African Oddities

November 22, 2013

African checkout

A recent run round southern, central and northern Africa unearthed a few unexpected plate sightings, which Bloggers may like to share.     A car-park in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga (formerly Northern Transvaal) presented the remarkable photo opportunity to compare the latest Mozambique plate with the current MP local plate.     The background colours of the MOC Maputo Province help to identify them from the mainly black on white South African MP series – but remembering that the two places share a national border, it does seem odd that such similar formats were adopted.

Mpumulanga at left and Mozambique (Maputo Province to the right.

MP and MP  –  Mpumulanga at left and Mozambique (Maputo Province) to the right.

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The ZANZIBAR Post from this trip  is already up on the Blog and the ETHIOPIAN page will come shortly.

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BELOW:  Non. 2013.    Just leaving Zanzibar for Ethiopia, I glimpsed a new Range Rover parked off-road  in a secure compound, carrying a quite new plate type,     T 312 CCI  .    Unusually, the guards on the gate  didn’t display the usual paranoia and let me slip in to get a shot.    Later, The Venerable Neil found a Google reference to CCI  under  http://www.homeless-international.org, which seems to pin this hundred-thousand-dollar car to a homeless persons’ charity in Tanzania.     Nice design, anyway.

T 312 CCI  -  Identified by Neil Parker and Google, as an NGO in Tanganyika.

T 312 CCI – Identified by Neil Parker and Google, as an NGO in Tanganyika.

ETHIOPIA

One of the first oddities seen in Addis Ababa – and not surrounded by spooks – was this military vehicle with a good condition plate.

Ethiopian Defence Force 2013

Ethiopian Defence Force 2013

At the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie, now the University Ethnological museum in Addis, was a photo of his 1940s Ford V-8 convertible, on Harar plates.    A rotten shot of an old photo, but a rare image of an Abyssinian plate of the period – and from a jurisdiction other than  the capital.

HA 14ll - The characteristic font of early Ethiopian plates.....

HA 1411 – The characteristic font of early Ethiopian plates…..

(ETH 36-41)_HA 1411_cu_VBmuseum2013

BELOW:    This was a costly shot.     A plate seen up a side-street,  from the corner of my eye, through the vibrating window of my 17th.-century LADA taxi,  I commanded my driver to stop for a photo-opportunity, believing it to be a Saudi plate in Addis Ababa.    Up-close, the delight at identifying my first current-system Sudani was unbounded!

However, a bod in a dish-dash thought there might be a security issue with a western pensioner flashing his camera at a parked car, and with many a warning in Amharic (which is not a strong card in my pack of languages) and much waving of his night-stick, he did all he could to obstruct my photo-capture.       Within a few minutes, the local police force was upon me, sporting their side arms and arresting both myself and my poor cab-driver, who had come over to try to spring me.

Frog-marched a kilometre or so across some open waste ground  we reached the police station, a few ramshackle tents with an open fire for the ubiquitous Ethiopian coffee pot.   Officers of ever-increasing rank were brought to judge me and my ridiculous story and none were convinced of the innocence of our noble pursuit, although they couldn’t quite see what we might be up to.   Eventually, in a fit of diplomatic legerdemain, I presented them with an opportunity to release us without loss of face – or  paying the usual dash which overcomes all in most places.    I can’t remember how.

Here, then, for your amusement, is the result of that hour’s investment in time and fear.    (Noting that the ‘4’ is the 100,000’s prefix to the serial no. 22477, making this Khartoum car 422477, isn’t it unbelievable that this poorest of all countries should have registered so many cars in the four years this series has been extant?  Over a hundred-thousand a year!!!!)

(SUD 2009~)_4 KH 22477_cu_VB2013

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Meanwhile, other snippets from recent times and varied sources:

(AFG 74-04)(ndes)_M 673_f_weeTG

Mowqati’ 673KBL  –  (temporary/foreigner) in Afghanistan between 1974 and 2004.   Among the users of this plate type, were non-diplomatic embassy staff.       Note this Merc 180, seen in UK, sports an overseas AA badge, once a frequent sighting on used imports to GB.        Terry Gray archive.

Here is a typical overseas British Automobile Association radiator badge of the type created for all or most of the Commonwealth countries.

