Malaysia 2017 news

February 11, 2017

Surprisingly, the series for the Wilayah of Kuala Lumpur which commenced in Sept. 2013 and which was to run for up to 20 years, W then W(A-Y) nnnn A-Y:

mal-2013-16-wilayah-kl_a-w-1973-a_c_wee2014vbmal-2013-16-wilayah-kl_w_w-4614-w_-2014vb

and after straight W, prefixed WA, WB etc nnnn L:

mal-2013-16-wilayah-kl_wa-4841-k_cu_2014vb

mal-2013-16-wilayah-kl_wb-8204-u_c_2014vbhas been stopped at WD 9999 Y and replaced by a letter never previously used in Malaya – V.  From 1 October 2016, V 11 started the ball rolling (1-10 are reserved for arrivistes) and  V 9999 was reached soon after.       The traffic in Kuala Lumpur is testimony to the overpopulation of vehicles in this prosperous, sprawling city – though I estimate that 40% of the take-up of new registrations is by small motorcycles, which are as prolific as they are in Vietnam and share the same registration system as cars and commercials.

V  quickly ran out at 9999, so  –  on with the first set of serial letters, VA-VY 10-9999....mal-2016-wilayah-kl_v-5913_nissan-2017vb

mal-2016-kl_vj-3786_cu_vb

By February 2017, the alpha serials have reached VQ!        So – not long before we see VA 11-9999 A-Y.

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The new capital, Putrajaya, built to take the strain off KL’s overgrowth,  where accommodation has been built for hundreds of thousands, and where government departments have been moved, has been a white elephant; the people just aren’t interested in living 40 miles away from KL.   The bizarre original plate issue Putrajaya 1-9999 for those who DO dwell in that silent city, malsi_putrajaya-3334_cu_vb

has finally been used up and from 1/6/2016 was replaced  with ‘F‘ perhaps for ‘Federal’ as Putrajaya is the (supposed) HQ of the Federal Government.    Not many around yet.  The Sultan of Johore bought F 1 for some record fee because he associates it with Formula One and his family have been motor enthusiasts and car collectors since motoring began and they got their first chequebook.

mal-2017-putrajaya_f-122_bmwmini-vb

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Honorary Member Stoel contributes this 1950s magazine extract of Grandfather Johore’s  HHSJ, one of several pre-war Mercedes 540K’s owned by the family.   (?Being returned to Stuttgart for rebuild?   It could be the Hamburg dockside.)mal-johorerh-sultan-40s_hhsj_m-b-640k-vbks

mal-johorerh-sultan-60sjo_jb-1_m-b300sl-vbks

Perhaps the same 540K after restoration, and bearing the ubiquitous HHSJ plates – His Highness the Sultan of Johore – still in use.  Indeed, he ran a HHSJ supplementary-plated Mercedes 300 saloon in London for many years, which I photographed in circa 1960, – and lost the picture.    Here  another HHSJ  example is seen plus Johore Bahru  1 on a then-new Benz 300SL.

mal-johorerh-sultan-50s_hhsj_cadillac-vbks

and (above) an interim HHSJ conveyance, no doubt from Lincoln or Cadillac,  probably in the 1940s.

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ptm-badge-close-up

A Malayan AA badge from early days, surmounted by the territory name.   Most, if not all, Empire countries had their own AA badges.

badge-aa-malaya2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A later type.

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PATRIOT‘  —   Here is the latest money-tree for the Malaysian Vehicle Registration Dept. (Vanity Division).      It seems that whatever notion they conceive to provide a plate variation, a gullible public will adopt – at the much-increased cost over a standard plate.     Perhaps they have seen the success of the Australian plate-marketing gurus – there are more dopey plates there than standard ones!

A New Discovery    (but see below…)

Having once glimpsed a Royal Australian Air Force pick-up truck (ute) on a Penang ferry, but unable to capture it by camera, I located their base this time, via Google Maps, and drove over to Butterworth in the former Province Wellesley to wait at the airbase gates for any traffic carrying dedicated plates.    As I arrived, a minibus left the compound and set off down the other carriageway.   The plates were of an unknown configuration.      Wasting time on a turn on the highway, I set off in hot pursuit, though he must have had at least a kilometre start.    My hired Kia achieved some higher-than-normal revs and before long I was behind D 1242 E, whose driver, a smart young Aussie soldier, stopped at my request.

mal-2017mod_d-1242-e_toyota-innova2-butterworth2017vb mal-2017mod_d-1242-e_cu_butterworth2017vb

He didn’t know much about the series, or how long it has been extant, but he did know that the D is for the Defence Ministry.    He kindly authorised a close-up shot – and now we all know about another Malaysian* format, which doesn’t replace the usual military ‘Z‘ plates, such as

.malmil-af-snrs_zu-3412_cu_vb

(ZU=Royal Malaysian  Air Force (U=Udara=Air)

* ….   20170223 – This week I saw another of these plates, but this was near Canberra, and the penny dropped.     I checked with guru Jim Gordon in West Australia and he confirms – it is an AUSTRALIAN ‘Defence Organisation’ plate – not Malaysian.   New one to me.     However, it is an unusual strain thereof, as the Oz-based MoD plates are blue on white as under and they have a legend below, but the Malaysian-use ones are made up in white on black, foregoing the legend,  to resemble the Malaysian plates.       Mea Culpa!

