Businessman Pays Almost $5 Million For "1" License Plate
Even by automotive standards, this purchase is about as head-scratching as it getsby Kirby, on
So you have $5 million. Imagine the things that you can do with it. If you’re in the market for a supercar, you can buy anything the industry has to offer, including the Koenigsegg One:1, the Bugatti Chiron, and even wait for the upcoming the Aston Martin AM-RB 001 hypercar. If you have a good dealer, you might even be able to fit in two of those cars with that budget. But Emirati businessman, Arif Ahmad Al Zarouni, is cut from a different cloth. A very, very different cloth. See, Al Zarouni recently spent $4.9 million on a license plate. A freakin’ license plate.
To be fair, the license plate he bought carried the number “1,” which is apparently a huge deal for car collectors in the United Arab Emirates. Al Zarouni himself admitted that he always wanted to own the “1” license plate and was prepared to bid with an open check to get it. That’s exactly what he did at an auction organized over the weekend, beating out a handful of other bidders to secure the license plate of his dreams, paying 18 times more than the indicated reserve price on the item.
If that’s not a clear-cut example of flexing your lavish wealth, the entire auction took the honors in doing that. According to event organizer Emirates Auction, 1,340 bidders participated in the event, 60 of whom paid a knee-buckling $13.6 million on special license plates. The “1” plate may have been the biggest winner of the lot, but the “12” and “22” plates did pretty well for themselves too, fetching prices of around $563,550 and $566,300, respectively.
The sheer absurdity of these plates fetching bids deep in six-figure territory helped the auction earn its status as one of the biggest auctions ever organized in the United Arab Emirates. All because Arif Ahmad Al Zarouni wanted the “1” and did just about everything in the power of his check book to see that he won it.
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Why it matters
I’ve always been of the mindset that whatever somebody does with his or her money is his or her business, not mine. So I’m not going to throw stones at Arif Ahmad Al Zarouni for spending $5 million on a license plate. That’s his prerogative and if he says that he’s willing to pay for it any cost, and he has the money to do it, then he has all the right in the world to do it. At the very least, he gets to finally live out his ambition of being number 1 at something, even if it’s based on a license plate.
What I am interested to know is what he plans to do with the “1” license plate now that it’s his. He already said that he has no plans to sell it, although I do think that if somebody offers a vault full of gold for that plate, he’d start to think about it. Everybody has a price, right?
For now, I think he’s going to put the plate on his finest supercar, whatever that is, and proudly show off to the entire region that he’s the owner of the “1” plate. He might have to have the plate insured though because you can be sure that it’s going to become a target by those who think that stealing the plate would yield them a king’s bounty. I doubt that will be the case because if it does get pilfered and it appears in the black market, everyone’s going to know who the legitimate owner of the plate is.
More importantly, nobody ought to be foolish enough to do it because it’s not going to net them the kind of money that Al Zarouni paid for it. If ever it does, you can be sure that it’s going to come from the man’s circle, or at least those who reside in the same financial stratosphere.