Early Africans unearthed

December 13, 2018

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13 Dec 2018        Part one – unfinished

Pioneer Europlate member Jacques Lambin, an adventurous and very well-travelled Frenchman, has donated some of his collection of worldwide shots to our Europlate Historic Archive (TEHA2) so greatly increasing our picture coverage of the  Equatorial and West African territories which formed part of the French empire.    An unexpected, marvellous benefit to us all!

In the process of identifying each photo, slide or negative so that each could be given an accurate title, some of these rare plate formats were difficult to decide, and even after research, a few still remain to go under the scrutiny of our readers, who may be able to finish the job!      Of course, Jacques was able to help with many of them, but so many years having passed since they were photographed, not all were fresh in his mind!       Some of the pictures shown here are from our existing TEHA2 collection……

An interesting example of such difficulty was that of Cameroun, the former French Trust Territory adjacent to Nigeria, which France administered after Germany surrendered it to the League of Nations after WW1, and brought it through to independence in 1963.    Cameroun started with a simple white-on-black numeral and a ‘C’ suffix letter, in about 1919.   

(We don’t know if there had been a German system in use before that.)

The International Oval 1919-63 was TC for Trust Territory-Cameroun, and nearby Togoland was allocated TT on the same basis.        The 2619-C photo comes from our former president, Bernt Larsen E somewhere back in Europe, on a Plymouth coupé

Cameroun commercial/public service vehicles ran on black-on-white plates.  Black-on-white 3421-C and 3423-C below, in service in the 1930s, using Mercedes chassis with local bodywork  and not French marques, as as might be expected!

 

In 1932, it is thought that 1-9999-C was exhausted, and a serial suffix number was added, starting at 0001 C 1 – though not necessarily using lead zeroes – it was not a strict regime…..

Then, from 1932 until 1963 the serial number changed each time the registration number reached 9999 and ran up from C1 to C8, when a new system was introduced after 1963 independence.    No pictures of a C8 have yet been found.

 

A Fiat 1500 Sports seen in Juan-les-Pins, summer 1960 by VB.

 

 

 

 

 

The International oval changed in 1963/4 and used a variety of codes, including RFC and CAM,

settling now on CMR, built-in to the current plates.

 

 

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The new 1963/4 series used a regional code, 0-9999 numerals and one serial suffix letter, which was later changed to two as required by increasing registration needs:.

 

W=Western Region, Buea

N=Northern Region, Garoua

C=Central Region, South

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All well and good, we might say.   BUT –  Jacques hurried to explain to the Blog that French Congo (Brazzaville)(AEF) once used an identical system and that a few Congolese had been mixed up with our Camerouns.           The guilty parties in the above line-up are the C7 and C9 pics, which are guaranteed Congolese by Jacques – because that’s where he took the pictures!     

You will see that all have now been placed in their correct countries within TEHA2, at Link:

website

 

 

While we contemplate such duplication in world plate issues, we might remember that the Cameroun’s first plates,

 

were the same as Tahiti’s

and of Madagascars

AND of the Comores Islands (but no picture!)

 

– so if you saw such plates as these as you wandered round 1950s Paris, for example, you wouldn’t know where they had come from, especially as they would all have carried an ‘F‘ International Oval, IF they carried one at all…….

I have just realised that if you HAD been in 1950 Paris as a 15-year-old plate-spotter, you would be reading this at the age of 84.          Anyone left out there??

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Terry Gray’s slides come to life

August 18, 2013

There will be a fuller account of the great period shots gathered by early founder-member  Gray, when time permits.     For now, just relish a few picked at random from his newly-digitalised photo transparency slides.

A mini-Moke in London in the 1960s with the ultra-rare pre-Belize series for British Honduras.   C=Corozal.    AND a BH oval, properly manufactured by the RAC.   Bet they didn't sellmany of them!    Gray archive.

A Mini-Moke in London in the 1960s with the ultra-rare pre-Belize series for British Honduras. C=Corozal.      AND with a BH oval, properly manufactured by the RAC.     Bet they didn’t sell many of them!                        Gray archive.

(BZ 65-73)(BH5)_C-4682_cu_TG2

Soon after the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was launched about 1968, this Bahrein emir brought his new car to London.    Gray archive

Soon after the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was launched about 1968, this Bahreini emir brought his new car to London. Gray archive

A Venezuelan export plate seen in London in circa 1969.   Gray archive.

YV – 105    A blue Venezuelan export plate seen in London in circa 1969. Gray archive.