image002

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Finally another Stoel picture from Malaya’s past, showing an 1940s Johore JA 1551 and two British-plated Benzes:mal-johore-48-71_ja-1551_m-b-vbks

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Also finally  finally – a glimpse of Stoel’s notes on the Unfederated Malay States of Kelantan and Kedah before 1948.   (Improved image to follow if poss.)       We see the old Kelantan code KN of which we have only read – on the Humber, no 555, and  K 2400 on a c.1932  Morris Isis from Kedah which has continued its K code from inception (probably about 1905) through to today, albeit now using a suffix or two.    (I observe that 2400 seems a high number for Kedah in 1928-32, the period of manufacture of the 6-cylinder Isis.   That northern state was still on straight  K in  the 1960s, as I recall –  see the early Morris Minor below.) 

mal-48-50s-kedah_k-4757_c_wee_mminor-penang2009vb

 

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Malaysia 2014

May 1, 2014

May 1 MALAYSIA UPDATE and NOTES ON SUFFIXES

 

The use of a suffix serial letter has now been adopted by mainland Malaysia, though only in Kuala Lumpur Wilaya at present, to further extend the life of its longstanding LLL nnnn format, which has run there since 1971.

The expired three-letter, four-number series which, in the case of W code, ran from 1974-2013.

The expired three-letter, four-number series which, in the case of W code, ran from 1971-2013 using WAA-WYY 1-9999 (except I,O &  Z).

And the new series, using a serial suffix letter, with 'A' starting it of in September 2013.

And the new series, using a serial suffix letter, with ‘A’ starting it off in September 2013.    It will  further develop via WA-WY 1-9999 A-Y and WAA-WYY 1-9999 A-Y

 

April 2014 saw the first of the W suffixes for the Wilaya of Kuala Lumpur. Vic Brumby 2014

April 2014 saw the first of the W suffixes for the Wilaya of Kuala Lumpur.
Vic Brumby 2014 via Dominique

 

Malaysian suffixed serial letters were first noted on Langkawi Island, which had been allocated code KV from the Kedah State (K) registration dept. in ?1984?.         When KV 9999 was reached, instead of issuing KVA 1-9999,  the new idea of a suffix serial was added, starting KV 1 A, maybe about 1990..

Langkawi's first dedicated code probably began about 1984.

KV 336  ..  KV, Langkawi’s first dedicated code probably began about 1984.    2000 shot-V. Brumby

The late 1970s saw the introduction of a serial suffix, which at 2014, has reached N.

KV 6829 A  ..  The 1990s saw the introduction of a serial suffix to the KV code, seen there in 2000, and which at 2014, has reached N.  (VB 2000)

Taxis on the island use the national series registrations, but with reversed colours.

KV – A & B ..  .. Taxis on the island use the normal Langkawi registrations, but with reversed colours, just as in the rest of Malaysia’s taxis.     There is no Distance-Taxi series on the island (which if there had been, would have read: HKV 2345).       VB picture 2000.

Langkawi is guessed to be now at around suffix N.         More registrations are used here than the island warrants, because it is a duty-free zone and mainland Malaysians like to buy expensive new cars there tax-free, to use elsewhere; this ‘off-shoring’  greatly inflates the KV figures.      Perhaps this will be stopped one day, but meanwhile a rich man from Johore, for example, can save  US$100,ooo on a new  Lamborghini/Bentley, by avoiding the heavy luxury-car tax of the mainland.

This owner saved a bundle by registering in tax-free Langkawi.

This owner saved a bundle by registering in tax-free Langkawi.

 

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Sarawak began to issue  a Q suffix to its plates around 1991 (validation needed), to separate its regional codes from those of  Peninsular Malaysia and from those of Sabah, which overlapped each other with district codes J, K, T, A, D, M and B.   Between 1991 and 1993, owners had to have added a suffix ‘Q’ to their pre-1991 plates or stop using the vehicle.

The Q suffix attached to Sarawak plates from c.1991 on.     In this case, that 'Q' would distinguish between this B for Sarawak's 2nd Division (Sri Aman) and B for Malaya's Selangor State.           Brumby archive 2009

The Q suffix attached to Sarawak plates from c.1991 on. In this case, that ‘Q’ would distinguish between this B for Sarawak’s 2nd Division (Sri Aman) and B for Malaya’s Selangor State. Brumby archive 2009

 

Since the unification of Peninsular Malaya and the two Borneo territories in 1963, forming Malaysia,  K 2345 from Kuching  (Sarawak) could park next to K 2345 from Kedah (Malaya) and K 2345 from Kudat (Sabah-former British North Borneo)!    Officially, the international oval for them all became MAL.

At least, before those times, the Sarawak one would have carried an SK international oval and the Sabahan one, an SNB (1938-55)  oval or a CNB oval (1955-63).    Neither of these ovals has ever been photographed (unless YOU know different!)

 Examples of the confused state of the combined Malaysia from 1963…..

