Egyptian visitors of the 1950s and later

This home album photo depicts a 1936  Hillman Minx de luxe which has returned from Egypt, probably in the ownership of a serviceman in the Royal Air Force, posted to the Egyptian Suez Canal Zone before the war .   There he was given sand-cast alloy plates CL  Privé 1526 – Private use/Canal/vehicle 1526.      This manufacturing method gives rise to the longest-lasting, strongest numberplates.         The 1936 British registration WV 9778, was issued by the County Council of Wiltshire, in which many RAF establishments were located.    It may be the Hillman’s original English plate from new, or it may be a new registration issued on it’s return to Britain.    Happily, the squadron-leader has left both plates for us to enjoy, though the village policeman would have scolded him for showing both …… It crosses my mind that the elder boy MIGHT be member John Pemberton himself – which, in 1938, say, it could well have been!  (Confirme

CL 1526 is from Canal Zone, with a plate sandblasted clean of black paint.   Pemberton archive.
CL 1526 is from Canal Zone, with the plate sandblasted clean of black paint by sand and the desert wind.       Pemberton archive.
san
Sand-cast aluminium Egyptian plate CL 1526
A more prosperous visitor from Cairo or Gaza (is the code C or G?) brought his massive American car to Oxford, as prey to JP's camera.    C/G 4463 waits alongside a 1930s Wolseley in 1940s Oxford.   Pemberton archive.
A  prosperous visitor from Cairo or Gaza (is the code C or G?) brought his massive American car to England, as prey to JP’s camera. C/G 4463 waits alongside a 1930s Wolseley in 1940s Oxford.      Pemberton archive.
A 1930s Ford Eight, returned from the Souks of Cairo.    Pemberton archive.
A 1938-49 Ford Prefect Ten, Cairo 13326, returned from the soukhs of Cairo.  Estimated at 1947, in Oxford.   JP to advise.         Pemberton archive.

An English family we knew, lived in Cairo in the 1930s, where there was a thriving motor club and great interest in sports cars.    They kindly passed VB a pictures of their cars there, the first being the sporty English Wolseley Hornet:

Cairo 940 shown in 1934 outside the Asp & Turban p.h.   Brumby archive
Cairo 940 shown in 1934 outside the Asp & Turban pub, Nile Lane.               Brumby archive

Note that this Egyptian series preceded the later PRIVÉ series above, using simply the city code (usually in roman and arabic)  as a central separator (in red)  for the numerals.   These two only show the C in roman. Their second car was a French Mathis (perhaps a 1932 Emyquatre) registered C 6700 – a big jump from 940, on the Wolseley of similar production year.   Why?

The French Mathis car in Cairo 1934.   Brumby archive
C 6700 – The French Mathis car in Cairo 1934.    Brumby archive

Below: Here’s one from the same 1913-56 series, using both scripts as separator.  3 BS 3 (Beni Suef) on a Vauxhall 12 (if you can see it).

BS 3 on a Vauxhall 12, made 1937-46, though wartime production was only for the military.  JG archive
BS 3 on a Vauxhall 12, made 1937-46 (though wartime production was only for the military).      JG archive
..and a rare picture of the pre-war Egyptian Diplomatic plate, of unknown source, CD 15. White on green.
..and a rare picture of the pre-war Egyptian Diplomatic plate, of unknown source, CD 15. White on green.
Cairo Motor Cab 14 pauses for a photo opportunity a hundred years ago. (anon)
Cairo Motor Cab 14 pauses for a photo opportunity a hundred years ago. (anon)

Because of the constant shortage of  material, Egyptians were obliged to wear hats without a brim, which worked OK save for the brief rainy season.

Early cross-desert explorers used C 2000 for most of the way.   This is taken before they left.   (anon)
Early cross-desert explorers used a vanity plate, C 2000 for most of the way. This is taken before they left, a long time ago.   Red ‘C‘ with white outline: probably enamelled plate. (anon)
Another red 'C' early Cairo car, circa 1913.    (anon)
C 614 – Another red ‘C’ early Cairo car, circa 1913. (anon)

Colonel Blinman of Penn, Bucks., UK  had this plate  hanging in his garage when I visited him in 1974 to deliver his new lawnmower.    Painted on the obverse of the other, long, front plate, was the new Buckinghamshire number allocated to his Hillman Minx when he returned from military duty at The Canal in the ’50s.     My need was agreed to be greater than his, for this pair of redundant plates, and I left clutching them with glee and a promise of a free first mower service!

