Early Africans unearthed

December 13, 2018

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TEHA2 website

 

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 old slides found!

June 12, 2013

UPDATE 21-12-14

Terry Gray has located the pictures he took on colour transparency film from the 1960s/70s!     They were thought to have been lost in a house move, 30 years ago….

Your Blogmeister rushed them to                          www.corriejeffrey.com

in Southampton, who speedily transmogrified them into digital pictures which now we can all see – providing we have access to a computer….       This is another wonderful event for Europlate and platesmen worldwide, as a few more rare images of extinct series appear unexpectedly before us, on the Europlate Blog!

What with the recently-released photo gallery of John Pemberton, and now his notated spottings from 1954 (more to come) and the slow release(!) of Bernt Larsson’s early shots, the Gray archive becomes our latest link with the past days of xeno-autonumerology.      Many thanks to T.G. – early member (number 9)  for clearing the attic!

A taste of the period Terry covered, without editor’s notes:    (Later – a request has been received for picture notes to be added, so keep visiting the Page and you should see it happen progressively, starting now.)

(RUS)(SU)_05-10 ABT_TG_resize

David Powell explains:
I am fairly sure that the USSR plates with an ABT suffix were manufacturers’ plates for an organization called Autoexport who managed the export of Moskvich cars and vans.

Cedric Sabine adds:  The 1959 Soviet ABT series was for any vehicle travelling out of country and was issued by Moscow city. So, the export Moskvich cars would indeed have got them but other vehicles did too.

VB:  That would explain why Terry Gray pictured the Moskvich team in London, preparing for the start of the London-Mexico Rally in 1970.

 

 

(TN)(56-70s)(for)(UN)_FT 1142_TG_resize

FT was the first prefix used in Tunisia after independence from France,in 1956, at which it had to establish a series for foreign residents, including diplomats in the new embassies in Tunis.    In this case, a member of the UN (ONU) had been accorded diplomatic status, to receive this plate.     FT abbreviated ‘Franchise Temporaire’ (Temporary Licence); such vehicles were allowed to enter Tunisia free of local duties, because they were to be re-exported at the end of the owners’ tours of duty. FT is thought to have run from 1956 to sometime in the 1970s.     Blogman knows only of FT 3 and FT 1142 which have been photographed in service.    Anyone else got a picture??  Terry Gray archive

June 25th.2013  Member Cedric Sabine writes that he has more pictures of this rare Tunisian FT plate series; we have asked if we might have his pictures to further illustrate this item……

21-2014       THANKS, CEDRIC!   What a batch!!

(TN 56-65)(for.res-cc)_FT 743_r_  longMV4-KM book 1963 (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd-GB)_FT 3_cu_VB (ex GB ambassador 1956) (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd)_FT 149_cur_ long pressedYL1 (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd)_FT 728-CS (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd)_FT 1940  CS1968) (TN 56-65)(for.res)_149_cuf_YL2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA (TN 56-65)(for.res)_FT 718  longMV1 (red-white maybe) (photo 1968) (TN 56-65)(for.res)_FT 1938 HSexJF

 

 

(StH)_669_TG

This Triumph Toledo(?) has been to Saint Helena and back(!), and was photographed in Northamptonshire on its Helenan 669 plates.    St. Helena has also been seen with an SH prefix.         The owners were British government officers involved in the administration of the Territory, and their cars were returned at the conclusion of their duty there..

 

 

(SYR)(psv)_2480_TH_resize

SYR 2480.    Between the 1950s and the 1970s, red plates in Syria were issued to public service vehicles including buses, which is what TG photographed in London in the early 1970s. Serials 2001-12000 were issued to Damascus. Long trip!

 

 

(SOM)_16564_ c_TG_resize

16564. One of very few 1960-1970s Somalian plates seen was photographed – also in Northamptonshire -on a Mk 3 Ford Cortina, circa 1974. These were oddly well-made plates for such a backward territory; perhaps they were made for them by an international aid process – possibly Italian, as the former colonial power?      In recent decades, the few Somalian vehicles seen in news broadcasts have generally run without bearing plates, as no registration system exists.     Breakaway Puntland (1998), Galmudug (2006) and Somaliland (1996) have established their own systems (see RPWO).

 

 

Somalia mini front plate, a la Italiano.

Somalia mini front plate, a la Italiano.

 

 

(SD)_SD 8016_TG_resize

SD 8016 is from the original Swaziland series running from the 1920s to 1979. This Mk. 1 Ford Cortina was seen near Brackley, England, during the 1960s.

 

 

(S)(trans)_M 4221_TG_resize

From 1937 to ?, these white on red Swedish plates were issued to vehicles temporarily imported.          Terry Gray saw this Fiat in Europe in the 1970s, carrying a normal Swedish plate of the period underneath.

