affected.

What are Volkswagen doing about it?

So far we know 500,000 vehicles in the US have to be recalled, but it could be much more than that. European countries have been encouraged to conduct their own investigations on the German car company and act accordingly. It has not been clear exactly how Volkswagen intend to fix the problem.

How has Volkswagen been affected?

As well as have sales of the vehicles frozen in the US and the company value dropping by 25%, Volkswagen is facing heavy fines. They have already set aside 6.5 billion Euros, and that is just to cover the cost of recalls. In theory they can be fined up to $18 billion by the US government. They could also be hit with fines in Europe and they may be ordered to pay compensation to drivers as well.


Personalised Number Plates From Around The World

September 14, 2015
Posted in Interesting — Written by Nationla Numbers

Most of the people who will read this blog will be from the UK, but did you know we are actually not the only country that holds interest in personalised car registrations. Numerous countries around the world offer drivers the opportunity to have their own number plate on their vehicle, and many of them work a bit differently to the UK’s DVLA. Here are 10 of my favourites. It is amazing how different the process is in other countries.


Australia Number Plate

Personalised number plates from down under are sold by the motoring authorities in each territory. Drivers pay a few hundred dollars for their chosen registration and then pay a yearly fee to keep it. Ownership cannot be sold between private individuals or transferred, making it a vastly different system to the UK.

Our Australian cousins do differentiate between normal personalised plates, which have to meet a specific format, and “Prestige Plates”, which are shorter and more expensive. Similar to our dateless/cherished plates.

Some territories, such as Victoria and Queensland, use the money raised from the sale of personalised number plates towards road safety activities. A very nice touch and perhaps is something DVLA can remember when they next walk away with millions in profit from an auction.



Austrian Number Plate

Personalised number plates in Austria have a different format to the normal registration numbers issued to vehicles. This is of course to keep both types of number plate distinguishable. You can buy a personalised number plate for just 245 Euros. An absolute bargain. However I imagine the best number plates will have already been taken.



Belgium Number Plates

Belgium operates on a system where number plates are registered to the individual rather than to a vehicle. This means if you were you buy a new vehicle you have to swap the number plate your already have onto it.

Personalised number plates are becoming increasingly popular in country and it has led to the Belgian government introducing a new format with a higher price tag (1,000 Euros rather than the usual 620 Euros) to cope with the rising popularity.

The new format basically allows drivers to have any unique number plate up to 9 characters long, however there are restrictions: You cannot have just numbers, e.g. “1”, “11”, “111”, etc would not be allowed. Rude/offensive number plates are of course banned, like in most countries. More strange is the restriction on number plates that reference political parties.



Canadian Number Plate

Known as “Prestige Plates” or “Vanity Plates”, Canadian personalised number plates are organised and issued by the province. Provinces decide everything from the cost to what is and isn’t allowed with limited involvement by the national government. Typically you are only looking at a few hundred dollars to pick one up though.

More popular than personalised registrations are what are called “Speciality Plates”. These are plates with different backgrounds and designs to suit the personality and taste of the driver. For example, if you are interested in a particular sports team you can have their logo on your registration plate.



Hong Kong Number Plate

Hong Kong uses the PVRM Scheme (Personalized Vehicle Registration Mark) which works very differently to personalised number plates in other countries. Rather than paying a fee to obtain your choice of number plate you request a registration from the government who then enter that reg into an auction where it can be bought by anyone.

Number plates in Hong Kong can be up to 8 characters long but has its fair share of restrictions. E.g. it cannot be similar to already issued vehicle registrations, it cannot have more than four of the same character in a row, etc.



Latvian Number Plate

New to the number plate game, Latvia began offering personalised number plates as recently as 2006. Originally it only cost 542.80LVL to buy one but this was soon increase to 2,500LVL because it was deemed too affordable (really).

Latvian personalised number plates can be 2 to 8 characters long and can be made up of letters, numbers and spaces. That is a lot of customisation.



Polish Number Plate

Poland doesn’t offer a great deal of customisation options as all number plates must use the correct voivodeship character (a letter denoting the region in which the vehicle was registered) followed by a single digit. After only 3 to 5 characters can be used, and letters and numbers must be kept separate.

Rather uniquely all custom plates get their own allocated design, which is black letters on a white background.



South African Number Plate

Personalised number plates have become huge in South Africa with some of the best ones costing as much as R10,000 to buy. After purchasing users also have to pay a yearly fee to maintain the rights to the specific registration. This alone can be R200 – R300.

The registrations themselves can be 1 to 6 characters in length and can consist of letters, numbers and spaces. Additionally there will be a two letter code denoting the province in which the vehicle was registered (e.g. the letters “WP” indicates “Western Cape Province”).



UAE Number Plate

The UAE have an interesting system based on auctions in which they sell what are known as “distinguished plates”. Different from personalised plates, these registration marks are more similar to our cherished registrations.

Normal UAE number plates consist of five digits and a sixth optional digit depending on which Emirate the vehicle was registered. Distinguished number plates are any combination of this format that might hold mass appear (i.e. 12345, 55555, etc), as well as anything with fewer digits. This format means that registrations like “1” are available, but in this instance it cost 52.2 million Dirhams (over lb9million).

