Terry Gray’s slides come to life

August 18, 2013

There will be a fuller account of the great period shots gathered by early founder-member  Gray, when time permits.     For now, just relish a few picked at random from his newly-digitalised photo transparency slides.

A mini-Moke in London in the 1960s with the ultra-rare pre-Belize series for British Honduras.   C=Corozal.    AND a BH oval, properly manufactured by the RAC.   Bet they didn't sellmany of them!    Gray archive.

A Mini-Moke in London in the 1960s with the ultra-rare pre-Belize series for British Honduras. C=Corozal.      AND with a BH oval, properly manufactured by the RAC.     Bet they didn’t sell many of them!                        Gray archive.

(BZ 65-73)(BH5)_C-4682_cu_TG2

Soon after the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was launched about 1968, this Bahrein emir brought his new car to London.    Gray archive

Soon after the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was launched about 1968, this Bahreini emir brought his new car to London. Gray archive

A Venezuelan export plate seen in London in circa 1969.   Gray archive.

YV – 105    A blue Venezuelan export plate seen in London in circa 1969. Gray archive.

A batch of new buses passed Kettering in the late1960s in transit to the docks and their passage to Nigeria.    Already plated for use in Lagos, and using a green background not usually associated with WAN plates.    Gray Archive

WAN Nigeria – LU 7416.    A batch of new  Willowbrook-bodied Leyland Comet buses passed through Kettering in the late 1960s in transit to London docks and their sea-passage to Nigeria.     Already plated for use with the Lagos City Transport Service, and using a green background not usually associated with WAN plates, they were running on Leicestershire AY trade plates.       (NOT Alderney!)            Gray Archive 1968c

Y-20006, a Vauxhall Viva estate car from  the British embassy in Saigon during the 1970s.     See in England, carrying an unofficial 'oval' of (VTN).   I seems that the car had previously been posted in Budapest with its diplomat owner.     Gray archive

Y+20006, a Vauxhall Viva estate car from the British (definite) embassy in Saigon  during the 1970s.     Photo’d in England in 1976, carrying an unofficial ‘oval’ of (VTN). it seems that the car could have previously been posted in Budapest with its diplomat owner.   (See postscript 29 Sep.2013)       Gray archive

P.S.   I now learn from Ivan Thornley that the Vietnamese Vauxhall Y 20006 had not previously been registered in Hungary (H), but in Ethiopia (ETH)!     The owner had not finished removing his home-made IRC stickers.     (Those would have been fine plates to see on-car………)

Here another GB embassy plate, this time on a Land Rover in Saigon, 1970s.  Brumby archive

Y+00137   Here’s another VN GB embassy plate, this time on a Land Rover in Saigon, 1970s.     Brumby archive

Mowqati 673, and Afghan Foreigner (M and green) on a Mercedes 190 in Britain did not escape TG's eye or camera.      A very rare sight indeed.  Gray archive

Mowqati 673, an Afghan Foreigner (M and green) from Kabul ,on a Mercedes 190 in Britain did not escape TG’s eye or camera.    A very rare sight indeed.        The overseas-issued Automobile Association badge is of interest, but the country of origin crest is illegible.     Gray archive c.1972

Aden was a moderately-frequent 'spot' in the 1960s, due to the commercial and military establishments in that then-British colony.     After the India-issued ADN series were changed in the 1950s, L, M, and N became the serials used in the Aden Colony.    Independence and the amalgamation with South Yemen closed down sightings and info from that hot zone, for many years after.    The car is a French Renault Floride, seen in GB.     Gray archive.

L 8829 ADEN     Aden was a moderately-frequent ‘spot’ in the 1960s, due to the active commercial and military establishments in that then-British colony.    Aden was administered from British India from the 1910s and employed the BI system, with code ADN.    Under later colonial administration, it changed in the 1950s, first to the prefix 2ADN, when, reaching 9999 again, L, then and N became the leading letters used in the Aden Colony.   (No-one knows why those letters were chosen).    Independence and the later amalgamation with South Yemen closed down sightings and info from that hot zone, for many years after. The car is a French Renault Floride, seen in GB.       Gray archive.

(A)(exp73)_G90.803_TG1973

AUSTRIA FOREIGN RESIDENT/EXPORT SERIES.      Graz is the registration area for this German-built Ford Taunus 17M, photo’d in Austria in 1973 before leaving for its ultimate export destination.     Most European countries offered a facility to purchasers from abroad, to collect their new European car, tax-free, from factory or dealer, to tour Europe for up to 6 months and then return it to the supplier for shipment to their country of origin – or even drive it home themselves.     With their acquired mileage they could be imported to their home countries as second-hand cars, so that their local import duties would be lower.      Tens, if not hundreds  of thousands of vehicles were supplied under these tax-free schemes.        Gray archive.

May 2014 q.           Can anyone say whether this Austrian series was used both for export and for identifying foreigners who came to live in Austria for extended periods, perhaps even with tax-free status?    There have always been too many of them around to be only for vehicles awaiting export, it seems……..

