A1 – The UKs Most Famous Number Plate
A1 accredited to the Sultan of Brunei. Originally allotted to Earl Russell in 1903. He sat up all night to be the first in the queue for this private registration plate (Cherisher number Plates), for which the competition was naturally very keen, and he secured the cherished plate by only 5 seconds from his nearest rival.
The ‘Car Illustrated’ of 23rd December 1903 states, ‘There has been some amount of competition for the securing of the registration plate A1 and this has been acquired by Earl Russell for his Napier Car. A Mr L H Oliver of Edgware claims the distinction of personally handing the certificate for A1 over to Earl Russell.’ Later the number was acquired by the chairman of London County Council who held it for a period. In 1907 George v Pettyt bought the car and with it the number.
As George changed his cars he transferred A1 to his vehicles. In September 1950 Mr Pettyt died and bequeathed the personalised number plate and the car, a Sunbeam Talbot 90 to Trevor T Lakor. This was probably the first time ever a private registration plate (cherished numberPlate) had been mentioned in a will. The request in the will was that Mr Laker should use it until his death and then it should be sold and the proceeds are given to a dogs charity. He was the envy of everyone on the road who would naturally like to pride themselves on such a distinction.
All sorts of offers had been made but he resolutely refused to sell. In old he sold the personalised number plate to Dunlop Holdings Ltd, on the understanding that they would receive the mark on his death and £2500 was donated to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Mr Laker died in 1970