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UK road legal motorcycle number plates and German WW2 vintage plates


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Over a beer and chat with some friends, we were taking about road legal plates for vintage motorcycles and vintage military motorcycle plates, what's legal or not?  I have seen over the years a few original WW2 German motorcycles  and the  R71 CJ750, Ural and Dnepr clones at the shows and riding around the UK roads the WH white background and black lettering licence plates, a recent example of a nice original DKW sidecar outfit with same type plates seen  in the latest recent Classic Military Vehicle magazine, nice bike. 

Is there some form of exemption for these bike to have these type of plates as long as the lettering is the required size or should these motorcycles have the black background and silver or white lettering on a square plate at the rear and the same size 64mm lettering white or silver with black back ground for the front mudguard.

I assume they swap them over at shows.

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To drive a motor vehicle anywhere in a Road Traffic Area [not just public roads, so car parks, railway premises, etc.] in the UK you must comply with the requirement to be licenced, taxed and insured, and display a current set of registration plates applicable to the vehicle. Current plates issued by foreign states are accepted for a restricted period after entry to this country, so temporary visitors on such plates are OK [and they do not have to look like UK plates], but after that the vehicle must be registered in the UK.

German WW2 military plates are not current, and therefore not legal. Displaying one, rather than a current UK plate, in an RTA area would probably invalidate your insurance as well. One reason for registration is so that the authorities can trace the registered keeper in case of accidents, criminal activity, and so on. As usual, there are exceptions, but none that are relevant here, so far as I know.  Outside RTA areas these rules don't apply, of course.

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