Here is a typical overseas British Automobile Association radiator badge of the type created for all or most of the Commonwealth countries.   These make a good collector’s subject.     Brumby archive

(B)(cd)_CD AD715_weeVB2013

The new dip. through the windscreen in Belgium during September 2013.      Brumby archive

(IND5)_TN22CY 0648_c_VBmo2013

Mike Oldham saw this Tamil Nadu in Cyprus during October 2013!!!

Someone important in Malaya.

United Nations in Afghanistan, but identical to other theatres of operation, too.

UN 00438  –  United Nations in Afghanistan, but identical to other theatres of UN operation, too……..     Brumby archive

here's a pretty similar UN in Sudan...

UN 334  –  ……..here’s a pretty similar UN in Sudan…

Historic corner

This Austin A35 circa 1960, hails from Northern Rhodesia.   L and 3 numbers in the GB style could just as easily come from Aden or Cyprus, or Fiji or Labuan.....

L 219  –  This Austin A30 circa 1958, hails from Livingstone, then Northern Rhodesia and now Zambia.      In the 1950s,  L and 3 numbers in this GB style could just as easily have come from Aden or Cyprus, or Fiji or Labuan!

For example:

Another Austin, an A40 model, retired to an outdoor museum in Kota Kinabual, Sabah, but sporting 1960s plates from Labuan Island.

Another Austin, an A40 model, retired to an outdoor museum in Kota Kinabulu, Sabah, but sporting 1960s plates from Labuan Island.

Four numbers this time, but three were issued in Aden Colony in the 1960s.

(ADN60-63)_L 8820_TG_resize

A Keith Marvin Aden  image from his 1960 book, 'License (sic) Plates of the World' - possibly the first volume dedicated to xeno-autonumerology!

A Keith Marvin Aden image from his 1963 *book, ‘License (sic) Plates of the World’ – possibly the first volume dedicated to xeno-autonumerology!

Ah – AND Turkish Northern Cyprus (still current)

(CYN2)(83-97)_L 312_weeVB

Keith Marvin's rare book, which brought mant worldwide collectors to each others notice, and helped to form associations.

 *Keith Marvin’s rare book, which brought many worldwide collectors to each other’s notice, which in turn,  helped to form long-standing associations.   A famed and very prolific writer on automobilia in the US, he died only about 2011, aged over 90.

AUF WIEDERSEHEN……….

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Muscat and Oman, 1960s.

April 4, 2013

MUSCAT & OMAN

The earliest pictures of plated cars in Oman are from the 1960s, when there were hardly any vehicles or roads in the sultanate.   Perhaps this is why the few pictures collected are on cross-country vehicles, particularly Land Rover.

Our former President  Bernt Larsson has fielded this magnificent shot from his library.   It’s almost like a publicity picture for the Land Rover catalogue!

Muscat 464 photographed in Oman in the early 1960s and kept safe in Bernt's album for 50 years until April 2013, when he gave this exhibition!   Bernt Larsson archive.

Muscat 464 photographed in Oman in the early 1960s and kept safe in Bernt’s album for 50 years until April 2013, when he gave us this exhibition!            Bernt Larsson archive.

Prodded by Bernt’s senior-team display, the percussive Mr. James Fox, of those United States, hurried to counter him with this very unusual DIE-CAST Omani plate of the period (they being simply painted tin sheet as a rule).   This plate is reminiscent of the Kuwait plates of the period, which were almost all heavy, cast  metal, like this (and also silver on red)

diecast alloy MUSCAT 337, a classic plate from the Jim Fox cornucopia.

Diecast-alloy 337 MUSCAT, a classic plate from the Jim Fox cornucopia.

EU38 also has an exemplar of the period, which had the additional curiosity of an out-of-state plate to translate the arabic-only Muscat/Oman registration.

Muscat 667 was captured in Fulham, London, in Spring, 1965, having been imported to Britain, and given a dedicated* used-import re-registration, DYU 24 C. Brumby archive

Muscat 667 was captured in Fulham, London, in Spring, 1965, having been imported used to Britain, and it was given a dedicated* used-import re-registration, DYU 24 C.                                   Brumby archive 1965

 

DYU 24 C – Readers may be surprised by the evidence of sunshine in this photograph  and wonder if the image may have been put through Photoshop.     I can attest that this WAS taken in England – though, of course, long before global warming was an issue!

On the taxi-rank in Kabul, in September 1968, the very same Land Rover was to be seen waiting for customers!    Some coincidence…..    The owner must have been just  ahead of me on the overland  route from Britain……     The British plates, DYU 24 C, which had been painted on originally, were still in evidence in Afghanistan.

