Motor Vehicle Records

We have one of the largest collections of registration records in the UK.

When Local Taxation Offices were closed in the late 1970s, their vehicle records were offered to the appropriate local record office or police force. In many cases this offer was declined, and these records make up the core of our collection, supplemented by other gifts.

Therefore, those records which remain – and only a proportion do – are spread between our collection and those of local record offices.

What has survived?

Those records which have survived fall into three categories:

  1. Registers covering the period up to the end of 1920. These usually have quite comprehensive details, including name and address of the vehicle keeper, particulars of the vehicle and date of registration;
  1. Allocation books introduced in 1921, which were used to allocate registration marks to dealers or owners. In some cases, these recorded the same detailed information as pre-1921 but most unfortunately recorded sparse information, such as date and name of dealer or owner;
  1. Record cards introduced in 1921, which were designed to enable the initial issuing authority to know the authority area within which the vehicle was being kept. When a vehicle was destroyed and written off the records, this card would sometimes record the last owner and date.

Where is it?

Make sure you know which is the issuing authority for your registration number by consulting our list of Issuing Authorities.

Then look up the list of records in the list for England & Wales, Scotland or Ireland. These lists will give you details of what records survive.

The information available varies significantly between individual issuing authorities. The guide shows what records are where.

Our Service

We have in excess of two million vehicle records, and although the coverage is variable, we may be able to help you with your researches or to regain a lost registration mark.

  1. make sure that we do hold the records by consulting the list of records. (We can’t carry out the search for you if we do not have the information!);
  1. send us details of the registration number you want to have searched, and as much information about the vehicle as possible (e.g. chassis or frame number);
  1. submit our standard search fee of £12, either through our PayPal portal or with a cheque made payable to “The Kithead Trust”

Once we have these, we can start a search for you. DVLA requires a connection between the registration number and the vehicle chassis number and we will use our best endeavours to obtain this for you.

If we know without undertaking any work that we cannot assist, then your money will be returned to you. If we cannot help but have completed our search to determine this, then sadly we cannot offer a refund as we have incurred the work.

Regaining a Lost Index Mark

If you are trying to regain a lost index mark, then we suggest that you follow the steps above. The standard search will reveal whether there is a unique match for your vehicle.

If there is, then for a further fee of £30 we will issue two certificates along with two copied of the record. One copy is for the DVLA and the other for you to retain.

Such certificates are normally accepted by DVLA in cases where original marks are sought.

Are we wrong?

If any of our listings are wrong or out of date please let us know.

Standard abbreviations

CRO   County Record Office
GIM     General Identification Mark
HMC   Heavy Motor Car (more than two tons)
MTO    Motor Taxation Office (in Ireland)
RO      Record Office
TP       Trade Plate
VRO   Vehicle Registration Office (Local Office from 2001)