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Old car registrations
Taking steps to get your cars old number back - UK cars
With so many number plate dealers stripping original registrations from MOT'd classic cars, motorcycles and lorries, it means fewer and fewer old vehicles are still able to display their correct registration number, having instead to be saddled with a *SK or similar number.
To really have your classic in its original condition, it is important to resist temptation to make a quick buck by flogging on the number on your car if you're able to do so (ie if its been continually registered with DVLA & has a current MOT). Of course if a number vulture has got to your car first, and sold its number, then there's nothing much you can do about it other than have an age-related plate, most of which stand out a mile away as being non-original.
If you are fortunate enough to have a car that has always been on the DVLA system with its proper registration, then your car will usually be of greater interest to fellow enthusiasts (and probably worth a bit more too). Without its original number, a car has effectively broken its link with its own history, which to my mind is a great shame.
Retrieving a number for a car not on the DVLA system
However there are still a large number of restoration projects out there, whose number never made it on to the DVLA computer system when they updated their records in the late 1970s. This is usually because the vehicle itself was no longer on the road, and the then-owner didn't bother to get the vehicle onto the Swansea computer.
If you have such a vehicle (as do I), then all is not lost. So long as you have documentary evidence that the number applies to your vehicle, there is a good chance that you can have the original registration re-instated to your vehicle - on a non-transferable basis! This can be great news for anyone who is interested in returning their vehicle to how it was when new, but not good news for someone who is out to try and get a 'cherished' number back on the system, so they can flog it on. Hard luck.
Documentation that is required to back up your claim
The more evidence you can provide that associates your car with a particular registration the better. Photos of the vehicle when in use, or as discovered, still in complete form with the number clearly visible, really helps. Other documentation can further aid your cause includes olde worlde tax discs (not repro copies either!), old MOTs, service documents, and so on. Perhaps best of all is the old style buff or green log book.
To authenticate your claim, the DVLA maintain a list of approved clubs and societies, who have the power to verify a persons claim, and suggest its acceptance or refusal. There is a downloadable PDF document available on the DVLA website that gives a run-down of all these approved bodies, I don't think it is a pre-requisite to be a member of these clubs, but it is bound to help!!! To view this list, you will need a copy of Acrobat Reader on your computer - to download the club list, visit this page and, at the foot of the page, choose to download the DVLA V765/1 leaflet (115k).
Once you have chosen (and ideally joined) an appropriate club, you will need to find out who in that organisation can validate your retention claim (see the downloadable club list again). To get things rolling, you'll need to fill out form V765, which is also available to download at DVLA - just go here: V765 form (48k). This is also a PDF file.
If your PC hasn't got the Reader on it, you can download that for free here: Adobe website.
The chosen club should then be able to progress your application, and will contact you if further evidence is required. DVLA will want to see your original log book, if you have one. If you're not too keen on entrusting it to the vagaries of our postal system, you can take it in person to a local DVLA office and they will copy and authenticate the copies, which can then be used with your claim. For more details, have a read of the V765 form, link above.
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