... only to be replaced by counting. I blame my sister: she suggested it when my son was visiting her for a weekend. Find a car with a '1' on its number plate, then '2', then '3', then... well, you get the picture. Given recent plate changes, finding 02, 03, 04 etc. was very easy. The teens proved quite difficult, although I found that as soon as you've seen a number you've been waiting for ages to see, then you seem to find them everywhere. Particularly 13s, for some reason.
We live in the middle of student-land. This will help us when we reach 462 or 971, as there are a lot of pre-2000 cars filling up the street-side parking. However, not all students are broke. Or at least, not all their parents are. Having peeked through estate agent windows at the rental prices, many must be subsidised heavily by the Bank of Mum & Dad.
So, reaching 17 it suddenly becomes easy again. There are a lot of personalised number plates with '18' or '21', followed by (presumably) their initials. Or BEX or SAM or something. Presumably we shouldn't be amazed by this, but the number of plates that are clearly personalised for supposedly impecunious students is astonishing.
But now we're on 23, and since a number plate like A123ABC can't really count (even if the 1 does look like an I) it might be a long, long time before we reach treble figures.
Or, of course, the government could raise the age of consent to 23, 24 or higher, and we can benefit from more wealthy parents coming-of-age gifts. What are the chances?