The princely sum of £518,000 – equivalent to over $814k at today's rates – was paid by John Collins, owner of classic car broker Talacrest. Collins reportedly intends to put it on his Ferrari 250 GT SWB. What's more is that he had just paid another £130,320 ($205k) for the license plate "250 L" that he plans to put on his 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, the long-wheelbase touring version of the same vehicle. The winning bids were placed at an auction held by the UK's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency – the 150th such auction held by the government office, marking its 25th anniversary.
The "25 O" plate broke the event's previous record of £357,000 ($560k), paid in March 2009 for plate number "1 D." In 2008 noted tuner Afzal Kahn bought the license plate "F1" for £440,000, which is less than what Collins paid for "25 O" but different exchange rates worked that out to $870k at the time. Kahn was said to have turned down a $9 million offer for that plate last year.
DVLA Personalised Registrations has set a new British record for a personalised registration sold by the Agency after 25 O was bought for more than £500,000.
Incredibly, John Collins, who, as owner of Talacrest, is regarded as one of the world's leading collectors and dealers of classic Ferraris, bought 25 O for £518,000 less than three hours after successfully buying 250 L for a staggering £130,320. Both sums include fees and take the total amount paid by the businessman to £648,320.
Both are among the 1,600 registrations being auctioned by the Agency as part of its 25th Anniversary three-day auction – and also 150th live sale – currently being held at The Vale Resort near Cardiff.
Both registrations will be placed on two of the world's most exclusive cars; 250 L will head onto a rare 1964 Ferrari Lusso, while 25 O will sit on the Ferrari 250 SWB once owned by the rock singer Eric Clapton.
Moments after his success, Mr Collins said: "I was just determined to own them, it was just a case of how much I was going to have to pay for the privilege."
Asked just how much he was prepared to pay for 25 O, Mr Collins replied: "I'm not too sure, it could possibly have been the first £1 million personalised registration!"
Jody Davies, DVLA Personalised Registrations' Events Manager, said: "What a spectacular way to mark our 150th auction during our 25th Anniversary year. While we had high hopes for both registrations, we never dreamt they would be so successful and enable us to make history for the DVLA."
The other highest sellers so far in the sale include CU11 ENS (£26,648), FU11 ERS (£23,202) and 1 HJW (£21,084).