Wealthy Arabs are being targeted for what could be one of the most expensive license plate sales in the UK, with an asking price of at least US$400,000.
The number plate 'ARA8S' is up for grabs and the English collector selling it wants it to go to one of the Middle East speed freaks increasingly seen driving around London in flashy vehicles.
He is unlikely to have much difficulty in enticing a buyer, considering wealthy Arabs have a history of paying extraordinary amounts for the right to flash their status on a car - often worth as much as the licence plate alone.
UAE capital Abu Dhabi dominated a global list of the most expensive plates ever sold, with 37 of the top 50, recently compiled for Arabian Business by Regtransfers website, the UK’s largest independent dealer in personalised number plates.
In 2008, Saeed Khouri, a member of a prominent Abu Dhabi family that made its fortune in property, bought the registration '1' for a record AED52.2m (US$14.2m).
Other prominent sales include the registration '5', bought for AED25.2m (US$6.7m) in February 2008 and '7' for AED11.4m (US$3.1m), which was on sold two years later for AED16.5m (US$4.5m).
The 37 Abu Dhabi buyers listed in the global rankings collectively spent AED222.9m ($60.6m), or an average of AED6m (US$1.6m) for their car plates.
UK businessman Michael Beamish wants his plate ARA8S to enter the same league, but he is promoting it for as little as GBP£250,000 (US$392,000).
It is one of 400 rare number plates he is selling to fund his retirement.
“The ARA8S registration plate is my favourite plate and I would really hope that this is purchased by a prominent Arabic businessman or Arabic family and placed on an actual vehicle,” Beamish, who bought the plate ARA8S in 2010 for a confidential amount, told Arabian Business.
“As like internet domain names, vehicle registration plates are one of a kind and once they are gone they are gone, no one else will be able to secure your chosen registration number so they truly are a one off.
“So due to the limited supply and general growing demand for personalised registration numbers they have been a good solid investment for the future for me when compared to the performance of more traditional assets in today's uncertain economic climate.”
Other number plates for sale in Beamish’s collection include 'GA11 ONS', which reads as GALLONS and may appeal to oil-rich businessmen, 'F1 GUV' and 'LAM 90S', which, reading LAMBOS, may go nicely on one of Dubai’s many Lamborginis.
Middle East businessmen have created such a reputation for purchasing rare licence plates they will be heavily targeted in Beamish’s sale, with his broker planning to visit the region to promote the number plates.
“ARA8S” is registered in the UK but is not presently on a car. Beamish said he hoped to see it on the road soon.