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Reflective number plates

Does anyone know when reflective number plates first became available as a permitted option? I know they became a legal requirement from 1st January 1973 but also know they were around before that. I have found an extract from a debate in the house of commons from June 21st 1967 asking about the supply of the reflective material but no answer could be given as the technical spec of the plates, WHEN they become available, had not been decided, suggesting they werenât around then, but were on their way.

(http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1967/jun/21/reflective-number-plates)

To add confusion, & the reason for the question, I have a friend who has a 1966 âDâ reg vehicle, which his parents bought new & he is restoring to original. It has old aluminium reflective plates with the raised plastic letters/numbers, which I thought should have been black & white, but he believes them to be the original plates supplied with the car, although canât be 100% sure. Iâve asked this on a couple of other old vehicle related forums & have another reply saying they have original photoâs of their 1965 Vauxhall Cresta wearing reflective plates on collection from the dealer when new.

I know this isnât exactly Norton related, but the legislation does cross the divide between bike & cars so thought Iâd use this great new message board & seek the benefit of the collected wisdom on this site.

Regards, Tim

[Somebody here trying to stay on the right side of the Webmaster !]

Seriously though, we could all do with the laws on number plate types distilled down into a document for this site and for publication in Roadholder, as a reference for when Nortons are being restored. Tell us what you know

Webmaster

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Hi Tim,

This isn't a definitive answer but I can say with total certainity that I was in Oxford Street, London in the summer of 1967 when I saw my first reflective number plate - on a Morris 1100. It was noticeable to me because it was F registration which was the new registration only just in on 1st August.(previously reg no changed on 1st Jan). My E reg Morris 1100 had the old style pressed aluminium plate in black and white.

So I agree with you that a D registration was definitely before reflective plates were the norm.

Does the MOT testers guide give any info on legal dates of use?.

Patrick

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Hi all,

It varies widely between areas as to when the style changed. Some were still signwriting numbers in the 60's. Some were using aluminium plates while others were using silverplastic letters and numbers. There are also variants of the latter two with black letters and reflective backs.

Traditional blank and white or pressed aluminium plates of the same style werediscontinued in 1972. Any vehicle made and registered after 31/12/1972 CANNOT have this style of plate displayed. The maximum fine is £1,000 and if you're caught again the plate can be withdrawn. You have been warned!

Jim

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I'm sure that the first reflective plates that I saw were 'E' suffix but it could be that they were being fitted to pre-registered showroom stock.

Does anyone still make non-perspex reflective plates though ? The perspex type didn't appear until 1977 or so (from memory).

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Found this page, lotâs of info, if itâs accurate, in the chapter titled Colour & Dimensions; it says reflective plates were permitted as an option in 1968. It also says the requirement for a front plate on a motorcycle was dropped in 1975 but Iâm sure I remember new Commandos not having them before that, it was my dream bike back then & probably the only thing that I paid more attention to was teenage girlsblush Anyone have a new bike before 75 without a front plate?

Richard, Framptons still make pressed ally & riveted type reflective plates for cars & pressed ally for bikes amongst their range, which looks very comprehensive.

Soon going to need some black & white/silver plates so think Iâll give em a try

Regards, Tim

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For the best of both worlds...For my old bikes, I make up my own black and white number plates. For the alphanumerics, I cut these out of reflective tape which I buy from my local builders merchants. When you have only 5 watts of back light, havinga reflective black and white rear number plate has to be a good thing. It don't half show up well!

Rivet counters can ignore all the above. Just don't go out at night.

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Previously tim_gostling wrote:

Does anyone know when reflective number plates first became available as a permitted option? I know they became a legal requirement from 1st January 1973 but also know they were around before that. I have found an extract from a debate in the house of commons from June 21st 1967 asking about the supply of the reflective material but no answer could be given as the technical spec of the plates, WHEN they become available, had not been decided, suggesting they werenât around then, but were on their way.

(http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1967/jun/21/reflective-number-plates)

To add confusion, & the reason for the question, I have a friend who has a 1966 âDâ reg vehicle, which his parents bought new & he is restoring to original. It has old aluminium reflective plates with the raised plastic letters/numbers, which I thought should have been black & white, but he believes them to be the original plates supplied with the car, although canât be 100% sure. Iâve asked this on a couple of other old vehicle related forums & have another reply saying they have original photoâs of their 1965 Vauxhall Cresta wearing reflective plates on collection from the dealer when new.

I know this isnât exactly Norton related, but the legislation does cross the divide between bike & cars so thought Iâd use this great new message board & seek the benefit of the collected wisdom on this site.

