Our sleuth Pemberton checked the alleys and boulevards of Oxford, London, and, once, Kopenhagen, in his quest to capture rare species for us during 1938-1957, after which he seems to have lost his camera! This London photo has come out so poorly that we can hardly read the plate at all, but print it we must, as it is perhaps the only example of Angola ‘plates-on’ we will ever see from that single-letter period (Series 1, 1930 to 1950s). Note that the numbers seem not to be separated by the Portuguese dashes – L – 7234. Can you read it?*
The vehicle is a Nash Ambassador of a model which ran from 1942 (production commenced 1945), to 1949.
Below: The only Angolan ever seen in Britain by the Kettering team was this Borgward Isabella Kombi (station-wagon) in 1958. Though the letters ‘PAN’ for the international oval had been allocated to Angola, only the Portuguese ‘P‘ was ever seen. The Angolan area coded here by the letter ‘T‘ has never been discovered**. The status of Angola from 1951 altered from a Colony to an Overseas Province of Portugal, and Portugal itself was then governed by the dictatorship of Antonio Salazar. A bit of a mess, one way and another…..
Some time during the late 1950s, this next plate series (National series 2) had been introduced, now comprising three letters – the first always ‘A‘, then a letter for the registration district, and a serial letter, followed by two numbers, a dash, and two numbers (in the traditional Portuguese way), all serial. So this car, ATE 01-69, was from Angolan area T, car no. E 169. ‘T’ must have been a remote, low-registry zone (see new data below).
Many expatriates fled the long civil war which ensued after the 1973 Independence, and for a time, there were a few evacuees’ Angolan plates to be seen in Europe – mostly in Portugal, of course – but this Mazda made it to Paris in 1976. As usual, its international oval ties it to European Portugal, not to the ephemeral ‘PAN’.
Below: A recent technical aid visitor to Angola, to mop up the millions of landmines, was Peter Renwick, who passed us these pictures of the international efforts to restore the ruined country. The green plates are given to International Agencies who import aid vehicles duty-free, perform their allotted tasks and re-export them, or pay some duty and leave them behind for re-registration.