 

 

The unusual sighting of this old Swedish tourist import plate was at a Morris Minor rally in Oxfordshire in June 2013!      (Brumby archive)

The unusual sighting of this old Swedish tourist import plate was at a Morris Minor rally in Oxfordshire in June 2013!                  (Brumby archive)

 

 

(RSM)(pol)_RSM 0013_c_TG_resize

San Marino issued special plates to the city police in different sizes for cars and motorbikes.     A poor shot, unfortunately, but it must be kept for posterity, as so few were issued and ever fewer were photographed….. (Gray archive)

 

 

(RCL)_T.9895_TG_resize

From 1958, while still the Belgian Congo, this Belgium-manufactured (Howoco?) series was introduced.     It continued from 1960 independence under the re-named ‘Rep. of Congo (Leopoldville)’ (oval RCL).      If this were a  Congo Belge (CB)-issue, the T would mean it came from Kasai province, but after 1960, the regional codes became simple serial letters.     Later two letters with three numbers LL-NNN superseded these L-NNNN plates. The provenance of this picture is presently unknown. (Gray archive)

 

 

(RA)_B 131859_TG_resize

From the 1960s to 1995, Argentina’s first countrywide series was issued, with a letter for the State and a up to 6 numerals.      B 131859 is from Buenos Aires (county).      Somewhat dull, in white on black, but a rare sight outside Argentina.      This Peugeot 404 in an odd colour is probably a car manufactured under licence in (RA), where a different colour range was available.                        (Gray archive 1970 London)

Yves Laussecq Comments below:

Regarding the 404 PEUGEOT picture, I’m quite sure it was the vehicle of Gaston Perkins during the 1970 LONDON-MEXICO rally

 

 

(R)(cd)_CD 442_r_TG_resize

Member pseudonym’d  ‘BlackVolga’  identifies the smart oval plate in red and black on white, CD 442 as for Roumania Diplomatic Corps from 1968 to  1992.      On a BMW 2000 ‘Touring’, a fine-looking car in its day.                (Gray archive)

These and hundreds of others were taken in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s and captured by Terry as slide transparencies, which are difficult to view except by old projectors, but  give a very clear and well-coloured image, when converted to computer  files (.jpg).

Any readers who have slides, might consider their conversion thus; the lady Corrie who did these being highly recommended AND economical!

More to follow in later Posts.    Updated 15062013


A Private Collection

April 9, 2013

I have promised myself that, this summer of 2013, I will uncover my small plate collection from the depths of my garage and make sure that it is photographed for posterity.     I started collecting by accident in 1957  and continued in a casual way until the 1970s, when, with a few hundred, I had enough for a double-garage display to amuse and confound visitors.

Downsizing garages upon retirement, the collection was wrapped up and stored in suitcases.    Perhaps I though that when The Revolution came, I could make a quick dash for the airport and be gone with my half-ton of metal without coming to the attention of the rampaging proletariat.      As it happened, peace has reigned and the world at large has shown an indolent disinterest in my secret hoard, a few African items from which are below:

A Fiat 600 appeared in Kensington circa 1963, carrying Katanga plates and a properly-manufactured KAT oval.     It  re-registered before long, and the kindly owner gave me one plate, 650 C, which of course, I still have.

A Fiat 600 appeared in Kensington circa 1963, carrying Katanga plates and a properly-manufactured KAT oval.    It re-registered in GB  before long, and the kindly owner gave me one plate, 650 C, which of course, I still have.     Sadly I lost the photo of the whole car, which showed that unique KAT oval.     Brumby archive.

(RWA1)_A7247_cu_VBpl

Circa 1964, a green 380 Mercedes overtook me one evening on my way home from work, carrying this, the first and only Rwanda plate I ever saw in Europe.    A was the code for the capital, Kigali.   It also carried a RWA plastic adhesive international oval.   I followed it home and the charming Indian owner invited me in for tea and told me of its provenance.   He had been the importer in Kigali for The Distillers Company and for Imperial Tobacco. (Booze and Baccy!)   This made him an important, popular, and, I suppose, wealthy, man; his Mercedes was apparently the best car in the village.   The then-president of newly-independent Rwanda had only a black Peugeot 504 saloon, which he felt was not the best set of wheels for impressing the village girls, and so he would send his men round to our Indian friend late at night, to ‘borrow’ the Merc.      Import permits and favourable duty estimates for his expensive products were authorised in those times, and there was no reason to discourage the Top Lad enjoying a night out from time to time – though the Benz was never returned. The following morning, our owner would have to send his own staff round the village to find where rr A.7247  had been dumped at close of play – either at a bar or somewhere near Gubmint House….and  frequently damaged.    However, an empathetic accommodation had been established between all and sufficient funds for repair and replacement  seemed ever there..
He didn’t say what happened to disturb the equilibrium, but suddenly, there was our entrepreneur , living smartly in London and the former president was probably ‘helping police with their enquiries’.     Things can change quite quickly in Central Africa, and seldom for the better – but nothing which a thousand years cannot correct…..      Brumby archive

