Suffix number plates: 1963 to 1983
In 1963 car registrations were running out once again and this led the way for suffix number plates. This time the local changes in formats were removed by the introduction of a new national scheme.
The introduction of a one letter suffix to denote year of issue gave this format its common name of “Suffix number plates”. The new Suffix number plate format consisted of:
- A three letter sequence This ran from “AAA” to “YYY”. As previously, characters within this sequence indicate area of origin.
- A space.
- A one to three number identifier. This ran from 1 to 999.
- A single letter suffix. This would be used to indicate the year of issue, starting with A in 1963.
Some local authorities did not adopt this new format at first, sticking to their own schemes, but in 1965 the suffix format was made compulsory across the UK.
Example: “AAA 1A” to “YYY 999A” for 1963, “AAA 1B” to “YYY 999B” for 1964, and so on.
As well as yielding many more available registration numbers the suffix was a handy way for car buyers to know the age of a vehicle. At first the suffix letter changed on January 1st, but car retailers soon noticed that sales became skewed as car buyers would tend to wait for the new letter to be issued.
In an attempt to even out sales the industry lobbied to move the month in which the car suffix changed to August. This change was adopted in 1967. The registration year ran from 1st August to 31st July until 1999, when biannual changes were introduced.
1967 was the first year to have two suffixes. “E” was used from January, with “F” introduced in August.