United Kingdom

Pictures are to scale: 1 cm is approximately 10 pixels.
If you have any corrections, additions or remarks to any of the plates or their descriptions, please e-mail me.

Normal series plates

Normal series plate, pre-1963 style with larger characters. KY = Bradford.
Normal series plate. RU = Bournemouth, E suffix = January to July 1967
Normal series pair. WH = Bolton, J suffix = Aug. 1970 to July 1971
Oversized rear plate. YY = Greater London, M suffix in conjunction with T serial letter = Aug./Sept. 1974
Normal series two line rear plate. YA = Taunton, W suffix = Aug. 1980 to July 1981
American car plate pair. OT = Portsmouth, M prefix = Aug. 1994 to July 1995.

These plates are in the standard American plate size of 12" by 6" and use motorcycle size characters. Actually, such a plate format is not legal, but most American made cars use it and that practice is tolerated by the authorities.
Normal series front plate. NS = Glasgow, F prefix = Aug. 1988 to July 1989
Cherished number rear plate. This number was initially assigned in Middlesex in 1921, but then was transferred to a younger vehicle as a so-called cherished number. It was made up on a two line base, but because up to four characters can be fit into one line, the owner opted to have them put into the middle of the plate rather than ME above 3.
American car front plate. Euro style optional since 2001.
This plate is in the 2001 onwards system. AE = Peterborough, 05 = Mar. 2005 to Aug. 2005

Northern Ireland plates

Northern Ireland rear plates. IJ = Downpatrick, DZ = Ballymena. Northern Ireland did not adopt the year letter, but instead expanded its series to four digits.

The lower plate is in (actually illegal) non-standard style. Such plates are tolerated and often seen. At least that was the case in the late 1980s, when I was there.

Motorcycle plates

Motorcycle triplet, pre-1963. OY = Croydon. Since 1975, front motorcycle plates have no longer been required.
Front motorcycle plate. KF = Liverpool, L suffix = Aug. 1972 to July 1973. Since 1975, front motorcycle plates have no longer been required.
    Rear motorcycle plates.

The left plate is in the usual two line style. SG = Edinburgh, R suffix = Aug. 1976 to July 1977.
The right plate is the very rare three line version. TJ = Liverpool, H prefix = Aug. 1990 to July 1991.
This plate is in the 2001 onwards system. OU = Oxford, 05 = Mar. 2005 to Aug. 2005
This is most likely a French made replacement plate for a UK motorcycle. The letters "TPPR" on the upper left are typical for French plate manufacturers, and also the smaller size of the charachers would point to France. The number, on the other hand, fits into the pre-1963 British system. RJ = Salford.

Special series plates

Diplomatic rear plate. Pre-1990 style. 134 = Chile.
      Three line army car and motorcycle plates.
Army plate, made in German style. These plates are typically used by British army vehicles, which are stationed and bought locally in Germany.
Military plate. KA = issued in 1982. From 1982 on, the army, air force and navy have used a common series of registration numbers.
General trade plate. AB = Worcestershire.

Red general trade plates were issued until 1970. Note that on these plates leading zeros are used if necessary.
Trade plate. LN = London, north-west.
Temporary import plate, QH prefix = issued by Royal Automobile Club
Temporary import plate, QN prefix = issued by Royal Automobile Club. This is a rather rare two line front plate. The placement of the mounting holes suggests that the plate was used on an American car, protruding downwards from the licence plate area.
Temporary import pair, QF suffix = issued Aug. 1988 to July 1989. This number was issued to my Austrian car during a UK vacation in July 1989.
Same number as above. I had this additional set of plates made while in Northern Ireland. There, such non-standard plates are often used.
Private export series plate. OB = Birmingham, J suffix = Aug. 1970 to July 1971. Black private export plates have a yellow border.
Private export series front plate. OV = Birmingham, S suffix = Aug. 1977 to July 1978. White or yellow private export plates have a red border.

See also from the Military Forces Abroad page:

 British forces in Germany

1982-1988 series private vehicle plates.

These plates were usually made in German style, but white on black. The second plate is a much rarer variety in British style. Since 1988, British forces have used normal British civilian plates.

 British Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus
When Cyprus became independent in 1960, Britain retained two military base areas totalling 254 km2 under its sovereignty. British military vehicles there have their normal domestic registrations, while privately owned vehicles have normal Cypriot plates. Special SBAA plates are issued to vehicles of the administration of the area, including civilian police vehicles.

Back to the country index
Back to Plates.Lachs.Net