January 4, 2018
For a small island, Guernsey sports a good variety of licence-plates, though most are seldom seen, even to the visitor hunting for the oddities. Karel Stoel, Terry Gray and Ray King captured most of the following images, all pre-1970s.
Guernsey no. 1 – The Prime Minister is titled ‘Bailiff’ in Guernsey, and registration no. 1 is retained for his principal car.
GBG 1 – The Bailiff’s Rover 100 from astern.
1 — Another stern shot of the Guernsey Bailiff’s Rover in the 1960s.
A 1930s royal visit to Guernsey used this Austin 25 limousine, registered only with a Crown, unfortunately hardly visible here.
The Lieutenant-Governor of this period (50s-60s) used an Austin Princess (Vanden Plas?) limousine for formal occasions and a Singer Gazelle drophead
G 1 as his principal private car.
The Austin limo may have been designated an A 135 in the current catalogue. It used a lorry engine which powered their medium commercials.
(See David Powell’s comments below).
G 1 — Lt-Governor again.
Possibly the Lt.-Governor’s wife, carrying G 2 on a ’50s Standard Ten estate car.
An earlier Bailiff, circa 1953, ran this Humber Super Snipe, on which the Guernsey serial 1 was shown. Camera shake was de rigeur in those days.
T 114 — Awaiting registration, vehicles were moved from docks to dealers and on, using the T-coded trade plates in white on black for General Use and Z-coded white on black for Limited Use. When Hillman made vans and pick-ups (utes) they called them Commers. Earlier versions of this Minx-derivative vehicle were listed in Rootes’ catalogue as EDV’s – Express Delivery Vans. So might this later model have been. I had one once, BVV 111. It cost £5 and lasted several weeks. Dealer General Trade plate T 120 covering untaxed 5959. This ‘Big 15’ Citroen Traction-Avant illustrates the enthusiasm for French cars on the former French Channel islands, whereas on the British mainland, they were less common. By comparison, British cars have always been hardly known in France, the French being fiercely loyal to their own brands..
Z 15 — — Pre-war Hillman Minx is untaxed as 4036, so uses dealer plate Z 15 to move between the workshops etc.
Z 3 — Similarly, a Standard 14 uses white/black Limited Trade plate Z 3 whilst waiting to re-tax Guernsey 5687. Unusual that Trade plates didn’t adopt the Empire-wide colours of red and white.
X 25 — The long-discontinued Guernsey Motorcycle Dealer with X prefix.
V 15 — For a time, visitors to GBG who wished to stay longer than usual, would be issued black on yellow Visitor plates, as on this 1950 Austin A40 Devon.
A motorcyclist from the mainland (Middlesex) carries his long-stay Visitor plate V 5.
1344 — The normal white on black plates for Guernsey, which didn’t follow the fashion to switch to the white front/yellow rear of most countries from the 1960s-on. This late-1940s Hillman Minx uses low-number 1344, which would have been a re-issue, as originally, 1344 would have been issued in the 1910s or 20s
774 — Here’s a genuine oldie, rather than a re-registration, probably about 1919. We could do with a timeline of the GBG issues…… What’s the car?
11201 H — Rental cars use normal plates, but carry a second ‘H’ plate, for “Hire’. It’s removed when the car returns to private use. 1960s Ford Anglia 105E.
1121 — Occasionally, one sees a coloured plate in Guernsey, but it’s unusual. This Lancia Flavia carries re-registration 1121 originally from circa 1920.
GBG 961 — It is very unusual to see a Guernsey plate like this above, where the owner has incorporated the international oval, GBG, in to the (re-issued) plate no. 961. This is a pre-Farina Morris Oxford, circa 1957.
11675 — Buses use normal plates and ‘route’ buses carry a second licence plate issued by the police. Most of the Guernsey fleet were long-lasting Albions.
PV 108 — These enamel plates see service on a series of buses, as old vehicles are withdrawn from service. Most categories of Guernsey plate are re-issued by request. (Note a response by David Powell below)
PSV 46 — Another GBG bus plate of which we know little. Any ideas? Yes – a private-hire coach – chapter and verse below from David Powell!
4 — The old residents can retain their original family numbers if they wish. Nowadays, some command ridiculous prices if they come up for sale. This Peugeot 203 carries the fourth island plate, issued in 1903 and probably retained via many intervening cars.
7 — Another old family heirloom – 7 on a Renault 750. 4cv. GBG continues to use its original system, just as it began with in 1903. That could be a world record for a long plate series…..
Not bad plates-variation for a tiny island, eh?