Silverstone Auctions

Early registration plate number heading to auction

Silverstone Auctions will sell off a very early, historic Birmingham number plate.

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

Have you ever tried to get a custom license plate only to find that the one you want is taken? And your second choice? And third? Before custom tags were a thing, drivers were issued the next in a numeric, at first, then alfa numeric plate upon registering their vehicle.

The earliest vehicle registrations in the U.S. featured the vehicle owner's initials rather than a number. In the U.S., in 1903, the first modern license plate was used in Massachusetts. It was simply the number "1" and was issued to Frederick Tudor, a member of the highway commission.

That same year, the Motor Car Act required Britains to register all automobiles and carry what the Brits now call a registration number. In order to fulfill the requirements of the act, England was divided into several regions, each receiving a letter designation that would be the first character on the registration plate.

Birmingham was designated with the letter O. The number 9 is the ninth official registration in Birmingham.

In 1949, the father of the current owner of registration plate "O9" gave up his plate for £5. The new owner displayed it on his Jaguars for years.

On Saturday, August the 1st 2020 would have been the current owner's father's 100th birthday, the plate will cross the block at Silverstone Auctions.

The plate is part of a larger collection of vehicles and memorabilia that will be digitally auctioned off, including 30 vehicles from one collector.

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Vonlane typically runs luxury bus service to multiple high-priority locations in Texas and beyond.

Photo courtesy of Vonlane

Texas-based luxury bus company Vonlane is back on the road following the winter storm, offering limited routes to travelers among Houston, Dallas, and Austin.

"Upon conducting road tests around the state, we are confident that we can now deliver our normal exceptional travel experience," the Dallas-based company said in a February 19 email to customers.

A quick check of the schedule online shows it's possible to book one-way and roundtrip travel from the Houston Downtown Hyatt Regency to Dallas Doubletree at Love Field or the Austin Hyatt Regency, beginning Friday, February 19.

Rates are $105 each way.

Routes to and from Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City are not yet available.

Vonlane buses are operating with a number of COVID-19 protocols, including blocked seats for social distancing. Face masks and temperature checks are required.

Vonlane launched its high-end bus service in 2014 to cater to business travelers. Each bus, which holds fewer than two dozen passengers, features amenities like WiFi, satellite TV and radio, snack and drink service, and leather seats.

Reservations can be booked online, and may be canceled and fully refunded up to 24 hours before departure.


The original version of this story can be found on AutomotiveMap's sister site, CultureMap.

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The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 comes to a dealership near you later this quarter.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is the V8-powered Wrangler y'all have been asking for. Now we know how much 470 horsepower under the hood will cost you - $73,500 - and that's before taxes, fees, and any dealership markup.

With typical Wrangler Rubicon looks on the outside, the Rubicon 392's big selling point is its engine. The 6.4-liter V8 can get from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep is equipping the Rubicon 392 with a 21.5-gallon fuel tank to help with the thirsty engine's range. To save on fuel, the Rubicon 392 uses cylinder deactivation to switch into four-cylinder mode when the V8 isn't needed.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

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The noise out back is courtesy of a two-mode performance exhaust. A functional air scoop feeds the engine and keeps it cool.

All that power requires a stronger frame than the typical Wrangler has. It gets upgraded frame rails, improved cast-iron steering knuckles, and beefier front upper control arms. Stopping power comes from the SUV's larger-than-usual brakes - the Rubicon 392 has 14-inch rotors instead of the Rubicon's typical 13.4-inchers. A 2.0-inch lift is standard.

Jeep has given the model an Off-Road Plus button that lets you lock the rear of the Wrangler Rubicon 392 while it's in four-wheel drive high gear. This functionality will prove especially helpful to desert trekking enthusiasts who get slippery sand under the tires but have to keep up their forward motion so they don't sink and get stuck.

It's also Moab-ready. The Wrangler Rubicon 392 doesn't have the Rock-Trac transfer case that's in the typical Rubicon, but it makes up for it with the availability of low-end torque courtesy of the new V8. Add in the standard Select-Trac transfer case, locking rear differentials, and front sway bar disconnect and adventuring on rocks just became more manageable.

The entire rig rides on 33-inch BF Goodrich KO2 tires that sit at all four corners one 17-inch beadlock-capable tires.

Jeep has given the SUV 11 features that are normally options on Wrangler, nine color choices for buyers to pick from, and bronze colored accents. At the center of the dashboard is an n8.4-inch infotainment screen that allows Jeep Off-Road Pages to be viewed.

Mopar will offer factory-based accessories with the model.

The new Jeep is expected to arrive at dealerships in the first quarter of this year.

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