UK Post 2001 Registration Plate

A Guide to Registration Numbers

The Registration Number section of this Register is primarily aimed as an access gateway into the main register, and as an aid to identifying cars and their history, including upgrades, etc. The listings of registration numbers has been assembled strictly in alphanumerical and numerical sequence for the whole registration number of each vehicle in this Register.

We have also tried to aid the reader, who, faced with a chassis number of up to 15 letters and numbers, may find difficulty in identifying which model of Aston Martin they are researching, by including a “model” description beside each registration number.

It may, however, be of interest to understand the way Registration Numbers are presented by the Licencing Authorities, and be helpful to have a “potted” history of how they have evolved in the UK from very simple one letter, one number, through to our present day format, and the information that each registration contains.

Up to 1963

The Motor Car Act of 1903 required all self-propelled vehicles to be clearly identifiable and as a result “A1” was issued by the London County Council in January of 1904. As the number of vehicles grew, the available number combinations diminished, and this format was quickly followed by double-digit letters and up to four numbers, “AA 1234” etc.

By the mid 1930’s this format of numbering, especially in the higher population density areas of the country, became somewhat stretched, and thereafter three letters with up to three numbers came into force, “AAA 123” etc.

In the mid 50’s, some licencing authorities were again experiencing difficulties, and as a result the registration number format was reversed, “123 AAA” etc.

This system worked well for over thirty years, and at the same time identified the original licencing authority of the vehicle using the last two letters of the Registration Number, as the following list of licencing offices indicates:

