With the IVA test complete and the sun still shining I brought the car home, had a quick bite to eat and set off with my Dad to the DVLA office to get the car registered. I had to leave the Cobra at home as whilst it had now passed it’s test, I had to have it road registered before I could legally drive it again. The reason I was able to drive it to and from the MOT and then the IVA, was that for travelling to or from a pre-arranged test or examination, the vehicle is classed as being exempt. If you want to read more, it’s covered under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Action 1994, Schedule 2 (Exempt Vehicles), Section 22 (Vehicle Testing etc) “link here and scroll down”.
I arrived at the DVLA office to find a queue that stretched halfway round the building and it was a good 20 minutes before I got to the front desk. It was getting late in the afternoon and the greeting I received showed it. I thought I was going to be in for a real struggle when I told the girl behind the counter what I was there for. She responded with a big sigh and said “right, what paperwork have you got? “ She actually seemed disappointed that I had everything I needed until maybe she realised that because I’d come prepared it wasn’t going to be too difficult for her. She took all the bits and pieces I gave her and disappeared off behind the wall to speak to someone else. She came back in a much better frame of mind but regretfully told me that whilst it would be processed today, it might not be until the following week when I’d receive my tax disc, log book and V948 which is the document you need in order to get your plates made up. I smiled at her and jokingly said “I won’t get to drive it this weekend then ?” She looked at me, smiled back and said “wait here a minute” and disappeared off behind the wall again. This time when she returned, she had a smile on her face and said it would be done today, but I might have to wait for it, maybe 30 minutes. That 30 minutes actually turned into about 10 and I was walking out of the DVLA, tax disc and V948 in hand and on my way to Halfords to have my plates made up.
These last few posts have turned this storey into a bit of a saga, and it doesn’t end here. There’s a Halfords service centre right opposite the DVLA office with a big sign outside saying “DVLA number plates made here “. Perfect, or so I thought ! The chap that makes the plates was on holiday and they couldn’t help me, there was however, another Halfords 300 yards up the road who could so I set off, paperwork in hand with a degree of determination beginning to set in. I chose the plates I wanted, plain, and the letter style, plain, paid the guy and he set to work. It was only after he’d made the front plate that he realised he didn’t have any plain rear plates in stock. After several excuses about the guy who orders the plates being away and he was just filling in and “ooh, I don’t know what to do” I suggested the Halfords service centre 300yds down the road might have the plate but explained they didn’t have anyone to make them, “good idea, I’ll ring them and see if they can help”. When he got off the phone he had a triumphant look about him which told me he’d been successful, what I didn’t realise was that he expected me to go back down the road and get the plate for him. He wasn’t budging and he had no-one else who could go. I bit my lip, hard, and agreed to go, I was not going to come this close and have some spotty face oik ruin my day.
Once I returned, number plate in hand, it became apparent that the plate from the service centre was slightly different to the plate in the shop and it wouldn’t fit through the shop’s plate machine! I was starting to lose my patience now with the guy still dithering about, very apologetically, but still not getting my plates made. OK, an executive decision was made, scrub the first plate, remake them both with a black border, not really what I wanted but I’ve got a private plate on retention and the chances are that these plates are not going to be on there very long anyway. “OK, great” said the guy only to then report that they only had the front plates with a black border but he could do the rear one with a blue border. Last straw ! Scrub the whole thing, I’d been in the shop for nearly an hour now, I’ll go somewhere else. I was fuming and had to stand through the embarrassing procedure for the guy to sheepishly issue a refund and reverse my purchase through his till, one item at a time, that’s two number plates and 14 individual letters !
Time was getting on now and it was approaching rush hour, I just had enough time to get to another Halfords, much nearer home who made my plates, in the style I wanted, plain, with the letters I wanted, plain, in about 5 minutes flat! It was however just too late for me to get home, fit them and still go for the first drive on the first day. To have come this far and face so many challenges in such a short space of time it was time to relax, kick back and drink a well earned beer.