Regards, Tim

[Somebody here trying to stay on the right side of the Webmaster !]

Seriously though, we could all do with the laws on number plate types distilled down into a document for this site and for publication in Roadholder, as a reference for when Nortons are being restored. Tell us what you know

Webmaster

well I did have a 1968 353 mk1 Wartburg knight tourist and it had black and white number plates from new, its came from Hatch end Two Stroke LTD , its was in Rolls Royce Champagne Yellow , well i did around 300,000 miles in this car and what a good car it was, it never missed a beat, and the easiest engine I ever Had to do, and you do not even have to take the cylinder head off , to get the crank shaft ,and you could take the engine out in 20 minuets , and the engine weighed no more than the commando engine, , and I have a morris minor traveler of 1971 vintage , with black and white number plates it came from a BMC dealer in Camden from new, in Trafalgar blue paint work , but I would sooner have the wartburg than the Morris as the wartburg are a lot easier too maintain, than a morris, and will carry near twice as much, than a morris minor traveler , the wartburg was very good at carrying my disco equipment , you could get more in than the Volvo 240 estate I had once, there a bit num the old 240 , that was a 1986 model now this had yellow reflective plates on ,

Permalink

Previously anna jeannette Dixon wrote:

Previously tim_gostling wrote:

Does anyone know when reflective number plates first became available as a permitted option? I know they became a legal requirement from 1st January 1973 but also know they were around before that. I have found an extract from a debate in the house of commons from June 21st 1967 asking about the supply of the reflective material but no answer could be given as the technical spec of the plates, WHEN they become available, had not been decided, suggesting they werenât around then, but were on their way.

(http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1967/jun/21/reflective-number-plates)

To add confusion, & the reason for the question, I have a friend who has a 1966 âDâ reg vehicle, which his parents bought new & he is restoring to original. It has old aluminium reflective plates with the raised plastic letters/numbers, which I thought should have been black & white, but he believes them to be the original plates supplied with the car, although canât be 100% sure. Iâve asked this on a couple of other old vehicle related forums & have another reply saying they have original photoâs of their 1965 Vauxhall Cresta wearing reflective plates on collection from the dealer when new.

I know this isnât exactly Norton related, but the legislation does cross the divide between bike & cars so thought Iâd use this great new message board & seek the benefit of the collected wisdom on this site.

Regards, Tim

[Somebody here trying to stay on the right side of the Webmaster !]

Seriously though, we could all do with the laws on number plate types distilled down into a document for this site and for publication in Roadholder, as a reference for when Nortons are being restored. Tell us what you know

Webmaster

well I did have a 1968 353 mk1 Wartburg knight tourist and it had black and white number plates from new, its came from Hatch end Two Stroke LTD , its was in Rolls Royce Champagne Yellow , well i did around 300,000 miles in this car and what a good car it was, it never missed a beat, and the easiest engine I ever Had to do, and you do not even have to take the cylinder head off , to get the crank shaft ,and you could take the engine out in 20 minuets , and the engine weighed no more than the commando engine, , and I have a morris minor traveler of 1971 vintage , with black and white number plates it came from a BMC dealer in Camden from new, in Trafalgar blue paint work , but I would sooner have the wartburg than the Morris as the wartburg are a lot easier too maintain, than a morris, and will carry near twice as much, than a morris minor traveler , the wartburg was very good at carrying my disco equipment , you could get more in than the Volvo 240 estate I had once, there a bit num the old 240 , that was a 1986 model now this had yellow reflective plates on ,

Very interesting! So when do you think the Yellow plates became law 1973 then?

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Hello again,

I am not a solicitor or barrister so my opinion of English law cannot be depended upon. And I don't live in England anymore.

According to the DVLA website motorcycles manufactured after 1st Sptember 2001 MUST NOT display a front number plate but motorcycles manufactured before this date MAY DO SO but it is not mandatory. Apparently all is revealed in The Road vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001. The article mentioned by Tim is interesting as it states that the reflective plate was allowed from 1968. I suppose if you were a motor dealer (only when selling of course) you would classify the F registration (1st August 1967 onwards) as the start of the 1968 model year. Probably the 'legal' answer is contained in the earlier version of the Regulations but as these are probably amended yearly by Statutory Instrument you need access to a law library or a tame barrister.

I can say that the Police in 1968 did not object to someone fitting the reflective plates to earlier vehicles. I fitted reflective plates to my 1960 Sunbam Alpine (when I lived in Leeds September 1967 on) and no-one objected. I changed the Morris 1100 in 1969 (G Regd) for a Triumph 2000 and it came new with reflective plates - but I think they were extras

Patrick.