A London HU Bristol RN Preston
AA Bournemouth HV LondonC RO Luton
AB Worcester HX Bristol RP Northampton
AC Coventry HY Bristol RR Nottingham
AD Gloucester J Durham RS Aberdeen
AE Bristol JA Manchester RT Ipswich
AF Truro JB Reading RV Portsmouth
AG Ayrshire JC Bangor RU Bournemouth
AH Norwich JD LondonC RV Portsmouth
AJ Middlesborough JE Peterborough RW Coventry
AK Sheffield JF Leicester RX Reading
AL Nottingham JG Maidstone RY Leicester
AM Swindon JH Reading S Edinburgh
AN Reading JJ Maidstone SA Aberdeen
AO Carlisle JK Brighton SB Glasgow
AP Brighton JL Lincoln SC Edinburgh
AR Chelmsford JM Reading SD Glasgow
AS Inverness JN Chelmsford SE Aberdeen
AT Hull JO Oxford SF Edinburgh
AU Nottingham JP Liverpool SG Edinburgh
AV Peterborough JR Newcastle-upon-Tyne SH Edinburgh
AW Shrewsbury JS Inverness SJ Glasgow
AX Cardiff JT Bournemouth SK Inverness
AY Leicester JU Leicester SL Dundee
AZ Belfast JV Lincoln SM Carlisle
B Lancashire JW Birmingham SN Dundee
BA Manchester JX Huddersfield SO Aberdeen
BB Newcastle-upon-Tyne JY Exeter SP Dundee
BC Leicester JZ Down SR Dundee
BD Northampton K Liverpool SS Aberdeen
BE Lincoln KA Liverpool ST Inverness
BF Stoke-on-Trent KB Liverpool SU Glasgow
BG Liverpool KC Liverpool SV Kinross-shire
BH Luton KD Liverpool SW Carlisle
BJ Ipswich KE Maidstone SX Edinburgh
BK Portsmouth KF Liverpool SY Midlothian
BL Reading KG Cardiff T Devon
BM Luton KH Hull TA Exeter
BN Manchester KJ Maidstone TB Liverpool
BO Cardiff KK Maidstone TC Bristol
BP Portsmouth KL Maidstone TD Manchester
BR Newcastle KM Maidstone TE Manchester
BS Inverness KN Maidstone TF Reading
BT Leeds KO Maidstone TG Cardiff
BU Manchester KP Maidstone TH Swansea
BV Preston KR Maidstone TJ Liverpool
BW Oxford KS Edinburgh TK Exeter
BX Haverfordwest KT Maidstone TL Lincoln
BY LondonNW KU Sheffield TM Luton
BZ Down KV Coventry TN Newcastle-upon-Tyne
C YorkshireWR KW Sheffield TO Nottingham
CA Chester KX Luton TP Portsmouth
CB Manchester KY Sheffield TR Portsmouth
CC Bangor L Glamorgan TS Dundee
CD Brighton LA LondonNW TT Exeter
CE Peterborough LB LondonNW TU Chester
CF Reading LC LondonNW TV Nottingham
CG Bournemouth LD LondonNW TX Cardiff
CH Nottingham LE LondonNW TY Newcastle
CJ Gloucester LF LondonNW TZ Belfast
CK Preston LG Chester U Leeds
CL Norwich LG Chester UA Leeds
CM Liverpool LH LondonNW UB Leeds
CN Newcastle-upon-Tyne LJ Bournemouth UC LondonC
CO Exeter LK LondonNW UD Oxford
CP Huddersfield LL LondonNW UE Dudley
CR Portsmouth LM LondonNW UF Brighton
CS Glasgow LN LondonNW UG Leeds
CT Lincoln LO LondonNW UH Cardiff
CU Newcastle-upon-Tyne LP LondonNW UJ Shrewsbury
CV Truro LR LondonNW UK Birmingham
CW Preston LS Edinburgh UL LondonC
CX Huddersfield LT LondonNW UM Leeds
CY Swansea LU LondonNW UN Exeter
CZ Belfast LV Liverpool UO Exeter
D Kent LW LondonNW UP Newcastle
DA Birmingham LX LondonNW UR Luton
DB Manchester LY LondonNW US Glasgow
DC Middlesborough M Cheshire UT Leicester
DD Gloucester MA Chester UU LondonC
DE Haverfordwest MB Chester UV LondonC
DF Gloucester MC LondonNE UW LondonC
DG Gloucester MD LondonNE UX Shrewsbury
DH Dudley ME LondonNE UY Worcester
DJ Liverpool MF LondonNE UZ Belfast
DK Manchester MG LondonNE V Lanarkshire
DL Portsmouth MH LondonNE VA Peterborough
DM Chester MJ Luton VB Maidstone
DN Leeds MK LondonNE VC Coventry
DO Lincoln ML LondonNE VD Lanark
DP Reading MM LondonNE VE Peterborough
DR Exeter MP London VF Norwich
DS Glasgow MO Reading VG Norwich
DT Sheffield MP LondonNE VH Huddersfield
DU Coventry MR Swindon VJ Gloucester
DV Exeter MS Edinburgh VK Newcastle-upon-Tyne
