Honduran check-out

April 14, 2017

Friends having been persuaded to invest in the Honduran island of Roatan, south of Cuba, invited the Brumbys to visit in March 2017.    Having little knowledge of the Central American region, save for Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, if that counts, we took them up and flew United Airlines London-Houston where one must overnight at the massive airport before taking another 2-hour island flight next morning.    On arrival, the airport carpark gave up a prize immediately, with 3 of the International Mission (also titled elsewhere Aid/Non-Government Org.) MI plates.    Brown rim and lettering rather than the red suggested in the guides.    They must be batch-coded, as there would not be 4463 such vehicles, even in Honduras!   MI 4463

(HON 99~)(aid)_MI 4463_cu_(b.br.w)_2017VB


Though I have always favoured pictures of plates mounted naturally on their vehicles, I find that photographing plates in countries which use small detail in their plates is seldom successful when reviewing them later.      Nowadays, aided by the free-use digital cameras and phones, we can take both distance AND close-up shots.

I used to be able to then create a ‘comp’ – a composite picture for display, using Photoshop – but I have forgotten how to do it!

This is an comp. example, from a 1996 visit to an Egyptian fire station

(ET 96)(mun)(fire)_LU 4&5_comp_1996VB


Therefore, the Honduran photos shown here tend to be portraits, so that the reader can see the detail.



Another plate type first seen at the airport, was this National Government plate using an ‘N’ prefix.  N 11905(HON 99~)(gv)_N_11905_cur_(b.bl.w)_KIA ute1.2017VB

These National plates use the colours of the current private vehicles issue and are used by the regular police and other state offices.   N 11905 is an undercover  police ‘ute’ (or pick-up truck), photographed from the safety of our hire-car, as they had more guns than we..

(HON 99~)(gv)_N_11905_r_(b.bl.w)_KIA ute3.2017VB

The alpha system uses two forms of the letter ‘N’ and perhaps Honduras could be the only country to use Ñ….

PDÑ 9676 has the Private vehicle prefix P and the Dx serial was current during our visit, changing to PEA just as we left, pursued by swarms of sandflies and mosquitos, two of the islands’ most successful breeding fauna, alongside the poor but jolly villagers.

(HON 99~)_P DN 9676_(bl.w)_.Roatan2017VB


Duty-Free Imports

There are two colours of PP plates, which were thought to be for rental cars – but they use normal plates.     I was told by a Thpanish-thpeaking local that the PP abbreviates ‘Placa Pimiente’ or Temporary Plate, and later,  by an American whose car carried a set of them, that, to encourage retirement settlers from US and Canada to Honduras, their household equipment and cars may  be brought in free of import duties, providing they are not sold within five years.

Costa Rica has a similar privilege plate for retirees.

Our esteemed Editor, Señor Barragan, who knows a good bit of Thpanish tells me there is no  such word as Pimiente – so it seems that my first source spoke with forked tongue.

Anyway, most PPs are all-red but a few light pick-ups (utes) had black lettering.     Why?

A new discovery was a trailer system, with a leading ‘R’ as usua;, for Remorque or similar, and a serial letter.     They are uncommon, yet they have reached C as a serial.   Trailer R C 1429,  adjuring all to ‘Protect our Forests’.   The English word ‘bosky’ is a relative of this Latinate word Bosques….

(HON 99~)(tlr)_R C 1429_(bl.w)_trailer.Roatan2017VB

and trailer R A 8536

(HON 99~)(tlr)_R A 8536_cu_(bl.w)_trailer.Roatan2017VB

Motorcycles are  as expected, prefixed M …

(HON 99~)(mc)_M AB 7049_(b.bl.w)_mc.2017VB


The Fire Brigade seems to have freedom of choice about what it displays!

(HON gv)(fire)_HRB-00146_f_(r.y)_Nissan ute.Roatan2017VB

(HON gv)(fire)_HRB-2409_(y.r)_mc.Roatan2017VB

(HON gv)(fire)_HRB-2401_c_(y.r)_Roatan2017VB

Ambulances enjoy a similar freedom.   Same plate front and back.