K 4757, unfortunately without a FM or PTM oval, is from Kedah state in Peninsular Malaya, borne by a Morris Minor.   VB archive

Malaya K 4757, pre-dating the MAL oval, but unfortunately without either a FM (1948-57) or PTM (1957-63) oval, is from Kedah state in Peninsular Malaya, borne by a 1950’s Morris Minor. Brumby archive

 

This Kuching-registered Simca 1000 was seen in Islamabad in 1965!  Vic Brumby archive

Sarawak K 9033  ..  This Kuching-registered Simca 1000 was seen in Islamabad (PAK) in 1965!         Brumby archive

This was originally K 314 from Sabah, before the law required a suffix 'S' to be added to avoid confusion with Malaya and Sarawak K's.

CNB  —  This was originally K 314 from Kudat, Sabah/Colony of North Borneo, before the new law required a suffix ‘S’ to be added to avoid confusion with the Malayan and Sarawak  K’s.         VB archive 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, as so few vehicles moved between the territories in those times, it took the various authorities some long time to recognise the situation.  About 1967,  they added  E as a prefix for new registrations in Sabah (for East Malaysia)  (about 1967). and at unknown later date, added an S suffix to existing plates.     This is a complicated time in Sabah plate history and remains to be correctly, precisely dated.

East Malaysia (Bornean Sabah - formerly British North Borneo) inserted a leading 'E' to distinguish a Jesselton registration from that of a Johore vehicle.   From 1963.

East Malaysia (part of which is Sabah – formerly British North Borneo) inserted a leading ‘E’ to distinguish a Jesselton J registration from that of a mainland Johore J vehicle.   EJ  2053 possibly from 1967.    Brumby archive

 

Later in Sabah, the E prefix was dropped and an ‘S’ prefix was added to differentiate  its regional codes J, K, T, A, D, M, and B from the identical Mainland/Sarawak/Singapore codes: (Jesselton/Johore(J),  Kudat/Kedah/Kuching(K), Tawau/Trengganu(T), Kota Kinabulu/Perak(A), Tawau/Kelantan(D), Malacca /Miri(M), and Beaufort/Selangor(B).

Unlike the Langkawi series, the Q and S suffixes in the Bornean states were not serial letters, however, and are mentioned only because they were a stage in the change to serial suffixes now in use in both the Bornean ‘countries’, starting with the two capital towns, which register the most vehicles and so lead any system changes.

Kuching-Sarawak  now issue the format  QAA 2345 A-B-C  etc. and Kota Kinabulu-Sabah ‘SAA 2345 A-B-C  etc.       Kuala Lumpur Wilaya will follow suit with WA 2345 A-B-C etc. within a few weeks and WAA 2345 A-B-C in the distant future.

Sarawak's current series uses the alphabetic serial suffix.      Brumby archive

Sarawak’s current series uses the alphabetic serial suffix. Brumby archive

Sabah's current series uses the alphabetic serial suffix. Brumby archive

Sabah’s current series uses the alphabetic serial suffix.     Brumby archive

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Now has come the turn of the first Malaysian mainland registration authority to exhaust its LLLnnnn series, and commence a serial suffix.    Kuala Lumpur capital city (titled a ‘Wilaya’, or autonomous region)  used up its  codes  WA-WY 1 – 9999 – then WAA -WYY 1-9999 – and commenced W 1-9999 A in September 2013.    (W 1-9999 without suffix wasn’t employed, W having once been allocated to Province Wellesley, the mainland section of modern Penang, which only issued W from 1948-57.)      Unbelievably, it is actually possible to obtain a W plate of that Wellesley series from the authorities, for lots of money, and thus sport a most unusual vanity plate!    (From a territory of which most modern Malaysians would know ever existed.)

W 1111  --   a former Province Wellesley mark from the 1950s, somehow re-born on a 2012 car....     VB archive

W 1111 — a former Province Wellesley mark from the 1950s, somehow re-born on a 2012 car…. VB archive

 

Remarkably, WA 1-9999 A is expected to start in May or June 2014, indicating the volume of new registrations of all vehicles at over 200,00o in 9 months.   There are also local taxis which carry a different plate type, and so are not counted in that figure.

Current Local Taxi series has reached HW-E   Brumby archive 2013

Current Local Taxi series has reached HW-E Brumby archive 2013

Kuala Lumpur alone has over 30,000 registered taxis.   They use separate HWA-E (2014 currently E) 1-9999 plates, in black on white.

The majority of this run on new registrations is taken up by light motorcycles.   In just one day recently, the Transport Dept. registered 1000 new numbers.   Predictably, and despite an excellent urban highway system, the city often gridlocks.

‘Distance’  Taxis,  licenced to drive out-of-state, use registrations from the normal series, but made in black on white.   So far, not many seem to have been registered since Sept. 2013, as a serious hunt for some weeks, produced only one sighting, depicted here for the first time:

Issued from the normal series, taxis entitled to travel interstate use plates with reversed colours and are rarely seen in the Wilaya area.    Vic Brumby archive 2014

W 4575 K  ..  Issued straight from the normal sequence, taxis entitled to travel interstate have their plates made up with reversed colours – and are rarely seen in the Wilaya area, for some reason.                     Vic Brumby archive 2014

Work in progress….


