A devoted Mini driver has been reunited with an iconic number plate from her first car – which she sold more than 40 YEARS ago.
Hilary Badhams, 67, fell in love with her first car, a green Austin Mini and nicknamed it the ‘Green Pea’ after it arrived with an ‘800 PEA’ number plate in 1967.
The retired headteacher even met her husband, Dennis, 69, when the engineer repaired the car in 1972, and the pair were engaged just a fortnight later.
Mrs Badhams, of Alfreton, Derbys., sold the car in 1973 and replaced it with a newer model.
Earlier this year she bought a new Mini Cooper and has now been reunited with her ‘800 PEA’ number plate after spotting it for sale on the internet.
She paid £1,200 for the plate and has registered it to her new motor.
Mrs Badhams, who has one son and two grandchildren, said: “I bought the car in 1967, and it was my pride and joy.
“I learned to drive in it, and took my test in it after I put on the ‘L’ plates.
“It was great fun to drive, and was one of those iconic ’60s Minis which are so photogenic and nostalgic.
“It was a 1964 model, so it was lacking in a lot of the things we’d take for granted now.
“It didn’t have any indicators, and I had to manually roll down the windows and stick my arm out when I wanted to turn a corner.
“It didn’t have a radio, it didn’t have heaters and it didn’t have air conditioning, but it was in absolutely perfect condition.
“It had the ‘800 Pea’ number plate on it, and was a bright green with a white roof, so it made sense to call it the Green Pea.
“One day in 1972 it overheated, and my friend Hazel brought her ‘little’ brother, all 6ft 3ins of him, to come and fix it.
“He came round to my house the next day to repair it properly.
“We just hit it off straight away, it was love at first sight. I’ve never known anything like it.
“Within two weeks we were engaged, and 12 weeks after that first meeting we were husband and wife.
“Pea brought us together. If it hadn’t of been for that car, I might never have met my soul mate.
“We sold it back in 1973 to get a bigger car, and that was that. I thought I’d never see that number plate again.
“In the years since I regretted letting it go.
“I’ve had six Minis since then, but none as nostalgic as that one.
“Earlier this year we were upgrading to a new car, a green one.
“Stratstone Mini Chesterfield found me the perfect car but what a pity we had sold the 800 PEA registration plate in 1973 – it would be perfect.
“Dennis mentioned the plate in an out-of-hand comment, and that got me looking for it online at Regplates.com.
“To my amazement, they had it available. I just had to have it.
“It cost us £1,200, which was a reasonable prize for a private plate.
“There was one on there, a 200 PEA plate, which was on there for £4,000, so we got very lucky with it.
“I’m so happy to have a new Green Pea.
“I’m never letting go of the plate again, it’s going to stay with me forever.”