DW Cardiff MT LondonNE VL Lincoln
DX Ipswich MU LondonNE VM Manchester
DY Brighton MV LondonNE VN Middlesbrough
DZ Antrim MW Swindon VO Nottingham
E Staffordshire MX LondonNE VP Birmingham
EA Dudley MY LondonNE VR Manchester
EB Peterborough MZ Belfast VS Glasgow
EC Preston N Manchester VT Stoke-on-Trent
ED Liverpool NA Manchester VU Manchester
EE Lincoln NB Manchester VV Northampton
EF Middlesbrough NC Manchester VW Chelmsford
EG Peterborough ND Manchester VX Chelmsford
EH Stoke-on-Trent NE Manchester VY Leeds
EJ Bangor NF Manchester W Sheffield
EK Liverpool NG Norwich WA Sheffield
EL Bournemouth NH Northampton WB Sheffield
EM Liverpool NJ Brighton WC Chelmsford
EN Manchester NK Luton WD Dudley
EO Preston NL Newcastle WE Sheffield
EP Swansea NM Luton WF Sheffield
ER Peterborough NN Nottingham WG Sheffield
ES Dundee NO Chelmsford WH Manchester
ET Sheffield NP Worcester WJ Sheffield
EU Bristol NR Leicester WK Coventry
EV Chelmsford NS Glasgow WL Oxford
EW Peterborough NT Shrewsbury WM Liverpool
EX Norwich NU Nottingham WN Swansea
EY Bangor NV Northampton WO Cardiff
EZ Belfast NW Leeds WP Worcester
F Essex NX Dudley WR Leeds
FA Stoke-on-Trent NY Cardiff WS Leith
FB Bristol O Birmingham WT Leeds
FC Oxford OA Birmingham WU Leeds
FD Dudley OB Birmingham WV Brighton
FE Lincoln OC Birmingham WW Leeds
FF Bangor OD Exeter WX Leeds
FG Brighton OE Birmingham WY Leeds
FH Gloucester OF Birmingham WZ Belfast
FJ Exeter OG Birmingham X Northumberland
FK Dudley OH Birmingham XA London
FL Peterborough OJ Birmingham XB London
FM Chester OK Birmingham XC London
FN Maidstone OL Birmingham XD London
FO Gloucester OM Birmingham XE London
FP Leicester ON Birmingham XF London
FR Preston OO Chelmsford XG Middlesbrough
FS Edinburgh OP Birmingham XH London
FT Newcastle-upon-Tyne OR Portsmouth XI Belfast
FU Lincoln OS Glasgow XJ Manchester
FV Preston OT Portsmouth XK London
FW Lincoln OU Bristol XL London
FX Bournemouth OV Birmingham XM London
FY Liverpool OX Birmingham XN London
FZ Belfast OW Southampton XO London
G Glasgow OY LondonNW XP London
GA Glasgow OZ Belfast XR London
GB Glasgow P Surrey XS Paisley
GC LondonSW PA Guildford XT London
GD Glasgow PB Guildford XU London
GE Glasgow PC Guildford XV London
GF LondonSW PD Guildford XW London
GG Glasgow PE Guildford XY London
GH LondonSW PF Guildford Y Somerset
GJ LondonSW PG Guildford YA Taunton
GK LondonSW PH Guildford YB Taunton
GL Truro PJ Guildford YC Taunton
GM Reading PK Guildford YD Taunton
GN LondonSW PL Guildford YE LondonC
GO LondonSW PM Guildford YF LondonC
GP LondonSW PN Brighton YG Leeds
GR Newcastle PO Portsmouth YH LondonC
GS Luton PP Luton YJ Brighton
GT LondonSW PR Bournemouth YK LondonC
GU LondonSE PS Aberdeen YL LondonC
GV Ipswich PT Newcastle YM LondonC
GW LondonSE PU Chelmsford YN LondonC
GX LondonSE PV Ipswich YO LondonC
GY LondonSE PW Norwich YP LondonC
GZ Belfast PX Portsmouth YR LondonC
H London PY Middlesbrough YS Glasgow
HA Dudley PZ Belfast YT LondonC
HB Cardiff Q NumberswithQ YU LondonC
HC Brighton aretemporaryor YV LondonC
HD Huddersfield one-offspecials YW LondonC
HE Sheffield R Derbyshire YX LondonC
HF Liverpool RA Nottingham YY LondonC
HG Preston RB Nottingham Z Dublin
HH Carlisle RC Nottingham ZA Dublin
HJ Chelmsford RD Reading ZC Dublin
HK Chelmsford RE Stoke-on-Trent ZD Dublin
HL Sheffield RF Stoke-on-Trent ZE Dublin
HM LondonC RG Newcastle-upon-Tyne ZG Dublin
HN Middlesbrough RH Hull ZH Dublin
HO Bournemouth RJ Manchester ZJ Dublin
HP Coventry RK LondonNW ZL Dublin
HR Swindon RL Truro ZO Dublin
HS Glasgow RP Northampton ZU Dublin
HT Bristol RM Carlisle

