GUERNSEY, Channel Isles

For a small island, Guernsey sports a good variety of licence-plates, though most are seldom seen, even to the visitor hunting for the oddities.       Karel Stoel, Terry Gray  and Ray King captured most of the following images, all pre-1970s.

(GBG 03~)(Bailiff-PM)_1_f_Rover105.TG
Guernsey no. 1 – The Prime Minister is titled ‘Bailiff’ in Guernsey, and registration no. 1 is retained for his principal car.
(GBG 03~)(Bailiff-PM)_1_cr_Rover105.TG
GBG   1 – The Bailiff’s Rover 100 from astern.
(GBG 03~)(Bailiff-PM)_1_r_Rover100.TG
1 —  Another stern shot of the Guernsey Bailiff’s Rover in the 1960s.
(GBG 03~)_CROWN_Austin 25.vbGBG2aKS
A 1930s royal visit to Guernsey used this Austin 25 limousine, registered only with a Crown, unfortunately hardly visible here.
(GBG 03~)(Lt.-Gvr)_G 1_f1_Singer conv.vbGBG9aKS

The Lieutenant-Governor of this period (50s-60s) used an Austin Princess (Vanden Plas?) limousine for formal occasions and a Singer Gazelle drophead  G 1 as his principal private car.

The Austin limo may have been designated an A 135 in the current catalogue.   It used a lorry engine which powered their medium commercials.   (See David Powell’s comments below).

(GBG 03~)(Lt.-Gvr)_G 1_r_Singer conv.vbGBG9aKS

G 1 — Lt-Governor again.

(GBG 03~)(Lt.-Gvr)_G 2_f_Standard 10.vbGBG9aKS
Possibly the Lt.-Governor’s wife, carrying G 2 on a ’50s Standard Ten estate car.
(GBG 03~)(Bailiff-PM)_1_f_Humber.vbGBG1aKS
An earlier Bailiff, circa 1953, ran this Humber Super Snipe, on which the Guernsey serial 1 was shown.      Camera shake was de rigeur in those days.
(GBG 03~)(dlr-general)_T 114_Commer EDV.vbGBG8bKS
T 114  —  Awaiting registration, vehicles were moved from docks to dealers and on, using the T-coded trade plates in white on black for General Use and Z-coded white on black for Limited Use.    When Hillman made vans and pick-ups (utes) they called them Commers.      Earlier versions of this Minx-derivative vehicle were listed in Rootes’ catalogue as EDV’s – Express Delivery Vans.   So might this later model have been.    I had one once, BVV 111.   It cost £5 and lasted several weeks.(GBG 03-07)(Trade)_T 120 + 5959_r_Cit.H15-vbGBG8bKSDealer General Trade plate  T 120  covering untaxed 5959. This ‘Big 15’ Citroen Traction-Avant illustrates the enthusiasm for French cars on the former French Channel islands, whereas on the British mainland, they were less common.       By comparison, British cars have always been hardly known in France, the French being fiercely loyal to their own brands..
(GBG 03-07)(dlr-limited)_Z 15 + 4036_Hillman c38Minx.vbGBG8bKS
Z 15 — — Pre-war Hillman Minx is untaxed as 4036, so uses dealer plate Z 15 to move between the workshops etc.
(GBG 03-07)(dlr-limited)_Z 3 + 5687_r_Standard14 m.vbGBG8aKS
Z 3  —  Similarly, a Standard 14 uses white/black Limited Trade plate Z 3 whilst waiting to re-tax Guernsey 5687.    Unusual that Trade plates didn’t adopt the Empire-wide colours of red and white.
(GBG 03~)(dlr-mc)_X 25_mc.vbGBG7bKS

X 25 — The long-discontinued Guernsey Motorcycle Dealer with X prefix.

(GBG 03~)(timp)_V 15_Austin A40Devon.vbGBG7bKS
V 15 — For a time, visitors to GBG who wished to stay longer than usual, would be issued black on yellow Visitor plates, as on this 1950 Austin A40 Devon.
(GBG 03~)(timp)_V 5 + 261LMT_mc.vbGBG7bKS
A motorcyclist from the mainland (Middlesex) carries his long-stay Visitor plate V 5.
(GBG 03~)_134_Hillmaninx.vbGBG6bKS
1344  —   The normal white on black plates for Guernsey, which didn’t follow the fashion to switch to the white front/yellow rear of most countries from the 1960s-on.       This late-1940s Hillman Minx uses low-number 1344, which would have been a re-issue, as originally, 1344 would have been issued in the 1910s or 20s
(GBG 03~)_774_car.vbGBG1cKS
774 — Here’s a genuine oldie, rather than a re-registration, probably about 1919.       We could do with a timeline of the GBG issues……            What’s the car?
(GBG 03~)(rtl)_11201 H_Ford105Anglia.vbGBGKS
11201 H — Rental cars use normal plates, but carry a second ‘H’ plate, for “Hire’. It’s removed when the car returns to private use.      1960s Ford Anglia 105E.
(GBG 03~)_1121_Lancia Flavia.TG
1121  —  Occasionally, one sees a coloured plate in Guernsey, but it’s unusual.        This Lancia Flavia carries re-registration 1121 originally from circa 1920.
q(GBG 03~)_GBG 961_MorrisOxford.vbGBGKS0003
GBG 961  —  It is very unusual to see a Guernsey plate like this above, where the owner has incorporated the international oval, GBG, in to the (re-issued) plate no. 961.      This is a pre-Farina Morris Oxford, circa 1957.
(GBG 03~)_11675_bus.vbGBG6abKS
11675  —  Buses use normal plates and ‘route’ buses carry a second licence plate issued by the police.    Most of the Guernsey fleet were  long-lasting Albions.
(GBG )_public licence 108_bus.vbKS
PV 108  —  These enamel plates see service on a series of buses, as old vehicles are withdrawn from service. Most categories of Guernsey plate are re-issued by request.
(Note a response by David Powell below)
(GBG )_public licence 46_photo.vbKS
PSV 46  —  Another GBG bus plate of which we know little.    Any ideas?               Yes – a  private-hire coach  – chapter and verse below from David  Powell!
(GBG 03~)_4_Peu.203.vbGBG6bKS
4 — The old residents can retain their original family numbers if they wish. Nowadays, some command ridiculous prices if they come up for sale. This Peugeot 203 carries the fourth island plate, issued in 1903 and probably retained via many intervening cars.
(GBG 03~)_7_Ren.750.vbGBG6KS
7  —  Another old family heirloom – 7 on a Renault 750. 4cv.      GBG continues to use its original system, just as it began with in 1903.    That could be a world record for a long plate series…..


