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Number Plates

Number Plates Published: 26th Apr 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Number Plates
Number Plates
Number Plates
Number Plates
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A novelty number plate not only sets a classic off nicely but can also prove as strong an investment as the vehicle it’s being put on!

TAXI! With the reg ‘TAX1’ selling for 90 grand, not so long ago, a cherished number plate can be worth more than the car and their popularity is as strong as ever. Basically, a posh plate is a combination of numbers and letters that’s special to you. Registration numbers are not items of property in their own right; they are assigned to vehicles by the Secretary of State as part of the basic registration and licensing process, required by law and a registration number remains a unique means of identifying a vehicle, primarily for taxation and law enforcement purposes.

Another benefit of owning an oldie is that a pre-1964 plate hides the vehicle’s age, which can be very useful if you’re buying a high end classic. A concours Bentley or Ferrari just doesn’t look right sporting a lowly D reg, while an inexpensive posh plate can hide the fact that your Mulsanne Turbo was bought cheaply!

In a HPI survey, a few years back, 73 per cent of respondents said they would choose a plate depicting their name or initials, a quarter of men would like something a bit rude or risqué (compared with nine per cent of women) wouldn’t you know.

They also strongly appreciate in value so make a wise investment because, like land, they don’t issue non dating reg numbers anymore! As an example, JB 1 was once advertised at £5950, which equated to about 60 per cent of a year’s average salary back in 1984. Fast forward to just over a decade ago and it was valued at £50K (see that it’s also insured with the car as many aren’t-ed) .

Take care if you have a unregistered project or are considering a reshell as it can be tricky to sort out. The DVLA defines a vehicle’s identity by its original shell and you need proper receipts to show you have bought the project or replacement body.

The DVLA awards a registration plate on a special points system and restoration must feature at least two major components so to keep its original identity – in total eight points are required to ensure an acceptance with an original or new shell accounting for over half the score, although the original engine nets only a point but suspension assemblies can earn double this.

Even if you use mainly old and second-hand parts the fact that you can’t ascertain their age will prove against you and if the vehicle’s VIN and registration numbers can’t be verified the DVLA will issue a dreaded Q registration number which not also will seriously devalue and debase the vehicle but also means it will not qualify for MoT exemption plus requires a strict Type Approval Test and a IVA inspection – it will be treated like a kit car in other words. And don’t even think about side stepping the issue with posh plate as you won’t be allowed.

It’s a right minefield (see our separate feature on this) but the DVLA is quite helpful in the matter and claims to deal with all cases on an individual basis, adding that the rules were only bought in to protect motorists from buying a vehicle where its age is in doubt.

Thankfully, the actual buying and transferring of a posh plate is very easy plus they can be held in limbo if you don’t wish to use it for whatever reason. Selling them presents either no problems and there’s even dedicated dealers which can assist you by purchasing it from you.

Happiness on a plate

Rights, wrongs of reshell

If you wish to retain the original VIN number and licence plate, then only a brand new bodyshell or a used but unmodified alternative is acceptable and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Contact the DVLA for the full gen

A Q that you must avoid

This is the bane of the home restorer and something you must avoid. Recent changes by the DVLA has changed the time scale in which a Q Plate change may be allowed but there’s been some argybargy with authorities of late about this

Finish your plate off…

A nice new set of quality period plates that tallies with the vehicle’s era really sets any classic car off; best speak to Framptons Classic Number Plates who has been in the business using original manufacturing dies for decades

Five top tips

Deal you in?

For ease and peace of mind, seek out a good dealer in the game, such as Motormarks, who not only has a wide choice to suit most budgets but can source one to meet your requirements

Age concerns

If your classic is on the cusp (i.e. Made in December but actually registered the following February) unearth as much information on the vehicle as you can; change of spec by the factory, past V5s and MoTs… in fact any document that you can lay your hands on which will verify the true year

Re reg rulings

Only vehicles registered by the DVLA, are currently licensed – subject to MoT test if necessary – and available for inspection if needed, may take part in a number transfer. Check out DVLA websites for further advice and admin costs, and so on

The cod war…

This is Certificate of Destruction and is given to vehicles destined for the crusher although a number of classics have still been restored after being issued one. This is impossible to rescind and while parts can be used, a complete vehicle can’t hit the road again (i.e. fit only for a static display) so check with the utmost care before buying!

Plate spinning

This is a tricky area. The display plate can be either white/silver on black or reflective black on white at the front and black on yellow rear on pre-1973 vehicles, but anything post ’73 must be only of the reflective variety. However, you do see some classics flouting the law. Size of plate also matters

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