Sorry, Bloggers, but the digitisation of the images from the Stoel and other albums has kept me away from posting new stuff on our Blog, though there’s plenty of historical material to interest us therein. So – a start to the catchup…….
We start with an American Jeep photographed in Prague between 1945 and ’47, registered P-1323, which is painted on to the tailgate.
It also carries white-on-black plate AA 161, which is not presently identified, but the stencilled UNRRA below tells us that the Jeep belongs to the (first to set up) section of the all-new United Nations. UNRRA existed from 1945 to 1947 (see Wikipedia/United NationsRRA). That international body undertook Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, to help move-on or to repatriate the myriad Displaced Persons who found themselves marooned out-of-country at the end of WW2.
This Jeep team would have been working in the Czechoslovakian/Austrian zone. Note an apparent petrol shortage?
Bloggers may not know of this excellent-quality book published by Czech enthusiasts Zeleny and Feuereisl which gives chapter and verse on the CS systems from 1919 to today and covered the former lands of Moravia, Bohemia, Silesia, Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia. The quantity and quality of photographs is marvellous, and the data of codes and dates is most professional. Good thing too – the history of plates there is a minefield!
The authors are friends of our own Czech Mate, Alexander Kavka, who may have copies for sale – that’s where I bought mine.
Another extraordinary labour of love is represented by this excellent-quality book on the plates of Latvia created by the people of the Automobile Museum of Riga. Again the quality of the photos is good – some very good – and though the data is much less detailed that in the Czech book, nothing important seems to have been left out. The period covered is from 1900 to the present day.
Member Rein Valdi brought this volume to the attention of the Blog for which, thank you, Rein. He stopped in London during December 2017 and we enjoyed a few pints whilst nattering about plates. As a fluent Russian (and perfect English) speaker, he specialises in the Soviet bloc.
Found among the French albums of the Stoel collection, among the red TT plate series used by foreigners in France from 1933-54, is this image of an Austin A40 Somerset from pre-independence Algeria, 32 TT ZZ. The only written reference to this series is in the all-encompassing French Club’s website, Francoplaque, and I don’t think any previous pictures have surfaced until now. The giveaway Algeria code is ‘ZZ‘ and in this case, the ‘3’ probably dates it as a 1953 issue. Temporary import no. 32!
It is all the stranger because it was never a common thing for the French motorist to buy a British car – nor really any make from outside France. Le Land-Rover was an exception, as there were no domestic manufacturers of such cross-country vehicles.
But because the TT series was also used to register used cars arriving from abroad for extended visits to France and her territories, we may perhaps guess that this Austin belonged to a Briton working in Algeria in some NGO or aid capacity, and who brought his own car with him.
This 1950s New Caledonia E 50 shot is of a new import to the French Pacific territory, carrying the trade plate of the importing dealer, who has just collected the Fiat Multipla from the vessel ‘Polynesie’. The NC dealer code ‘E‘ had not been previously known before this pictorial evidence! (Essai/Trial/Delivery/Dealer)
Seen awaiting the Corsica Ferry from Nice in the 1970s is a Morris 1100 (another British make with a French address!) in transit to the island zone B (Bastia). Its Corsica dealer plates show 104 W2B and represent the 1976-93 dealer layout.
France used the letter ‘W‘ for Dealer plates from the very beginning, probably because it is a letter which doesn’t actually exist in the French language/alphabet, except for use in imported words, such as ‘wagon’, ‘weekend’ and ‘sandwich’. All borrowed from perfidious Albion – which took its entire dictionary from The Rest Of The World – and probably 50% directly from French, and in turn, Latin……
Below: 20 W 2 represents the 1952-76 Corsica Dealer layout, in which 20 then coded the whole island. A new-looking Fiat 1100, circa 1957.
The last French oddity is this 1950s government Delivery/Provisional. Here ‘D‘ abbreviates ‘Domaine’ or government region.
This Peugeot 203, 5805 WWD is on delivery from the supplying dealer or government motor pool to the provincial operating office, where it will spend its working life, having been first permanently registered with a simple ‘D‘ suffix
Who should breeze in to London during November 2017, but James “McGuinnessy” Gordon, Honourable Member for Mount Tom Price? He had come by a rare Trieste motorcycle plate in Europe which he really wanted to show to someone, so I dashed up to the capital and the only place we could find to talk about it and xeno-autonumerology in general was a pub – so that just had to do!
Thanks for the visit, Jim!
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For no special reason, except that it is a little-seen San Marinese variant, here is (RSM) Dealer 195 on a Mini-Cooper a few years ago.
nb In 59 years of plate-spotting in GB, I have never seen ONE RSM vehicle !
And finally, for this session, Uruguay.
The next-to-never-seen Uruguay international oval (U) in Holland in the 1960s. 7-47 on a VW Karmann-Ghia VW. The letters ‘CD’ and ‘CC’ were not shown on Uruguayan plates until the 60s or 70s. Simply ‘Montevideo’ either over or under the number, the second component of which was probably the embassy code, and the leading number, the serial. So, Mission 47, car 7.
(Now apparently using (ROU) – but we’re not likely to see that oval either!)
This Benz was snapped in southern France circa 1960, when the (U) dip. plate colours were light blue on white, as per the national flag.
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BELOW: 1955 saw a new ROU president taking a ride in his new company car, below. Probably in white on the light blue shades of the national flag.
(What is that car?)
19 Dec 2017 – A Dodge Custom Royal Lancer, advises member Rein.
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And who can offer an analysis of this unusual Uruguayan plate 4-03, seen in Europe, we can assume, from the architecture and the international ‘U’ sign, carried by a mid-1940s US Ford Sedan. Possibly blue on white.
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THE EUROPLATE HISTORIC ARCHIVE On-Line
The RPW online-pictures site TEHA2 is full of these rare and unusual plate shots captured by the early collectors and photographers, and it is updated daily, as new material arises. It can be a useful aid to identifying your unrecognised plates.
The Blog pictures are mostly selections from that repository of about 30,000 images which covers every country from the start of motoring to the mid-seventies (save for continental USA and CDN, which would be a life’s work on their own).
All paid-up Europlate members should peruse TEHA2. In future, it will be contained within the passworded Europlate website, we earnestly hope, but for now, if you would like it sooner – just email me for the standalone link:
ps. No news yet on the Europlate website, which is suffering from a (nervous?) breakdown at the hosting outfit in the US. We understand that Mr, Trump is taking the matter up with them.
18/12/17 NOW RESTORED – hallelujah!
VB – Streatley, Dec 14 2017.