Find a Private Number Plate GuideDateless Style Guide
About Dateless-Style registrations
Dateless style registrations were introduced by local licensing authorities in 1903. These registrations initially followed the format of A*, where A is a one- or two-letter code, and * is a number between 1 and 9999. In 1932 these were extended to include a three-letter code and the possibility of reversed registrations in the format *A, where the number precedes the one- to three-letter code.
Due to the rise in traffic it became necessary for each vehicle to be easily identified and so the UK number plate system was introduced. The registration mark 'A1' was the first number plate issued in London. Registration marks would be issued in sequence and relate to the area of the country where the vehicles were registered. Each local DVLA office (formerly known as the DVLC) would have their own unique letter sequences that they would assign to newly registered vehicles. Dateless number plates were issued up until 1963 when they were replaced by Suffix style number plates.
Dateless style registrations do not refer to the year that a vehicle was first registered. This means that a dateless number plate can be re-assigned or transferred to any age of vehicle.
The lack of age restriction is the same as Northern Ireland registration marks which also date from the same era but are still being issued today. These are in more plentiful supply so they tend to be cheaper in price and can be easily identified as they always contain either a letter I or Z. The main benefit of dateless number plates and the reason why they are very popular is that they hide the ages of the vehicles that they are displayed on.
This style of registration is used to spell or emphasise short words, such as 1CEO, SAG333 or 7OMS. It also is useful to hide the age of a vehicle, or to give a wider variety of options for those looking to assign a registration to an older vehicle, such as D8651,16XF or UHU844.
How to use the search
If you have a specific dateless style registration in mind, you can use our “Dateless Style Search” to try and find what you are looking for.
To search for a specific registration, you can follow these steps;
- Select whether you are looking for the registration to start with letters or numbers.
- Select the letters that you are looking for in the registration.
- Type in a number that you are looking for. You can also select whether you are looking for the exact number, or if you are happy for the registration to just contain certain numbers. If you are trying to spell a word and need to fill the space where a letter should be you can use any number, or select the number that most closely resembles the letter that you need. E.g. using the number 3 for E or 55 for SS.
- If any of these characters do not hold any significance to you, you can leave the selection as “ANY”.
- If the combination you have selected is not available, our search will offer you similar matches directly from our database.
Alternatively you can choose to browse the registrations that we have listed. By selecting “Browse all” you can choose to view registrations according to your budget either alphabetically or in price order. If you choose to “Browse by plate length” you can select the format of the registration that you are looking for.