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From auspicious numbers, to numbers for specific model nameplates, vanity number plates have always been the rage. Now, we're getting a family name.

21 Apr 2022


Over the years, some poor employees at the LTA have probably had to put their minds through a few rounds of mental gymnastics in deciding what can and cannot make it onto the number plates of the cars on Singapore's roads.

We started using the 'S'-starting, sequential three-alphabet prefix a few decades back, and doing that has required some alertness and sensitivity in order to avoid accidentally spelling out certain words. Following 'S' immediately with vowels has thus been a no-go, and 'I' is completely out of the question regardless of where it's placed since it looks too similar to 1. 

One letter can make all the difference; you'll surely find 'SJY', but not 'SLY'
Back in 1984, that meant starting with 'SB-' rather than 'SA-' but along the way, we've also had to tiptoe around 'SE-' as well as skip over 'SI-'. To give you some examples, 'SIX' is at worse, confusing, but apply the same logic to 'SE-' and things get awkward; 'SU-' doesn't sound great either. Because English is a complex language, we also had to avoid ending with 'Y' for the 'SL-' plates because no one likes to drive around announcing that they're not to be trusted.

Still, the LTA has to choose its battles and it seems like they've chosen to let the upcoming one slide. The next main bid exercise will open in just a few hours - from Friday, 22 Apr 2022, 1:00 AM, to Wednesday, 27 Apr 2022, 4:30 PM - and this time, it's special. 

Why? Because a family name - albeit a less common one - is coming into the picture. 
 
The biggest winners: The 'Sng's
 
With April 2021 kick-starting the 'SN-' number plates last year, we've finally come round to 'SNG'
To provide a bit of context, meeting someone with 'Sng' as a family name is probably extra difficult because it's actually the Teochew transliteration of 'Sun' - itself already harder to find in a sea of 'Tan's and 'Lee's. (Other transliterations include Suen and Soon.) This site suggests that less than 0.004% of people have it in Singapore, and that was back in 2014. 

Still, those 1 out of 26,687 people are in luck if they drive. The 'Sng's among us (shoutout to my secondary school drama teacher and her husband, as well as this former Singaporean swimmer) will probably delight in the fact, first of all, that they'll be able to get their birth years displayed on their number plates.

Vanity plates in Singapore still thrive despite the regulations - it's about how far you'll let your mind go
Assuming the oldest new car drivers to be 80, tops, everything from SNG1942Y to SNG2003B could well be a hit (maybe some 2000s kid got his/her license really quick, and somehow has enough cash for a car already). If those run out too quickly, a DD/MM layout (e.g. 20 December could be represented in SNG2012A), or a MM/YY layout could work. The latter will only benefit November and December babies though, since number plates in Singapore don't start with 0. 

But who knows? The possibilities are quite endless as long as you're willing to twist your brain a certain way, and then convince others to do so too. SNG8055L could well spell out 'BOSS', with the 'L' representing "lao ban" (meaning, again, 'the boss' in Mandarin). If you, sishave a penchant for being referred to casually, SNG515D exists too. 
Find Bidded Car Number Plates for Sale
Looking for that special number? Choose from our list of 1-4 digit number plates and vintage car number plates for sale!

The second layer: School pride and patriotism + Luxury car owners
  
It's not uncommon to see luxury car owners hunting down that perfect, matching number plate
This is going down the specificity rabbit hole even further, but the SNG prefix may also appeal strongly to two groups of people who feel strongly about their roots. The alumni of CHIJ-Saint Nicholas' Girls School may be enthralled by this new batch of plates (SNG1933Y to match the founding year perhaps?), but if you're particularly patriotic, there’s certainly an argument to be made for SNG sounding like Singapore. SNG1965G? Sounds great. 

Then, there are the luxury and supercar owners. Having nameplates like Mercedes-Benz E220, BMW 318i, or Lexus LC500 has always meant that buyers could have a bit more fun with a number plate (and afford to do so too, being in this buyer demographic), and that hasn't changed this time round.

'SNG911T' sounds almost too good to be true for the owner of a Porsche 911 Turbo. Better if you're a Sng
But it's not always guaranteed that numbers and alphabets match up in the way we want. With the impending bidding, however, a couple of McLaren owners could get quite lucky if they're fast (with their fingers, not just their cars). SNG720C is on the decks - for one McLaren 720S Coupe owner - as is SNG570T, for the McLaren 570GT. 

Elsewhere, the return of 'G' after close to four years (SMG was back in October 2018), means that G-Wagon shoppers now get SNG63R and SNG400B, for the G63 AMG and G400D respectively. (The former could also apply for the GLC63 AMG.) 

For fellow Stuttgart-based company Porsche, its three hallowed numbers - 911 - have also serendipitously matched with 'T' this time, in SNG911T. You can't tell us you can't afford to bid for this plate if you're driving one of Porsche's flagships. 
  
The final layer: The usual repeated and auspicious numbers
   
Doesn't matter what the car's called - we could all surely do with some prosperity in our lives
Of course, we can't forget to mention the usual winners. '8' is always welcome in Singapore - since it sounds like Huat, which means to prosper in Hokkien - so SNG8B, SNG88U, and SNG8888A all sound like great picks. (It's probably double the joy and prosperity if you're a Sng. Triple if you're a Sng born in 1988. Huat ah.)

Those who are obsessed with the idea itself of, er, doubles, will also be thrilled with SNG9999G which sees 'G' bookending the digits. SNG6G does something similar, but with a single digit (also not too shabby a flex). Then, other favourites that we've identified and personally enjoy include SNG9966B and SNG7777T - they're just really easy on the eyes. 

What do you guys think - is this all frivolous but harmless fun, or unnecessary and expensive mind-twisting? Have you identified any other special plates that we may have missed out on? Let us know!
Find Bidded Car Number Plates for Sale
Looking for that special number? Choose from our list of 1-4 digit number plates and vintage car number plates for sale!

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number plates  mclaren  mercedes-benz