When travellers needed double-plating

July 7, 2017


It wasn’t long after Man had his first automobiles that he wanted to explore outside his own territory with his new-found freedom of movement.    But governments being what governments are, they soon found ways of making some money at border crossings.   To circumvent the delays and costs of formally importing their car – even temporarily – to another country,  the idea of a carnet de passage was

(B 1899-1906)_228_ & (NL)_Z-203

1899-1906 Belgian plate 228 and Dutch plate Z-203 seen on a very early car which probably lived near the two countries’ border, so needed registering in both places, until the carnet system was devised.   228 close-up, under.

(B 1899-1906)_228_cu & (NL)_Z-203.vintage car.anon


established, which guaranteed payment of import duty to the visited country, if the vehicle entered their land, but didn’t leave it, possibly having been sold to a local buyer.    The owner had to deposit the due duty with a bank in his home country and the bank (or, later,  national motoring associations) issued the carnet document, which was a promissory note to the foreign Customs-Zoll-Douane, should the vehicle not be officially exited from their territory.   However if the car was documented by validating the carnet on exit, no taxes were payable and the beginning of popular motoring tourism was about to open.

Many countries did not participate in the early conferences which then took place to create a protocol for international border-crossing, and tourists from those non-members who still wished to go touring, had to re-register their vehicles in to the visited country at the port of entry .

Placamundi has published a detailed history of the history of this interesting period, which can usually be found on RPWO, with a set of their other learned ‘booklets’ on specific historical matters.     Right now (July 2017) website alterations prevent their display.

Placamundi International Identification Ovals


So many fine pictures have come to light in the great albums of Karel Stoel, and from other member sources.       The photos are between 50 and 80 years old, and were taken on pretty basic cameras, so we have to tolerate less quality than we expect today!

See how many plates (and cars!) you can recognise:

(MC 28-50)_MC-1818_US car.1947JP

(S 06-72).Stockholm city_A 34351+KB 292(USA)_vb1947JP

(CDN-BC 50)_24-680_vb1950JP

(USA-Ohio 48)_4048-C_car in Sweden.vb43311KS

(I)(timp 35-59)(51)_EE 20951_f_Chev. vb123KS

(USA)(NH 35-36)_54-087+308560(q)_US car.vbKS

308560 above is an oddity – Swedish make-up etc. – but, numerals only???


(USA-Wis)_9 85432+R-8895(NL)_BuickEight,vbRK


(I)(timp 35-59)(50s)_EE 21885_f_(+USA)_UScar.vbi051KS

(I)(timp 35-59)(48)_EE 16638_f_(+48Arizona AA3)_Ford Sedan.vb p1KS.

(I)(timp 35-59)(48)_EE 16342_f_(+NH48)_vb1940sJP

(I)(timp 35-59)(39)_EE 3011_f_(+NH 39)_UScar.vbKS

(I)(timp 29-35)(30s)_EE 5230_r_(+NC33).vbp1KS.

(GB)(timp 54-56)(AA)_QF 5412_(Aus Vic)_Vespa mc.vbKS

(GB)(timp 54-56)(AA 56)_QF 1096_(+BC56)_Chev.vbKS

(GB)(timp 51-54)(AA)_QE 1116_(+Ont.)_UScar.vbKS


(GB)(timp 49-57)(RAC 53)_QD 7721_f2_1953 Monte Rally_Holden.TheAuto.VB

The Australian Holden above doesn’t really count, but as the team came over from the other side of the world, they get a free pass………

(GB)(timp 49-57)(RAC 49m)_QD 366_(+PanamaCZ49)_BuickEight.vbCZ40KS

Possibly a young spotter placed these Canal Zone tags on a suitable car for the photo….