Not bad plates-variation for a tiny island, eh?


7 Responses to GUERNSEY, Channel Isles

  1. Apparently there is a Guernsey resident who has the registration 911, which he has on his……Porsche 911. Whenever he ferries the car over to the mainland he’s frequently stopped by the Police as they think the car has been stolen from a showroom……

  2. David Powell says:

    The PV108 plate was in the format of the PSV plates issued between about 1945 and 1980, I understand that there was a period for which no PSV plates were issued and they now have small green on white plastic plates which are issued for buses, taxis and hire cars etc.

    Of the low serial plates an interesting one was an Austin K8 van converted to a minibus for Guernsey Motors Ltd. and this was notable for having a fleet number (8) which was higher than the registration (3). Most of the buses were Albions in the early 1950s as both the bus companies Guernsey Motors (red) and Guernsey railways (green) had been sold to the Red and White Group of Chepstow who also owned a garage business called Watts Factors Ltd Of Lydney the Gloucestershire Albion agents. R&W also owned Bulwark Transport Ltd. of Chippenham who operated a large fleet of Albion lorries.

    PSV 46 is an early Jersey plate of a type that was issued from about 1936 to 1986 (prior to 1936 the serial number was painted on the nearside front lower corner of the bodywork). There were two series of vitreous enamel plates ‘Omnibus’ for route buses and ‘Char-a-Banc’ for coaches. In 1986 these plates were replaced with new plastic plates, which looked the same but did not have the ornate edge, The serial numbers re-commenced from 1 in both series.

  3. David Powell says:

    Sorry , only saw the part about the LGs Austin later, These cars were called the Sheerline, Princess and Vanden Plas at various times between about 1947 and 1968. Officially they were called A125 and A135 and this was also used for the chassis cab version which was supplied to ambulance, hearse and limousine conversion companies. These had 3.5 and 4 litre 6 cylinder engines that were also fitted to the Austin loadstar and K9WD 4×4 Army truck and also to the Morris Commercial WE and WF truck ranges for the small number of orders for petrol rather than Diesel powered versions.

    • You certainly come with a plethora of interesting facts David – they enhance the subject matter well and I thank you for your follow-ups.

      Reviewing early Blog posts today (30/08/19) prior to entering some new material, my eye was caught by your GBG addenda. This week John Weeks and I have worked out that when Alderney needed a Trade Plate to move a vehicle say, from the harbour to the garage or w.h.y, they employed a GBG Dealer plate, of which we now have three photo examples, all shot on GBA. Obviously not worth generating a dedicated plate for such infinintesimal use…..


  4. David Powell says:

    Re T114 This is a Commer Express van which had longer bodywork and double rear doors, based on the Hillman Minx car, it was also built as a pick-up (ute) badged as a Hillman or Commer Express, there was also a coupe/ute with a slightly larger cab and small side windows made for export to AUS and NZ. A similar smaller capacity van with a single rear door was also made badged as a Commer Cob (van) or Hillman Husky if fitted with side windows and a rear seat. The Cob was not made as a pick-up.

  5. Andy says:

    I have a friend who hired a transit van to get furniture from the uk . While driving he got pulled over by the police . When the police man walked around the van . By the way my friend has a very good sense of humour . The police man asked where’s the letters in his number plate . To which my friend said . He gave the letters to the post man . And then asked where’s his tax . He then replied don’t have any . The police man then asked about mot . To which he answered no don’t have that . While this was happening the policeman’s colleague was tapping on a computer and the numbers on the transit where the same as a mini metro . The police asked where are you from . To which my friend said Guernsey . The policeman said oh where Bergerac comes from . My friend being a proper Guernsey man . Looked away and spat on the floor . By this time my friend who was laughing so much and the policeman scratching his head . The policeman said on your way then . When I see my friend we always get talking about it . And we laugh till we cry .

  6. John says:

    I have a similar story with regard to being stopped by the Police. This was in Northern Scotland in a small village deep in the Highlands. The Bobby stopped us and told my father ‘Och laddie, all your letters have dropped off!’ It took some explaining but eventually the penny dropped and we were sent on our way.

    Our current plates are useful as they are not readable by VNPR cameras but that’s another story!

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