UK Car Registration Formats

If you were to design a registration system for UK Cars the obvious step would have been to have two numeric characters first, this system would have lasted for 100 years. The British civil service could never have dreamt up a system fiendishly simple so here is what they have done instead in the last 100 years. 

The first registration marks were made up of one letter with one number, the first (A1) being issued by London Council in 1903. 

Later formats were comprised of two letters and four numbers. These series were replaced as and when they were exhausted. So, whilst the
Liverpool series KA lasted for only two years between 1925 and 1927, the series SJ was still being issued by Bute Council in 1963.

By the mid 1930s, the two letter/four number series of registration marks were exhausted in some areas, and new three letter/three number
series were introduced. AAA 1 was issued (by Hampshire County Council) in 1934 through to AAA 999 and the commencement of the BAA
series in 1936. This process continued until the mid 1950s when marks were reversed to three numbers/three letters.

Between 1963 and 1965 councils began to issue "suffix" registration marks - three letter/three numbers and a year suffix. The registration
year ran from 1 January - 31 December until 1967, when the suffix change was moved to 1 August.

In 1973 the appearance of registration plates was changed for the first time since 1903. From 1 January, vehicles were required to have reflective number plates - black on white at the front and black on yellow at the back. Reflective plates were introduced so that unlit vehicles could be seen more easily at night. The regulations also provided for the size, shape and character of registration marks.

Prefix registrations - 1983  saw the completion of the suffix format of registration marks. and the beginning of the yearly PREFIX series

"Q" marks -Also  in 1983 Q marks were introduced. These are issued to vehicles of indeterminable age, e.g. kit cars
which are built of major components from more than one donor vehicle, or imported vehicles where the date of first registration cannot be established. 

1999 Prefix plates now run twice a year 

 
UK Registration Plate Year Identifiers
Suffix Letters
A 01 February 1963 31 December 1963
B 01 January 1964 31 December 1964
C 01 January 1965 31 December 1965
D 01 January 1966 31 December 1966
E 01 January 1967 31 July 1967
F 01 August 1967 31 July 1968
G 01 August 1968 31 July 1969
H 01 August 1969 31 July 1970
J 01 August 1970 31 July 1971
K 01 August 1971 31 July 1972
L 01 August 1972 31 July 1973
M 01 August 1973 31 July 1974
N 01 August 1974 31 July 1975
P 01 August 1975 31 July 1976
R 01 August 1976 31 July 1977
S 01 August 1977 31 July 1978
T 01 August 1978 31 July 1979
V 01 August 1979 31 July 1980
W 01 August 1980 31 July 1981
X 01 August 1981 31 July 1982
Y 01 August 1982 31 July 1983
Prefix Letters
A 01 August 1983 31 July 1984
B 01 August 1984 31 July 1985
C 01 August 1985 31 July 1986
D 01 August 1986 31 July 1987
E 01 August 1987 31 July 1988
F 01 August 1988 31 July 1989
G 01 August 1989 31 July 1990
H 01 August 1990 31 July 1991
J 01 August 1991 31 July 1992
K 01 August 1992 31 July 1993
L 01 August 1993 31 July 1994
M 01 August 1994 31 July 1995
N 01 August 1995 31 July 1996
P 01 August 1996 31 July 1997
R 01 August 1997 31 July 1998
S 01 August 1998 28 February 1999
T 01 March 1999 31 July 1999
V 01 August 1999 28 February 2000
W 01 March 2000 31 July 2000
X 01 August 2000 28 February 2001
Y 01 March 2001 31 July 2001

2001 : the next scheme arrived - Click here to view

View the area of your cars original registration pre 1999.

International car registration identifying marks.