Malaysia Dealer change

March 21, 2014

When Kuala Lumpur exhausted its three-letter/four number series in September 2013, with WYY 9999, a new series began with W 9999 A, in which the suffix A would alphabetically proceed to B, C etc., as far as W 9999 Y.      (Z will be excluded in case of confusion with the military, which always uses Z.)    Other suffix exclusions are I, J and O – oddly, suffix Q is used even though it is associated as an identifier for Malaysian Sarawak. By mid March 2014, the letters in suffix are almost used up!      T is the latest seen but we believe there are some U’s and V’s  out there….   (now confirmed March 30, 2014).     We know W suffix starts in May or June.    Then X and Y will complete this cycle and the next batch will be WA 1234 A-Y, then WB etc.

W 3767 T

W 3767 T is the latest seen, as at 21/3/2013.    W codes Wilaya, the title of the autonomous zone of Kuala Lumpur within Selangor state.     Brumby archive

this was the Wilaya dealer plate layout which was found to conflict with the new regular plates, so had to be redesigned.

This was the former Wilaya dealer plate layout which was found to conflict with the new regular plates, even though normals are black and the Dealer ones are dark blue,  so the Dealer layout had to be redesigned…..

and this is the replacement  Trade Plate for new issues, which will probably replace the former.

….and this is the replacement Trade/Deale pllate for new issues, which will progressively replace the former design, but for now, only in the W region of Malaysia.    Still silver on blue, and retaining the 1950s British font.     I wonder where they are made?

An  interesting sighting related to the Motor Dealer category of  the Malaysian system, has been this towing-plate, properly constructed and possibly an authorised type, though the first ever seen and photographed.

Photo missing)


Malaysia – next series and jottings

June 25, 2013

June 2013 – Su Ling, our stringer in Kuala Lumpur sends  information today  carried by the government website:   May 2014 – corrections in red.

http://www.jpj.gov.my/transaksi-percuma-no.-pendaftaran-terkini

The Wilaya (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) is about to issue the last component of its three-letter, four-number series, with WYY 9999.   It is intended to move to W 1 A 1-9999. W 1 B 1-9999 etc.   It has rushed through its ‘W’ code, which only started in 1974 with WA-WY, then WAA=WYY, and it will have lasted just about 40 years…..    The other Malaysian states commenced their issues on or before 1934, first with their single state code letter and 1 to 9999, then adding a  one-letter A-Y suffix* to 9999, then most of them to double-suffix and to 9999.   * missing such as I, O & Z.

No other Malaysian states or territories are anywhere near exhausting their current 3L4N series – indeed, Perlis has not yet issued its first three-letter plates, being still at RJ 8187 this month!   (06/2013)    Even little Labuan, the Bornean island, has reached LE, having only started LA a few years ago.

Malaysia was one of the first jurisdictions to use plastic for its plates and there are many snapped, splintered ones to be seen.    They can be hard to photograph because of their shiny surface reflecting sunlight or flash.    Anyone can make these plates and the new slim characters have slowly replaced the big, British-style ones common to Malaya until the 1970s.    The blue Trade Plates are still pressed alloy in that earlier style and appear to be officially made and issued.    Many heavy lorries and trailers use pressed-alloy plates, because the plastic  plates are too easily breakable on rough terrain/building sites etc.     The most common font is almost identical to the former South Africa design.

I don’t like ’em!

(MAL1a)_TJ3079_VB_resize

TJ 3079. Could be Transvaal-Johannesburg – but it’s from Trengganu.

TJ 1 Belonged to the Mayor of Johannesburg,  Brumby archive

TJ 1 Belonged to the Mayor of Johannesburg,
Brumby archive

CA 6363. Could be Cape Town - but it's Pahang (seen in Penang)

CA 6363. Could be Cape Town – but it’s Pahang (seen in Penang)

NN 2625.   Could be from Newcastle (City) in Natal, but it's from Negri Sembilan.
NN 2625. Could be from Newcastle (City) in Natal, but it’s from Negri Sembilan.

UK has adopted the plastic plate, sadly, even for diplomatic and consular series, though still trade plates are officially manufactured and allocated  by the state.    Military vehicles can be seen with metal plates.   (Probably now made for us in China! )

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SARAWAK

The information contained in the Malaysian Govt. website noted above, confirms the suspicion noted in the 25th. March Blog that Sarawak has adopted a suffix letter.     We showed this photo:

I may be behind on developments in Kuching, Sarawak, but I am surprised to see this apparent development in their system, in the addition of a suffix serial - and already at letter 'C'!   A is for Kuching, the capital; it is unlikely to to have spread to the other registration centres yet, I imagine....    VB in Kuala Lumpur 25/3/2013

I may be behind on developments in Kuching, Sarawak, but I am surprised to see this apparent development in their system, in the addition of a suffix serial – and already at letter ‘C’!     QA is for Kuching, the capital; this new suffix is unlikely to to have spread to the other Sarawak registration centres yet, I imagine…. VB in Kuala Lumpur 25/3/2013

Confirmed first sighting of Sarawak now using a suffix serial, C.    (Vic Brumby)

Confirmed first sighting of Sarawak  using a suffix serial, C.  and now as far as suffix ‘G’.                      (Vic Brumby)

For good measure,  let us finally note the simple transport employed by the wise leader of this Malaysian state.  It was the central vehicle in a noisy son et lumiére cavalcade of motorcycle outriders, dark-window’ed Range Rovers full of goons and an army Landrover or two, which accompanied him to his noodle  lunch one day at the pub I was staying at, near the Kuching airport.