A lengthy chase following a high-speed turn-round  enabled the photo-capture of an unknown military plate type, Repubblica Honduras Fuerzas Navales, as I judge it to mean, and we may rely on the Placamundi contingent to bring accuracy where there is only inspired guesswork.


(HON gv)(mil-navy)_RHFN 5718_cu_(bl.w)_Roatan2017VB


Several small cars carried the plate below and were hired to tourists.   It’s not exactly a plate, is it?




A special police group travel with blue plates, unlike any others and are tricky to photograph, for reasons you will understand.    This is as close as my survival instinct permitted me to get to white on blue, stencilled UD 11-001….


….from which my editing software gleans this:

(HON)(pol)_UD 11-001_ute.Roatan2017VB



The only non-Honduran plates on the island were from Guatemala.   It seems that there is paid work for GCA workers if they come to the island.     The authorities are still issuing 2004-dated plates!

(GCA 2004)_P 947PWS_Roatan2017VB

This GCA ute was dumped.   Its  P947 DWS plates were secured by self-tapping screws and are no longer attached.     A brand-new ute (still 2004)  P767 GJJ is seen below.

(GCA 2004)_P 767GJJ_cr_Roatan2017VB

A couple of odd US plates varied the diet:

(USA-Tex 2016)_transit_Roatan2017VB

(USA-Tex)(disabled)_68KBJ_(bl.w)_Chrysler SUV.Roatan2017VB

I suspect the driver of the Texas vehicle was laid low by the sandflies, the heat and the ghastly food of the island and was issued a handicapped plate by his hospital back home. Odd thing is, he went back to Honduras for more……       We won’t.

Victor Brumby, April 2017


For three weeks I have been dismantling the pages of Karel Stoel’s German albums and the period 1895-1945 is at last complete.      A plate I cannot identify presents your chance to show us your skill as a xeno-autonumerologist:     D 7090

(D 40s).q_D-7079_(l.d)_mil car.vbKS



More early German shots will appear in the next posts plus some of the Protectorates seized from the surrounding countries when Adolf got the bit between his teeth.

Here are two cars of senior government personnel, parked outside a great meeting hall in Vienna some time during 39-45.    Early vanity plates!   Nd 1 and W 101 are from Lower Austria and Vienna Protectorate…      Vienna/Wien used white plates during the occupation.

Less exotic IIB 57022 is from Upper Bavaria (Oberbayern).    How about identifying the three cars?

(D 39-45).Prot.Niederdonau-Lower Danube(A)_Nd-1 + W-101_vbKS

Now get back to work.





September 16, 2015

The Europlate VW collection continues to grow, as members and friends fill the gaps in the missing countries.

Unknown Doris Nieh went snapping for our pleasure in these later years……

Volkswagen photo 1959 Doris Nieh-1

70 104 .. 104=USA embassy, Lebanon Diplomatic.     The music-mistress on the hoarding must have an obedient class……..

70 104

Birma 1959 Volkswagen photo 1959 Doris Nieh

D 8308  —  1959 Burma via Doris Nieh

GR private 1956-59 89542 2 Volkswagen photo 1959 Doris Nieh

A 56 89542  —  1959 Greece (Athens) via Doris Nieh.     IX = Idiotikos Chrisis (Private use)

RL 51945 1959 Volkswagen photo 1959 Doris Nieh

51945  —  Background Beirutis 1959

HKJ 1959 Volkswagen photo 1959 Doris Nieh

12632  —  1959 Jordan

ET prive C 12716 Volkswagen photo 1959 Doris Nieh

Privé C 12716  –  1959 Cairo, private vehicle (white on black)

IND 1959 Volkswagen photo 1959 Doris Nieh-1

WBC 7457  —  1969 West Bengal. VW Kombi/Microbus by Doris Nieh – a good spotter!

J 5 9533 1959 Volkswagen photo 1959 Doris Nieh

1969 Japan .   1955-62 series.    5=four-wheeled cars between 660-2000cc for Private Use.  Green on white.


I wonder where Doris went for her holidays in 1970 and on??

