Middle East when it was OK

John Pemberton found a few sandhoppers in London in the 1940s, one of the most interesting of which was this 1948 Morris Oxford registered in Israel, a country which had only just started registering its own vehicles after the British Mandated presence there came to an end in 1948.

1948-55 series of first Independent Israel plates used a number followed by a regional code, in this case, that for Haifa.    Taken in a London Park, in 1949-50.

1948-55 series of first Independent Israel plates used a number followed by a regional code, in this case, that for Haifa. Taken in a London Park, in 1949-50, on a new Morris Oxford, built from 1948-56..     Pemberton archive

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Oil exploration was well under way in the 1940s and it was probably that business which brought these cars  to the Middle East and then home again, when the tour of duty was ended.     First, a 1948  Hillman Minx Mark 3 with clearly painted plates:

IRAQ – Kirkuk

Iradi Hillman from Kirkuk oilfields area.  Pemberton archive.

KK 1249.  Iraqi Hillman from Kirkuk oilfields area.        Pemberton archive.

IRAQ – Baghdad

Maybe a Bentley, BD 7084, at Brighton Marine Drive during 1940.   Pemberton archive

Maybe a Bentley, BD 7084, at Brighton Marine Drive during 1940.   Iraqi plates of this period could be either black or red, and b/w photos don’t help us to decide which!                          Pemberton archive c.1940

Iraqi vehicles travelling outside the country should have carried translation plates or be made to carry ‘Q’ temporary import plates when they visited Europe and Britain.   The above cars slipped in ‘under the radar’, it  seems, but the car which carried  KK 2460 was correctly prepared for its trip, via its translation/out-of-state  plate.   The vehicle ended in a scrapyard in Amersham in 1973, where this plate was salvaged by EU38!  (Below)

Kirkuk 2460, probably a plate of the late 1950s, with translation for use outside Iraq.   Brumby archive)

Kirkuk 2460, probably a plate of the late 1950s, with its translation for use outside Iraq.    Brumby archive

BAHRAIN

Below:   Re-imported to London in December 1950 from Bahrain,  this 1947 Vanguard was allocated a  registration from the London XK batch between 10 and 99, which were retained for re-registration of used imports. Unusually, this owner chose not to dismount his original Bahrein 495 numberplate – strictly not legal, but its suits us!

(The London batches from 1-9 were then generally held for diplomats and privileged citizens.)

Standard Vanguard Phase 1 built 1947-53.  This one has served in Bahrain and returned to Britain to use LXV 90 plates.

495  —  Standard Vanguard Phase 1, model built 1947-53.     This one had served in Bahrain and returned to Britain in 1950 to carry LXK 90 plates.     Pemberton archive.

Below;   About 13 years later, a Bahrain Mini was parked for a photo-opportunity.

Bahraini Austin Seven 'Mini' 11002 in Notting Hill, London in 1962. Brumby archive

Bahraini Austin Seven ‘Mini’ 11002 in Notting Hill, London in 1962.    The arabic script for Bahrain was not usually shown in this period and it is odd that many such cars were permitted to run in Britain with these arabic-only plates, when really, they should have been given ‘Q’ temporary import plates at the port of entry…….          Brumby archive

Some Bahrein royal household plates were occasionally seen in London in those times, sometimes with modest cars……

A  c.1960 Austin A55 Cambridge with the serrated red and white plates of the Bahrain 'royal household'  members. Early 1960s - reg. 12405. Brumby archive.

A circa 1960 Austin A55 Cambridge 12405, with the serrated red and white plates of the Bahrain ‘royal household’  members.            Brumby archive.

….and sometimes with the grandes voitures which would become the hallmark of Gulf visitors in later years……

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facel_Vega_Facel_II

A French Facel-Vega supercar in London during the 1960s, bearing 'royal house' red/silver die-cast plates, with a minor error of spelling!Vic Brumby archive

644  —  A French Facel-Vega ‘Facel 2’  supercar in London during the 1960s, bearing ‘royal house’ red/silver die-cast plates – with a minor error of spelling!    Only 180 of this car were made, in their 2 years of production 1962-4
Vic Brumby archive

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6 Responses to Middle East when it was OK

  1. Wilde says:

    Dear Sir,
    is it possible to have more pictures of this car who still exist here in France. Regards
    Wilde

  2. Sorry – that’s the only photo…

    • Wilde says:

      Thanks, we found that this car was probably owned by a student, member of the royal family from Bahrain, in the sixties. This car still exist in France. Best Regards Wilde

  3. vat74 says:

    I checked the DVLA database and sadly the Vanguard is not registered there…I suppose it could be in a barn somewhere — any ideas?

  4. Not a bad car for a student to get around London in those times! Do you have a picture of the same Facel Vega today, in France, Wilde?

  5. Wilde says:

    Hi Victor,
    the car is still in France with its private owner. Unfortunatly, I never saw the car. No actual picture of it.
    Regards

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