Distinguished plates attract a lot of interest and are sold at auction for the benefit of character. Many dignitaries also take part. The aforementioned “1” number plate, for example, was bought by Sheikh Mohammed, the Emir of Dubai.



USA Number Plate

Across the pond, all 50 states offer the right to purchase a personalised number plate for a small cost. As we’ve seen with other countries, drivers can pay a yearly fee to keep the rights to their number plate. Exact prices depends on which state you become registered, but that isn’t all.

Not only do individual states have the rights to charge whatever fee they want, they also have localised authority over possible combinations. This means that registering your personalise d plate in one state will not make it unavailable elsewhere. In theory you could have 50 of the same number plate driving around the US.

Each state also has their own design which they intend to reflect on the state’s personality and history. This at least goes some way towards differentiating between the similar number plates. However there have been reports that some people use the designs to their advantage, e.g. Florida’s number plate design features an orange which some people use to act as an O.


Counting Down Chris Evans’ Charity Auction Contenders

August 13, 2015
Posted in Famous Cars — Written by Nationla Numbers

Chris Evans Cars Charity Auction

Chris Evans will be looking to raise over lb10million for Children in Need next month when he auctions off 13 of his prized cars.

The new Top Gear host will put the cars up to bid at the 2015 Goodwood Revival on the 12th of September. Some experts have put valuations of up to lb11m for the lot so we wish Chris the best of luck.

Many of the lucky 13 cars are very rare, some have famous previous owners and others have been personally modified by the radio presenter himself. Below is a preview of the vehicles coming up for bid and what the experts at Bonhams auctions expects them to go for.


Chris Evans: The Lucky 13


Chris Evans

1983 Fiat 127 Abarth

Don’t be fooled by its humble exterior. This may have started as the run-around for an elderly lady but Chris Evans has rebuilt this into an Abarth-style car with a surprising racy engine. Its paintjob also matches its ginger owner, what more can you want?

Approx Value: lb10,000


1964 police-specification Daimler Dart SP250 Chris Evans

1964 Daimler Dart Police Car SP250

Straight outta the 60s, this car was once used for high-speed chases by the British Metropolitan Police. This was a powerful car for its time and has also proved quite controversial over the years because of its appearance. This is a great piece of history.

Approx Value: lb50,000


Chris Evans 1959 Jaguar XK150

1959 Jaguar XK150 3.4 Fixed Head Coupé

This is a beautiful car for its era, being introduced after XK140 series and before the legendary E-Type vehicles. It boasts a powerful 250bhp 3.4-litre engine.

Approx Value: lb55,000


Chris Evans 1970 Mercedes 280SL

1970 Mercedes 280SL ‘Pagoda’

This could split audiences as the classic vehicle has been modded for improved day to day use, e.g. it has a modern radio and remote central locking. Chris Evans only bought the vehicle last year and has referred to it as ‘the ultimate Pagoda’.

Approx Value: lb100,000


Chris Evans 1989 Ferrari 328 GTS

1989 Ferrari 328 GTS

Originally owned by former Ferrari F1 driver Nigel Mansell this is one of the most intriguing lots on this list. It has around 15,000 miles on the clock and experts say it will be an excellent investment opportunity for buyers at its currently low valuation.

Approx Value: lb100,000


Chris Evans 1936 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang replica

1936 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Replica

One of the most noteworthy lots, this crowd-pleaser has been seen at several of the CarFest events ran by Chris Evans himself. The original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car sold for nearly lb600,000 so it is up in the air whether a replica would achieve even half that, but it is for charity so generous hearts could win out.

Approx Value: lb250,000


Chris Evans 1967 Jaguar XKSS recreation by Lynx

1967 Jaguar XKSS ‘Lynx’

This may only be a replica, but it isn’t one that comes cheap. Only 16 of the original Jaguar XKSS were made and today they cost millions. Chris Evans bought this at last year’s revival auction for nearly lb400,000, so it should prove a steal if someone can pick it up for less.

Approx Value: lb320,000


Chris Evans 1949 Jaguar XK120

1949 Jaguar XK120 ‘Alloy’ Roadster

Only 240 of these alloy vehicles were made and somehow Chris Evans has managed to get one from the USA and keep it in good nick to boot. The lucky buyer will even get the original tool kit thrown in!

Approx Value: lb325,000


Chris Evans 1963 250 SWB Replica

1963 Ferrari 250 SWB Replica

While this started life as a Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2, it was converted in 2010 to meet SWB specification. A real SWB would usually cost around lb8million so it is an absolute bargain at the current valuation, replica or not.

Approx Value: lb500,000


Chris Evans 1965 275 GTS Spider

1965 Ferrari 275 GTS Spyder

Another vehicle bought by Evans from an auction, this is one of only 200 275 GTA Spyders produced by Ferrari. Previously yellow in colour, the new Top Gear host has rebuilt the engine and has given it a nice new paintjob to go with it.