A Little More Pemberton

November 13, 2013

The things John Pemberton saw in the 1940s and 1950s!     (We MAY have shown some of these in earlier Pemberton Posts…..)

OK for the reader to make the identifications?

A prompt response from Richard Mathers (EU871) is given in COMMENTS below

(F)(SN)(AOF)_7081 1.A_JPvb

7081 1.A   –   It is particularly odd that a British car – an Austin A40 Devon – should have been seen on French West Africa plates, as all French overseas territories were strongly wedded to cars and lorries of French manufacture.        Senegal became independent of France in 1960; this photo is estimated to have been taken in Britain during 1953, when the international identification letters for the whole territory were AOF – Afrique Occidentale Francaise. Our Austin boasts only a modest ‘F’.   Another oddity is the light background and dark digits of the plate, when normal plates were simple white on black.      At independence, a preceding ‘S’ was added to the zero or 1 codes which marked the Senegalese sector of AOF – where 1 represented Dakar.    (7081 S1.A)       Pemberton archive.

(CL 1947-8)_CY 3533_JP1951c

Ceylon‘s 1947-8 code CY adorns this American Mercury? Eight, photo’d in London, possibly in 1952.          NOTE: The CL international oval is of the large 300mm x 180mm (12 x 4.75″) specification, as determined by the early Conventions.            Pemberton archive



(EAT)_DSD 770_JPvb

DSD 770 – The Peugeot 203 was produced from 1948 to 1960.    DS = Dar-es-Salaam, the capital of Tanganyika, issued suffix D from Sept. 1950 to Jan. 1952.   Photographed in London in the early 1950s for the  Pemberton archive.         Note the unique style employed by the British East African territories of Tanganyika, Kenya and Uganda, in the use of brackets round the code letter for each of the three administrations – EA(T), (K) and (U)….    (Nyasaland is said to have been allocated EAN, but  there is no evidence of its use – unless YOU have a photo!)

(NP)_BT 2999_JPc1937

BT 2999 – 1930s Hillman Minx from Blantyre, Nyasaland.   Also using the massive 12″ I.I.P.            Pemberton 1940s archive

(ET2)(13-c56)_C 4463_JP1938vb

C Privé 4463 on a heavy US anonymous machine.    Is it a Packard??   From the 1913-1956 series, with C for Cairo.      Pemberton archive.

(GR)(cd)_DS 277 CD_JP1950s

DS 277 CD – Greek Diplomatic series from 1930s-1952 on a circa 1949 Morris Oxford in Oxford in 1950.       The DS, here translated from the Greek, abbreviates Diplomatikos Soma – or Diplomatic Body.   Though ‘CD’ was internationally accepted, there were no French usages in the home of Homer!       Pemberton archive

(IR)(oos)_T 26 4595_JP1947

T/26 4595  –  The Farsi/Dari area code letter and validity year/serial numerals of the Persian plates were changed to western characters only if the vehicle was to leave the country. This 26-dated T-Teheran out-of-state plate refers to the Persian year 1326, corresponding to our Gregorian calendar year which was from March 1947-March 1948.       The US car model is unidentified, the shot taken somewhere in England in 1948/9.      Pemberton archive

(IR)(oos)_T 26 4595_cu_JP1947


The red and white Flag plates of the Kuwaiti royal household, shot in London by John Pemberton on Aug. 6, 1956.    Plate 50 on a Cadillac

(MOC)_LM 7667_JPvb

LM 7667  –  Mozambique – Lorenzo Marques, which could have used the MOC oval, but was only seen with Portugal’s  P.         A Dodge Fluid-Drive, made from 1947-9, seen in London about 1950, before the dash separators became  standard for Portugal and its overseas possessions.          Pemberton archive c1950

