Registering with the DVLA

Have you just bought an Anglia, and it doesn’t have a current V5C, maybe because it’s been off the road for a while? Or maybe it’s been imported from another country?



Many people fall into the trap of buying an unregistered car, spending months or years restoring or modifying it, then when they want to get it on the road, try to get it registered with the DVLA.

If your car has been “off the radar” for a long time, then the DVLA might not have up to date information about it, and they will want to verify that the car you’re trying to register is what you say it is.

It is often much easier to do this when the car is in the condition in which you’ve bought it, and not post-restoration/modification.

The Club can help with this, it is a service we offer via our Historian and DVLA contact, Auboné Braddon.


If you don’t get a current V5C when you purchase a car, the very first thing you should be doing is getting in touch with Auboné and getting it registered with the DVLA. It’s better to postpone the start of your restoration project work by a few weeks, than risk losing its original identify, ending up on a Q plate (and having to pay Vehicle Excise Duty for the rest of its life), or having a difficult back-and-forth with the DVLA when it’s sitting there all shiny and fresh, and you’re itching to get out and enjoy driving it!



The following was first published in the March/April 2021 ‘Anglebox’

Purchasing and Registering a car from abroad

When purchasing an imported car, make sure you have the correct import paperwork and also the vehicles paperwork from the country it came from. When checking through this paperwork, look out for wording on the cars log book that says ‘Built Up’. This wording can often appear on South African imports and if dealt with in the wrong way can lead the DVLA to believe the car is a Kit Car. This with the combination of no chassis number or an updatable one will immediately give the car a ‘Q’ plate. This is why you need a visible and understandable chassis number. What we mean by this is one that can be dated to the year and approximate month of production. The DVLA need this to give the car an age related registration number. Without an understandable and datable chassis number you will end up with a ‘Q’ plate. This plate means you will have to pay full road fund licence for ever. This ‘Q’ plate is also not removable and means you can’t put an age related number on the car or any other sort of private plate. There is one other thing that is very important to do as well but also applies to Barn Finds, which is the next topic.

Registering a ‘Barn Find’

It is always very exciting to find a car that has been tucked away for many years, but sometimes not so easy to get registered. When viewing a car, it is easy to check whether a car is on the DVLA system by just going to the DVLA site as if you were going to tax it, and if it is on the system, the registration number will come up with all the vehicle details. If it doesn’t, then we have to assume the car was never transferred from the old style buff hand written log book to a computerised one. If the buff log book is with the car then it is quite straight forward, with the help of an Owners Club rep that is recognised by the DVLA, to get the car registered on the DVLA system with the current registration number. This number will not be transferable but will be the original number. If there is no paperwork with the car then it is still possible to register it with the DVLA but on an age related number. This can only be done with a clear and datable chassis number, as with imported vehicles. If it doesn’t have a readable and datable chassis number, then it will end up once again on a ‘Q’ plate.

Registering Imported and British Cars

It is important to do all the registering of the car with the DVLA before you do anything else to the car. Even if you don’t plan on restoring the car for a while. The DVLA want to see the car as you found it and not as it was restored. The reason for this is that the car is more likely to match what is written on any existing paperwork and chassis numbers etc are more likely to be found in their original state. This is certainly the case for cars that are going to be modified. Say for instance, if an Anglia is a 997 and in it’s original Maroon colour which matches what it says on the old buff log book or on any other historic paperwork, it is a lot easier to process than if the car now has a 2ltr engine and is bright yellow. Basically nothing will match apart from a chassis number This always looks a bit dubious to the DVLA.

Luckily everyone reading this is an Owners Club member, and I am recognised as the DVLA rep for the club by the DVLA. This means I can inspect any vehicle and sign off the appropriate forms and help research archive material for members to get a car registered. I also have original documentation which is recognised by the DVLA as supporting evidence. This is also a free service to Club Members with only travel costs involved if needed.

Hopefully you now know what to do – and that is to speak to me and get it registered now!

Happy Motoring

Auboné Braddon – Club Historian

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