2015  — marcellotaverna@alice.it writes:    The blue plates with a red dated band are called “temporary registration marks” and they are issued, on request, to “anyone not having his main residence, or legal seat or main facilities in Austria, upon exhibition of the required documents….”. Further “if the vehicle comes from abroad, a valid foreign approval document will be accepted”   It seems that these plates are issued to foreign persons or companies, both for export or for temporary import.

 

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Some additions at Sept. 29th. – notes to add later

(AND 60-80)(exp75)_MT-6282_TG1975

MT-6282  —  Andorra’s duty-free foreigner export series valid to 1975.     MT =  ‘Temporary Matriculation’.                                   Gray archive 1974

(B 58-07)(BfinD)_B.665.P_TG
This Belgian Forces in Germany car has replaced the official white on red plate with a home-made one. B.665.P.                                                            Gray archive, pictured in Germany circa 1974

(B 75-00)(Eur)_EUR 2514_TG

White plates were issued to privileged Party members in pre-democratic Bulgaria.    This fortunate citizen had a modern car and was allowed a passport to travel to Monte Carlo, where this picture was taken

Sf 38-16  —  White plates were issued to privileged Party members in pre-democratic Bulgaria.     This fortunate citizen had a  Sofia-registered Renault Dauphine and was allowed a passport to travel to Monte Carlo, where this picture was taken by member Terry Gray in the 1960s.   The series used the Cyrillic alphabet and  ran from 1958-85.

(CH)_ZH_300 723_TG

ZH 300 723     This is a puzzler.    A rear Swiss plate with no canton shields?    And in a poor (un-Swiss) condition.        And mounted in an odd place.      Was it perhaps a trade plate of the period (1960s) Any help, readers?    Gray archive  (silence May 2014!  Help!)

(BG)(tempimp)_XX 110_TG (BG)(transit)_095-912_TG (CAM 60-91)(cc)_IT 9175 CC_f_TG1970s (CB 30s-58)_C 23938_TG (CDN)(CdnfinEur)_5245_TG (CO 67-74)_C-07-87_r_TG1968

Remarkably, this MGB came to live in London for about a year in 1969, and remains the first and only sighting ever of a Colombian plate in England by Europlate.   Members Brumby, Thornley, Gray and Pemberton all reported it separately!   This is the 1967-74 series.(CS 66-85)_ABA-32-73_TG (D)(GBfinD)(mc)_JM 844 B_TG (DK)(dlr)_41 112_f_TG (DY 72-76)(cd)_IT 837 DY-CD_r2_TG (E 22-72)(ME)_ML-4037_TG (E 27-69)(EqG)(FP1)_FP-3721_c_TG (E 27-69)(SH)(Ifni)_IF-556_TG1960s (E 27-80s)(EqG)_RM 6018_TG (E 60s-70s)(prov)_B-702.548_c_TG (E 60s-70s)(prov.dlr)_GE-1.000.447_cu_TG (E 60s-70s)(prov.dlr)_GE-1.000.447_TG.

More Gray photos to follow………….and

if YOU have prints or slides of early or rare plates which you would like scanned for your own use and for the pleasure of other members’ viewing, write or email to Victor Brumby (vicbrumby@gmail.com) – or make a comment in the  Comments Box at the foot of this page.

And a quiz answer from a previous Post:

Which of needs THIS identifying?

Well – which of us needs THIS identifying?

YOU do?   Try French West Africa......     VB archive

YOU do? Try French West Africa…… VB archive                                                                      Francoplaque’s  Jean-Emmanuel  is quite correct with his answer of  SENEGAL, until 1960 French West Africa/Afrique Occidentale Francaise) (AOF) .   The Citroen 2cv is from area 1 (Cap Vert (Dakar, capital city)) and the letter C is a serial letter, issued before independence in 1960, after which the letter ‘S’ was inserted  before the area number  (e.g. 0132 S 1 .C)                  Fascinating to think that, had the car travelled outside Senegal in those times, it would have carries the unseen(?) AOF international oval.   The photo is by non-member Murray Bailey in about 1973, in Dakar.          In the background, in a sad state, is a French-registered Citroen Light Fifteen Traction Avant, still carrying its French plates 505 MS 38 (from Isere).

Read the rest of this entry »

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A Private Collection

April 9, 2013

I have promised myself that, this summer of 2013, I will uncover my small plate collection from the depths of my garage and make sure that it is photographed for posterity.     I started collecting by accident in 1957  and continued in a casual way until the 1970s, when, with a few hundred, I had enough for a double-garage display to amuse and confound visitors.