Egyptian visitors of the 1950s and later

February 4, 2013

This home album photo depicts a 1936  Hillman Minx de luxe which has returned from Egypt, probably in the ownership of a serviceman in the Royal Air Force, posted to the Egyptian Suez Canal Zone before the war .   There he was given sand-cast alloy plates CL  Privé 1526 – Private use/Canal/vehicle 1526.      This manufacturing method gives rise to the longest-lasting, strongest numberplates.         The 1936 British registration WV 9778, was issued by the County Council of Wiltshire, in which many RAF establishments were located.    It may be the Hillman’s original English plate from new, or it may be a new registration issued on it’s return to Britain.    Happily, the squadron-leader has left both plates for us to enjoy, though the village policeman would have scolded him for showing both …… It crosses my mind that the elder boy MIGHT be member John Pemberton himself – which, in 1938, say, it could well have been!  (Confirme

CL 1526 is from Canal Zone, with a plate sandblasted clean of black paint.   Pemberton archive.
CL 1526 is from Canal Zone, with the plate sandblasted clean of black paint by sand and the desert wind.       Pemberton archive.
Sand-cast aluminium Egyptian plate CL 1526
A more prosperous visitor from Cairo or Gaza (is the code C or G?) brought his massive American car to Oxford, as prey to JP's camera.    C/G 4463 waits alongside a 1930s Wolseley in 1940s Oxford.   Pemberton archive.
A  prosperous visitor from Cairo or Gaza (is the code C or G?) brought his massive American car to England, as prey to JP’s camera. C/G 4463 waits alongside a 1930s Wolseley in 1940s Oxford.      Pemberton archive.
A 1930s Ford Eight, returned from the Souks of Cairo.    Pemberton archive.
A 1938-49 Ford Prefect Ten, Cairo 13326, returned from the soukhs of Cairo.  Estimated at 1947, in Oxford.   JP to advise.         Pemberton archive.

An English family we knew, lived in Cairo in the 1930s, where there was a thriving motor club and great interest in sports cars.    They kindly passed VB a pictures of their cars there, the first being the sporty English Wolseley Hornet:

Cairo 940 shown in 1934 outside the Asp & Turban p.h.   Brumby archive
Cairo 940 shown in 1934 outside the Asp & Turban pub, Nile Lane.               Brumby archive

Note that this Egyptian series preceded the later PRIVÉ series above, using simply the city code (usually in roman and arabic)  as a central separator (in red)  for the numerals.   These two only show the C in roman. Their second car was a French Mathis (perhaps a 1932 Emyquatre) registered C 6700 – a big jump from 940, on the Wolseley of similar production year.   Why?

The French Mathis car in Cairo 1934.   Brumby archive
C 6700 – The French Mathis car in Cairo 1934.    Brumby archive

Below: Here’s one from the same 1913-56 series, using both scripts as separator.  3 BS 3 (Beni Suef) on a Vauxhall 12 (if you can see it).

BS 3 on a Vauxhall 12, made 1937-46, though wartime production was only for the military.  JG archive
BS 3 on a Vauxhall 12, made 1937-46 (though wartime production was only for the military).      JG archive
..and a rare picture of the pre-war Egyptian Diplomatic plate, of unknown source, CD 15. White on green.
..and a rare picture of the pre-war Egyptian Diplomatic plate, of unknown source, CD 15. White on green.
Cairo Motor Cab 14 pauses for a photo opportunity a hundred years ago. (anon)
Cairo Motor Cab 14 pauses for a photo opportunity a hundred years ago. (anon)

Because of the constant shortage of  material, Egyptians were obliged to wear hats without a brim, which worked OK save for the brief rainy season.

Early cross-desert explorers used C 2000 for most of the way.   This is taken before they left.   (anon)
Early cross-desert explorers used a vanity plate, C 2000 for most of the way. This is taken before they left, a long time ago.   Red ‘C‘ with white outline: probably enamelled plate. (anon)
Another red 'C' early Cairo car, circa 1913.    (anon)
C 614 – Another red ‘C’ early Cairo car, circa 1913. (anon)

Colonel Blinman of Penn, Bucks., UK  had this plate  hanging in his garage when I visited him in 1974 to deliver his new lawnmower.    Painted on the obverse of the other, long, front plate, was the new Buckinghamshire number allocated to his Hillman Minx when he returned from military duty at The Canal in the ’50s.     My need was agreed to be greater than his, for this pair of redundant plates, and I left clutching them with glee and a promise of a free first mower service!