*Most London registrations between 10 and 99 were kept for registering used imports of all types, probably from the 1940s to the late 1960s.

Kabul Taxi 6469 which had driven from Oman via London to Kabul to become Kabul's toughest taxi.    Brumby archive.

Kabul Taxi 6469 which had driven from Oman via London to Kabul to become Kabul’s toughest taxi.    I think the driver may now be the current President and the tree has fallen without his support..           Brumby archive.

Brumby archive

The same Land Rover model I was attempting to drive to Australia, left England in 1965 with its front wings emblazoned with a few of my more colourful plates, including a green Cameroun diplomatic,a red Kuwaiti cast-alloy and a blue Hungarian DT diplomatic.   As we were lifted off the ferry at The Hook of Holland, Netherlands Customs soon put a stop to that, though I was allowed to keep the AUS oval. Here it is in 1965 Kandahar with the very kindly mayor and his official car, an International Scout 4wd, ‘Official’ plate no. 1.         Brumby archive

The above series was replaced by simple pressed plates on to soft alloy sheet, in white on black, about 1973.   Later the colours changed to black on yellow.
The above red series was replaced by simple pressed plates on to soft alloy sheet, in white on black, about 1973. Years later the colours changed to black on yellow.      VB plate

810 - the yellow variant.

810 – the yellow variant.      Brumby plate

The yellow plate begs the question:  why the low number, if yellow came after black?   Cedric, please??

Cedric Sabine has responded with the info that the black plates were for commerical vehicles, the yellow for private use.

 

Another private vehicle issue from the 1970s, caprured by EU9, Terry Gray.

Another private vehicle issue from the 1970s, captured by EU9, Terry Gray.

 

 

A final shot we cannot leave out of an Oman Posting:

Thought to be a royal household plate of some sort, the shot was taken by non-member André Mas in a 2010 visit to the country.

Thought to be a royal household plate of some sort, the shot was taken by non-member André Mas in a 2010 visit to the country.

That’s all from Oman for now…….

 


The things they tell us!

December 1, 2011

Afghanistan? Not likely!

cropped Alabama re AFG.jpg

cropped Alabama re AFG 26-12515

A Volkswagen 1600 Fastback parked in Kensington, London, during the early 1970s, carried this very peculiar plate (upper photo), with yellow digits on a black – or blue – ground.     (My photo was in black and white and age has done the rest!)

As seems to have been the way, the more interesting the plate spotted, the worse my photos became.    I have plenty of beautifully-exposed commonplace plate pictures, but for anywhere odd, I was lucky if the image even developed!

Days later, when passing 26-12515, and wondering again, where it may have come from, the driver approached the car, giving me the opportunity to lay the mystery to rest!       However, he became  extremely jittery when asked what must have seemed a sensitive question to him –  and, pressed by this newshound, he  finally uttered the word “Afghanistan” as he drove off with a squeal of rubber.      (If VW1600s had the power to make their rubber squeal.)

Well, of course, I didn’t believe him then and I  still don’t, but as the years have passed, I have wondered whether the (properly stamped-out) plate might have been a form of out-of-state Chinese issue, from province 26 – Ningxia-Hui (Yinchuan) – unlikely though it would have been then – or even now.    Compare a standard PRC plate of the period:

white on blue was for light vehicles 1949-87

My London sighting used a different font and much smaller plates than the Chinese design – not much bigger in fact, than an Italian or early Libyan front plate.     I expect that it would tie up that the authoritarian 1970s Chinese would not permit a car to exit PRC carrying its numberplates, even for a foreigner allowed in temporarily under some scheme, so it is reasonable to imagine the replacement plates could have been made up simply to travel out of the country – and the originals handed in, as in Japan.          

What think Europlate members?

(This theorem was blown out of the water by Johnathan Moore and John Melby in their Comments below!)

14 March 2013 ; A surprising answer came to this quiz, which appears below in Comments.      (Or did.)

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23 May 2013;  Now, borrowed from  Google for illustration only, is the un-cropped Alabama 1970 plate design which finally allowed the recognition of the ‘Afghan’ mystery;

A cropped Alabama using a characteristic dask and font, akin to the queried Afghan.

The entire Alabama  tag using a characteristic dash and font, akin to the queried Afghan 26-12515.

(Final question to the US xeno-autonumerologists:

Did Alabama stretch to five numerals after the dash separator?)

VWB