Approx Value: lb1,300,000


Chris Evans 1964 Ferrari 250 GT

1964 Ferrari 250 GT/L ‘Lusso’

One of the most beautiful cars ever made, the 250 GT houses a 240bhp 3-litre V12 engine. The ‘Lusso’ version is custom built for cruising, which means softer suspension and a comfortable ride. If that isn’t enough for you, maybe its 150mph top speed will provide a nice cherry on top?

Approx Value: lb1,400,000


Chris Evans 1971 Ferrari 365 GTS

1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder

This open-top variation on the Daytona Spyder is a rare collectable. Chris Evans’ vehicle has been described as ‘arguable the finest on the open market’ by experts and has less than 4,000 miles on the clock, so there is no surprise it is the second most highly valued car on this list.

Approx Value: lb2,300,000


Chris Evans 1966 Ferrari 275

1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy

This very special vehicle has been customised by Chris Evans to resemble the famous Ferrari 250 GTO race car from the 1960s. Re-painted with a pale green livery and with rare right-hand-drive features this is certainly a unique buy and one that is predicted to be much sought after.

Approx Value: lb2,600,000

What is your favourite car of the bunch? Are there any you would be interested in bidding on? Let us know in the comments below.


GTAV Vehicles and Their Real Life Counter-Parts

July 20, 2015
Posted in Interesting — Written by Nationla Numbers

GTAV (Grand Theft Auto 5) is world-renowned, somewhat infamous video game series. You probably know the GTA series for its violent reputation but for many gamers the attraction is the cars and the driving. There is even an expansive GTA racing community, would you believe?

All of the Grand Theft Auto games have never had official endorsement from the major car companies but that hasn’t stopped them finding inspiration from them. These days GTAV boasts a huge variety of vehicles for gamers to drive, from beautiful super cars to stylish coupes.

Below are 15 of the best cars in the world, and their video game counterparts that can be found in GTAV.

- 1 -

Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

GTAV Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Benefactor SchwartzerBenefactor Schwartzer

There are a few Mercedes-Benz vehicles in GTAV, all under the guise of Benefactor. The Schwartzer is a civilian vehicle in Grand Theft Auto based off of Mercedez-Benz’s coupe-luxury class, though in-game it is actually part of the sports class of vehicles, and unfortunately isn’t incredibly good for racing.


- 2 -

Audi R8

GTAV Audi R8 Obey 9F

Obey 9F

Audis make for superb vehicles wherever you go, and the virtual world is no different. There are several Audi cars available in GTA but one of the best is the Obey 9F sports car. Available as shown or as a roadster, which takes further inspiration from the Audi R8 Spyder.


- 3 -

Nissan GT-R

GTAV Nissan GT-R Annis Elegy RH8

Annis Elegy RH8

The Nissan GT-R is very popular amongst boy racers and in GTAV that reputation is continued. The Elegy is actually available to Grand Theft Auto players for free. It also provides some of the best customisation options, which makes it one of the most often seen vehicles in GTAV. Of course, as we all know, you should try to avoid becoming a RICER.


- 4 -

Ford Mustang GT

GTAV Ford Mustang GT Vapid Dominator

Vapid Dominator

The Dominator is very popular on GTAV for its raw power, much like its real-life cousin. It is by far the best muscle car in the game and can give most sports cars a run for their money, though the rear-wheel drive can make it difficult to control.


- 5 -

Aston Martin DB5

GTAV Aston Martin DB5 Dewbauchee JB 700

Dewbauchee JB 700

There is a very rare and valuable class of vehicle in GTAV known as “Sports Classics”, and naturally you are going to find the iconic Aston Martin DB5 in that range. It so blatantly a copy of the car that it even references the DB5’s most famous user, James Bond. Get it? James Bond 007, JB 700?


- 6 -


GTAV BMW M6 Ubermacht Zion

Ubermacht Zion

Ubermacht is one of the most commonly seen vehicle brands in GTA. It seemed natural then that they took inspiration from one of the most popular vehicles in the world today in the BMW M6. The Zion is available in two versions and is statistically the best coupe in the game.


- 7 -

Subaru Impreza

GTAV Subaru Impreza Karin Sultan

Karin Sultan

Another vehicle that is popular amongst racers and ricers alike in reality. The Impreza falls under the banner of Karin in Grand Theft Auto, which is sort of a catch-all brand for Japanese vehicle-inspired models. Performance-wise it is very middle-of-the-pack as far as sports cars go, but it is impressive never the less and had a lot of mod options.


- 8 -

McLaren P1

GTAV McLaren P1 Progen T20

Progen T20

The T20 is currently the most expensive vehicle in GTAV at $2,200,000. This is almost a million more than its current real-life value! You could argue that it is worth that amount of in-game money though, as it is officially the fastest vehicle in the game and the crown jewel of the super car category.


- 9 -

Porsche 911

GTAV Porsche 911 Pfister Comet

Pfister Comet

Much like the Porsche 911, the Comet has been around for a while. It has been a few other Grand Theft Auto games before getting a GTAV version. Legacy aside though the vehicle is middle-of-the-ground performance-wise, but it is also cheaper than most similarly ranked sports cars so is well worth having.


