wrong side of the road

I’ve been in London now for just over a year and the Smart car has been here for probably about 8 months. 8 months of bliss, driving in the congestion charge area, parking illegally and getting tickets – basically living the high life of having a foreign car in a foreign land where those pesky parking police can’t track me down and make me pay their stupid fines.

But this has all come to an end as of this morning.

Yes, this AM I put on my British plates and fixed my road tax disc on the windshield. My car is officially an Austin Powers mobile.

But it didn’t come about without a little blood, sweat and tears. It wasn’t all joyriding in central London with my hair flapping in the breeze.

A little word of advice for anyone who thinks that they want to import their car to England.


It has taken me months and months of paperwork and quite a bit of money to get the car those plates and tax disc.


What I’ve had to do in the past few months to get my new plates:

1) Import the car from Spain – easy cheesey lemon squeezey. Cost: £400
2) Get temporary parking permit for Westminster. Cost: £90
3) Move house. Get temporary parking permit for Kensington Chelsea. Cost: £66
4) New headlights that dip left, speedometer in MPH, rear fog lights. Cost: £500 (I didn’t actually do this, but I can’t explain any further on that – it is required though)
5) Send away for certificate of compliance. Cost: £90
6) Driver license theory test. Cost: £38
7) Temporary certificate of insurance (1 month) because they won’t insure a foreign car. Cost: £250
8) New vehicle registration. Cost: £38
9) 2006 Road tax duty on 121g/km co2 emission car. Cost: £100
10) New parking permit for Kensington Chelsea. Cost: £66
11) Getting towed last week for parking in wrong borough. Cost: £200
12) Insurance for 1 year for American driver without full English license. Cost: £1300
13) Brand new Smart car paid in cash. Cost: 13,000€ (£8,733.80 / $16,409.47)

Total that my car has cost me in the last year: Aprx. £11,333 ($21,293.28 USD)
Mileage on my car: 4,300km

Next time I will take the bus.

And while we are on the subject of British plates. Does anyone actually know why the back plates have to be yellow and the front are white? What is up with that?