Canal Zone 1484 circa 1951.  Brumby plate
Canal Zone 1484 circa 1951.                    Brumby plate (rear)

Below:   Taxi (orange) from DT = Dumyāţ, seen in Cairo by Angela Brumby 1966, in sea transit to Australia. A Fiat 1400/1900?      Not so, says David Wilson – it’s a Canadian Dodge (see comments)

1966 shot in Cairo of an elderly taxi DT 533.   Brumby archive
1966 shot in Cairo of an elderly Dodge taxi DT 533.    Brumby archive
Austin 1800 from the British embassy in Cairo in the 1970s, seen in Amersham, UK.  Brumby archive
1970s – Austin 1800 from the British embassy (52) in Cairo, seen in Amersham, UK.   52 / 3025       Brumby archive

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, that’s where John Pemberton’s pictures of  ‘Egypt in England’  have led us this time!     Next – West Africa. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(ET3)(50-56)_C18541_cu_ALPCA
(ET3)(50-56)_A2528_cu_RKi
(ET3)(50-56)_C22809_cu_CS
(ET3)(50-56)_CL1484_cuf_VBpl1951c
(ET3)(50-56)_A15093_FPQ1954

But…. we have  few other early Egyptians, too…….. Cairo Alexandria Cairo Canal Zone (front) Alexandria Unknown – probably Cairo.

Reg Wilson saw this in Liverpool in 1955.
Reg Wilson saw this in Liverpool in 1955.

All die-cast in sand, except Canal Zone 1484, which is painted on the obverse of a  British plate previously  used on Colonal Blinman’s Hillman. Plus……

tax-free temporary import s were white on blue or blue on white
60 is the Greek embassy code in Cairo and the black/green plates were for non-diplomatic embassy staff there. Seen Athens Sept. 1993 by Trog Houghton.
tax-free temporary import s were white on blue or blue on white
Tax-free temporary imports to Egypt were white on blue or blue on white.     SAL is from Saloum. (Tom Tom)  
(ET4)(56-83)(it)_CH ALX9083_cu_VBmb

ALX from Alexandria.

::::::::::::::::::::::

Unknown type seen 1980s at Luxor.
Unknown type seen 1980s at Luxor by VB.    It reads Luxor Private 4177.      The white panel remains unexplained (unless it might indicate a second replacement plate 4177, the original lost following an accident or plate theft……..)    (Tom Tom)

……and 3 different CD layouts, possibly from different periods….

Uncoded CD 3009 – remains undefined.   Embossed.

2020 – valuable response sent to the Blog by ‘Tom Tom’:

3 different types of CD

1 / 7018 below is identified by ‘Tom Tom’  (25/01/20) as a 1958c-73 issue, with ‘1’ as the code for the Soviet Union.   The embassy code was given only in arabic.       The 7018 meant nothing and was simply a serial.                    See 31/1301 below (which looks to be embossed).

(ET4)(cd2-SU)(56-83)_1 7018_cu_VB96

CD 52 / 5035 is probably a variant of the 1958c-73 series.     Hand-painted on flat sheet, whereas 7018 above had been in pressed steel, probably still hand-painted. Embassy 52=United Kingdom.

(ET4)(cd3-GB)(56-83)_52 5035_cu_MasPlvb

And added later, 31/1301, another 1956c-83 series image, with diplomatic code 31 for Sweden.

In all cases the arabic script translates to ‘Political Corps’.

:::::::::::::::::::::::

Below are two temporary transit plates, handpainted, seen in London, years apart.   The first is from Port Said (1972) and the second from Suez (1976).   They are thought to be  ‘get-you-to-the-border’ exit* plates, valid for a few days for vehicles leaving Egypt and made to hand back in their normal plates.     They and have surprisingly high serials.

(ET4)(56--)(exp)_PTS3372_comp_VBpl70s
(ET4)(56--)(exp)_SZ3913_comp_VBmb76

*Japan and Hungary CD also employ this system of retaining their national plates when vehicles are known to be leaving the country permanently.

:::::::::::::::::::::::

Below: An odd UN type from the 1960s.   Personnel attached to the World Food and Agriculture Organisation, who had a semi-diplomatic status.     White on black.     Reading: Private, Cairo 1/D 53003.     (Tom Tom). The arabic letter D indicates an embassy/Organisation-owned vehicle; the 1 code could signal USSR – but on a British Morris Oxford ??????

An odd UN type from the 1960s.

That all for now  (16/06/2020)

12 Responses to Egyptian visitors of the 1950s and later

  1. John Harrison says:

    WV 9778 would have been issued in early 1936.

    Regards

    John

  2. Well done, John – I thought you might come up with that detail! So that was the Hillman’s first English plate, before it went out to the Middle East…….

  3. David Wilson says:

    Taxi DT 533 is no Fiat, but rather a 1949 Dodge, possibly a Canadian or export version, which had a Dodge front end and a Plymouth rear end–the common practice in Canada for Dodges (and also Pontiacs, which had Chevrolet rear ends) in the late 40’s/early 50’s.

  4. Good i/d, David – you know your North American metal! Most of the Pemberton photos seem to be on big yanks, most of which I can’t define by make or model. Get your close-up specs out, would you?