- 10 -

Ducati 848

GTAV Ducati 848 Bati 801

Bati 801

GTAV has a lot of bikes available to purchase and race, but the best one is the Bati 801. Both the in-game and real-life vehicles are renowned sports bikes and perform really well in road races. Naturally it is not so good off the road, so stunting can be difficult. Nevertheless the bike is beautiful.


- 11 -

Rolls-Royce Ghost

GTAV Rolls-Royce Ghost Enus Windsor

Enus Windsor

One of the new vehicles in GTAV currently, the Enus Windsor is very experience in relation to its performance. It is amongst the slowest cars in its class but what it misses out on speed it gains is flash. Like the Ghost it is an incredibly good looking car and more so you can customise it to look even better.


- 12 -

Jaguar XKR

GTAV Jaguar XKR Ocelot F620

Ocelot F620

Loud, powerful and smooth, the Ocelot F620 is much sought after in GTAV. While it is based mostly off of the Jaguar XKR you can also draw comparisons between it and a few Maserati cars. It isn’t the fast coupe in the game but it is among the best looking vehicles in the game.


- 13 -

Dodge Charger

GTAV Dodge Charger Bravado Buffalo

Bravado Buffalo

You don’t get much more American than driving a car like a Dodge Charger. The car itself is recognised as a powerful sedan, though in GTAV is has for some reason been put in the sports category. As a result it is one of the slowest in the game, but it remains a very good looking car to drive around in.


- 14 -

Chevrolet Corvette

GTAV Chevrolet Corvette Inverto Coquette

Inverto Coquette

Aside from in a couple of aspects, the Coquette is probably one of the most well-rounded vehicles in the game. Like its real-life counterpart it is incredibly attractive and performances excellently. Statistically it is one of the best vehicles in GTAV in terms of handling, and has a really good top speed to boot.


- 15 -

Bugatti Veyron

GTAV Bugatti Veyron Truffade Adder

Truffade Adder

The Veyron is one of the most intense supercars in the world. In fact, it currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the fastest street-legal vehicle in the world. The Adder follows suit by being among the fastest in the game – though it cannot be hugely modified to performance a lot better than it does by default. Another upside though is the price. At $1,000,000 in game it is a lot, but a lot less than the Veyron, which costs around lb1.6 million in real life.



GTAV Smart Car Benefactor Panto




The 10 Worst Parking Fails

June 23, 2015
Posted in Editorial,Humour — Written by Nationla Numbers

Even the best drivers don’t enjoy parking at the best of times. Lots of people will even go out of their way to avoid parallel parking or parking too close to other vehicles. This is common, but even the least confident drivers will look at these 10 jokers and wonder how then even managed to get on the road in the first place. We have everything from vehicles parked in the wrong places, to inconsiderate drivers not even caring to park at all, and not forgetting the drivers who leave absolute terror in their wake.


Tesco’s Finest Parking Fail

Parking Fail Trolley

What was the driver thinking?

“My Lord, why is no one using this sheltered parking space? It seems ideal for small vehicles!”

What are we thinking?

“Have you never been shopping before?”

Parking Fail Score: 8/10



The Blocker

Parking Fail Block

What was the driver thinking?

“Well no where to park. I’m sure these disabled people don’t mind if I prevent them from driving any time soon.”

What are we thinking?

“At least he had the courtesy to not use the last disabled space, that would have been inconsiderate …”

Parking Fail Score: 7/10



Motorcycles Only!

Parking Fail Motorcycles Only

What was the driver thinking?

“These markings are more of a suggestion than a rule.”

What are we thinking?

“For real, you can’t read can you?”

Parking Fail Score: 5/10


Two Space Hog

Parking Fail Two Spaces

What was the driver thinking?

“All these other cars smell.”

What are we thinking?

“How little confidence do you have in your parking ability that you need that much space?”

Parking Fail Score: 5/10



Wrong Space, Wrong Number of Spaces

Parking Disabled

What was the driver thinking?

“I won’t be here long. Better make sure I’m twice as annoying as usual.”

What are we thinking?

“If there was a Parking Fail bingo card, this guy would win.”

Parking Fail Score: 6/10



Car Hokey Cokey

Parking Fail Back Up

What was the driver thinking?

“That’ll do. You can see what I was going for.”

What are we thinking?

“Was the extra two seconds of gas too much?”

Parking Fail Score: 4/10



Hit the Grass!

Parking Fail Grass

What was the driver thinking?

“If anyone asks I’ll just say I broke down.”

What are we thinking?

“Better tow it, then.”

Parking Fail Score: 6/10



Balancing Act

Parking Fail Double Yellow

What was the driver thinking?

“Does this not count as a curb?”

What are we thinking?

“Does that not count as being on two double-yellows? (Quadruple yellow?)”

Parking Fail Score: 8/10



Smart Car Indeed

Parking Fail Smart

What was the driver thinking?

“I’m not in the way, am I?”

What are we thinking?

“Nice car. It’d be a shame if someone smashed into the side of it because you cannot parallel park.”