His grandfather travelled by dugout canoe, collected shrunken heads and gave Shell a licence to explore for black gold!

A basic conveyance for the village headman in Kuching.

A basic conveyance for the village headman in Kuching.


News from Sarawak

March 25, 2013
I may be behind on developments in Kuching, Sarawak, but I am surprised to see this apparent development in their system, in the addition of a suffix serial - and already at letter 'C'!   A is for Kuching, the capital; it is unlikely to to have spread to the other registration centres yet, I imagine....    VB in Kuala Lumpur 25/3/2013

I may be behind on developments in Kuching, Sarawak, but I am surprised to see this apparent development in their system – the addition of a suffix serial – and already at letter ‘C’!           QA-A is for Kuching, the capital; has this new suffix  been applied to the other registration centres yet, I wonder….         VB in Kuala Lumpur 25/3/2013

The latest registration sighted was in 2011, when QA had reached QAP

(MAL)(SK4a)_QAPpair_VB2011

 

Addendum June 25 2013.    The new suffix confirmed.    See Blog Page of this date, titled Malaysia News & Jottings.


Malaya – the 1948 single-letter plates

March 1, 2013

1906 (or 1932) -48 Malaya had seen some single-letter and some double-letter area codes, of which the double-letter ones were changed in 1948.   (JB to J, KN to D, PK to A, NS to N and SL to B.)

It is sometimes thought that Pahang may have used  ‘P’  in this period, but that would have duplicated the Penang code;  at any rate, Pahang was allocated ‘C’ in the 1948 rationalisation.        Photographs of this period are unknown, save for this copy photo passed to Europlate by enthusiast Douglas Fox of Penang, for which, most grateful thanks, Douglas…

Double-tap the picture to enlarge.

(MAL0)(PK)_various_DFvb1936

This amazing 1936 shot of FOUR PK-registered sports cars in Perak State illustrates the 1932-48 series as used in then-unfederated Perak (and Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Trengganu).   Each was allocated its own International oval, too!   The Federation of Malaya revised these States’ codes to single-letter forms, in common with the Straits Settlements P-Penang, S-Singapore, M-Malacca and L-Labuan, and standardised the International Identification Code to FM.

Today we are unlikely to see a Malaysian plate from the former series, which used single letters to code the areas of  Malaya from 1948.      Some collectors’ cars exist such as A 845 below, which have somehow held on to their original registrations and a handful may be in museums, such as C 4848 on a swb Land Rover fire tender in the palace museum of the sultan of Pahang.    The construction/design of these plates was as determined by the Construction & Use Regulations of the United Kingdom, in common with most of the British overseas territories.   Here are examples of all the original single-letter plates, in photos taken from 1920 (P 1019) to the last seen in 2010 (B 2565).

A - Perak state, on a 1935 Morris Eight tourer.

A – Perak state, on a 1935 Morris Eight tourer.

B - Selangor state, on an Austin Seven at the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur.

B – Selangor state, on a 1930’s  Austin Seven at the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur.  This 1935 car would have originally borne the SL prefix for Selangor state, and would have had to change to the new ‘B’ plate in 1948.      

C - Pahang state, on a 1950s Peugeot 403.

C – Pahang state, on a 1950s Peugeot 403.

D - Kelantan, on  a restored motor-cycle.

D – Kelantan, on a restored motor-cycle.

E was never issued as a Malayan code, nor F, G, H, or I.      H played a part in the plate scene however, as it has been used as a suffix and a prefix to the area codes, to denote Hire – both local and long-distance taxis.  For additional ease of identification, theses plates have always been black on white.

J - Johore state, on a 1947 Austin A 40 Devon

J – Johore state, on a 1947 Austin A 40 Devon

 

 

K - Kedah state, on a Morris Minor.

K – Kedah state, on a Morris Minor.

L -Labuan island, on an Austin A40 Farina, preserved in the state museum in Kota Kinabulu, Sabah.

L -Labuan island, on an Austin A40 Farina, preserved (?) in the state museum in Kota Kinabulu, Sabah.     L was issued to the island in 1906 when it was one of the  five Straits Settlements (with Singapore, Penang, Province Wellesley and Malacca) until 1946 when it was made a part of British North Borneo with no change to its plates.    L was  evenyually supplanted by EL in 1963 when the island became part of Greater Malaya – or Malaysia.    Because North Borneo (now named Sabah) and Sarawak  had already been using many regional codes which were common to some regions of mainland Malaya, the additions of ‘E‘ indicating East Malaysia and of ‘Q‘  for Sarawak were designed to prevent duplication of registrations when/if vehicles moved between Borneo and the mainland.     Over the years, Labuan’s international oval has changed from SS to CNB to PTM to MAL!