  5. Tom Tom says:

    The 2nd diplomatic plate (1/7018) is from the 70s or 80s. 1 is the code for USSR. Numbers were given regardless of the country code, and the country code was written only in Arabic. Even the more recent plate below it, has the country code written only in Arabic, but adds the CD inscription.
    CH/SAL is from Saloum. Temporary import plates were either (light) blue on white or white on (light) blue.
    The 3rd plate below “CH” plates (white on black) is not temporary import, it seems to read “Private, Alexandria / 4177”. The white plate left of it with the number 3 and two Arabic letters, it is unknown, possibly an early issued plate on the same car.
    The plate described as “an odd UN type” is indeed very odd, as the black plate below reads “Private, Cairo”, but on the left above the number in European digits, it reads “1 /D” or “A /D”.

    Regards,
    Tom

    • Good extra detail, TomTom – thank you. Now all entered in The Blog. (How do you know this stuff???) Vic B.

      • Tom Tom says:

        There is still an error on the plate “seen at Luxor”. It is not registered in Luxor, but Alexandria, as I’ve previously written. The arabic text on the top right reads: “ملاكي اسكندرية”
        The first word (from right to left) reads “M(a)laki” which as adjective, means private. It is (was) used on Egyptian registration plates for private vehicles. It is less common in other Arabic countries.
        The 2nd word reads: Ask(a)nd(a)riya = Alexandria.
        The Arabic writing skips wowels in certain circumstances. Also notice the writing on license plates is more cursive than it may be rendered on screen.
        So, that registration plate reads: Private, Alexandria / 4177.
        Luxor should have been written something like “الأقصر”, but in a cursive style, obviously shorter than what is wrtitten on that plate, that is, Alexandria.

        Regards,
        Tom

  6. AD says:

    License plate 4177 is indeed a private Alex registered tag. The ٣ ق ع next to it is an ad-hoc placement to identify the vehicle a belonging to the nationalized sector number 3 (government owned business قطاع عام)

    • MANY thanks AD! An unusual attachment to note a gvt. sector. I shouldn’t think many modern Egyptian citizens would have that data!!!

      • AD says:

        Thanks Victor, later the government issued a license plate designed for those entities and stopped using this adhoc setup.

    • Tom Tom says:

      That ad-hoc plate seems to be an extra plate anyway, while the “regular” registration is the black one on the right, as confirmed, from Alexandria.
      Also, speaking of the registration place, in the 1980s, as far as I remember, the Governorate of Luxor did not exist, and cars from Luxor were registered in the Governorate of Qena (encoded KN on plates), the governorate that Luxor belonged to.

  7. Tom Tom says:

    I remember some of the codes they used on registration plates which had some inscriptions with the Latin alphabet.
    Here is the (incomplete) list:
    C = Cairo (sometimes written “CAIRO” on hand-painted plates)
    GZ = Giza
    ALX = Alexandria
    PTS = Port Said (Plate was half white on green and half white on black, as it was a duty-free zone) – Colour scheme very similar to registration plates of non-diplomatic staff, who used numeric country codes instead of letter codes.
    ASN = Aswan
    AST = Asyut
    BH or BHR = Beheira
    BS = Beni Suef
    DK = Dakhalia
    DT = Dumyat (Damietta)
    FYM = Fayoum
    GH or GHR = Gharbia
    IS = Ismailia
    KB = Qalyubia
    KBH, KBK = unknown, possibly hand-written variations of KB
    KFS = Kafr El Sheikh
    KN = Qena
    LUX = Luxor (added later, did not exist as governorate in 1984)
    MN = Minya
    MNF= Monufia
    NS = North Sinai
    RS = Red Sea
    SAL = Saloum (seen here for the first time, not the name of the governorate)
    SHG(?) = Sohag
    SS or S.SIN = South Sinai
    SUZ = Suez

    Diplomatic codes (very few, as much as I remember):
    1 = USSR
    2 = not used as of 1984. Given the number, it was likely a country they’ve had very good diplomatic relations with, and then broke them up (for instance, Syria).
    17 = Portugal
    22 = Poland
    29 = Romania
    31 = Sweden
    52 = Great Britain
    53 = Norway
    60 = Greece
    76 = South Korea
    There were gaps in the number list, the most notable being no.2.
    I remember that back in 1984 or 1985, the highest code was 111 or 113. I’ve seen 111, and 113 was on a list of country codes.
    The registration number was issued regardless of the embassy code. It was customary for many countries to use the lowest registration number they had, for the official car of the chief of mission (i.e., ambassador’s car). They were also reusing the registration numbers on new cars replacing older ones.
    As far as I remember, in 1984, the number of diplomatic registrations did not exceed 10000, or there have been very few 5-digit registration numbers in use.

    Regards,
    Tom

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