July 18, 2018
Lapsed Member Terry Gray shot this Fiat Campagnola jeep in Italy(?) in the early 1980s. (I) Dealer plates were always red and white on black, so this white example has long festered as a mystery in one’s mind. So this week, July 2018, VB forwarded the image to specialist Marcello Gallina in Italy, to ask his advice:
Please, is this a Dealer plate/Manufacturers’ plate/test drive plate from the 1950s-74 series or the ’74-82 series?
Yes, this plate is from the Military Dealer series, issued between 1951-1984.
The jeep is an Italian Army vehicle (Fiat Campagnola). The white colour means that it is allocated to be sent to Lebanon for the Italian mission (1982).
There were known two early types of Italian Army trade plates. They were a white variant of the regular black dealer plates.
Old type, triangular shape.
New type, as in picture, square, PROVA must be preceded by EI in green, maybe adhesive letters are gone.
(In 1984,, a new series came into use: EI * p 0123. (EI red, green star, little p green, black digits on white)
Marcello has identified a Italian military dealer among our TEHA2 photos, and it has a Middle-East link, so I think you could be interested!
Indeed, it is of interest and is a piece of UN history that is not mentioned in RPWO at all (and I certainly new nothing about). The peacekeeping force (Multi National Force (MNF)), according to Wikipedia, only existed from 1982 to 1984 and was totally separate from UNIFIL as a 4 nation only force.
The relatively benign environment at the beginning of the mission gave way to chaos as the civil war re-escalated following the assassination of President-elect Bashir Gemayel in September 1982. Subsequent political and military developments on the ground caused the MNF to be viewed not as a peacekeeper, but as a belligerent. In early 1984, after it became apparent that the government of Lebanon was no longer able to impose its will on warring factions as they entered Beirut and hostilities renewed, the MNF ended its presence mission in Beirut and went offshore before completely leaving Lebanon in July of the same year in the aftermath of the October 1983 barracks bombing that killed 241 U.S. and 58 French servicemen. It was replaced by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) already present in Lebanon since 1978 under the leadership of Ghanaian Lieutenant General Emmanuel Erskine.”
So we see here again how the sharing of our images and knowledge in the Club develops our understanding of this quite complex hobby. Fresh from a 46-year-old photo now comes info on a system we had not known existed. Magnificent! Thank you, Marcello and Cedric……..