Find your ancestors in Warwickshire, Coventry, Vehicle Registrations 1921-1944

What can these records tell me?

In these records you will find

  • First name of first registered owner
  • Last name of first registered owner
  • Company name, if the vehicle was owned by a company
  • Place of registration
  • Vehicle registration plate
  • Last registered owner’s first name
  • Last registered owner’s last name
  • Last registered owner location

The year ranges for this record set (1921-1944) refers to the initial registration year, however you may find some records for later years when the vehicle has a new owner. The majority of records will have two images. The first will have information on the vehicle including make, class, and colour. Clicking right will bring up information for that record on the ownership of the vehicle.

These are not just car registrations but also include other motorised vehicles, in particular motorcycles with and without sidecars (references to cycles are to motorbikes and not to bicycles).

Several acts and pieces of legislation passed in the first half of the twentieth century led to greater regulation of vehicles including their registration.

Motor Car Act 1903

The Motor Car Act came into force on 1 January 1904, required all motor vehicles to be entered on an official vehicle register. The act also introduced the crime of reckless driving, made it compulsory for drivers to have a license (though testing would not be introduced until later), and established a speed limit on public highways. The qualifying age was 17 for a car license and 14 for a motor cycle.

Roads Act 1920

The act, which you will find referenced in some of the cards, required county councils to register all new vehicles and to allocate a separate number to them.

Road Traffic Act 1930

In 1930, the Motor Car Act and the Locomotives on Highways Act of 1896 were repealed by the Road Traffic Act. The act, rather controversially, abolished speed limits for cars. It also introduced provisions relating to the classification of vehicles; their construction, weight, and equipment; and the introduction of the Highway Code.

Road Traffic Act 1934

After abolishing speed limits in the 1930 Road Traffic Act, there were a significant number of deaths and injuries caused by vehicles, with at least half being pedestrians. The 1934 act reintroduced speed limits (30mph in built up areas) and made driving tests compulsory for all new drivers from 1 June 1935.