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Previously tim_gostling wrote:

Found this page, lotâs of info, if itâs accurate, in the chapter titled Colour & Dimensions; it says reflective plates were permitted as an option in 1968. It also says the requirement for a front plate on a motorcycle was dropped in 1975 but Iâm sure I remember new Commandos not having them before that, it was my dream bike back then & probably the only thing that I paid more attention to was teenage girlsblush Anyone have a new bike before 75 without a front plate?

Richard, Framptons still make pressed ally & riveted type reflective plates for cars & pressed ally for bikes amongst their range, which looks very comprehensive.

Soon going to need some black & white/silver plates so think Iâll give em a try

Regards, Tim

Ithink you may find that the number plate suppliers have all the answers. I had reflective on a 1972 bike and wanted black/white if you give them the registration they let you know if you can fit them legaly. However that does not answer the question as to whetheryour vehicle was supplied with them from new! Mark

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Hello there,

My learned friend is shocked by my ignorance and informs me that the answer to Tim's question is blatantly obvious. So if anyone is still interested here is his explanation; (told you it was simple)

THE ROAD VEHICLES (DISPLAY OF REGISTRATION MARK) REGULATIONS 2001 as amended by STATUTORY INSTRUMENT 2001 NUMBER 561. SCHEDULE 2 PART 3. Vehicles Registered before 1st January 1973 (Optional Specifications). Section B. Requirements where the vehicle carries a registration plate which is not so constructed. Either of the following is permitted. 1. A plate made of reflex-reflecting material complying with the requirements of the British Standards Specifications for reflex-reflecting number plates published on 31 OCTOBER 1967 under the number BS AU 145(3).

2 ------- (This refers to the old style black and white numbers). ------.

The Goverment website can be accessed at legislation.gov.uk. Well that's what my learned friend has to say on the subject. No doubt another barrister will say rubbish and produce something else to prove his case!!.

It seems to follow that reflective plates first became LEGAL for use after 31st October 1967.Hence it is very unlikely that they were supplied on new cars in 1966 (D reg) - main dealers don't do illegal things like that. The new Morris 1100 I saw in August 1967 was probably jumping the gun knowing they were about to become legal.

Now we are off to my garage and lets see what my learned friend knows when it comes to starting a Norton Navigator.

Patrick.

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Iâm not sure number plate suppliers do have the answers, they can tell you the current situation based on the newest legislation, but often apply this to older vehicles. I have been told by one supplier that they could not make me a black & white plate, & I would be breaking the law & MOT regs if I fitted one, they were not interested in the age of the vehicle, & while trying to obtain a rear plate for my Commando with a three letters, three numbers & the year suffix under these layout, to provide a tall, narrow plate instead of a short, wide one, I have been told by several âhigh streetâ suppliers that this is not allowed, the year suffix has to be on the same line as the numbers. The legislation.gov web site, however, suggests otherwise, see diagram 3c here, http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2001/561/schedule/3/made

The previous & next schedules give more info regarding requirements for both old & new vehicles.

The important basic things we need to know are; if your vehicle was manufactured before 1st Jan 1973 you can use either reflective type plates or the more traditional black background with white, silver or light grey numbers/letters. If it is manufactured 1st Jan 73 or after, you must fit reflective plates, yellow on the rear, white on the front, both with black numbers/letters. Simplified, this means anything with a âKâ registration or earlier is fine with black & whites, anything âMâ registered or later must use reflective plates, & if you have an âLâ registration, you need to look at the date of first registration & then the manufacture date. Note the legislation is relevant to Manufacture date not the date of first registration.

With the exception of 961 owners, if you want front number plates on your Norton, there is no legislation stopping you, it only became illegal to have a front plate on a motorcycle manufactured after 1st Sept 2001. There is no longer any legal requirement to display them on any age of motorcycle, this was dropped in 1975.

This info has been taken from official sources, such as .gov.uk or DVLA web sites etc so should be correct. I do, however, make no guarantees.

I still havenât been able to find a definitive answer to my original question, the best I can find is the British Standards numbers concerning reflective plates, the earliest of which seems to be BS AU 145(3) & dates from 31st October 1967, so it looks like they first appeared late 67 or early 68.

Regards, Tim

Edit

Patrick, Snap, it looks like we both found same info at the same time

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Hello Tim,

Something about "great minds think alike" comes to mind. But I believe there was an answer which said " fools seldom ??? " but I can't remember the rest.

Patrick

 

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