Singapore 2013 checkover

SINGAPORE

April 2013.

Singapore’s plates continue as shown in RPWO and a wide variety of colours and codes are enough to keep a keen spotter occupied for some long time.     Two of the outer islands have been allocated their own plates – Sentosa and Ubin – and these cannot be used on the ‘mainland’ of Singapore.      If they must go over there, for repairs etc., they will carry SGP trade plates for the journey.

Sentosa’s colourful plates have been known to us since about 1998.

(SGP3)(Sentosa)(mc)_RU 1115Y_VB_resize

This Vespa RU 1115 Y is one of few two-wheelers registered on Sentosa.     Brumby archive 1987.

RU 2424 Z is the Restricted Use plate for Sentosa Island, a hundred metres off Singapore's coast.

RU 2424 Z is the Restricted Use plate for Sentosa Island, a hundred metres off Singapore’s coast.    Brumby archive 1987

The Sentosa Development Corporation, whatever that is, has a few buses, which are allowed on and off the islet, and have a special SDC code issued!

SDC 26 M is one of the island buses, registered on the 'mainland'     Brumby archive

SDC 26 M is one of the island buses, registered on the ‘mainland’ .              Brumby archive 1987

 

UBIN

But we have only recently become aware of the special plate colour given to the few vehicles on Pulau Ubin (Ubin Island), which is a mile off the North-East coast of Singapore, by Changi airport.     The island is lightly populated by fishermen and kampong farmers and has completely escaped the rapid advance to the six-star first-world status now enjoyed by the Republic of SGP.     There are about ten mopeds on Ubin, of which half still work and about 15 minibuses, which carry the islanders and some of the weekend visitors along the narrow island roads to various camping sites and hiking/cycling trails, for which Ubin has become a popular, rat-race getaway.

(SGP3)(Ubin)_PU 4 P_VB2013_resize

The fourth motor vehicle registered on Ubin Island is a Honda moped, still in running order, PU 4 P.                                             Brumby archive 2013

(SGP3)(Ubin)_PU 104 J_cuf_VB2013

One travels to Ubin by bum-boat, for 3 ringgit ($1US) which takes fifteen people at a time on old vessels which you would not expect to be still in service, but which are the pride and joy of their rough-looking but friendly owners.     Since registrations started on Ubin, perhaps in 2000, and originally only for a few small motorbikes which had previously run plateless, about 135 total registrations have been made, of which perhaps 15 to 20 remain in use.    The system is that of the Singapore mainland, using the PU area code, a serial number (current highest 137) , and a check digit, all in white on a pea-green background.

One of the island minibuses, PU 102 P.     Brumby archive

One of the Ubin island minibuses, PU 102 P.                       Brumby archive 2013

PU 130 H is just seven off the highest number on Pulau Ubin, the. latest minibus being PU 137.      Note that all the plates are properly made, even though this island is quite primitive.... Brumby archive

PU 130 H is just six off the highest number on Pulau Ubin, the latest minibus seen, being PU 137.       Note that all the plates are properly made, even though this island is quite primitive….
Brumby archive 2013

There are a few special purpose vehicles on Ubin, such as Police Land-Rovers and a couple of biggish lorries for construction jobs, and as these are there temporarily, they retain their normal Singaporean plates.

QX 5045 K is a standard Singapore police plate, coded by the QX.    This is one of two allocated to the island - surely an easy posting for the island coppers!      Brumby archive

QX 5045 K is a standard Singapore police plate, coded by the special code QX. This is one of two allocated to Ubin island – surely an easy posting for the island coppers!                               Brumby archive 2013

 

Singapore Specials

The SGP government is sponsoring experimentation in clean/non-emission vehicles and has allocated a dedicated ‘Research and Development’ numberplate to the handful of cars being tested on the island.

A Renault experimental electric car RD 3073 K, one of two seen at the Renault distributor in SGP.  Brumby archive

A Renault experimental electric car RD 3073 K, one of two seen at the Renault distributor in SGP.   April 2013.                                    Brumby archive 2013

RD 6096 A is carried on a Mitsubishi minicar and has a 100km range, recharging 80%  in 20 minutes.   It says here.     Brumby archive.

RD 6096 A is carried on a Mitsubishi minicar and has a 100km range, recharging 80% in 20 minutes.   It says here.         Brumby archive 2013.

There may be up to 50 vehicles on test, each of which is connected by wifi signal to a central office, in which its location, performance, battery-condition, range etc is transmitted every 5 seconds for analysis.

This category uses such high numbers that they must be split in some way, perhaps the first two or three numerals indicating a code for the few participating bodies in the experimentation.    Certainly there are not more than a hundred of  these low-emission category vehicles in the whole country, so 6096 seems optimistic….

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It is of mild interest to note that Singapore vehicle owners can choose for themselves whether they plate their vehicles with the original silver/white on black plates, fore and aft, or Euro-style black on white (front) and yellow (rear).     About 20% favour white on black, I estimate.

