UK Registrations Overview

A vehicle’s registration number is an important key to its past. Unfortunately, quite a few vehicles have lost their original number at some time. There are two possible reasons for this – either the vehicle was not on the DVLA database when the record was closed, or the number has transferred to another vehicle.

The DVLA closed their database records to old cars not already registered with them on November 30th 1983.

The only exception was to vehicles of particular historic interest where the registration mark was a significant part of that interest. Everything else was to receive “a replacement mark relevant to the age of the vehicle”. The DVLA selected a number of series’ for this purpose that hadn’t been issued previously (SK, SU and SV suffixes for example).

Many people thought that this was unfair. Owners felt cheated out of part of their vehicles appeal and decisions whether or not a number was reallocated sometimes appeared arbitrary. After much pressure from enthusiasts and Clubs, the rules were changed in 1991.

A vehicle that missed the 1983 deadline can now be registered with its original number provided that there is some documentary proof of entitlement and a recognised Club verifies the application as genuine. A number reallocated in this way is recorded as non-transferable and can never have a value in its own right.

The other reason for a non-original mark is that the vehicle has been involved in a cherished number transfer – ie. A previous owner has sold the original mark.

Until 1992 number donor vehicles always received an ‘A’ suffix mark but from then on a non-transferable non-suffix mark “ relevant to the vehicles age” was issued. These can be obtained free of charge for vehicles given an ‘A’ suffix registration under the old rules (except for 1963~ registered vehicles for which ‘A’ is deemed appropriate).

Original Registration Applications

In order to successfully claim back an original registration, the DVLA requires documentary evidence to ‘prove beyond reasonable doubt’ that the number being claimed was in fact issued to your vehicle. They will accept at least one of the following:

– Original log book – buff coloured or the green continuation book
– Original pre-1983 MOT certificate
– Original pre-1983 Tax Disc
– Original Registration records – approximately 50% still exist.

The original registration records are usually held in the County Council archive departments for which a small charge is often made. We can supply the name and address of the appropriate archive department upon receipt of details of the registration being claimed and a first class 4” x 9” SAE.

The Land Rover Series One Club will assist members with their application to reinstate an original registration held by a Series One vehicle. In relation to the documentary evidence above, we will not accept original documents as these do get lost in the post. All original old log books, pre-1983 MOT’s and tax discs must be photocopied at your local Vehicle Registration Office so that they can authenticate the copy as a true copy with their own approved stamp. Land Rover Series One Club and DVLA will only accept these stamped copies – all others will be rejected.

Once you have sufficient (true copy) documentary evidence, please send it by first class post to the Club Registrations Officer, along with a first class SAE (8” by 9”) and a covering letter explaining what you are trying to do.

The Registrations Officer (MilkMan on our forum) will determine if you have sufficient documentary evidence and then provide forms V765 and V55/5 pre-completed for you to check and sign. These forms need to be returned to him along with:

– A front and rear photograph of the complete vehicle showing the old number plates, if intact
– Inspection letter (see Age Related Registrations for what is required)
– Club Registration Fee

If all is in order, the Club will approve the application and send it on to DVLA, Swansea. You will be informed by post of the Club’s approval and once DVLA have completed any further checks they may wish to make you will receive a new V5C for the vehicle with the original registration number, usually within 2-4 weeks.

Unlike an age related registration, vehicles applying for original registrations do not need to have a valid MOT, however they must be complete vehicles. Original registration vehicles must be taxed for the first time at your local Vehicle Registration Office. Like all other vehicles, once this has been done for the first time, you must apply for road tax each year (even if it is free of charge) or declare your vehicle SORN. Failure to do this is likely to result in a fine.

Mick Burn is MilkMan on our forum. His postal address is published in Legend, the Club Magazine
Non-members can obtain Mick’s address via the DVLA directly.

Age Related Vehicle Registration Applications:

These are issued to Series One Land Rovers where the original registration has been lost or sold or if there is insufficient evidence to prove entitlement to its original registration. They are issued from local Vehicle Registration Offices. You have no choice over the number issued and you will be offered only the next available registration from the database.

