UK Single-Single Number Plate Registry

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Z 1

1 Z


Z x and x Z plates were originally issued by Dublin County Council

Although this site deals with 1x1 plates from the UK it should be noted that when the registration system was introduced in the early 1900's the whole of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. Letter combinations were allocated to all UK counties, and Z was the only single letter allocated to Ireland; but it was not utilised until a few years after 26 counties of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922. Even after secession, the British registration system continued as before (as did the currency until 1978 when Ireland joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism but the UK did not). It was not necessary to re-register an Irish vehicle being used in the UK – and its number remained valid for motor tax and all other purposes. Many counties continued to allow transfers (largely through ignorance) and many Irish numbers found their way on to the DVLA computer. In 1986, what was by then the Republic of Ireland ran out of combinations from the old UK system and it introduced a new, unrelated method of vehicle registration. The interchangeability of numbers ceased; but numbers already on the DVLA database were considered “British” and were (and are) transferable. Perhaps the most well-known plate is VIP 1 which was originally a Co Kilkenny plate issued in August 1971. Six counties of Ireland remained (and remain) a part of the United Kingdom after the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. Registration numbers from Northern Ireland retain the original British system that was in use before 1963 (pre-“year-letters”) except that three-letter series can be followed by up to four numbers instead of the usual three (as in mainland UK and, previously, in the Rep of Ireland). Such numbers are transferable in the usual way.

For those that still have doubts look at the screenshot below the picture of the Afla wearing its 1 Z plate


The number was issued by Dublin County Council in March 1927 to a traction engine.

When John Larkin acquired his Lotus Elan in the early 1970s he applied to Dublin County & County Borough Joint Office (which it had become by then) for a single letter Z registration number. The Office told him that Z 1 had definitely been scrapped and was therefore available, and he paid IR£5 for its re-issue. The number has been on the same car ever since.

The photo of Z 1 on the Elan was taken in the Elan valley in Wales in 2013.

Picture Courtesy of Nicholas Young.


1 Z was issued in the normal course of events by Dublin in 1972. John’s good friend Alan Quinn applied to have the number allotted to his Alfa Romeo GTV. Thus the two friends have the amazing pair Z 1 and 1 Z and their vehicles sometimes appear at classic car shows together.

For those of you who say, yes but it's still an Irish registration, you are of course correct, but they're from a period where it was possible under certain circumstances to move plates between different vehicles within the British Isles (but not the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, neither of which was ever a part of the United Kingdom), and then of course there's the MOT of 1 Z that occurred in 2009.

Picture Courtesy of Nicholas Young.