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Reclaiming your Registration Number
When do I need to reclaim a registration number?

The first thing that we must point out is that the following applies solely to cars under the registration control of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (i.e. the "DVLA" based in Swansea, Wales) which is a UK Government organisation and therefore applies only to vehicles (and drivers ) in the UK. Although similar problems may well apply to member's cars in other countries, the FSOC cannot get deeply involved in these other registration processes, with the possible exception of providing validation that the vehicle in question is covered by the Club. The best course of action is to consult fellow classic car owners in your country (preferably Sidevalve ones) and then be prepared to approach the registration authorities directly.


In the general course of things, you may never have to reclaim your car's registration number but there are a couple of circumstances when you will need to register a car with DVLA.


The main reason for having to register a car with DVLA is that the car was last on the road before the computerisation of such records; this happened in around 1977 or thereabouts. Another reason may be that the vehicle is a special and it has never been registered since it was constructed (naturally existing specials that have on the road at some point probably fall under the first - pre-'77 - category).

Please note that DVLA has revised the requirements for reclaiming the original number.  They also appear to be inconsistant in their advice to vehicle owners.  Contact the FSOC for further advice BEFORE you contact DVLA.



Registering your car without a V5


If you have purchased a car without a V5 registration document, there are two options:


  1. Re-register the car with its original number.

  2. Apply for an age related number.


The first option is the best, if it can be achieved, as it maintains the originality of the vehicle. In certain circumstances described below, an age-related number may be the only course open to you - this process is described towards the end of this page.


To check which type of application is applicable 'click' the 'Registration Flowchart' button to the right.


Re-registering the car with its original number


The DVLA have the V765 scheme for clubs to validate vehicles authenticity.  The FSOC is a nominated Club for Ford Sidevalves.   To claim the original number of your car there must be documentary evidence linking the registration number with that car; (just having the car with plates is not accepted by DVLA).


The accepted forms of evidence must contain the Registration number and the chassis number.  The documents most commonly accepted are:


  • Buff or green logbook or old style V5.  Please note that one of these is the only sure way of re-claiming the vehicle's original registration.


The following may be used as supplementary evidence to support a V765 applications as DVLA have now decided that none of these documents are sufficient on their own. 


  • Original bill of sale quoting registration number and car details, including chassis number.

  • A registration listing from a licensing county archive department, but these will only be useful if they carry chassis numbers.

  • Statuary bodies/archive departments may hold original documentation, which may contain the required evidence.


If you obtain copies of any documentation, ensure that the document is validated by the organisation concerned in this case the Ford Sidevalve Owners' Club. The DVLA do not accept non-validated photocopies of documents.


The sequence of events

If the necessary evidence can be obtained, the process will be as follows:


  1. Request an introductory letter and form RF1 from the Club (please use the general enquiries Email address via the "Contacts" page for the request).

  2. Fill out a V765 (download from DVLA) and V55/5 (must be ordered from DVLA - there is no download) forms; see

  3. Collect all supporting documents necessary (listed above) - these will be checked during the vehicle inspection and photocopies of documents are perfectly acceptable at this stage (do not send originals).

  4. Obtain a "rubbing" or preferably good quality digital photographs of the chassis and engine numbers, plus digital photographs of the complete vehicle showing front, side, rear, underside and inside, including the registration number (if present) to be reclaimed. For details of numbers and positions on the both "Uprights" and the 100E range of vehicles, try this link which shows the location in some detail. Send it to the Registrar of the FSOC appropriate for the vehicle type along with the relevant fee £25 for members £50 for non-members (all of the registrars' addresses can be found inside the front cover of the magazine).  Non-members please contact the General Secretary on

  5. The Registrar of the FSOC will then check the details are adequate to satisfy DVLA' s present  requirements and confirm the chassis number and details are in line with the Ford production records.

  6. If all of the submitted documentation seems correct, the Registrar of the FSOC will arrange a visit with the owner to inspect the car to verify the above (reasonable expenses are expected to be borne by the owner). By suitable prior arrangement, the vehicle can also be inspected at the Club's stores in Abingdon.


Click the PDF to see pictures showing positions of the Chassis number,

Chassis position plate, Engine number and Body number on an upright or 100E/300E/107E ranges.


DVLA guidance on the matter

The DVLA have issued the following guidance:


DVLA guidance notes for countersigning V765 applications states: "Applications for the reclaiming original marks or for the issue of age-related numbers should be processed with extreme caution. An inspection of the vehicle by someone independent of the applicant should be undertaken as the norm".


What happens after documentation and vehicle inspection?

Once the above process has been completed the Registrar of the FSOC will fill out all the necessary verification documents. These will normally be sent direct to DVLA on behalf of the applicant.


The whole registration process can be time consuming so therefore don't leave it to the last two weeks before you want to get your restoration on the road.


The Club works to the guidance as issued by the DVLA, and we put in much work to assist members but DVLA make the final decision on the documentation received from the local licensing office.


In the event of DVLA re-issuing the original registration for the vehicle it will be on a non-transferable basis and it cannot be sold.


Applying for an age related number

If your vehicle is unable to meet the requirements to obtain its original registration, the DVLA has a scheme to give older vehicle an age-related number, which is a number format that would have been issued in that time.

The process compared to the above is simple;  the club has to verify that the vehicle is what you claim it to be, for example a 1956 103E Popular. The car does not have to be original, but its major parts (such as chassis, engine, gearbox, axles etc.) must be correct for the car you are claiming it to be.
Over the last few years DVLA have changed the route for age-related applications. To make the application you have to have the vehicle roadworthy (evidenced by voluntary MoT, engineer's report or more commonly now a declaration of exemption - Form V112), evidence of insurance (on the chassis number) and the dating letter from the club following an inspection.

Please note that the MoT (if carried out) and insurance must be referenced to the chassis number and not to any registration that may have come with the vehicle.  The evidence required can be obtained by taking photographs (as above) and supplying details of the chassis number, engine number and letter advising originality (from the FSOC) after a visit from a club official (reasonable travel expenses to be paid by the owner).

Once the verification has been completed, the club will write a letter for you which can then be forwarded with your application to DVLA, who will then issue an age related number.


Remember that age-related numbers, like re-issued original registrations, are non-transferable and cannot be sold.

The Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA)


The Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) system was introduced on the 15th April 2013 as a joint initiative between HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to combat fraud on vehicles arriving permanently into the UK. In practice, this now appears to be at any time in the past.  You may think that this does not apply to you but if you are re-registering or re-licensing a sidevalve that has been laid up for many years it is entirely likely that DVLA will ask for a NOVA number. However, the FSOC has plenty of experience with the present situation and can process a NOVA application to HMRC for you to sign and send to HMRC.  Once you have a NOVA number then DVLA will process your application to re-register or re-licence your barn find.  Contact John Porter on

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