Light goods vehcle codes seen here with both plate colour options.     Brumby archive

Light goods vehicle code G seen here with both plate colour options.         Brumby archive 2013

TR – Singapore trailers are now up to TRE, having exhausted TR and  TRA to TRD.

Another unusual SGP variant is the recently-adopted orange background to distinguish lorries wh.ich carry hazardous cargo, such as fuel and chemicals.     These cannot enter tunnels and need to advise police and fire when they need to access certain zones of the island.   The Y starter letter tells us that the truck exceeds 3 tonnes unladen; the M is serial.      Brumby archive.

YM 942 S – Another unusual SGP variant is the recently-adopted orange background to distinguish lorries which carry hazardous cargo, such as fuel and chemicals. These cannot enter tunnels and need to advise police and fire when they plan to access certain zones of the island.    The Y starter letter tells us that the truck exceeds 3 tonnes unladen; the M is serial.        Brumby archive 2007.

SH – Taxis have progressed to SHA, SHB and now to SHC.

SHA 5376 H is the Singapore Hire code with suffix serial A, on a typically smart, clean, new car, a credit to the taxi fleets.    Brumby archive.

SHA 5376 H is the Singapore Hire code with suffix serial A, on a typically smart, clean, new car, a credit to the taxi fleets.         Brumby archive 2013.

New private cars are up to SKJ, having jumped SH (kept for psv’s) and SI (‘I’ never used) and having presumably used up SJA-Z (though not seen).

 

Odd Chauffeur-drive/Private Hire possiblity.

We have believed that the special series for hire cars, SZ and SZA, had been long abandoned.   But now e find SZA 8 R, from the  current series on a chauffeur-driven/livery Mercedes, outside the Copthorne Waterfront hotel.   When questioned the driver claimed it was just a standard plate issued alphabetically in the normal series, but we know that Singapore is nowhere near 'S' inits alpha issue.   So perhaps there are a few (note this is only car 8) special-category registrations continuing to use the SZ prefix.     This was the only example seen.     (Brumby archive 2013)

We have believed that the special series for hire cars, SZ and SZA, had been long abandoned. But now we find SZA 8 R, from the current series, on a chauffeur-driven/livery Mercedes, outside the Copthorne Waterfront hotel. When questioned, the driver claimed it was just a standard plate issued alphabetically in the normal series, but we know that Singapore is nowhere near ‘SZ‘ in its alpha issue.      So perhaps there are a few (note this is only car 8) special-category registrations continuing to use a version of the old SZ hire/rental prefix.   (This was the only example seen.)    Brumby archive 2013

Here is SZ (Singapore Rental-Hire) carried on a new Toyota in 1968, seen at Singapore docks.     Brumby archive 1968

Here is SZ (Singapore Rental-Hire) carried on a new Toyota in 1968, seen at Singapore docks.                       Brumby archive 1968

680224 3 _4532TT25 at docks_resize

The only other SGP hirecar plate I ever saw was on this Vauxhall Victor, SZ 1779, also at the docks in 1968, alongside the Peugeot 4532 TT 25 which we drove back to Britain over four months.         Brumby archive 1968

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A very rare sight in Singapore is the semi-diplomatic plate allocated to foreign technical aid personnel.    TE is the suffix code for these ‘Technical Expert’ vehicles and this BMW 525 example is coded 36 for the Philippines.

S 3682 TE is a semi-diplomatic plate for foreign technical aid personnel.   Brumby archive

S 3682 TE is a semi-diplomatic plate for foreign Technical Experts personnel.   36 is used by the Philippine embassy.         Brumby archive 2012

The Consular Corps variant is also hardly-seen, but Taiwan had code 66 in this category (photographed there in 1993, so possibly not current).

Taiwan's mission code 66 seen on a Volvo given Consular, rather than diplomatic recognition, presumably due to pressure from PRC to sideline the territory they hope to recover some day.     Brumby archive.

Taiwan’s foreign-mission code 66 seen on a Volvo 240, given Consular, rather than Diplomatic recognition, presumably due to pressure from PRC to sideline the Formosa territory they vainly hope to recover some day.        Brumby archive 1993.

Motorcycles exhausted their two-letter FA-FZ prefix codes some time ago and current registrations, for every size of  2-wheeled bike, has re-started from FAA…..     Note that, against the trend, SGP still requires a front plate to be displayed, either double-sided along the front mudguard or a forward-facing plate adhering to the faring.

Examples of motorbike front plate mounting positions.    Brumby archive

Examples of motorbike front plate mounting positions.     Brumby archive 2013

The current motorcycle format now uses two serial letters, the leading F, designating 2-wheelers.    Brumby archive

The current motorcycle format now uses two serial letters, the leading F, designating 2-wheelers.                          Brumby archive 2013

There is an auxiliary police orce,it seems, but they use normal private m/c plates.  FBA 6232 B.     Brumby archive.

There is an auxiliary police force,it seems, but they use normal private m/c plates, as FBE 5246 A.                              Brumby archive 2013.

The author’s first visit to Singapore was in 1966, when the vast majority of the vehicles were made in Britain, from motorcycles to double-deckers.     I still enjoy finding the leftovers from that period and recognise that many owners are very proud of their cars, which are now collectors’ items!

