As of today, 1 October, the tax disc is no more. To mark the end of its 93 year reign, Sniff Petrol shares 11 amazing things you may not know about the slightly torn paper circle in your windscreen.
1. The tax disc was invented by Jacques Sdisque, a French immigrant who created a machine for putting untearable perforations into paper.
2. Original tax discs were valid for 28 months, which was also the amount of time it took to queue up in the Post Office to buy one.
3. From 1931 until 1940, the first Monday of September was ‘Tax Disc Day’, a public holiday in which the people of Britain stayed home, slowly trying to tear out their tax discs without ripping them.
4. Between 1941 and 1947, tax discs were also a type of food. ‘When the disc expired, it could feed a family of six,’ remembers 85-year-old Edna Creesp. ‘Red was strawberry flavour’.
5. In 1958, British singer Kenny Speckle had a hit parade smash with his song, It Took So Long You Left Me which was about trying to remove a tax disc from its paper surround. Other songs about tax discs include Rip It Up by Orange Juice and Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn.
6. Between 1967 and 1969 the DVLA issued thousands of tax discs accidentally soaked in LSD. Addressing the matter, junior transport minister Anthony Rung screamed ‘PURPLE SPIDER ATTACK!’ and then hid in a cupboard.
7. A 1977 government pamphlet inadvertently suggested that displaying a tax disc entitled moped owners to ‘ride like utter bellends’. The Department of Transport swiftly rescinded this advice but unfortunately no one heard them.
8. In 1984 there was musical controversy as Frankie Goes To Hollywood released a single with the provocative anti-payment chorus, ‘Car tax / Don’t do it’. Under pressure from the government, the lyrics were eventually changed so they were about shagging.
9. The death of the tax disc also means the death of the tax disc holder, long considered a way for large main dealer groups to advertise themselves to people already inside the car the company sold them. ‘It’s a sad day,’ said the marketing director of one national dealer conglomerate. ‘We’ll have to find somewhere else to write our idiotic and meaningless slogan about putting customers first.’
10. The aftermarket tax disc holder was a popular method for motorists to express their individuality. For example, a silver metal holder with fake Allen bolts on it was an unbeatable way of indicating you were a weasel-faced tit with a badly modified Saxo.
11. This year’s end-of-the-line tax discs will be highly sought after by tax disc collectors. If you want to keep yours safe from such people, remove it from your car and hide it in a place where they can’t go, such as a room with girls in it or within 50 yards of a school.