As from April 1, 2018, a vehicle manufactured before January 1, 1978, can fit the older-style blackand-white registration plates, provided the vehicle is classed as Historic (see How to apply). Just like the MOT exemption and free vehicle tax, this operates on a rolling 40-year basis.
The older registration plate can consist of characters indelibly inscribed on the surface of the plate or attached to the surface in a way that they cannot readily be detached from it. The plate can be formed of cast or pressed metal with raised characters, a plate to which separate characters are attached or a plastic plate having either reverse engraved characters or characters of a foil type. It can also consist of an unbroken rectangular area on the surface of the vehicle which is either flat or, if there is no flat area where the mark is required to be displayed, an area which is almost flat.