For Series One Land Rovers manufactured between 1948 and 1958 these registrations will either be three letters followed by three numbers (ABC 123) or in reverse, three numbers followed by three letters (123 ABC). All age related registrations are now issued on a non-transferable basis and cannot be sold on.

To apply for an age related registration you must have the following:

– A current MOT certificate (based upon the chassis number if the vehicle has no previous known registration)
– A Dating Certificate from the Registrations Officer of the Land Rover Series One Club

The Club will not issue a Dating Certificate unless it receives written proof of the vehicle’s chassis number. Written proof takes the form of an ‘inspection letter’ from one of the following:

– A senior officer (eg. Chairman, Secretary or Treasurer) of an ALRC affiliated Club
– A listed Land Rover Group dealer
– An officer of the AA or RAC
– A member of the legal profession (incl. Magistrate)
– A Police Officer A Civil Servant – Executive or Administrative grade
– A HMRC Customs & Excise Officer
– A Doctor (M.D.)
– A Member of Parliament (either House)
– A member of the Clergy

Inspection letters must be on headed note-paper and include the inspectors address and teplephone number – the Club and DVLA may contact the inspector. The inspection letter must also include the following information:

– Date, time and place of inspection.
– Registration number of vehicle (if known).
– Chassis number (exact number AND its location on the vehicle).

The letter must be signed by the person mentioned on the headed note-paper. A front and rear view photograph of the complete vehicle must accompany the inspection letter. Please also ask your ‘inspector’ to sign and verify the back of the photographs of the vehicle with the following statement:-

“I certify that this vehicle being inspected on has the number clearly stamped on ”.

Any fee for carrying out the above service would be a matter between the vehicle owner and ‘inspector’.

When applying for a Dating Certificate from the Land Rover Series One Club, a suitably sized first-class stamped self-addressed envelope must also be included to enable us to return the photographs and dating certificate.

This service is only available by post. Neither the Land Rover Series One Club nor the DVLA will accept e-mail or fax applications. Please send your ‘inspection letter’, photographs and SAE to the Club Registrations Officer.

Once everything has been checked a Dating Certificate will be issued. The certificate, inspection letter and photographs will be returned to the applicant using the SAE.

Unfortunately, the above service only applies to ‘standard vehicles’ – ie. as they came off the manufacturing line of Land Rover. Radically altered vehicles (coil springs, disc brakes, power steering or modern engines and gearboxes) have a completely different set of rules.

What to do next:

Once you have obtained a current MOT and Dating Certificate you need to contact your local Vehicle Registration Office by telephone and arrange for a vehicle inspection. As your vehicle may be insured but not taxed it cannot be driven and will therefore need to be trailered to the local office. The inspector may refuse to check the vehicle over if he suspects that it has been driven illegally.

The local Vehicle Registraion Office inspector will check the vehicle paying particular attention to the chassis number. Please make sure that this is clean and clearly visible – a wire-brush and white chalk are useful to aid visibility.

If everything is in order an age related registration will be issued. Your current MOT will be amended with the new registration number and if you have the insurance certificate with you, a new tax disc can also be issued. A new V5C Registration Document will be issued from Swansea within 2-4 weeks.

Neither the local Vehicle Registration Office nor the Land Rover Series One Club currently make a charge for issuing age related registrations and dating certificates. However, if a vehicle has never previously been registered, a first registration fee would be required to be paid to DVLA.

Mick’s postal address is published in Legend, the Club Magazine. Non-members can obtain Mick’s address via the DVLA directly

Incorrect DVLA Vehicle Weight on V5

The following vehicle weights are given by Land-Rover in Publication No TP 241 B:

1948 – 1953 80″ 1829 Kg
1954 86″ 1897 Kg
1954 107″ 2126 Kg
1955 – 1958 86/88″ Basic 1945 Kg
1955 – 1958 107/109″ Basic 2352 Kg
1955 – 1958 86/88″ S/wagon 1913 Kg
1955 – 1958 107″ S/wagon 2250 Kg

(All the above are Petrol Models)

1957 – 1958 88″ Diesel 2033 Kg
1957 – 1958 109″ Diesel 2435 Kg

The following article appeared in Legend Magazine in 2016 explaining a tightening of the approach taken by DVLA.