M - Malacca state, formerly one of the Straits Settlements (using the same plates), seen in Penang in 2009

M – Malacca state, formerly one of the Straits Settlements (continuously using the same M code), seen in Penang in 2009

Negri Sembilan N 3138,

Negri Sembilan N 3138, seen by member Pemberton in England about 1949. The Straits Settlements international oval SS is not appropriate to this state and should have read FM (Federation of Malaya)

P 1019 - Penang island, in the 1920s, when administered as a Straits Settlement and using the same registration system as mainland Malaya.

P 1019 – Penang island, in the 1920s, when administered as a Straits Settlement and using the same registration system as mainland Malaya.

P 1019 - Penang island,  when administered as a Straits Settlement and using the same registration system as mainland Malaya.  Seen here in 2009 Penang on a Ford Model A awaiting restoration.

P 1134 – Penang island, 1920s, when administered as a Straits Settlement and using the same registration system as mainland Malaya.    Seen here in 2009 Butterworth  on a Ford Model A awaiting restoration.  (PLEASE keep those original plates!)

Ford Eight from Penang, Straits Settlements,

P 3338 – Ford Eight from Penang, Straits Settlements, seen in London in the 1940s,   A rare shot with the SS oval displayed.

O was never issued, nor Q, U,V, X or Y.

Z is reserved for staff cars for senior military officers.

R is the state code for Perlis but we have no on-car photo yet.

R is the state code for Perlis but we have no on-car photo yet.

Too good a shot not to include Singapore's eighth car in our single-letter article!  Thought to be 1911.

Too good a shot not to include Singapore’s eighth car in our single-letter article! Thought to be 1911.

S was the code for Singapore when it was a part of the Malaya.     At secession, S plates living in Malaya had to change to local Malaysian registration, and lose their 'S' plates.

S was the code for Singapore when it was a part of  Malaya.    At 1965 secession, S plated vehicles living over the causeway in Malaya had to change to local Malaysian registration, and lose their ‘S’ plates.

T was for the state of Trengganu, for which we have no on-car plate picture - yet!

T was for the state of  Trengganu, for which we have no on-car plate picture – unless YOU know of one!

W - originally the code for Province Wellesley, the mainland component of Penang and discontinued in 1967.   Later re-issued to Kuala Lumpur autonomous zone, the Wilaya.

W – was allocated originally the code for Province Wellesley, the mainland component of Penang  and discontinued in 1957, to use the P code instead.   17 years later, in 1974, W (only with serial suffix letters A and on) was re-issued to Kuala Lumpur autonomous zone, (the Wilaya).      Some new vanity plates are appearing with the single-letter W code, which seem dubious in their authorisation.          Anon.

...It's who you know...

…It’s who you know…

Z is a post-independence letter allocated to senior officers of the armed forces in Malaysia.   VB archive,

Z is a post-independence letter allocated to senior officers of the armed forces in Malaysia.                  VB archive.

We will inspect the trade plates and the two taxi types in later Pages on Malaysia.

END


Resumé of postwar period spotting

February 21, 2013

Before the era of worldwide car hire and  aeroplane travel – one might say, before 1965 – people travelled between continents by passenger liners and cargo boats.      Car ownership was  limited to wealthy and  to important people, and factory production was slow as the world’s economies, with limited supplies of steel, glass, lubricants and rubber, began to recover from the vast cost of WW2.    It was due to the steel shortage that many post-war British cars had body panels made in aluminium, a material still  in good supply, but no longer wanted by the war machine for aircraft production.      That serendipitous circumstance was to become an important reason for the 60 years of  success of the Land Rover, the body of which would not rust on the beaches of the Cook Islands…..

Insufficient spae to mount this plate horizontally led the owner to use his imagination!    Brumby archive

Insufficient space to mount this plate horizontally led the owner to use his imagination!    Raratonga MN 9713.             Brumby archive

…..or the sweltering jungles of Malaysia….

W is the code for the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, seen in Kedah.

W is the code for the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, seen in Kedah.

For a long period after peace was declared, a second-hand vehicle would sell for more than a new one, as any new  products were built purely for the export markets, so as to earn foreign currency.     Only  a  few, privileged,  UK-based, professional people were allowed to buy new cars, for work of national importance, such as doctors, farmers and mobile engineers.       A trick used by the rich, was to travel to another country, including to the US and Canada, and to buy a new car there, under their local export scheme!

In this era, of the 1940-1960s,  many technical, administrative and educational personnel were sent  to distant parts of the globe  to perform work on behalf of  the allied governments, which needed to rebuild and modernise  their territories overseas as well as their domestic infrastructures.       When those people travelled, they were entitled to buy a car to take with them, as this would count as an export sale; of course, no spare vehicles would have been available for them to buy in the countries for which they were bound.

France marked these duty-free export cars with the special, red, Temporary Transit plates…….

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

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

(F3)(exp55-84)_137TT73_cu_VB2003

……….Germany by their unique oval Zoll (Customs) plates…………

A new Beetle destined for eventual export to Argentina   Brumby archive

A new Beetle destined for eventual export to Argentina.     Brumby archive

……Italy by their EE  ‘Escursione Estranieri’ (Foreign Traveller) series………..

