Vintage Number Plates On Classic Cars

It may not have escaped your attention that old cars or classic vehicles from the last century don’t sport the current standard DVLA  issue number plates that modern vehicles display and a good thing too.  A modern white or yellow long plate on a vintage classic would look pretty awful and totally out of place.

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Cars registered before 1st January 1979 are allowed to have black and silver plates which means you can legally recreate a faithful period number plate for your old car.  There is quite an overwhelming range available in this marketplace and with a variety of fittings as fixings on old vehicles can be challenging and this needs to be undertaken with care to avoid damaging the bodywork, as mentioned by

In 1973, the UK government changed the number plate regulations to what we know today, black and white on the front and black and yellow on the rear of the vehicle.  Both plates must be reflective.  You might think that any old car is allowed to display the iconic black and silver number plates of yesteryear but it is a bit more complicated than that.

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In 2015, the DVLA stated that cars manufactured more than forty years ago could display black and silver registration plates.  The information for this is contained in INF104.  This is a rolling date so every year, new vehicles are eligible as they reach their fortieth birthday.  If your car is eligible, you should apply for something called the historic cars tax class.  This means you are exempt from road tax but you do need to officially tell the DVLA by applying and registering your car in this classification.  A car of 40 plus years must either be designated in the historic vehicle’s class or SORN – Statutory Off Road Notification.

You will need the VSC known as the Vehicle Registration Certificate which demonstrates clearly that the car was either made or first registered before the 1st January 40 years ago.  It is possible to work without a VSC by using exact extracts from the manufacturer’s records or from Glass’s Check Book plus supporting documentation from the vehicles’ official enthusiasts club.

There are some restrictions on the inclusion of care in the historic vehicle’s class.  For instance, if you want to use the car for hire and reward or the car is connected to a commercial business, e.g. vintage car hire for weddings then it cannot be registered.

Can you display vintage silver and black number plates on a modern car?

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Unfortunately, modern vehicles have to apply with the legislation passed in 1973 which means a black and white reflective front number plate and a yellow and black reflective rear plate.  Black and silver plates can only be used on cars in the historic cares tax class.  Also, on September 1st, 2001, the font for characters on number plates was standardized so ending the use of italic lettering and other variations was more difficult to read.  It seems that if you want a vintage black and silver plate then you will have to buy a classic car to put it on.

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