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Following on from the original dateless registration that were the first kind of number plates in the UK, we have the suffix and prefix reg. As with all of your possible desires, we have a huge stock of registrations in these styles that you can purchase right away!

What are suffix registrations?

As the differing combinations of different dateless registrations came to an unwanted end in 1963, a new type a registration had to be released. This is when suffix number plates came into fruition. This type of registration was similar to the dateless ones the proceeded it, but had a letter at the end of the registration. This letter is the age identifier.

Beginning with the letter ‘A’ in 1963, all the way until ‘Y’ in 1982, the contact increase in yearly vehicle sales was matched by the vast amount of different suffix plate combinations a vehicle could have assigned to it.

For example, plates the were issued in 1963 could be something like “ABC 23A” or “GHZ 1A” and a suffix reg issues in 1966 could be “JJL 999D” or PAA 84D”.

What do suffix number plates look like?

Suffix plates are registrations of three letters, for example ‘AAA’ and then a space. After the space would be a single, double or triple digit number and then the all important age identifying letter. Much like vehicle registrations of the modern era, the 2nd and third letter in the suffix registration would be the area that the plate was issued too.

The opening letter and the one to three digit number in the registration would act as the unique identifiers. These are essentially random, though it is likely that they were distributed in sequential order.

The reason for the current biannual release of new registrations can be explained during this period. Vehicle retailers realised that sales would slow towards the end of the year as people we waiting for the new age identifier to be rolled out on January 1st. In 1967 the release date was change to August 31st, though it is difficult to see what impact this had.

In 1999 the biannual release of new registrations was introduced as a way to keep vehicles sales lifted throughout the year as the latest regs would never be older than 6 months.

Suffix Plates On Vintage Car

Why were some letters in prefix regs and suffix regs not used?

The letters I, O, U, Q and Z were never used in either prefix and suffix number plates. Each had a very reasonable explanation though. ‘I’ and ‘Z’ letters were reserved for Northern Ireland issues and the ‘O’ wasn’t (and still isn’t) distinguishable from a zero. It was also deemed that the ‘U’ was too similar to the ‘V’ to be used. ‘Q’ reg vehicles were used in special circumstances where manufacture year of the vehicle was not known.

What are prefix registrations?

Once again, in 1983 the time came for a change. For the past 20 years suffix registrations had been used in their entirety. No more combinations were available after the final letter, ‘Y’, had been used. From August of that year, right up until 2001 the prefix registration was used. Here, the age identifying letter was the first letter to appear on the number plate.

In 1999 the biannual release of new registrations was introduced. This meant that a couple of letters did not get the pleasure of being displayed on prefix registrations for an entire year. When the ‘S’ prefix reg was introduced, it was decided to only allow it to run until 25th February 1999.

‘T’ registrations then ran from then until the following August. The same pattern was repeated until the ‘Y’ reg was exhausted in 2001. This was due to the ever increasing pressure and demand for new vehicles as time went on.

What do prefix number plates look like?

In the same vein as the suffix number plates that we have explained above, the lone letter that is in this case at the beginning of the registration is the age identifier. ‘A’ being 1983, ‘B’ as 1984 and so. In essence, the suffix style had been fully reversed as was the case with the original dateless reg.

With the DVLA realising that there could be a small fortune to gain from the sale of private registrations. During this era some registrations were held back from standard issue. Numbers from 1 to 20 for prefix plates A to H were withheld. Upon the release of the ‘J’ reg, these plus addition attractive numbers like 22, 33, 111, 222 were all held back. These were later sold as private registrations.

Much like the registrations of today, some suffix and prefix registrations would clearly depict names and words. These too were held back and sold through auctions to the highest bidder. And so the personalised number plate industry was created.

This had later lead to extreme figures being paid for the most attractive number plates. Regs like ‘P1 LOT’ and ‘S1 NGH’ have sold for upwards of £100,000. This serves as another reminder that a private registration could be a terrific investment for the future.