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Suffix Number Plates - A Complete Guide


Want to know more about suffix number plates? Our guide is here to help. On this page, you’ll discover:


  • What suffix number plates are
  • How to identify suffix registrations
  • A complete suffix number plate years chart 


Suffix number plates are one of four car registration systems used in the UK since the early 1900s. If you want to learn more about prefix number plates, dateless number plates, and the current new style registration system, follow the links to learn more. 


Or, you can read about all of the number plate systems in our complete car registration years chart


What is a Suffix Number Plate?


A suffix number plate is a style of car registration used in the UK between 1963 and July 1983. It’s one of four number plate registration systems used in the UK. It uses a letter at the end of the plate to indicate the car’s year of registration.


Suffix registration plates are usually split into three sections of characters.


  • The first three letters show the area the car was registered in. For example, the letters AD mean a car was registered in Gloucester.
  • The next 1-3 characters are random numbers that differentiate the car from those registered in the same year and location.
  • The final letter is the age identifier. For instance, plates that end in an A were registered in 1963.


Suffix Number Plate Years


Want to know what year a suffix registration is from? 


Suffix number plates were first introduced in 1963. It first used the letter A and moved through the alphabet before ending with Y in July 1983. 


You can see the full list of suffix letters and their age identifiers in the chart below.

Suffix Letter

Registration period










January 1967 to July 1967


August 1967 to July 1968


August 1968 to July 1969


August 1969 to July 1970


August 1970 to July 1971


August 1971 to July 1972


August 1972 to July 1973


August 1973 to July 1974


August 1974 to July 1975


August 1975 to July 1976


August 1976 to July 1977


August 1977 to July 1978


August 1978 to July 1979


August 1979 to July 1980


August 1980 to July 1981


August 1981 to July 1982


August 1982 to July 1983



Why Are Some Letters Not Used for Suffix Registration Plates?


Some letters weren’t used for suffix number plates as they can be confused with other letters.


  • The letters ‘I’ and ‘Z’ were reserved for Northern Ireland.
  • The letter ‘O’ was considered too close to the number 0.
  • The letter ‘U’ was considered too close to the letter V.
  • The letter ‘Q’ was only used in special cases when vehicles had unknown manufacturing dates. 


When Were Suffix Registration Plates Used and Why Did They End?


Suffix registration plates were originally introduced in 1963 and lasted until July 1983. Before this year, car registration plates were dateless and only featured the area in which they were registered.


The suffix registration system added the concept of letters to determine the year of registration of UK cars. This use of letters to identify age carried on even after the Suffix system ended and was adopted by the prefix registration system - the difference being that prefix plates used the letter identifier at the start of the plate.


New suffix number plates were added every year until 1966. After this, suffix plates were added twice a year until their end date in July 1983. 


Can You Use Suffix Number Plates on Every Car?


You can’t add suffix number plates to any car registered before 1963. This is because it’s illegal to make a car seem newer than it is. 


However, you can put a suffix number plate on any car registered after July 1983. For cars registered between 1963 and 1983, you can only use the same or earlier letters. 


Are There Rules for Using Suffix Number Plates?


If you wish to use a private plate on your vehicle formatted in the suffix style, then you must abide by the law. 


Once you have located the car reg plate you want, you can display it on your vehicle - provided that your new registration plate is not making the vehicle appear younger than it is. 


The DVLA places restrictions on car registration plates, but as suffix plates were phased out in 1983, they are a great option for modern cars. 


If you drive a classic car from pre-1983, you may need to check the dates to ensure your new private reg is appropriate for use on your vehicle.


Where to find suffix number plates?


You can purchase a suffix number plate in various places, but one of the easiest options is searching online. 


The SwiftReg database has access to millions of DVLA car registrations, making your search faster and easier. 

Simply enter your information in our registration search engine and view all of the available number plates. 


We can handle transfers and all the required DVLA paperwork to make your private suffix number plate purchase simple and smooth.

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