(RMM1)(ti)_ITRM0795_cu_VBpl

A visit to Mali in 1973 (don’t ask) involving another flight from Paris Le Bourget – a pretty basic aerodrome then – allowed a visit to Timbuctoo and to Bamako, where I found a dumped Citroen DS with this IT-RM-0795 rear plate still attached – but not for long. To my astonishment my Malian guide had it off in a split second, moments after I had shown a keen xeno-autonumerological interest in it, yet the subject was one of which he could have had only limited knowledge.
Originally I took it to be a Malian diplomatic, but the absence of CD on the plate shows that that it was a temporary duty-free importation as used by non-dip. embassy staff, technical aid personnel and N.G.O.’s. (which had not been so invented and named in 1973!     They were Aid Organisations.).  Even then the country was full of foreign aid people, with shiny new 4wd cars and special plates, while the indigenous Touareg went quietly about their never-changing lives, resistant to the cultural changes being proposed by countries which mistakenly felt sorry for them.   I was surprised to see an ageing Humber Super Snipe in Bamako, the capital, one day, and wondered how on earth such an inappropriate, luxury car could have made its way to a deep desert zone……  Perhaps an ex-CD car – or a stolen one from Cote d’Ivoire?  Brumby archive

CNV00019

A 1970s picture of some of the collection at the time. Gazing upon them now, I recognise that some have been lost in the intervening years.     I have never been careful with my things……Brumby archive

A Mk1 Ford Zephyr visited a pleasure park in our home town in 1960 carrying these colonial-era Belgian Congo plates.    The owner offered to snd the plates to Nip Thornley and the writer when he changed to new English plates imminently. - and so he did, bless him!    They were  simply stencilled on to mild steel sheet and for the first few years of ownership, we didn't take note that they were rusting away!    Eventually, to my horror, Nip took a paintbrush to his plate and refurbished it, with none of the skills of the Italian or Dutch Masters.

A Mk1 Ford Zephyr visited a pleasure park in our home town in 1960 carrying these colonial-era Belgian Congo plates. The owner offered to send the plates to Nip Thornley and the writer when he changed to new English plates imminently. – and so he did, bless him!    They were simply paint-stencilled on to mild steel sheet and for the first few years of ownership, we didn’t take note that they were rusting away! Eventually, to my horror, Nip took a paintbrush to his plate and refurbished it, with none of the skills of the Italian or Dutch Masters.

My plate was left in it's original state, but deteriorating steadily.   One day after about 40 years, I realised that there remained not one single speck of paint on my rusty tin sheet.    Now only I know that I once had a Belgian Congo plate!    This photo was taken after only 15 years, and one can almost see the registration C23938 (C was for Léopoldville, named for the eccentric King Léopold to whom the vast country had personally belonged.

My plate was left in it’s original state, but deteriorating steadily. One day after about 40 years, I realised that there remained not one single speck of paint on my rusty tin sheet.    So much for retaining originality!     Now only I know that I once had a Belgian Congo plate!   This photo was taken about 1970, and one can almost see the registration C 23938 (C was for Léopoldville, named for the eccentric King Léopold to whom the vast country had once personally belonged).   It is now Kinshasa and no-one knows to whom DRC belongs.     Brumby archive.

A Nigerian pre-1976 plate from Sapele, which look s as if it might have some history...     Brumby archive

A Nigerian pre-1976 plate from Sapele, which look s as if it might have some history… Brumby archive

More to be  added later…………. 


Use the new ‘blog’-EUROPLATE BLOG (TEHA2)

August 10, 2010

The Belgian Congo/DRC has one of the longest lists of different international ovals, starting with no ovals (no cars?) during the Leopold private ownership period (King Leopold’s Congo Free State 1855-1908) then Belgium state-owned Congo Belgique until 1960.     There followed RCL, CGO, ZR and ZRE, to DRC today (in which the ‘D‘ amusingly abbreviates the concept ‘Democratic!).   Some of the codes overlapped.    This RCL was photographed in Cannes during the early 1970s by VB on that great African car, the Peugeot 404.      The front plate was a normal, yellow on blue, pressed  ?Howoco? plate, but the rear plate had been lost and replaced by this well-painted version.

Does the Consular Corps oval suggest that Congo had not established a special plate series for Consular in those years?

One of many Congo ovals-RCL – Republic of Congo – Leopoldville (later Kinshasa)            Brumby archive

THIS IS WHAT WE CAN NOW DO!

Here is a new concept by means of which we can liaise with each other at will, on any subjects we choose.    A mail system between members, starting from the RPWO web site.

The (WordPress-hosted) Blog site can also be set to allow outsiders to read our correspondence and to contribute comments if they please.    We might derive useful information or images from exposing our odd hobby to others!

Entries to a blog are kept permanently, in date order, enabling subjects to be re-visited if required – say, before adding new information.

Just log in here and write your first post!

That’s all!