Classic car restorers, or at least those who are that way inclined, will spend a lot of time and money to make their classic car stand out from the crowd.

And sometimes they even succeed to produce a vehicle which is a real one of a kind.

Yet anyone who owns a classic, or indeed, any road car already has a unique version of the model without the need to spending thousands to make it even more unique, through their number plate.

Everything goes in circles, and many people find the number plate of cars issued during the Fifties and Sixties extremely attractive, with large, embossed silver coloured letters against a black background set in an embossed silver frame.

During the Sixties and onwards, that number plate style gradually became passe with deep yellow backgrounds and small-scale black numbers becoming the norm.

With restrictions on number plate styles being consistently relaxed, all possible configurations permutations became commonplace and began to cause some confusion to the DVLA and the traffic police.

Nowadays, when someone with an eye for detail wants to give his number plate a new lease of life, they have many options to choose from- from renewing their existing numberplate to finding a personal number and transferring it to the vehicle.  

Whatever the choice, there is no more subtle way of making a statement with your vehicle, either "in your face" or subdued.

Better still, registration numbers of cars registered before 1963 did not have an additional suffix to denote which year they first hit the UK roads. Before then, registration plates contained three numbers followed by three letters- for example, 123-ABC.

Going back even further, the letters preceded the numbers, i.e. ABC -123. 

In the pre-war year's registration, numbers ran in sequences of two letters and four digits, i.e. 12-ABCD or even ABCD-12.

The latter offered the most exciting possibilities as if someone got lucky, they were handed a  guaranteed way to personalise their car and increase its value by having a number that resembled their name or nickname.  

It was only a matter of time before a  cottage industry sprang up dealing in registration numbers. This procedure is perfectly legal and monitored by the UK Licensing Authorities.

Nowadays, someone who wants to round up their restoration project by stamping their individuality on their vehicle has to reach out to one of the companies who deal in number plates and check their list of numbers available.

There are endless possibilities and permutations, although the rarer the number, the more expensive it can become.

The UK record for a registration number, established in 2014, is more than half a million pounds paid for the right to hang a plate bearing the 25 O configuration.

Those whose budgets will not stretch to that figure, which can be regarded as an investment, can find a friendly pre-1963 two-letter -four number configuration for as low as £500 although usually costing several thousand, with three-letter -three number configurations costing less.

Once the number has been acquired, all required is to follow the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Fortunately, restorers who want to ensure that their classic car will retain its authenticity and classic touch can still legally display the traditional black and silver number plate if the vehicle was registered before the end of 1974- even if the number was transferred from another vehicle.  

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A guide to acquiring, restoring and maintaining UK or European Classic Cars of the Fifties and Sixties- as well as a recollection of the iconic cars of the era and the visionaries that produced them.

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