Peter Vosper: Two ways to celebrate 70 this year

Now we celebrate the 70s

Now we celebrate the 70s - Credit: Archant

Certainly, if you were born in the last four months of 1950 and have your 70th birthday coming up you deserve to celebrate.

The new 70 plate

The new 70 plate - Credit: Archant

Hopefully, at least with family and friends to reminisce memorable experiences and achievements in an era of unprecedented change. I wish you a wonderful day.

Also, the motor industry embarks on a new sequence of number plate registrations. Between September and the end of February for the last ten years we have enjoyed the 60s. Now we celebrate the 70s.

The industry is correctly accused of inventing the current plate system, as after the war the pattern of new car purchases was concentrated into the first half of the year and put pressure on both dealers and manufacturers to deliver the product required in a reasonable time.

So in 1963 it was decided to have a new number plate system with a letter of the alphabet at the end of the sequence, starting of course with A.

Furthermore, it was decided this letter would be altered annually in sequence and this would start on August 1 thereby stimulating private sales in the latter part of the year.

Traditionally business purchased their new cars in the first half of the year so a more evenly balance would result.

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Many of you, including those mentioned above, must remember those exciting and spectacular events when you arrived at your local dealer on the evening of July 31 and at midnight drove off in your new car, with the new registration letter plate.

August became the largest month in the new car sales calendar and once they had exhausted the alphabet (with one or two omissions) they reversed the process putting the letter at the front.

Like all good things this came to an end and it was agreed August was now too large in terms of sales, resulting in stocks running out and dealer employees wearing out!

New ideas were considered and it was thought necessary to have two changes within each year to stimulate the market.

The two months chosen were March and September The new system started from September 1, 2001, with 51 as the middle number and in 2002, March 1 commenced the first six months with the year (02) as the middle number. By the time this sequence runs out it was thought technology would recognise each car and know exactly where it was, so registration plates would be redundant.

Now we are in a new decade, welcome to the 70 plate.

Many are suggesting this could be a record month with 'Revenge buyers' driving up sales. These buyers are people frustrated by not travelling to work, not going out, and not going on holiday and finding they have funds to update their car.

At the same time previous Septembers leases are coming to an end and these cars need to be replaced. With the shortage of used cars and the subsequent rise in trade-in prices buyers have realised this is a good time to update.

Added to this many manufacturers have strong offers on the table and the most likely reason for September not hitting record levels is stocks running out!

If there are difficult times ahead updating your car will eliminate the worry of unexpected expense and should cut your fuel bills too.

Happy 70 to you all. I look forward to another motoring story next week.