Would you pay $20M for the only street-legal “New York” vanity plate—and the Volvo attached to it?
As the proud owner of a sun-faded 1986 Volvo wagon with non-functional air-conditioning, I was properly chuffed to see this ’91 wagon bid up to $5600 on Bring a Trailer this morning—and with six days to go, too. Must be the R134a conversion that’s bringing the big bucks. However, all comparisons vanished the moment this dirt-splashed 1998 V70 surfaced with a $20 million asking price.
Though dealer DuPont Registry touts it as The World’s Most Expensive Volvo, few actually care about this trusty Swedish beast; they care about the two 12×6-inch metal rectangles affixed to each bumper—the only street-legal set of New York license plates that actually read NEW YORK.
Fun fact, for those less familiar with vanity-plate trivia: These plates couldn’t legally exist prior to 1978, because, prior to that year, the maximum number of characters allowed on a custom plate was six. (EW YORK lacks a certain je ne sais quoi.) In ’78, the New York State DMV sanctioned an eight-character limit, and one very fortunate family secured the plates worn by the Volvo below.
The plates have been worn by other vehicles in the family’s ownership; among the most notable, a 1965 Buick Riveria. Eventually, the plates ended up on the V70, which, in typically understated Swedish style, worn them during its more mundane duties schlepping its owner to the airport and the grocery store.
Any cherished memories with this wagon? The seller, who prefers to remain anonymous, says no. “There’s not a lot to tell.” The idea to sell the Volvo and the highly desirable plates had been on his mind for ages, and he simply “pulled the plug.”
Is it too much to hope that a Volvo enthusiast coughs up the $20M asking price for these plates? Probably so. For all you New Yorkers out there, is $20M fair? We of the mitten state yield to your verdict.