(GB)(timp 47-51)(AA)_QB 4032_(+ 6104BZ)_Beetle.vbKS

(GB)(timp 31-49)(RAC)_QC 902_UScar.vbKS

(GB)(timp 31-49)(RAC 48c)_QC 8825_(+Tangiers)_Standard 14.vbJP

(GB)(timp 31-49)(RAC 48)_QC 9425_(+Mich.48)_UScar.vbKS

(GB)(timp 31-49)(RAC 48)_QC 8277_(+Utah.48)_UScar.vbKS

(GB)(timp 31-49)(RAC 48)_QC 7995_(+Ct.48)_UScar.vbKS

(GB)(timp 31-49)(RAC 39)_QC 7119_(+Que.39)_vbJP

(GB)(timp 51-54)(AA 54)_QE 4872(+BC54)_vbKS


(GB)(timp 31-49)(RAC 30s)_QC 1585_UScar.vbKS

(GB)(timp 31-49)(RAC 30s)_QC 363_(+BRAZIL 2 73 08.BL

(F)(timp 33-55)(1951).Cherbourg_1530-TT 1H_(+Nebraska51)_UScar.jecKS

(F)(timp 33-55)(1951).Cherbourg_1440-TT 1H_& Calif-Plate_UScar.jecKS

(F)(timp 33-55)(1949).Paris_270 TT 9X+P1245(EL)_UScar.vb17KS

(F)(timp 33-55)(1949).Marseille_1477-TT 9S_f_+Connecticut vty._jecKS

(F)(timp 33-55)(1939).Marseille_995 TT 9S_(+Maryland 1939-40)_UScar.jecKS

(F)(timp 33-55)(1934).LeHavre_26 TT 4 F+P636(EL)_vb19KS

(D)(temp 07-50)(31-32).Bremerhaven_01515+Illinois1931_vbKS

(A 30-38).Vienna_A 2020_overland Steyr.vbKS

This Austrian Steyr car must win the prize for its 1930s expedition to the Far East!     China and Japan plates were carried, plus two series of Austrian, A 2020 & T 15001.   The car still exists in an Austrian museum!





German ovals.

March 29, 2017


(D)(exp 51-88)_818 Z-9349_cu_1960sVB

Before the ubiquitous Export Z-plates of the post-war years were seen all over Europe, as Germany stepped up her motor manufacturing with vehicles the whole world wanted to buy, another, simpler form of the unique oval licence plate had been born.

(D 07-50)(temp)_01515+Illinois1931_vbKS(D 07-50)(temp).Prussia_31205_UScar.vbKS(D 07-50)(temp).Bremerhaven_219_r_UScar.vbKS(D 07-50)(temp)_01962_Henschel lorry..vbKS(D 07-50)(temp).Hamburg_5579_ (CD sign-S)_Ford Eiffel.vbKS


Who would like to write a covering piece about this historic temporary series?



Old German district codes in use again

June 15, 2013

Since November 2012, we’ve seen new German number plates with long-forgotten district codes, not seen on the road for 20 years or more. These are codes which were abolished when local government was reorganised. West Germany merged many small districts in the 1970s; in former East Germany the same happened from 1993 onwards. The original number plates remained valid, but disappeared rapidly with the introduction in 1997 of tax-reduced “H” plates for historic vehicles, to the great sorrow of nostalgic plate-spotters like myself.

Under the 2012 law, each local government (Landkreis or district) can decide whether it wants to reintroduce the codes that were formerly issued on its territory.  The state (Bundesland) sends all requests from its districts to the federal government in Berlin. Once Berlin has approved the request, a revived old code becomes optional in the current district where the old district (or the major part thereof) was located. For example, a resident of Vogtlandkreis in Saxony can choose either the current code V or (for an extra fee) any of the old codes AE, OVL, PL and RC.  Of course the plates have to be in the current “FE” style of lettering. The classic 1956-2000 “DIN” style is not coming back.

The Europlate and AKS newsletters have covered the German reform in detail, so here I just list the old codes reissued so far, and when each code became available. I’ve grouped the codes by Bundesland to help plate-spotters watch out for interesting plates in the part of Germany they are touring. This also highlights the contrast between, on one hand, the states in eastern Germany that chose to reintroduce nearly everything, and on the other hand those where only a few districts have opted to allow the abolished codes, often after lengthy public debates.  Bavaria (Bayern) has yet to decide which, if any, old codes to revive.