1963 to 1983

While the last two letter identifiers remained, the number plate format again changed in 1963, this time with a suffix letter being added, indicating a particular year, starting in February of 1963. “AAA123 C” would indicate that the vehicle was originally registered in Bournemouth between January and December 1965.

In 1967 the licencing authorities decided to make the registration year commence in August and as a result make the new suffix letter “F”, run from August 1967 to July 1968. The following list of “Suffix Numbers” indicate the appropriate years:

A February 1963 to December 1963 L August 1972 to July 1973
B January 1964 to December 1964 M August 1973 to July 1974
C January 1965 to December 1965 N August 1974 to July 1975
D January 1966 to December 1966 P August 1975 to July 1976
E January 1967 to July 1967 R August 1976 to July 1977
F August 1967 to July 1968 S August 1977 to July 1978
G August 1968 to July 1969 T August 1978 to July 1979
H August 1969 to July 1970 V August 1979 to July 1980
J August 1970 to July 1971 W August 1980 to July 1981
K August 1971 to July 1972 X August 1981 to July 1982
Y August 1982 to July 1983

1983 to 2001

As a result of the alphabet “running out” in July 1983, the format was once again modified to drop the suffix, but include a prefix letter and at the same time reverse the registration number, “C123 AAA” etc. This, with one or two modifications for the car trade to try and offset a dearth of sales throughout the quiet half of the year, saw us up until August 2001, where it ran out with the prefix “Y”, as the following list shows:

A August 1983 to July 1984 L August 1993 to July 1994
B August 1984 to July 1985 M August 1994 to July 1995
C August 1985 to July 1986 N August 1995 to July 1996
D August 1986 to July 1987 P August 1996 to July 1997
E August 1987 to July 1988 R August 1997 to July 1998
F August 1987 to July 1989 S August 1998 to February 1999
G August 1988 to July 1990 T March 1999 to August 1999
H August 1989 to July 1991 V September 1999 to February 2000
J August 1990 to July 1992 W March 2000 to August 2000
K August 1991 to July 1993 X September 2000 to February 2001
Y March 2001 to August 2001

2001 to Date

A major change in the format of Registration Numbering occurred in September 2001 with the introduction of an Area letter followed by a Local Office Identifier. This double lettering was followed by a double digit age identifier which changed every 6 months, in the months of September and March, the first indicating which half of the year with the second indicating the year of registration, followed by three totally random letters. Therefore “AA 57 AAA” would have been issued in the Area of Anglia at the Local Office of Peterborough between September 2007 and February 2008 as the following tables show:

Area Letter Area Local Office DVLA Local Office Identifier
A Anglia Peterborough A B C D E F G H J K L M N
Norwich O P R S T U
Ipswich V W X Y
B Birmingham Birmingham A – Y
C Cymru Cardiff A B C D E F G H J K L M N O
Swansea P R S T U V
Bangor W X Y
D Chester to Shrewsbury Chester A B C D E F G H J K
Shrewsbury L M N O P R S T U V W X Y
E Essex Chelmsford A – Y
F Forrest & Fens Nottingham A B C D E F G H J K L M N P
Lincoln R S T V W X Y
G Garden of England Maidstone A B C D E F G H J K L M N O
Brighton P R S T U V W X Y
H Hampshire & Dorset Bournemouth A B C D E F G H J
Portsmouth K L M N O P R S T U V W X Y
K Borehamwood A B C D E F G H J K L
Northampton M N O P R S T U V W X Y
L London Wimbledon A B C D E F G H J
Borehamwood K L M N O P R S T
Sidcup U V W X Y
M Manchester & Merseyside Manchester A – Y ( Except N & MAN Reserved for the Isle of Man )
N North Newcastle A B C D E F G H J K L M N O
Stockton P R S T U V W X Y
O Oxford Oxford A – Y
P Preston Preston A B C D E F G H J K L M N O P R S T
Carlisle U V W X Y
R Reading Theale A – Y
S Scotland Glasgow A B C D E F G H J
Edinburgh K L M N O
Dundee P R S T
Aberdeen U V W
Inverness X Y
V Severn Valley Worcester A – Y
W West of England Exeter A B C D E F G H J
Truro K L
Bristol M N O P R S T U V W X Y
Y Yorkshire Leeds A B C D E F G H J K
Sheffield L M N O P R S T U
Beverley V W X Y

