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Useful info and links for identification » Ancient British numberplates
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Ancient British numberplates
Published 11/06/2022 @ 00:48:29, By dsl
Some of you may have noticed that jfs and I often trade UK plate info from deeply mysterious sources which are hidden from ordinary mortals.

John's bible tends to be
A History of Motor Vehicle Registration in the United Kingdom by LH Newall (I think last reprinted in 2012).

Mine is Glass’s Index Of Registration Numbers 1929-1965 (published 1966 and rarer than a good-looking 21st century BMW), augmented by some of their other smaller books originally issued annually and covering the previous 8-10 years.

Most of the content (95%??) is common to either of them, but the remaining 5% or whatever in each case is unique, usually for secondary details rather than the series themselves. Which is why jfs and I can often add new snippets of info to whatever the other has commented. Both are quirky - it's not that either is better than the other, just that there was so much obscurity among plate systems that it's impossible to pin all the fiddly stuff down with total precision.

This website - https://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/registrations/reg-letters.htm - is a pretty good low-fat version of the Glass's/Newall info - same listings of plate series and dates - but not as much of the quirky detail.

Anyway I've uploaded a pdf of the Glass's bible to Dropbox, so anyone who wants can download it, and should be straightforward - no passwords or anything. It's a home-made scan I got on a CD from ebay umpteen years ago, so some pages are slightly squint and occasionally there's a blank spot instead of text, but 99.99% complete.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pjthdjl2rdu0pzr/Glass20index20to%201965.pdf?dl=0

It's 158mb, which I think is stretching the individual file size Dropbox can absorb cleanly, but jfs managed to download a test so should work OK. Maybe give it a minute or 2 to fully settle if you browse it first before downloading, and then let the download take its time to emerge.

I'll leave it up for a month or two, but may take it down afterwards. If it's gone, pm me and I'll try to repost. If you download, put a comment here so I know when enough folk have grabbed it and it's no longer needed.
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Ancient British numberplates
Published 12/06/2022 @ 00:19:57, By Baube
since its low-fat... got it :wink:
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Ancient British numberplates
Published 13/06/2022 @ 15:46:08, By Exiv96
Oh my. Thank you thank you thank you!
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Ancient British numberplates
Published 13/06/2022 @ 16:48:15, By antp
Thanks, I downloaded it just in case so I can also store a copy for archive
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Ancient British numberplates
Published 15/06/2022 @ 18:46:25, By chicomarx
Maybe the pdf can be stored on this site with a link in the plate section? This thread will get lost after a while.

Thanks dsl for scanning 201 pages!
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Ancient British numberplates
Published 16/06/2022 @ 11:07:25, By antp
I've already put it there so we have a fixed location:
http://imcdb.org/archives/glass_index_1929-1965.pdf
indeed I could add a link somewhere
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Ancient British numberplates
Published 18/06/2022 @ 14:52:17, By dsl
Glad this turned out to be useful

Thanks dsl for scanning 201 pages!

Fortunately someone else did the heavy lifting - I bought the fruits of their efforts on a CDR.

For UK plates after 1963, things are much easier to disentangle, with systems many of you will already know. But just in case, there's a handy list here of dates and letters for suffix plates (1963-82) and prefix plates (1983-2001). To note that there was some overlap 1963-65 with the older plate systems before the suffix plate completely replaced everything.

And of course there's the perennial problem of invented combinations for screen plates. Glass's never issued any further big guides, so the only way of exposing screen fakes is checking with their small guides issued annually, each of which covers preceding 8-10 years. There's a few samples illustrated at the bottom of the page here. The last one I've seen was issued in 2000; Glass's stopped publishing all of their ranges of trade identification books in 2010.

Have also discovered that Les Newall, author of jfs bible, died in 2000, so it's unlikely there will be any further versions. However his son supported a 2019 sequel covering the first 11 years of suffix plates "Motor Vehicle Registration Numbers of Great Britain 1963-1974" by Jonathan Del Mar - I've just got a copy, but not sure yet how useful it will be, simply because most of the data is available elsewhere, rather than as a criticism.
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