state reissued old codes available from
Baden-Württemberg BCH, GD, HCH, LEO 25 February 2013
Bayern     to be announced           July 2013 ??        
Berlin     none  
Bremen     none  
Brandenburg CA, FRW, KY, NP, SEE, SFB, SRB, WK 18 March 2013
BER, EW, FOR, GUB, SPB 19 March 2013
FI 2 April 2013
Hamburg      none  
Hessen BID, BÜD, DI, GN, HOG, SLÜ, USI, WEL, WOH 2 January 2013
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern RÜG 2 February 2013
ANK, GW, PW, SBG, UEMWLG   14 March 2013
GMN, NVP, RDG 15 March 2013
AT, BÜZ, DBR, DM, , MC, MST, MÜR, NZ, RM, ROS, TET, WRN 18 March 2013
GDB, GVM, WIS 2 April 2013
Niedersachsen ALF, BRL, BRV, CLZ, DUD, EIN, GAN, HMÜ, NOR, RI 15 November 2012
Nordrhein-Westfalen BLB, CAS, GLA 13 November 2012
WAT, WIT 14 November 2012
JÜL 19 November 2012
LÜN 24 November 2012
DIN, LP, MO 3 December 2012
WAN 12 December 2012
AH, BOH 1 February 2013
SLE 20 February 2013
Rheinland-Pfalz PRÜ, ZEL 13 November 2012
BIN, GOA 14 November 2012
SAB 19 November 2012
BKS 26 November 2012
MY 6 May 2013
Saarland       none  
Schleswig-Holstein ECK 15 November 2012
Thüringen APD, ARN, ART, EIS, HIG, IL, LBS, LSZ, MGN, MHL, NH, PN, RU, SCZ, SDH, SLN, SLZ, SRO, WBS, ZR   29 November 2012

My sources are Wikipedia,  http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_aller_Kfz-Kennzeichen_der_Bundesrepublik_Deutschland    and Reiko Pflug’s excellent web site   http://www.kennzeichen-guide.de/

As an example here’s a new PRÜ plate, snapped last week in Prüm, a town that lost its status as a district capital already in 1969.


For comparison, a “real” PRÜ plate from 1969 or older, on an old tractor that I saw six years ago in the village of Feuerscheid.

D_07_Feuerscheid1 D_07_Feuerscheid2

Alexander Kavka


Hisrtoric duty-free export issues from Europe

March 20, 2013

Most European countries have a special plate system for vehicles bought within their jurisdiction, but which are intended for permanent export.     These are bought free of local taxes, which are charged when they reach their destination country.    Germany and France were the first to formalise such systems and here are some examples from the 1960s and on from round Europe.

FRANCE.   TT=Titulaire Temporaire or Transit Temporaire??    73 is from Savoie, seen in Ste. Maxime circa 2005, and seems oddly old for that time, as this series ran 1955-84.  False plate?       Brumby archive

FRANCE. Export.    TT=Titulaire Temporaire or Transit Temporaire??     73 is from Savoie, seen in Ste. Maxime (83-Var) circa 2005, and seems oddly old for that time, as this series ran 1955-84.  A false plate?               Brumby archive

GERMANY - Export Customs (Zoll) oval plate .   This once-common Z-plate series was issued between 1951 & 1988 as tend of thousands of German cars were collected for export.  818 Z-9348 was seen in London in 1960. Brumby archive

GERMANY – Export Customs (Zoll) oval plate . This once-common Z-plate series was issued between 1951 & 1988 as tens of thousands of German cars were collected for export.     818 Z-9348 was seen in London in 1960 prior to its ultimate export to Argentina (RA).               Brumby archive

On its way to the Central African Republic, 9 TT 10 first enjoys a drive along the Promenade des Anglais in 1964 Nice.          Brumby archive

FRANCE   TT.   On its way to the Central African Republic, Pontiac Bonneville    9 TT 10 first enjoys a drive along the Promenade des Anglais in 1964 Nice.    10= département of Aube, which seemed not to register many of this category!   Brumby archive

QL 1052 - Peugeot 404L bought in London 1969, for export to Canada.  (Brumby archive/car)

GB    Foreign brand Export.   QL 1052 – Peugeot 404L bought in London 1969, for export to Canada.    (In fact this car never left, and was re-registered with a normal mark, GGN 157 J.)        (Brumby archive/car)

Italian 1964 Export 'EE'   Brumby archive

ITALY   1964 Export ‘EE‘                                                                         Brumby archive

A  Danish export Volvo 245 destined for Canada, seen in London 1964.   Brumby archive

DENMARK.   An export Volvo destined for Canada, seen in London 1964.   The red Copenhagen  ‘K‘ with the white lining indicates temporary validity.              Brumby archive