A batch of new buses passed Kettering in the late1960s in transit to the docks and their passage to Nigeria.    Already plated for use in Lagos, and using a green background not usually associated with WAN plates.    Gray Archive

WAN Nigeria – LU 7416.    A batch of new  Willowbrook-bodied Leyland Comet buses passed through Kettering in the late 1960s in transit to London docks and their sea-passage to Nigeria.     Already plated for use with the Lagos City Transport Service, and using a green background not usually associated with WAN plates, they were running on Leicestershire AY trade plates.       (NOT Alderney!)            Gray Archive 1968c

Y-20006, a Vauxhall Viva estate car from  the British embassy in Saigon during the 1970s.     See in England, carrying an unofficial 'oval' of (VTN).   I seems that the car had previously been posted in Budapest with its diplomat owner.     Gray archive

Y+20006, a Vauxhall Viva estate car from the British (definite) embassy in Saigon  during the 1970s.     Photo’d in England in 1976, carrying an unofficial ‘oval’ of (VTN). it seems that the car could have previously been posted in Budapest with its diplomat owner.   (See postscript 29 Sep.2013)       Gray archive

P.S.   I now learn from Ivan Thornley that the Vietnamese Vauxhall Y 20006 had not previously been registered in Hungary (H), but in Ethiopia (ETH)!     The owner had not finished removing his home-made IRC stickers.     (Those would have been fine plates to see on-car………)

Here another GB embassy plate, this time on a Land Rover in Saigon, 1970s.  Brumby archive

Y+00137   Here’s another VN GB embassy plate, this time on a Land Rover in Saigon, 1970s.     Brumby archive

Mowqati 673, and Afghan Foreigner (M and green) on a Mercedes 190 in Britain did not escape TG's eye or camera.      A very rare sight indeed.  Gray archive

Mowqati 673, an Afghan Foreigner (M and green) from Kabul ,on a Mercedes 190 in Britain did not escape TG’s eye or camera.    A very rare sight indeed.        The overseas-issued Automobile Association badge is of interest, but the country of origin crest is illegible.     Gray archive c.1972

Aden was a moderately-frequent 'spot' in the 1960s, due to the commercial and military establishments in that then-British colony.     After the India-issued ADN series were changed in the 1950s, L, M, and N became the serials used in the Aden Colony.    Independence and the amalgamation with South Yemen closed down sightings and info from that hot zone, for many years after.    The car is a French Renault Floride, seen in GB.     Gray archive.

L 8829 ADEN     Aden was a moderately-frequent ‘spot’ in the 1960s, due to the active commercial and military establishments in that then-British colony.    Aden was administered from British India from the 1910s and employed the BI system, with code ADN.    Under later colonial administration, it changed in the 1950s, first to the prefix 2ADN, when, reaching 9999 again, L, then and N became the leading letters used in the Aden Colony.   (No-one knows why those letters were chosen).    Independence and the later amalgamation with South Yemen closed down sightings and info from that hot zone, for many years after. The car is a French Renault Floride, seen in GB.       Gray archive.

(A)(exp73)_G90.803_TG1973

AUSTRIA FOREIGN RESIDENT/EXPORT SERIES.      Graz is the registration area for this German-built Ford Taunus 17M, photo’d in Austria in 1973 before leaving for its ultimate export destination.     Most European countries offered a facility to purchasers from abroad, to collect their new European car, tax-free, from factory or dealer, to tour Europe for up to 6 months and then return it to the supplier for shipment to their country of origin – or even drive it home themselves.     With their acquired mileage they could be imported to their home countries as second-hand cars, so that their local import duties would be lower.      Tens, if not hundreds  of thousands of vehicles were supplied under these tax-free schemes.        Gray archive.

May 2014 q.           Can anyone say whether this Austrian series was used both for export and for identifying foreigners who came to live in Austria for extended periods, perhaps even with tax-free status?    There have always been too many of them around to be only for vehicles awaiting export, it seems……..

2015  — marcellotaverna@alice.it writes:    The blue plates with a red dated band are called “temporary registration marks” and they are issued, on request, to “anyone not having his main residence, or legal seat or main facilities in Austria, upon exhibition of the required documents….”. Further “if the vehicle comes from abroad, a valid foreign approval document will be accepted”   It seems that these plates are issued to foreign persons or companies, both for export or for temporary import.