Italian 1964 Export 'EE'   Brumby archive

Italian 1964 Export ‘EE’ Brumby archive

……….Eire, using the prefix ZZ……….

ZZ allocated to new cars of any make, bought in Ireland for export, was an unusual and uncommon issue.   London 1969.   Brumby archive

ZZ allocated to new cars of any make, bought in the Republic of Ireland for export, was an unusual and uncommon issue.      VW Kombi in South Kensington, London 1969.         Brumby archive

…………Denmark by their red lining within the regional code letter.   K -Copenhagen……….

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

K 148.258   A Danish export Volvo 220 destined for personal export to Canada, seen in London 1964.                            Brumby archive

………Sweden, recognised by the year of temporary validity, in white on red,  added to the right of the standard registration………

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

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

……..and several other nations had an export plate system, too.      Britain allocated batches of normal registrations to the

Home Delivery Export Scheme,

whereby a new buyer could collect his new (British-made) car in UK and use it for up to three months before his supplier arranged for its shipping to the eventual destination for which it was bound.    In  later years, these HDES  plates were marked with with a yellow rim and from 1 Jan 1973, for the obligatory new white/yellow reflective plates, a red rim.

Some HDES examples seen in a motor museum in Queenstown, New Zealand.    Brumby archive.

Some HDES examples seen in a now-defunct motor museum in Queenstown, New Zealand.                       Brumby archive.

HDES with red border to reflective plates.    JW archive

HDES with red border for reflective plates from 1973    . JW archive

Sometimes, but not always, when such a car returned to Britain, these original HDES plates could be re-mounted and some of these  can be seen still today, looking innocently as if they have never been away.    If you see one, interview the owner – you might win a Bhutan diplomatic or a Tristan for your collection!

This Mk, 2 Ford Cortina has been somewhere and come back to adopt its HDES identity.

This 1968 (G) Mk.2 Ford Cortina has been somewhere and come back to adopt its HDES identity.    Where had it been???

If someone wished to buy a non-British-built car car in Britain, for export, that car would be given a British Temporary Import plate from the ‘ Q’ series.

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

QL 1052 – Peugeot 404L bought in London 1969, for export to Canada. Outside Notre Dame, Paris.     (Q L was issued by the Automobile Association on behalf of the national suthority.)     (Brumby archive/car)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This was still  the age of the ship and cars were easily and cheaply carried as part of the passengers’  luggage cargo.    When their tours of service were at an end, and knowing that new cars would be difficult to buy when they arrived back in Europe, this army of  colonial civil servants, miners and infrastructuralists – and also thousands of military personnel – would return to Europe with their foreign-registered cars aboard their ships.    Many vehicles circulated for up to a year on the foreign plates, usually carrying the international ovals, to identify their country of registration.

Sometimes, however,  they changed plates immediately at the port of re-entry and in England, the spotters of the period  would particularly look out for shiny new aluminium plates issued with the codes of the three great dock cities, London, Liverpool and Southampton, where the motor organisations, the AA and the RAC, would undertake the complicated paperwork of the re-importation on the owners’ behalf.      Usually, the garage-man who changed the plates, would throw the dismounted foreign ones into the boot, in case the owner needed them.      Usually the driver didn’t particularly want them, and if, later,  a youthful car-spotter, recognising the new dock-issued numberplates,  interrogated him with sufficient intent, he would willingly open the boot and hand them over!     Thus many a collection was born and to this day, the writer wishes that plates had not gone on to assume a money value – for they had once simply been a trophy of a well-run, low-cost hobby, as might be a stuffed hunting trophy, or a prized fish!

…………………..

Ubiquitous air travel and cheap and efficient international car rental combined to bring the  collapse of the passenger shipping lines, and has brought these big quantities of re-imported cars to an end; it is mostly diplomatic corps plates which we see today,  by way of  rare-country sightings.      To counter that loss to the spotter, an increase in general prosperity also permits the modern enthusiast to travel the world and to see the plates of a country in their native setting.

Here are a few of the odd sightings of vehicles returning from the Outside World to Britain and Europe during the 1940’s 1950’s and 1960’s.

Tanganyika - John Pemberton's shot of a Peugeot 203 from Dar-es-Salaam circa 1954 in London,

Tanganyika – John Pemberton’s shot of a Peugeot 203 from Dar-es-Salaam circa 1954 in London.   DS D 770.      Note the bracketed ‘ T ‘; worldwide, parentheses on ovals were only used on the four codes for British East Africa – EA(T), EA(K), EA(Z)and EA(U) – though they were not  frequently used.