A well-restored MG TC sporting the special, low-tax plates of the approved vintage and veteran cars and bikes in Singapore.    SCL 69 D is a normal registration issue, and it is the plate colour which gives the privileged status.    Brumby archive.

A well-restored MG TC(?) sporting the special, low-tax plates of the approved vintage and veteran cars and bikes in Singapore.    SCL 69 D is a normal registration issue, and it is the plate colouring which gives the privileged status.                                Brumby archive 2008.

 

Singapore Historic

 

About 1960, many British Army, Navy and Air Force personnel served in Singapore and it was a period of very heavy registrations, as most  purchased a car there or duty-free at home, to take out.    This Austin A40 Farina belonged to a Wing-Commander, whose daughter June, modelling here, now dwells in Ottery St, Mary and makes jam for the W.I.     Brumby archive.

SS 9806.   A plate from the former series.       About 1960, many British Army, Navy and Air Force personnel served in Singapore and it was a period of very many new registrations, as most of them purchased a car there – (or duty-free at home, to take out and register there).    This Austin A40 Farina belonged to a Wing-Commander, whose daughter June, modelling here, now dwells in Ottery St, Mary and makes jam for the Womens’ Institute.                Brumby archive-June Harvey.

Finally, a photo which has materialised recently is certainly worth display.     Here is Singapore’s eighth car looking as  if it had just come off the ship from the Britton* motor factory in England.    Unusually for a British territory, Singapore used a dash or dot separator from inception to the mid-1930s; S-8 favours the dash.      The driver was known in those times, out east, as a syce – an archaic term for a horse-carriage driver/groom, which carried on into the age of the car.

*I can find no reference to the Britton marque after a quick search……..

S-8, among the very first automobiles to reach the Straits Settlement of Singapore, in 1911.    anon.

S-8, a Britton, among the very first automobiles to reach the Straits Settlement of Singapore, in 1911.     (No details seems to survive of this marque.)                   anon.

...and to conclude, another elegant car from another of the Straits Settlements, Penang no. 64n, the car of the Chief of Police there in the early 1900s.     June Bennett

…and to conclude, another elegant car from another of the Straits Settlements, Penang no. 64n, the car of the Chief of Police there in the early 1910s.     It may be a Stutz Bearcat.                       June Bennett

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6 Responses to Singapore 2013 checkover

  1. shayne says:

    S-1 was pictured in the NPCC magazine a few issues back. I don’t know how to post a copy here. Regards, Shayne (Europlate 1028)

    • Was it the same shot, Shayne? Our pic came from a member in Singapore.

      • Shayne & Darlene Hart says:

        I didn’t see S-1 posted anywhere here on the blog, Vic. I mentioned it after seeing the nice old picture of S-8. The picture I sent into NPCC (of S-1) was found on the internet. I don’t know how to post a copy here. Regards, Shayne.

        _____

      • Shayne – I’ll review my NPCC copies to find the pic of which you write. Perhaps I can scan it. (Or can you send your image by email to me, perhaps? It should make its way in to the article.)

        There are about a hundred Posts on the site. I often wonder if any or all the members recognise that, and take this opportunity to ask you if you have plumbed the depths, so to speak – or didn’t know there were earlier items to be discovered……

        Which part of Oz are you in?

  2. hank says:

    * New private cars are up to SKJ, having jumped SH (kept for psv’s) and SI (‘I’ never used) and having presumably used up SJA-Z (though not seen):

    vowels are skipped after SBx series.

    there are a few (very few, i only have photos of one of each) SAA and SBB plates around, but in general cars went on to SBA after EA-EZ were exhausted.

    * We have believed that the special series for hire cars, SZ and SZA, had been long abandoned:

    these plates (actually, most plates) can be retained so long as they are registered to a vehicle and can be kept “alive” by being transferred to another valid/qualifying vehicle.

    the same goes for Q, QBx and QCx series. these “company registered” passenger car plates can be transferred, so long as they still fit the guidelines (eg, a valid company registration, car owned by the company, etc).

    * SCL 69 D is a normal registration issue, and it is the plate colouring which gives the privileged status:

    classic plate (a restricted use plate) denote that they are allowed for on-road use for a maximum of 45 days/year.

    as an aside: red backed plates (not shown in this post) denote a “weekend car” and they are generally meant for use during off peak hours (in exchange for lower road tax). other restrictions/fees apply…

    any plate that has 0000 as the registration number is a “dummy” plate, meant for motor traders to use during initial vehicle inspection (first make/model, ever, in the country). subsequent make/model of the same does not need it.

    when transferred from the original/vintage vehicle, an S-series or E plate without a checksum will have one added. (eg, E123 plate transferred from a morris minor to a tesla will become, say, E123B).

    love your site. thanks!

    • Henry.direct
      Thank you for your interesting SGP notes. Have you been observing plates for a long time?

      Singapore has a surprising variety of special-purpose plates, making it one of the most fruitful spotting zones of the world, in my view!

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