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  • Differences Between Showplates And Regular Number Plates

    April 05, 2017 2 min read

    Top Quality Showplates from Pro Plates

    Drivers procuring a law abiding number plate, should always feel safe that what they are buying will be 100% inside the law, but what is it about a car number plate that will guarantee your vehicle will avoid the wrong attention? Changing your car plate to what is considered against regulation and classed an offense, the can bring with it a penalty for driving with an illegal number plate and a maximum fine of £1,000. And more, a car with unlawful or illegible plates will spontaneously fail its MOT, so it’s in your best interest to be careful and certify that you are showing a number plate on your car which meets the law at all times. Show plates for your car which is only used for display purposes at car exhibits, do not have to meet any of these requirements, as long as they’re not used on the public highway at all.

    What should be shown on a number plate?

    Your car’s number plate should plainly show your car registration number. The letter and numbers shouldn’t be changed, reorganised or impaired in any way. The plate should be obvious, clear, and easy to read. Keeping the plate spotless so that the entire plate is seen is advisable.

    Number plates should be identical, both physically and in colour. They should permanently be made from a reflective material and be different on the back and the front. The car’s front plates must always have black characters on a white plate, whereas the back plate should have black characters on a yellow one. Equally, the backgrounds should be blank, as a backing can make it too difficult to read if it doesn’t contrast enough to read easily.

    What is illegal?

    If your number plate is intended for road usage, then any of the following are not allowed:

    • Embellished typefaces such as italics and other hard to read fonts.
    • Screws situated in the middle of the plate characters (which could make a 0 look like an 8) or any altered characters
    • Symbols and pictures such as football club crests or religious signs
    • Altered spacing between the letters and numbers
    • Not displaying the British Standard and supplier information

    If you wish to design a plate that uses any of the options above, then why not use it as a car showplate instead? All of these would, in the case a car showplate, be perfectly legal for exhibitions, just not for the public highway.


    There is an omission to the strict number plate guidelines, and that is classic cars. The DVLA asserts that ‘historical vehicles’, which counts as anything manufactured before 1973, are permitted to show ‘old style’ plates, which are non-reflective black and white plates made of either black metal or plastic, and sporting white, silver or grey characters.

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