Note: The letters I, Q & Z are not used as Local Office Identifiers. The double digit Age Identifiers between the two groups of letters gives an indication, within 6 months, of when the vehicle was originally registered as the following table shows:

Date Code Date Code
September 2001 – February 2002 51
March 2002 – August 2002 02 September 2002 – February 2003 53
March 2003 – August 2003 03 September 2003 – February 2004 53
March 2004 – August 2004 04 September 2004 – February 2005 54
March 2005 – August 2005 05 September 2005 – February 2006 55
March 2006 – August 2006 06 September 2006 – February 2007 56
March 2007 – August 2007 07 September 2007 – February 2008 57
March 2008 – August 2008 08 September 2008 – February 2009 58
March 2009 – August 2009 09 September 2009 – February 2010 59
March 2010 – August 2010 10 September 2010 – February 2011 60
March 2011 – August 2011 11 September 2011 – February 2012 61
March 2012 – August 2012 12 September 2012 – February 2013 62
This pattern of Area, Local office and Age Identifiers is intended to continue until all permutations are exhausted, somewhere about 2049, and when reversed will run through till 2099. Time enough to contemplate an even more complicated system.

Non-UK Registration Number Systems

As a comparison to the British registration format, we have given below a very brief introduction to a few of the world’s other registration formats:

Austria

The Registration plate normally commences with up to two letters indicating the Administration District which the vehicle was registered in, followed by the heraldic emblem of that Province and thereafter a mix of up to six numbers and or letters always ending with the letters.

Australia

The State the vehicle was registered in is normally “written” across the top or bottom of the plate with varying colour options being used. The normal format of numbering is now three letters followed by three numbers with the various States or Territories being “allocated” specific groupings depending on population densities.

France

The registration starts with two, three or four random numbers followed by two or three random letters and culminating with two numbers which indicated the Department or region the vehicle was registered in. On 15th October 2009, however, this format was changed to two letters, three numbers and two letters, each grouping separated by hyphens and all totally random, but with the addition of a blue strip on the extreme right hand side with the issuing department number and logo of the issuing region embossed on it.

Germany

The first two letters of the German registration indicate the City or Region the vehicle was registered in, followed by the safety and emission emblems, thereafter one or two letters followed by up to four numbers separated by a hyphen, both groupings being totally random.

Guernsey

Registrations in Guernsey have no letters whatsoever and up to six numbers, which are issued in numerical order.

Holland

The Dutch Registration format used to be three groupings of two letters or numbers, each group separated by a hyphen. In 2006 this format changed to up to two letters or numbers, followed by a group of three letters or numbers and a last group of two letters or numbers, again each group separated by a hyphen. Registrations were issued in alphanumerical / numerical order, hence the plate relates only to the date of registration and not it’s place of origin.

Jersey

Jersey registrations start with the letter “J” followed by up to six numbers, issued in numerical order.

New Zealand

Before 2001 all New Zealand registrations had two letters followed by up to four numbers. In 2001 this changed to a three letter and up to three number format. The first two letters being issued alphanumerically, the third being random.

Russia

Registration numbers are set out with one letter followed by three numbers and two more letters. On the extreme right hand side they have the Region Number the vehicle was registered in with the letters RUS and the Russian flag below.

Switzerland

The first two letters indicate which of the 26 Cantons the vehicle was registered in, followed by the Swiss flag, before up to six numbers and finally the attributed Canton Shield.

United States and Canada

Registration numbers, or “Tags”, are issued by each State, Province or Territory, and the appearance of each is frequently chosen to contain slogans, symbols, shapes and colours which are associated with each one. They are normally issued alphanumerically and numerically but the format varies widely throughout, with different numbers of letters and numbers, and sometimes with hyphens between.

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