Anguilla (Eel) Island, Br.Leeward Is.

The remarkable (and first) sighting of a vehicle outside its own border, from the tiny island territory of Anguilla,  was made in central London in 2011.    It sported the new plate design and an international oval never dreamt-of – AXA !    At least one other Europlate member saw it in ensuing weeks, and interviewed the driver, who told him that  he had brought this car and other Porsches back to Britain several times over the years!  (evidence, please)     If so, the membership had missed his visits!

This and other Anguillan photos from a 1981 visit to the 88 sq. km. British Overseas Territory of 1300 citizens, follows:

The Porsche 940 V-8, perhaps the most unlikely candidate for use on a sandbank.

The Porsche 928S, perhaps the most unlikely candidate for use on a sandbank.    Brumby archive

Snazzy modern design to replace one of the world's simplest commenced in 1997.    P1641 represents the Private vehicle taxation class, which are azure blue, black and white.

A Snazzy modern design to replace one of the world’s simplest, commenced in 1997.     P1641 represents the Private vehicle taxation class, which are azure blue, black and white.    Brumby archive

Though not allocated an international oval, Anguilla is coded on the International List and this owner has taken that for his oval.   Keen chap.

Though not allocated an international oval, and its ISO code is AI, Anguilla must be coded AXA on some list and this owner has taken that for his oval. Keen chap.       See new data below-Comments-D.Wilson

(ANG2)_P 1641_VB2011.2_resize

The most up-to-date systems have been introduced to control the few registrations which exist on this tiny, quiet, low-lying isle.

The most up-to-date systems have been introduced to control the few registrations which exist on this tiny, quiet, low-lying isle.

In December  1981, when the writer visited, and long before the technicolour plate revolution of 1997, Anguilla was using painted plates, often on plywood backing, there being so little steel or aluminium material from which to make up plates.    Often they were painted  direct on the old vehicles.    A plate I acquired there, A 402 (no photo), was painted on the obverse of a Gibraltar pressed-alloy from a VW which had been imported therefrom.

a typical painted woden plates on a Morris Marina, the worst British car ever made.

1980S: A typical painted wooden plate A 1216,  on a Morris Marina, the worst British car ever made.

These BMC Farina Austins and Morrises were shipped all over the world and stood up well to tough conditions, often as taxis.    This one was approaching its end of its life at the petrol pump in The Valley, the main settlement.   Brumby archive

These BMC Farina Austins and Morrises were shipped all over the world and stood up well to tough conditions, often as taxis – as did the similar-looking  Peugeot 404s.    This one, A 14,  was approaching the end of its life at the petrol pump in The Valley, the main settlement, in 1981.   In 1980, Anguilla had seceded from its former uneasy union with St. Christopher, Nevis and Barbuda.        Brumby archive

Odd thoiugh it seemed, this plate on the islands' smartest car, was attributed to the Governor  when seen in 1981 in The Valley.   Unusual for a British Resident  to use a non-British car in those days.....   Brumby Archive

Odd though it seemed, this (wooden) plate 1 G on the islands’ smartest car, an  Oldsmobile, was attributed to the Governor when seen in 1981 in The Valley.  RPWO gives it that between 1980 and ’85, the authority on the island was vested in ‘Her Majesty’s Commissioner’  who bore the plate ‘HMC’.    As an aside, it was unknown for a British Resident to use a non-British car in those days – and this is a Left-hand-drive ‘foreign’ car selected for Right-hand-drive Anguilla – very odd….. Brumby archive

A.18, which would have first been issued in about 1915, is seen on a then-modern Japanese Datsun 120Y, indicating that Anguilla registrations were re-issued when voided.   See also A 14.    The 'A' series had reached the 1400s in Dec. 1981.

A.18, which would have first been issued in about 1935, is seen on a then-modern (1991) Japanese Datsun 120Y, indicating that Anguilla registrations were re-issued when voided.  See also A 14.  The ‘A’ series had reached the 1400s in Dec. 1981, though there was no evidence of so many vehicles.    Brumby archive

A handful of motor dealers in Anguilla were issued Trade registrations in this format, which they made up themselves, as witness D 13.  Brumby ArchiveA handful of motor dealers in Anguilla were issued Trade registrations in this format, which they made up themselves, as witness D 13. Brumby archive

Another strange photo capture was the P-suffix plate on this redundant crane on Anguilla.    The suffix had been unknown and we have taken it to abbreviate Plant (heavy equipment).    Nothing similar has been seen or reported; this may have been the only one.

Another strange photo capture was the P-suffix plate on this redundant crane on Anguilla. The suffix had been unknown and we have taken it to abbreviate Plant (heavy equipment). Nothing similar has been seen or reported; this may have been the only one.  Brumby archive

ANGUILLA LEADS THE WAY

The system of  suffix letters to differentiate vehicle classes is a simple and clever one.   When the registration status of a vehicle changes, such as the withdrawal of a car from a hire fleet, the suffix letter ‘R’  is removed from the plate and the normal Private plate is now on show – or, the addition of a new ‘T’ converts the car to a Taxi.      Why such a remote place as Anguilla should have originated such a practical scheme is indeed a compliment to someone in a back office.

Trinidad uses something similar, but their vehicle class is the leading letter on their plates (T-AH/P-CF, R-BB etc.) rather than the final letter which seems somehow tidier to the writer.     Most countries of the world use a variety of significantly more complicated or costly methods to split up their national fleets in to types – to the delight of codebreakers everywhere and of Herr Utsch’s bankers.

Another bright idea on Anguilla was to use the A prefix rather than a simple numeral.    Many of the British Caribbean territories commenced licencing with a number-only registration, so that there was no differentiation between the territories.    Then most added a ‘P’ for Privately-owned vehicle and that didn’t help either!     The Administrator on St. Kitts, Nevis, Barbuda and Anguilla had the wit to impose codes CN & A.

The Anguillan registration number is given to the owner and not to the vehicle, so that he may retain his first licence-plate for use on a succession of cars.    This can account for the many low numbers still seen in circulation in 1991.

When did the suffix-letter idea begin in Anguilla?     It was never used in St. Kitts & Nevis, with its CN prefix, to which Anguilla had been politically bound from the beginning of motoring until 1980.    Was it running its own suffix system during the St. Kitts years, and if so, when did it start?      Indeed, how necessary was it to even employ differentiated plates on an island where there were so few vehicles and everyone knew whose car or moped was passing each day?    It was always one of their cousins!     And so we wonder about the past……..

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2 Responses to Anguilla (Eel) Island, Br.Leeward Is.

  1. David Wilson says:

    AXA is the code for Wallblake Airport, Anguilla. This has been seen on plates of other islands, e.g., SBH for St Barthélemy.

  2. A very interesting email was received as a result of this posting, possibly written by the owner of this car and plate. By a computer accident, it was erased before it could be added to this Post. IF the correspondent reads this, might he be so kind as to re-send his most interesting notes?
    VB

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