Swedish export Volvo from Gothenburg (O) valid during 1964, seen in London.   Brumby archive

SWEDEN – export Volvo from Gothenburg (O) valid during 1964, seen in London.                  Brumby archive

FINLAND Export     Brumby archive

FINLAND  1994 Export duty-free.      The letter is serial, not a regional code.                             Brumby archive

Switzerland.   1975 Export  Brumby archive

SWITZERLAND. 1975 Export Vaud 6018 Z.   Z=tax unpaid.       Brumby archive

Luxembourg 1978 Export 616.     Brumby archive

LUXEMBOURG – 1978 Export 616.                    Brumby archive

Spain -  Export 2004 T 4361 BBC       Brumby archive

SPAIN – Export 2004 T 4361 BBC , expiring October 2004.                         Brumby archive

Belgium - some early export plates and others.  Brumby archive

BELGIUM – some early Export plates and others.   Note colour changes.   Brumby archive

Monaco - 1979 Export in red on white - TT 51.   Brumby archive

MONACO – 1979 Export in red on white – TT 51.      Brumby archive

Here is a strange sighting, 27 years later, in Monte Carlo…

Monaco TT 51 Export again, in the later style reflective etc.  Brumby archive

MONACO TT 51 Export again, in the later style reflective etc.    Front plate at upper right, carries no legend.            Brumby archive

Lichtenstein - Export 1963 - FL 9043 Z.  Brumby archive

Liechtenstein – Export 1963 – FL 9043 Z in London.   Z means tax unpaid.     Brumby archive

San Marino - Export 1992.  Thornley album

SAN MARINOExport 1992.              Thornley album

Any more, readers????

2012 – German Car rental in Paris

March 13, 2013

I hope this is of some kind of interest for this Blog –  last year from January to November 2012, I noted the registration of the many German rental cars that visit the streets of Paris.

Here is an overview of the regions and sequences used by the main German rental-car companies:

Hansestadt Hamburg

This Lander uses particular sequences in the following order

1- HH-Bx-8xxx

Overall sequence from HH-BJ 8532 to HH-CI 8795 (not observed from BA to BI then CC to CF and CH)
(Numerical sequence observed from 8033 to 8999)
1 – HH-Ox-7xxx

HH-OA 7172 to HH-OT-7726 (not observed OC to OF OH to OJ, OK, ON, OQ and OR) (Numerical sequence observed from 7019 to 7726).

Observation from HH-OA-7172, HH-OB 7019 then HH-OG 7xxx, HH-OI 7620 to HH-OL 7xxx, HH-OM 7421 then HH-OO 7xxx, OP 7xxxx & HH-OS 7xxx, OT 7726

3 – HH-Px-7xxx (May be the next sequence)

One observation HH-PE-7093


Düren uses two sequences in this order

1- DN-Hx-xxxx

Overall sequence from DN HO 3746 to DN-HZ 8852 (all series DN-HO to HZ-observed) (numerical sequence observed from 10xx to 9xxx)

2- DN-AA-xxxx (Must be the next sequence) One observation DN-AA 7032


Only one sequence observed for Wiesbaden

Overall sequence from WI-AG 8889 to WI-AK 8068 (all series observed from WI-AG to AK) (numerical sequence observed from 1791 to 9694)


München’s area seems to have several sequences at the same time, no specific order

M-OA to M-OJ (all series M-OA to OJ observed) (numerical sequence observed in 10xx 9xxx)

M-GA 5042 to M-GD 6556 (all series observed from M-GA to M-GD) (numerical sequence observed from 50xx to 6xxx)

M-AB to M-AG 2912 (not observed AD and AE) (numerical sequence observed from 4226 to 6556)


Only one sequence observed  from NE-RQ 4573 to 5365


Only one sequence observed from BN-P 744 to BN-P 3168

All photos come from Bruno Vernhes’ collection


Hansestadt Hamburg Europcar HH-Ox-7xxx sequence

Hansestadt Hamburg Europcar HH-Bx-8xxx sequence

Hansestadt Hamburg Europcar HH-Cx-8xxx sequence


Düren DN-Hx-xxxx sequence

Mûnchen M-Gx-xxxx sequence

Bonn BN-P-xxx and xxxx sequence

Neuss NE-RQ-xxxx sequence