United front for reversed registration plates

Chris Liles, right, with his personalised number plate which is the reverse of Cookes of Fakenham's

Chris Liles, right, with his personalised number plate which is the reverse of Cookes of Fakenham's trade plate held by general sales manager Dean Aldous.

You're not seeing double but it's not often you get two reversed number plates together.

Chris Liles picked up on Victor Lukaniuk's recent letter about his car registration number plate – VCL 1 – which attracted his attention for three reasons.

Firstly, the car pictured in 1978, carrying Victor's plate, is a Triumph Stag and Mr Liles is the Norfolk co-ordinator for the Stag Owners Club and has enjoyed owning and driving Stags for 36 years.

Secondly, he has owned the registration number CL 104 for 35 years and currently has it on his BMW X5.

And, thirdly, he recently spotted registration number 104 CL – his number plate reversed. It is a trade plate owned by Volkswagen dealer Cookes of Fakenham, part of Vindis Group.


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Mr Liles said that, traditionally, the last two letters on number plates, before the current AB12 CDE series, indicated where the plate was issued – for example, CL 1 was Norwich Borough Council. Later, some authorities reversed the letter/number sequence, such as 1 CL.

'As our local series progressed beyond the reversal sequence, letters were added to the front and ACL 1, BCL 1 etc emerged, followed by up to three numbers. Eventually, a further letter was added to the end in 1963, for instance ACL 123A.

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'To be strictly accurate, some authorities, including Norwich, did not issue 'A' suffixes. I believe the first such Norwich suffix was 'C' during 1965.'

Norfolk also had other letter combinations such as:

VG – Norwich Borough Council, August 1927 onwards.

AH – Norfolk County Council, January 1904 onwards.

VF – Norfolk County Council, February 1927 onwards.

NG – Norfolk County Council, December 1930 onwards.

EX – Great Yarmouth Borough Council, January 1904 onwards.

'The CL series was issued by Norwich Borough Council, running from January 1904 until August 1927. Research suggests my plate CL 104 – the 104th plate issued by Norwich Borough Council – first saw the light of day during 1904. In 1926 CL 104 was reportedly transferred on to a black and blue Bullnose Morris Cowley convertible which lived in Brundall from 1932 to the 1950s.

'Since then, CL 104 has graced more than 20 vehicles, including one of my Triumph Stags back in the 1980s. For a while it was displayed on my Stag as 'CL 10-4' to reflect my initials and spaced to represent the CB radio acknowledgement code – '10-4 good buddy'! This layout was discontinued after I repeatedly had the illegality of spacing brought to my attention by the police. Currently it is legally spaced on my rare BMW X5 4.8is.

'VCL 1 was issued by Norwich Borough Council in April 1963 and, by 1978, Mr Lukaniuk had evidently achieved his perfect personalised plate and transferred it on to his Triumph Stag. Mr Lukaniuk might be interested to know VL 1 was issued by Lincoln Borough Council in March 1928 but, if it survives, you will need very deep pockets to buy it!

Do you know anything about the history of the 104 CL trade plate. Was it once on a vehicle owned by your family or someone you knew. Tell us more by emailing motoring@archant.co.uk

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