A classic car dealer has boosted the Treasury’s coffers by spending a record-breaking £518,000 on a government-owned registration plate.
John Collins paid £518,480 at the DVLA auction for “25 O” which he is putting on his £10 million Ferrari.
The vanity plate is regarded as one of the most desirable registrations because it can be attached to the most valuable cars ever built.
This includes the £10 million Ferrari 250 GT SWB, £20 million Ferrari 250 TR and £35 million Ferrari 250 GTO.
The amount smashes the previous DVLA record of £352,411 which was spent on “1D” in 2009.
It was offered with a reserve of just £4,000 but pre-sale interest meant bidding started at £50,000 and soon shot up.
Offers on the phone, online and in the saleroom quickly exceeded £250,000, and £300,000 and with auctioneer Dave Hawes eventually bringing the hammer down at £400,000.
When VAT and buyer’s premium is added, the final cost for the plate was £518,480.
John Collins, a car collector and owner of Talacrest, a Ferrari dealership in Ascot, Berkshire, won the auction.
He also spent £130,000 on the ‘250 L’ for his Ferrari 250 Lusso and £3,000 on ‘500 FER’ at the auction in Glamorgan.
Mr Collins said: “It is the ultimate plate for the ultimate car. I could have bought a really good Ferrari for the money.
“But I decided I really wanted the plate and I wasn’t going to stop bidding on it.
“Every time I put a bid in, the underbidder responded straight away. The plate could possibly have been the first £1 million personalised registration!”
“It is a lot of money, but I was calm as I have been in auction situations before where I have bid more than $20 million on a car.
“When the hammer went down I was really happy, it is a record for a DVLA registration plate.
“I am going to be putting it on a very special Ferrari 250 SWB which used to belong to Eric Clapton.
“I also bought ‘250L’ which is going on a £2.25 million Ferrari 250 Lusso and ‘500 FER’ which was a bargain at £3,000.”
All of the hammer price and the tax on the buyer’s premium goes to the treasury while the buyer’s premium goes to the firm with the contract for DVLA auctions.
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 auction during our 25th and enable us to make history for the DVLA.”