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Personalised Number Plates

UK car registrations formats only allow up to three actual letters to appear consecutively without intervening numbers, so a little improvisation with numbers is usually necessary in order to represent names and words on personalised number plates. This is achieved by combining actual letters with numbers that (in context) resemble letters. Far from being a limitation, it's all part of the fun!

How to read personalised plates

To demonstrate how it works, consider the registration number H34 VEN. If one allows that the 3 looks like a reversed letter E, and that a 4 can look like an A, then a seemingly random string of characters becomes the word "HEAVEN" – an appropriate personalised number plate for a priest, perhaps.

How to read personalised number plates

At Regtransfers, we call this language of personal registrations "platespeak". Our infographic sets out some of the popular ways of using numbers to represent letters, and shows examples of genuine personalised numbers that employ these principles.

Here's a summary of those character substitutions in text form.

  • 0 = O or D
  • 1 = I or L
  • 2 = R or Z
  • 3 = E
  • 4 = A
  • 5 = S
  • 6 = G, B or O
  • 7 = T or Y
  • 8 = B, O or A
  • 9 = G or O
  • 11 = H, N or U
  • 12 = R
  • 13 = B

Similarly, consider B16 DAY. The number one is the same shape as the letter I, and with a little imagination one could easily allow the number 6 to represent the letter G. "BIG DAY" would, therefore, be a fine registration for a limo hire company specialising in wedding cars.

So, now you know the language, search for your own personalised number plate!

Celebrities with personalised number plates

Let's look at the personalised number plates that have been owned by a few of the celebrities who have appeared in our free magazine and see how they have used the language of platespeak to get their messages across.

Theo Paphitis from Dragons Den with his very effective Ryman number plate
Amir Khan and his BOX 111G number pate promoting his chosen sport
Famous chef James Martin with his 6 HEF chef personalised number plates
Nicky Clarke with his H41 RDO hairdo number plate
One of the UK's most well loved singers, Russell Watson poses with his T3 NOR personalised car registration

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The role of DVLA

Car registrations and number plates, including personalised number plates, in the UK, are the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, usually known as the DVLA. It issues new registrations twice a year and also maintains the central database that records details of all vehicles licensed to drive on UK roads, along with their keeper and registration information.

Regtransfers works closely with DVLA to complete registration transfers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Regtransfers is a DVLA-registered supplier of personal car registrations and number plates and is listed on the DVLA Registrations website. All number plates supplied by Regtransfers comply with DVLA's prescribed standards and regulations.

DVLA administers all UK registration transfers and issues updated registration documents when the registration number of a car is changed, or when a registration is removed from a vehicle and placed on a retention document in accordance with the DVLA Retention Scheme.

DVLA is a registered trade mark of the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency. Regtransfers is not affiliated with the DVLA or DVLA Personalised Registrations. Regtransfers is a recognised reseller of unissued Government stock.

Number plate regulations

When a car is on the road, it is an offence to display number plates bearing any number other than the vehicle's officially recorded registration number. If you purchase a private registration, learn how to transfer private plates before displaying the new number.

All registration number plates displayed on UK vehicles must comply with the official number plate regulations. DVLA oversees enforcement of number plates display regulations and maintains a register of approved manufacturers and retailers of vehicle number plates.

Regtransfers is not part of, and is not formally affiliated with DVLA.

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