Exclusive: Banned ’73’ number plates revealed

August 21, 2023 by

Car changing is a big deal

The free, easy way to change your car online
Rated 4.5/5 from 54,650 reviews

Here are the ’73’ number plates deemed too naughty by UK authorities, as revealed by carwow

The biannual clamour among car buyers to be one of the first on the road with the latest new number plate kicks off again on 1 September with the arrival of the ‘73’ designation, and with it is a new list of banned number plates.

The UK loves a personal plate, with millions of drivers using their vehicles to spell out something important to them. But some people take it a bit far, which is why the DVLA holds a list of banned number plates deemed too rude for the road. And using a Freedom of Information request, carwow reveals the impolite plates.

The new ‘73’ plates offer plenty of opportunity to be controversial or even downright rude (BO73 CKS or EA73 POO anyone?), with the combination AN73 – to read like ‘ANTI’ – creating a number of things people might like to take a stand about. Which is why AN73 VAX and AN73 WAR have all been taken out, along with AN73 LEZ for anyone unhappy about Low Emission Zones.

Likewise, the DVLA has headed the haters off at the pass, much to the relief of our new king. HA73 HRH won’t be appearing on a car, and it has at least been even handed in banning both HA73 USA and HA73 RUS.

The DVLA has even scuppered the perfect two-car garage for the head of MI5, with both TE73ROR and TH73EAT also on the banned list, and your local cosmetic surgeon will be gutted they can’t have a gleaming NO73 JOB.

The DVLA scours potential plates to spot and withhold any combinations that “may cause offence, embarrassment or are in poor taste”. And it includes some that are in really really poor taste.

Commenting on the banned ‘73’ number plates, carwow’s managing editor Paul Barker, said: “As well as being big business for the Treasury, personal number plates are a bit of fun for many drivers in the UK, and this list shows where the line is in terms of plate humour. You might think it’s BU73 SHT, but you wouldn’t be allowed to have that as your car number plate.

“But behind the banned plate fun is a serious point that September and March plate-change months are huge for consumers and the car industry. On the one hand you’ve got the clamour to be seen with the newest number plate and on the other you’ve got bargains to be had on late cars with the ‘old’ 23 plate and beyond. There’s an influx of used cars as new car sales shoot up, which means plenty of choice for consumers, even if you’re not looking for the newest thing.”