Parking Fail Score: 6/10



Only in America

Parking Fail USA

What was the driver thinking?

“… Like a glove.”

What are we thinking?

“Trust the Americans to take Parking Fails to the next level.”

Parking Fail Score: 10/10



5 Personalised Plates Myths … Busted

June 16, 2015
Posted in Editorial,Interesting — Written by Nationla Numbers

Personalised plates can mean one of two things – 1. Private registrations that Nationla Numbers sells, and 2. The plastic plates that you put onto your vehicle.

You are probably aware already what you can and can’t have on a private registration, but what many people aren’t aware of are the rules and regulations relating to the plates themselves.

Personalised number plates are just strict as the DVLA’s format for car registrations, and the penalties can be hugely costly if you deliberately or accidentally use an illegal set.

In today’s blog we will address the common myths surrounding personalised plates, and we will tell you exactly what you can and can’t have.


Myth #1

“I can space personalised number plates however I want.”

singh personalised number plates

Many people forget that when you buy a personalised registration you are still buying what is a valid vehicle registration number from the DVLA, and so it is still in format. However, since it is a personalised plate you might still make the assumption that you can modify it to look however you want.

For example, if you buy F511 NGH because your name is Singh then you might want to space it so 511NGH is together, thus spelling the name. It makes sense, but it is illegal as it doesn’t match the official format.

All personalised plates much meet the standard DVLA formats, which have been explained here. Spaces are legally mandated and cannot be omitted, altered or moved.

Singh personalised plates


Myth #2

“I am allowed to use my own images on a personal reg.”

derek personalised number plates

You might have noticed that some plates have a flag on the left side. You might think this is a customisation option and you could potentially have any picture you want in place of that, but unfortunately that is not correct.

Flags act as identifiers and the EU symbol is compulsory for any vehicle travelling through Europe. Like characters and spacing, the size, shape and even colour are mandated by DVLA. The only ones you can have are as follows:

  • Union Flag (UK)
  • Cross of St George (ENG)
  • Cross of St Andrew – also known as the Saltire (SCO)
  • Red Dragon of Wales (WALES, CYM)
  • Euro Flag (GB)

I have had customers ask for things like the Cornish flag in the past, but even this is not allowed unfortunately.

derek personalised plate


Myth #3

“It is okay to add my own slogan at the bottom of my number plates.”

sa personalised number plates

If you get number plates from a car dealership you will notice that they will put their name at the bottom. You might this this is them trying to get some free advertising and that if you had your own personalised plates made up you can add your own name or slogan at the bottom.

However, that is not correct. According to DVLA:

The British Standard sets out the characteristics of the number plate. This includes visibility, strength and reflectivity. To meet the British Standard, each number plate must be permanently and legibly marked with the following information.

1. The British Standard number (currently BS AU 145d)

2. The name, trademark or other way of identifying the manufacturer or supplier

3. The name and postcode of the supplying outlet


This is basically so the supplier of the number plate can be held accountable if there is anything wrong with the plate, such as it not being made to legal standards.

The space reserved for the name can be no more than 13mm in height, so is barely visible at a distance, and no other advertisement is allowed.

sa personalised plates


Myth #4

“Personal number plates don’t have to use the standard sizes and colours.”

des personalised number plates

Technically, this is sort-of half true if you are talking about the size and shape of the acrylic number plate. Many makes and models even require specially cut and shaped number plates these days, such as the curved Ferrari plates.

Other than this though, DVLA do have set guidelines for the size of the font, the colour of the font, and the material used. All personalised plates must be made of reflective acrylic and must be white on the front and yellow on the back, all with black text.

You couldn’t for example had a red number plate to match your Ferrari, like one customer asked for.

You cannot actually have anything in the background on the number plate. It much be plain white or yellow. Even the honeycomb that some number plate suppliers issue is no longer allowed.

des personalised plates


Myth #5

“The font on personalised plates can be changed.”

marty personalised number plates

No matter what personalised number plate you have, no matter the format or the length, every single character on a number plate is deliberately formatted within DVLA’s specifications. You cannot have any variation on the font.

We’ve been through what this format is in the past, but as a summary it is as follows:

  • Characters must be 50mmx79mm (except for I/1), and 14mm thick.
  • Spaces of 11mm between each character.
  • Spaces in the format must be 33mm.
  • Margins at the top and bottom must be 11mm.

Even if you have your own personalised number plates made up you cannot change the font if you want to be able to drive the car. It is this way so every number plate on the road can be easily identified. In fact, that is the reason why many of these rules are in place to begin with.

marty personalised plates



If you are caught violating any of the rules mentioned you could face fines of up to lb1,000 and your MOT will be invalidated, even if you are using personalised plates.

Remember, these are in place to keep you and other drivers as safe as possible. Do not fall for any of these myths, it is not worth it!


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Driving Test: The DOs and the DON’Ts

June 9, 2015

June 1st marked the 80th birthday of Britain’s driving test. It has changed a lot over the years – for example the ability to reverse park was only added to the criteria in 1991.

For many drivers the driving test has been the source of many memories – both happy and traumatic – over the last 80 years and it will continue to be just that for the hundreds of new drivers coming through every day.