A rare sight indeed, then and now - India plates in Britain, circa 1948, on an American 'tank'.    Pemberton archive

BMY 7797   A rare sight indeed, then and now – Bombay, India, plates in Britain, circa 1948, on an American Pontiac.             Pemberton archive

is VW Kombi came ro live in Earls Court during the 1960s,   It was registered JB 513 in Johore state, Malaya and showed a PTM oval to rear.    Brumby archive

This VW Kombi came to live in Earls Court during the 1960’s, It was registered JB 513 in Johore state, Malaya and showed a PTM oval to rear.  Brumby archive

The only Sarawak plate ever seen in England by VWB, this Simca 1100 was from Kuching district in 1965 London.     Brumby archive

KA 3848  The only Sarawak plate ever seen in England by EU38, this Simca 1000 was from Kuching district in 1965 London.          Brumby archive

JP captured this 1950 Humber Hawk, home to England from Trinidad

PB 1118   JP captured this 1950 Humber Hawk, home to England from Trinidad.                     Pemberton archive

X 1065 spotted in Oxford in 1947 on a pre-war Canadian Ford, registered in Spanish Town, Jamaica.  Note he giant oval!    Pemberyon archive

X 1065 spotted in Oxford in 1947 on a pre-war Canadian Ford, registered in Spanish Town, Jamaica.     Note the giant JA oval and the Jamaican AA badge atop the rad. grille!              Pemberton archive

A diplomat back from Montevideo, seen in Hyde Paek circa 1952, on a Simca Aronde.

C/D 49-697   A diplomat returns from a tour in Montevideo, seen in Hyde Park circa 1952, on a Simca Aronde.    Rare U oval picture.         Pemberton archive.

The Enosis (Union with Greece) uprising in Cyprus in the early 1950s saw thousands of troops sent there over the decade, most of whom seemed to come back with with a smart car,    It was a common sight o see Cyprioys all over Britain.    Here is a Morris Mini-Minor, somewhere in London, circa 1963,    Brumby archive

The Enosis (Union with Greece) movement in Cyprus in 1950 saw thousands of troops sent there over the next decade, most of whom seemed to come back with with a smart car.   Even after 1960 Independence, Britain maintained a large presence there alongside the UN and it was a common sight to see Cypriot plates all over Britain through the 60’s.     Here is a Morris Mini-Minor BF 355, somewhere in London, circa 1962.                                    Brumby archive

Aden must have been one of the hottest, dustiest, dreariest postings for a soldier in the British services,   However, there probably aren't any Jaguars driving round out there in 2013, so times must have been easier then, s we see a Mk.2  2.4 returned to London after a rece   Most unusually, L 5993 has an arabic translation as part of the plate design, never seen before or sinve.   nt posting there.

Aden must have been one of the hottest, dustiest, dreariest postings for a soldier in the British services.    However, there probably aren’t any Jaguars driving round out there in 2013, so times must have been easier then, as we see an officer’s smart Mk.2 2.4 returned to London’s Kensington in 1963,  after a recent posting there.  The first few years of Aden vehicles were registered under the registration system of India, as were Christmas Island and possibly one or two of the Straits Settlements.    It is not understood why Aden chose the letters L, M and finally N for its plate prefixes during that series.. 

 Here, most unusually, L 5993 has the arabic translation as part of the plate design, never seen before or since on an Aden Colony plate.         Brumby archive

Low security in the 1960s Port of London, enabled this keen spotter to slip in to the docks on my Vespa, with camera at the ready.    A ship from the Far East has just discharged its cargo, and waiting on the dockside for customs clearance is Jaguar Mk.7  XX 1190 from Hong Kong.  And can you i/d the DKW Autounion in the background?       Brumby archive

Low security in the 1960s Port of London, enabled this keen spotter to slip in to the docks on his Vespa, with camera at the ready.     A ship from the Far East has just discharged its cargo, and waiting on the dockside for customs clearance is c.1954 Jaguar Mk.7  XX 1190 from Hong Kong.   The long-lived HK prefix was exhausted, and XX was issued from 1957 to 1958 (RPWO).       (And can you i/d the DKW Autounion in the background? )               Brumby archive

 

It took a two-kilometre chase on foor in heavy traffic to get this photo of the olnyNepali EU38 ever saw in England in 1962.     Brumby archive

In 1962, it took a two-kilometre chase on foot in heavy traffic to get this photo of the only Nepali vehicle EU38 ever saw outside Nepal.  The owner had had to specially make the ’26’ translation plate  in order to travel legally outside Nepal.       Brumby archive

ER.22944 was seen in 1963 on an Austin A30 c.1954.   Never another seen, anywhere.     Brumby archive.

ER.22944 was seen in 1963 on an Austin A30 c.1954.     Never another seen, anywhere.    Made with the classic Italian dies.                                Brumby archive.          (Note: I was in error, describing Eritrea on the photo, as ‘former Italian Somaliland’!)

 

So – we can see that these were good days for seeing plates from all over the free world – and, strangely, the communist bloc countries remained among the rarest of sights.  Of course, China, North Korea and Albania followed the communist path, forbidding citizens to own cars and with the remarkable exception of John Pemberton’s China Diplomatic (shown elsewhere in this Blog) nothing was seen from those benighted lands.

Not many photographs were taken and fewer still survive, lost in house-m0ves, cast away by surviving relatives as being of no interest etc.     Work done by such members as Pieter Lommerse, who has trawled so many sources to gather historic pictures of  Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, is of inestimable value to all collectors.   The Legend of  The Larsson Library is whispered of in exalted circles!      Any shots you may have will find a welcome home in the Blog, or else simply post them in for scanning and return, to Victor Brumby at 8 Cleeve Court, Streatley, Berks. UK – RG8 9PS.

End…………..