Canal Zone 1484 circa 1951.  Brumby plate
Canal Zone 1484 circa 1951.                    Brumby plate (rear)

Below:   Taxi (orange) from DT = Dumyāţ, seen in Cairo by Angela Brumby 1966, in sea transit to Australia. A Fiat 1400/1900?      Not so, says David Wilson – it’s a Canadian Dodge (see comments)

1966 shot in Cairo of an elderly taxi DT 533.   Brumby archive
1966 shot in Cairo of an elderly Dodge taxi DT 533.    Brumby archive
Austin 1800 from the British embassy in Cairo in the 1970s, seen in Amersham, UK.  Brumby archive
1970s – Austin 1800 from the British embassy (52) in Cairo, seen in Amersham, UK.   52 / 3025       Brumby archive


Well, that’s where John Pemberton’s pictures of  ‘Egypt in England’  have led us this time!     Next – West Africa. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


But…. we have  few other early Egyptians, too…….. Cairo Alexandria Cairo Canal Zone (front) Alexandria Unknown – probably Cairo.

Reg Wilson saw this in Liverpool in 1955.
Reg Wilson saw this in Liverpool in 1955.

All die-cast in sand, except Canal Zone 1484, which is painted on the obverse of a  British plate previously  used on Colonal Blinman’s Hillman. Plus……

tax-free temporary import s were white on blue or blue on white
60 is the Greek embassy code in Cairo and the black/green plates were for non-diplomatic embassy staff there. Seen Athens Sept. 1993 by Trog Houghton.
tax-free temporary import s were white on blue or blue on white
Tax-free temporary imports to Egypt were white on blue or blue on white.     SAL is from Saloum. (Tom Tom)  
(ET4)(56-83)(it)_CH ALX9083_cu_VBmb

ALX from Alexandria.


Unknown type seen 1980s at Luxor.
Unknown type seen 1980s at Luxor by VB.    It reads Luxor Private 4177.      The white panel remains unexplained (unless it might indicate a second replacement plate 4177, the original lost following an accident or plate theft……..)    (Tom Tom)

……and 3 different CD layouts, possibly from different periods….

Uncoded CD 3009 – remains undefined.   Embossed.

2020 – valuable response sent to the Blog by ‘Tom Tom’:

3 different types of CD

1 / 7018 below is identified by ‘Tom Tom’  (25/01/20) as a 1958c-73 issue, with ‘1’ as the code for the Soviet Union.   The embassy code was given only in arabic.       The 7018 meant nothing and was simply a serial.                    See 31/1301 below (which looks to be embossed).

(ET4)(cd2-SU)(56-83)_1 7018_cu_VB96

CD 52 / 5035 is probably a variant of the 1958c-73 series.     Hand-painted on flat sheet, whereas 7018 above had been in pressed steel, probably still hand-painted. Embassy 52=United Kingdom.

(ET4)(cd3-GB)(56-83)_52 5035_cu_MasPlvb

And added later, 31/1301, another 1956c-83 series image, with diplomatic code 31 for Sweden.

In all cases the arabic script translates to ‘Political Corps’.


Below are two temporary transit plates, handpainted, seen in London, years apart.   The first is from Port Said (1972) and the second from Suez (1976).   They are thought to be  ‘get-you-to-the-border’ exit* plates, valid for a few days for vehicles leaving Egypt and made to hand back in their normal plates.     They and have surprisingly high serials.


*Japan and Hungary CD also employ this system of retaining their national plates when vehicles are known to be leaving the country permanently.


Below: An odd UN type from the 1960s.   Personnel attached to the World Food and Agriculture Organisation, who had a semi-diplomatic status.     White on black.     Reading: Private, Cairo 1/D 53003.     (Tom Tom). The arabic letter D indicates an embassy/Organisation-owned vehicle; the 1 code could signal USSR – but on a British Morris Oxford ??????

An odd UN type from the 1960s.

That all for now  (16/06/2020)