To celebrate the Oak Anniversary of the DVLA’s driving test we asked our followers on Twitter and Facebook and our customers what their fondest (and darkest) memories were, what we got was a great list of DOs and DON’Ts that should be studies by all young, future drivers hoping to take their test soon.


- Do -

driving test tips

Get Confident

You know how to drive!

This is just one of those times where you know you are being watched and you have a lot riding on the next 40+ minutes of driving, so you are going to be nervous. Just remember all the preparation you have put in and let the pressure fall off your shoulders and you will get through your driving test no problem.

One young lady thought she failed her driving test in the first five minutes after narrowly avoiding a van. Thinking it was over she continued driving naturally, and it turned out she passed!

Getting confident and loose could mean the difference between a failed driving test and a successful driving test.


- Don’t -

don't get clever

Get Clever

You are always being watched, but you don’t need to overthink things. Stick to what you know, you have had enough time to learn from your instructor what is expected of you.

When asked to do a three-point turn in the road, Iain from Wales thought he found a loophole of sorts when he used a driveway to perform the manoeuvre. Obviously the examiner was not impressed.

Another gentleman, Daniel, recalls his first driving test when he noticed his assessor did not have his seatbelt on and thought he’d earn extra points by sternly requesting he do so. “We were still on the private ground of the test centre car park,” the examiner said. “I am not required to do so.” It was all downhill from there.

Your assessor is the one who decides whether you pass your driving test or not, don’t try to get one over them or you aren’t going to have a good day.


- Do -

do strike up a conversation

Strike Up a Conversion

Seeing as your driving test lives and dies at the whim of your examiner you may as well get them on your side. I know whether they like you or not shouldn’t affect your scores but we are all human so it will have some impact at least.

Sarah from Manchester got on with her assessor so well that at some point during the driving test she stopped being directed and was told to drive until she found somewhere to test her parking. 15 minutes later they were back at the test centre and Sarah was apologising for forgetting to find somewhere to park. “It’s okay, I’m sure you’re capable” said the examiner!

I’m not suggestion you become a teacher’s pet, but being friendly and getting off on the right foot with your examiner will go a lot way.


- Don’t -

dont radio

Turn the Radio On

There is such a thing as too confident and nothing says this more than a radio during a driving test!

Keeping in mind you are supposed to get on with your examiner, the last thing you want to do is to put the radio on. I know it can be awkward if there isn’t a conversation going, but blanking out your assessor isn’t the way to go.

Not to mention it could potentially be distracting and could even drown-out your examiner’s instructions. This will not help your final score.

That said, who knows, maybe you can bond over your taste in music? I wouldn’t risk it though.


- Do -

do expect the unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

Did you know in certain cities in America there is such a thing as an automatic pass in a driving test? You basically have to avoid or prevent an accident. It is basically a shortcut to telling your examiner that you are a safe driver, which is enough across the pond.

Unfortunately it isn’t enough over here – not that you should want to be anywhere near an accident on your driving test anyway – but it can be points in your favour.

Jordan, from Newcastle, was warned that there would be an emergency stop on a particular road. The examiner looked out the back window while on the road, likely checking if there was anything behind them, so Jordan waited for a signal. Suddenly, a child on a bicycle rode out in front of them. Jordan slammed down for an emergency stop, sending the examiner into the windscreen.

“Okay, you’ve passed,” said the examiner. “Please take me back to the test centre, my head hurts.”


- Don’t -

dont let your fears

Let Your Fears Get the Better of You

Fear combined with nerves is a horrendous combination, and it is what leads to more driving test failures than anything else.

Mark remembers stopping at a crossroads and outright refused to drive any further, purely out of fear of causing an accident. Anne from Berkshire even remembers asking her examiner to take the wheel at a roundabout. These are instant failures, and brought on by fear.

Some go even further. One girl, who has never passed her test, and swerved and bailed from the vehicle while it was still moving during a driving test. The reason? A wasp flew into the car. She says if she was ever in that situation again … she would react in exactly the same way.

Fear makes fools of us all.


- Do -

do prioritise


Just like how some people let their fears takeover you also find young drivers putting themselves in position to fail just by focusing on the wrong thing.

Gary from London bravely admits he failed his first driving test after checking his phone while driving, and his second after asking his examiner to take the wheel while he checked his phone. I guess you can count that as improving, sort of?

You’ve got to remember some things are more important than others. On a driving test a major fault has more weight than a minor, for example, so avoid majors at all cost even if it means a minor here or there.

Kathryn remembers putting herself in a similar situation on a driving test. She describes it much better than I ever could.

“I swerved to avoid an injured pigeon, and ended up in the path of an articulated lorry. At this point, I did the sensible thing and closed my eyes. My instructor took the wheel and deposited us in the roadside ditch. Upon opening my eyes, I discovered my instructor was nearly in tears. I failed.”



- Don’t -

dont forget your basics

Forget Your Basics

Once again, you can drive!

You should have logged at least 30 hours before you even thing of having your driving test, at which point, if you used the same instructor, you should the vehicle you take like the back of your hand.