 

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Some additions at Sept. 29th. – notes to add later

(AND 60-80)(exp75)_MT-6282_TG1975

MT-6282  —  Andorra’s duty-free foreigner export series valid to 1975.     MT =  ‘Temporary Matriculation’.                                   Gray archive 1974

(B 58-07)(BfinD)_B.665.P_TG
This Belgian Forces in Germany car has replaced the official white on red plate with a home-made one. B.665.P.                                                            Gray archive, pictured in Germany circa 1974

(B 75-00)(Eur)_EUR 2514_TG

White plates were issued to privileged Party members in pre-democratic Bulgaria.    This fortunate citizen had a modern car and was allowed a passport to travel to Monte Carlo, where this picture was taken

Sf 38-16  —  White plates were issued to privileged Party members in pre-democratic Bulgaria.     This fortunate citizen had a  Sofia-registered Renault Dauphine and was allowed a passport to travel to Monte Carlo, where this picture was taken by member Terry Gray in the 1960s.   The series used the Cyrillic alphabet and  ran from 1958-85.

(CH)_ZH_300 723_TG

ZH 300 723     This is a puzzler.    A rear Swiss plate with no canton shields?    And in a poor (un-Swiss) condition.        And mounted in an odd place.      Was it perhaps a trade plate of the period (1960s) Any help, readers?    Gray archive  (silence May 2014!  Help!)

(BG)(tempimp)_XX 110_TG (BG)(transit)_095-912_TG (CAM 60-91)(cc)_IT 9175 CC_f_TG1970s (CB 30s-58)_C 23938_TG (CDN)(CdnfinEur)_5245_TG (CO 67-74)_C-07-87_r_TG1968

Remarkably, this MGB came to live in London for about a year in 1969, and remains the first and only sighting ever of a Colombian plate in England by Europlate.   Members Brumby, Thornley, Gray and Pemberton all reported it separately!   This is the 1967-74 series.(CS 66-85)_ABA-32-73_TG (D)(GBfinD)(mc)_JM 844 B_TG (DK)(dlr)_41 112_f_TG (DY 72-76)(cd)_IT 837 DY-CD_r2_TG (E 22-72)(ME)_ML-4037_TG (E 27-69)(EqG)(FP1)_FP-3721_c_TG (E 27-69)(SH)(Ifni)_IF-556_TG1960s (E 27-80s)(EqG)_RM 6018_TG (E 60s-70s)(prov)_B-702.548_c_TG (E 60s-70s)(prov.dlr)_GE-1.000.447_cu_TG (E 60s-70s)(prov.dlr)_GE-1.000.447_TG.

More Gray photos to follow………….and

if YOU have prints or slides of early or rare plates which you would like scanned for your own use and for the pleasure of other members’ viewing, write or email to Victor Brumby (vicbrumby@gmail.com) – or make a comment in the  Comments Box at the foot of this page.

And a quiz answer from a previous Post:

Which of needs THIS identifying?

Well – which of us needs THIS identifying?

YOU do?   Try French West Africa......     VB archive

YOU do? Try French West Africa…… VB archive                                                                      Francoplaque’s  Jean-Emmanuel  is quite correct with his answer of  SENEGAL, until 1960 French West Africa/Afrique Occidentale Francaise) (AOF) .   The Citroen 2cv is from area 1 (Cap Vert (Dakar, capital city)) and the letter C is a serial letter, issued before independence in 1960, after which the letter ‘S’ was inserted  before the area number  (e.g. 0132 S 1 .C)                  Fascinating to think that, had the car travelled outside Senegal in those times, it would have carries the unseen(?) AOF international oval.   The photo is by non-member Murray Bailey in about 1973, in Dakar.          In the background, in a sad state, is a French-registered Citroen Light Fifteen Traction Avant, still carrying its French plates 505 MS 38 (from Isere).

Read the rest of this entry »


French possessions in the 1940s

January 19, 2013

To see a car from Senegal, in Britain, in about 1950, would have been a big slice of luck.   Here is John Pemberton’s sighting, on an Austin A40 Devon car – unusual to find in a French territory.

Can Francoplaque help to explain why the plate is ‘dark on light’, perhaps, as we think all were white on black then?

Note that it carries the light-alloy ‘F’ ‘oval’ which was so common in early times.   As Senegal was not independent until 1960, this car could have carried an ‘AOF’ oval, is it was part of Afrique Occidentale Francai

a 1949 Austin Devon from Senegal, 7081 1.A
A 1949 Austin Devon from Senegal, French West Africa.  
7081 1.A   (1=Dakar)

1356 MA 15 in Oxford, 1940s/50s

Odd French diplomatic, 1940s-50s.

Odd French diplomatic, 1940s-50s.

This early VW also carries the alloy ‘F’ sign, because its plate is from the pre-1956 independence, French Moroccan series – 1356 MA  15.

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And concluding this foray into interesting French series, John captured a CD of an unknown type to me, carried on a rare Austin A40 Sports, made predominantly for the USA.

(Or is the car carrying the wrong international oval??)

Francoplaque! M’aider, m’aider!