History of number plates


Although it was still much more common to see a horse on a British road, by 1903 the UK was starting to see enough of an increase in motorcars to warrant the need for a system allowing individual drivers and vehicles to be easily identified. 

The Motor Car Act introduced the UK number plate system to mainland Britain. This saw the birth of the ‘dateless’ style of plate, in active use up until 1963. The first UK registration number issued is believed to have been A1.


By 1963, car ownership had exploded to the point that the DVLA were running out of available combinations of numbers for registrations. 

Suffix style registrations were introduced to tackle this problem, allowing for millions of new combination possibilities. This style now also allowed for the date of the vehicle’s registration to easily be identified, with new registration numbers issued annually. 


1983 saw another overhaul of the UK registration system as prefix styles were introduced. This registration style was a reversal of its predecessor, whereby the date of registration can be identified by the plate’s initial characters. 

Prefix registrations were initially released annually until 1999 and the introduction of T-registrations, at which point new issues became bi-annual.


2001 was the advent of the registration style used today.  Like its last two predecessors, the current style includes information about both the year and place of the vehicle’s registration.

New registrations are released biannually and are set to continue to be issued until February 2051.

Why choose Select Number Plates?

We are a DVLA recognised reseller of personalised registrations, offering simple, quick transactions and backed by our dedicated support team with full secure payment processing. We will also handle the transfer of your new purchase to your vehicle should you require it too. You're in safe hands!

DVLA recognised seller

As a long time DVLA recognised seller, we've been buying and selling private registrations since 1978.

Personal Service

We pride ourselves on our professional customer service. Nothing is too much trouble, and we'll work with you to source the plate of your dreams!

Secure Payments

All card payments are managed safely and efficiently through our secure checkout process.