Don’t be like Kerry who found herself rolling down the hill while attempting to parallel park, completely missing the fact that she had stalled the vehicle.

Don’t be like Simon who sabotaged himself by completely forgetting how to open the hood of the car during the show-me-tell-me portion of the test. You’re better than that!

You should have also passed your theory test with flying colours, so you shouldn’t have to be reminded that 40mph isn’t the national speed limit, like Freddy from London had to.


- Do -

do improvise


The harsh reality of driving tests is that you will make a mistake – you know it, I know it, and your examiner knows it. All drivers make mistakes, it isn’t an issue, you just need to convince the examiner that you can handle it safely.

Tim vividly remembers his first driving test when he was asked to take the next right, and he did – right into the forecourt of a garage.

“Erm … on second thought perhaps we don’t need petrol,” Tim stammered as he pulled up next to the pumps. He turned back out onto the main road and made the correct turn off as suggested by his assessor.

Tim is still haunted by the mistake 36 years after passing, but it his rather humorous recovery that likely saved him. You know the examiner knew he made the mistake, but he wasn’t going to fault him after he reacted accordingly.

You might find yourself in similar situations. Just remember, you can drive, and you can get yourself out of a situation with a bit of quick thinking.


- Don’t -

dont give up

Give Up

Last, but certainly not least, is this.

In 2014 only around 50% of tests were passed. This is counting people who took multiple tests. This means most people fail at least once, and a lot of people might take several tries.

You can react to this statistic one of two ways.

Either you can panic and let your fears get the better of you, meaning you get nervous, forget your basics and make your job a whole lot hard.

Or you can realise the pressure is off. You can have fun with your test and make it an enjoyable experience for you and your examiner. And if you fail, so what? It was a learning experience and you will be twice as good next time.

Keep persisting, keep trying, put the work in and you will see results.

Above all else, remember, you CAN drive!




5 Summer Drives We’re Looking Forward To

May 26, 2015
Posted in Cars,Interesting — Written by Nationla Numbers

5 – A1, Tyne and Wear

We might be a little biased, but we think the Angel of the North is a stunning sight, and it isn’t just about Northern pride. You ask anyone who has endured the tedium that is the A1 for any more than a couple of hours and they’ll tell you that Antony Gormley is a welcome piece of wonder.




The Angel of the North stands on a hill in Low Fell, overlooking extensive grassy fields on the fringe of old industry that the North East is historically aligned with. It serves as a reminder of the regions roots, but also its future. The foot of the Angel itself is a perfect pitstop with many families picnicking on warm summer days.


4 – Abergwesyn Pass, Wales

If you like detours and little villages the Welsh mountainous road will be the perfect road trip for you. The road connects many small villages around the Cambrian Mountains, so you have your pick of routes. Over the 18 mile stretch you will find lakes, hills, forests and rivers, all making for perfect summer scenery.




The Llyn Brianne reservoir is a perfect place to stop and enjoy the view. The market town of Tregaron is also ideal for a quiet getaway so a few good places to stay the night and enjoy some good food. Be careful driving away though, you might run into sheep or cattle enjoying the roads as well!


3 – Humber Bridge, North Lincolnshire & Yorkshire

You may be thinking that this is just a bridge but it is much more than that. The Humber Bridge was once upon a time the longest suspension bridge in the world (though it is now the 7th longest) and can be seen for miles around. Not only is it a spectacular feat of engineering it also provides a platform for the most spectacular view over the Humber.




Stop off at the viewing deck to take in the scenery. Many call it the perfect place to watch the sunset, for example. Once you have enjoyed the views and the drive you have your choice of locations, just continue down to motorway.


2 – A2, Portrush to Ballycastle, Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has become known for its scenery but it is hard to pick a better route than the A2 in general, particularly the 19 mile stretch between Portrush and Ballycastle. The route spans a good section of the coast opening up great opportunities to see the famous Giant’s Causeway. Beautiful greenery completes the drive as one of the best scenic routes in the country.




If you are looking for activity there is a lot to do and see. It is easy to catch a ferry to Rathlin Ireland to more supurb scenery, or you can travel on foot through the Causeway. Continue down to road to find old castles, seaside destinations, or my personal favourite, the Old Bushmills Distillery, Ireland’s oldest whiskey distillery.


1 – Bealach na Bà, Wester Ross

If you were to make an effort to drive along any road I would urge you to pick this one. Scotland has many excellent driving routes but few compares to this one. Take in the Scottish Highlands in the best way possible – through a series of twists and turns on this dramatic mountain road. Enjoy the sights overlooking Skye, the Islands of Rum and the Outer Hebrides, and take in the attractions from surrounding towns.




The name comes from Gaelic meaning “Pass of the Cattle”. The road was originally used to drive livestock. As you can guess it is certainly not a route for the faint hearted – I certainly wouldn’t want to attempt it in the snow. Don’t worry though as Applecross proves to be an excellent target destination, perfect for a quiet getaway.


