Vanity plates are a common rarity. What I mean is, it is something that we are all plenty aware of and see from time to time, but they really aren’t that common. Even more so, all of the best puns and references seem to have been taken, and all that is left is clever ways to spell things with numbers and letters that technically make the tag unique. Well, in the case of this $20,000,000 Volvo Station Wagon, there is clearly something going on here to account for the astronomical price tag. There is an explanation, but it is a strange one.
This Volvo is one of the most expensive cars in the world
The Drive acutely points out that you’d be hard-pressed to find a six-figure Volvo, much less a seven- or eight-figure one. $20 million really isn’t car money. That is an amount of money for a huge parcel of land, maybe or buying a business type of money, not for one car. So, why is someone asking so much for an old, boxy Volvo?
This vanity plate has been in this family for decades
If you have ever visited New York City, you undoubtedly saw a few touristy tchotchke shops littering the sidewalks of Times Square, Canal Street, and the Finacial District. In those shops, you also may have noticed various replicas of the iconic yellow NY license plate reading “New York.” As most might have assumed, as I did, that no one actually has that as their real license plate. Well, someone does, and it lives on this old Volvo.
The seller’s father got the one-of-one tag in the 1970s when New York had just started allowing vanity plates. According to a quote obtained by the Dupont Registry, The seller says, “In the late 1970s when I suggested to my father to order the plate, I knew that it was special… I just never realized how special.”
After all these years, the family has finally decided to pass on this odd family heirloom along with the most expensive Volvo V70 ever. This New York state tag is the only road-legal tag in NY that reads “New York.” Apparently, the New York vanity plate is fully transferable to any legal vehicle in New York.
Who would spend $20 million on a New York vanity plate?
I cannot answer that question, but before we roll our eyes too hard at the massive asking price of this Volvo (and its tag), we should think about it for just a second.
Unlike almost any other collectible or limited item, this tag cannot be replicated. It is truly a one-of-one item that has the law to guarantee that no more can be made. Obviously, we can’t make any more factory original Ferrari F40s or something like that, but Ferrari made more than one. Same with most anything else, super rare and valuable.
There is still another level to this thing; I am not suggesting that this goofy New York vanity plate is even kind of close to a classic work of art in form, but like the Mona Lisa or Water Lilies, this plate has been replicated countless times and has become an iconic image throughout New York City.
Yes, it’s a cheesy tourist trinket, but so are small models of the Empire state building, and we value that as more than just a building. The point is that that license plate is far more than just a license tag for those people who recognize the imagery it represents. That being said, the seller might find that his $20-million Volvo might have more admirers than buyers, but then again, there are many people out there with t-shirts professing their big, red heart for NYC. I guess it’s time to put your money where your mouth is, people.