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CASH FOR CRASH: How To Avoid Becoming A Victim

April 27, 2015
Posted in Editorial — Written by Nationla Numbers

CASH FOR CRASH is one of the latest fraud scams increasing in popularity among criminals. It is a con that puts innocent drivers in danger, as well as prays on the weak and forces insurance companies to increase premiums while con artists receive huge pay-outs.

Insurance company, Aviva, have reported a 51% increase in Cash for Crash cases since 2012 – a shocking figure. A further study by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) shows that 1 in 7 personal injury claims are believed to be fraudulent, resulting in a bill of almost lb400m a year that is paid for by innocent drivers through premiums.

cash for crash


The scam tricks or otherwise forces unwitting drivers into getting into accidents in which they can be blamed. Tactics include braking suddenly and giving false signals in order to cause the victim into making a mistake so they can make an insurance claim. Hence “Cash for Crash”.

The most common of these would see the criminal get in front of their victim and get as close to them as possible and then, without just cause, slam down the brakes to force the victim to crash into the back of the vehicle. Victims have little or no time to react by design, but are blamed for the collision regardless.

Sometimes these scams are organised by gangs who plant false witnesses, pressurising the victim in incriminating themselves.

Who Is At Risk?

The thing about this Cash for Crash scams is that everyone is at risk. All the criminal needs to do is get in front of you and brake. That said, there are certain people more likely to be targeted. In general, criminals will want their victims to be unwilling to make a scene or unable to stay calm.

In particular the following are most at risk:

  1. Parents/Families. Criminals will most likely take advantage of a worried parent who has children in their car and are more concerned about their safety than the situation at hand. Criminals will look for a quick resolution to their advantage, often making up details that the parents cannot disprove.
  2. Older Drivers. As they tend to be more passive and uncomfortable with confrontation, older drivers can be more willing to back down. Criminals have also used the health and well-being of pensioners to their advantage by claiming the victim is unfit to drive.
  3. New Vehicles/Kept Vehicles. Drivers with new vehicles are vehicles that are clearly well looked after will often have their mind on the damage to their vehicle rather than the accident. Unfortunately, private number plates can be a dead giveaway.

cash for crash

How to Avoid Being Scammed

  1. Stay vigilant. Be wary at all times of hazards, pedestrians and other motorists. If you notice anyone driving in an odd way, i.e. they try to get in front of you and slow down, back off and get away from them.
  2. Only A Fool Breaks The 2 Second Rule. Try to keep a two second gap between yourself and the driver in front of you at all times to give yourself enough time to react to a situation.
  3. Get a dashcam. These are growing in popularity because of scams like Cash for crash, and they are invaluable in this sort of situation. It films everything in front of you, so you can use it to prove that the criminal slammed on the brakes for no reason. You can pick them up for about lb30, so it is well worth it.
  4. Stay calm. Criminals pray off chaotic situation and will take advantage of you if you are visibly shaken or panicked. Just stay calm, do not admit to any wrong doing at the scene and try to take in as many details about the situation as possible.
  5. Take photos. Record everything you can that could help your case and/or damage the criminal’s case. Photograph the damage on both cars, the interior of the criminal’s car (to prove he had no passengers), and if possible the criminal itself.
  6. Take the other driver’s information, e.g. address, name, and make and model of vehicle. Note any strange behaviour – for example, are they complaining of any injuries? Do they sound like they’ve over-prepared for the situation? Are they try to get you to take responsibility?
  7. Don’t be confrontational. If you believe you are being scammed do not come out and say it as that may heat up the situation and incriminate you. However, do call the police and your insurance company to let them know of your suspicions. Remember it is better to make sure the criminal is caught then scare them off so they can try it on someone else.

What Is Being Done

You will be pleased to know that the Cash for Crash scam is no longer a well-kept secret or a quick way to make some cash. The ringleader of a gang known for their cash for crash scams worth lb1m has recently been convicted, and more and more checks and balances are coming in place as insurance companies become more aware of the fraud. Some insurance providers are even cutting premiums if you install a dashcam.

More and more people are being caught out. The worst offenders are facing convictions of up to a year per case. Even minor Cash for Crash offenders, those just trying the fraud once for a quick cash, are having to pay out huge fines and will also be subject to a permanent fraud marker on the licence which will make it next to impossible to get car insurance in the future.

The UK insurance injury and law enforcement are making it so this crime will not pay, you just have to make sure you do not get caught out by these opportunistic scammers.


10 Annoying Things From My Morning Commute

April 10, 2015
Posted in Humour — Written by Nationla Numbers

1. Should have left 10 minutes ago, but can’t find my keys!

2. Can’t get past the lady next door because she currently has her door wide open.

3. Nearly hit kids running across the road, even though there is a crossing 20 yards away.


4. Cyclist not sticking to the left.

5. Stop on the slip road because no one knows how to merge.


6. Finally on the motorway and in the fast lane. Stuck behind a slow driver.


7. Radio warns me of a traffic jam after I’ve already arrived at it.


8. Getting closer! Annnnnnd lollipop lady.


9. No one seems to indicate or stick to their lane when approaching the roundabout.


10. I’m here! Oh wait, someone just stole my parking space.



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