Downsizing garages upon retirement, the collection was wrapped up and stored in suitcases.    Perhaps I though that when The Revolution came, I could make a quick dash for the airport and be gone with my half-ton of metal without coming to the attention of the rampaging proletariat.      As it happened, peace has reigned and the world at large has shown an indolent disinterest in my secret hoard, a few African items from which are below:

A Fiat 600 appeared in Kensington circa 1963, carrying Katanga plates and a properly-manufactured KAT oval.     It  re-registered before long, and the kindly owner gave me one plate, 650 C, which of course, I still have.

A Fiat 600 appeared in Kensington circa 1963, carrying Katanga plates and a properly-manufactured KAT oval.    It re-registered in GB  before long, and the kindly owner gave me one plate, 650 C, which of course, I still have.     Sadly I lost the photo of the whole car, which showed that unique KAT oval.     Brumby archive.

(RWA1)_A7247_cu_VBpl

Circa 1964, a green 380 Mercedes overtook me one evening on my way home from work, carrying this, the first and only Rwanda plate I ever saw in Europe.    A was the code for the capital, Kigali.   It also carried a RWA plastic adhesive international oval.   I followed it home and the charming Indian owner invited me in for tea and told me of its provenance.   He had been the importer in Kigali for The Distillers Company and for Imperial Tobacco. (Booze and Baccy!)   This made him an important, popular, and, I suppose, wealthy, man; his Mercedes was apparently the best car in the village.   The then-president of newly-independent Rwanda had only a black Peugeot 504 saloon, which he felt was not the best set of wheels for impressing the village girls, and so he would send his men round to our Indian friend late at night, to ‘borrow’ the Merc.      Import permits and favourable duty estimates for his expensive products were authorised in those times, and there was no reason to discourage the Top Lad enjoying a night out from time to time – though the Benz was never returned. The following morning, our owner would have to send his own staff round the village to find where rr A.7247  had been dumped at close of play – either at a bar or somewhere near Gubmint House….and  frequently damaged.    However, an empathetic accommodation had been established between all and sufficient funds for repair and replacement  seemed ever there..
He didn’t say what happened to disturb the equilibrium, but suddenly, there was our entrepreneur , living smartly in London and the former president was probably ‘helping police with their enquiries’.     Things can change quite quickly in Central Africa, and seldom for the better – but nothing which a thousand years cannot correct…..      Brumby archive

(RMM1)(ti)_ITRM0795_cu_VBpl

A visit to Mali in 1973 (don’t ask) involving another flight from Paris Le Bourget – a pretty basic aerodrome then – allowed a visit to Timbuctoo and to Bamako, where I found a dumped Citroen DS with this IT-RM-0795 rear plate still attached – but not for long. To my astonishment my Malian guide had it off in a split second, moments after I had shown a keen xeno-autonumerological interest in it, yet the subject was one of which he could have had only limited knowledge.
Originally I took it to be a Malian diplomatic, but the absence of CD on the plate shows that that it was a temporary duty-free importation as used by non-dip. embassy staff, technical aid personnel and N.G.O.’s. (which had not been so invented and named in 1973!     They were Aid Organisations.).  Even then the country was full of foreign aid people, with shiny new 4wd cars and special plates, while the indigenous Touareg went quietly about their never-changing lives, resistant to the cultural changes being proposed by countries which mistakenly felt sorry for them.   I was surprised to see an ageing Humber Super Snipe in Bamako, the capital, one day, and wondered how on earth such an inappropriate, luxury car could have made its way to a deep desert zone……  Perhaps an ex-CD car – or a stolen one from Cote d’Ivoire?  Brumby archive

CNV00019

A 1970s picture of some of the collection at the time. Gazing upon them now, I recognise that some have been lost in the intervening years.     I have never been careful with my things……Brumby archive

A Mk1 Ford Zephyr visited a pleasure park in our home town in 1960 carrying these colonial-era Belgian Congo plates.    The owner offered to snd the plates to Nip Thornley and the writer when he changed to new English plates imminently. - and so he did, bless him!    They were  simply stencilled on to mild steel sheet and for the first few years of ownership, we didn't take note that they were rusting away!    Eventually, to my horror, Nip took a paintbrush to his plate and refurbished it, with none of the skills of the Italian or Dutch Masters.

A Mk1 Ford Zephyr visited a pleasure park in our home town in 1960 carrying these colonial-era Belgian Congo plates. The owner offered to send the plates to Nip Thornley and the writer when he changed to new English plates imminently. – and so he did, bless him!    They were simply paint-stencilled on to mild steel sheet and for the first few years of ownership, we didn’t take note that they were rusting away! Eventually, to my horror, Nip took a paintbrush to his plate and refurbished it, with none of the skills of the Italian or Dutch Masters.

My plate was left in it's original state, but deteriorating steadily.   One day after about 40 years, I realised that there remained not one single speck of paint on my rusty tin sheet.    Now only I know that I once had a Belgian Congo plate!    This photo was taken after only 15 years, and one can almost see the registration C23938 (C was for Léopoldville, named for the eccentric King Léopold to whom the vast country had personally belonged.

My plate was left in it’s original state, but deteriorating steadily. One day after about 40 years, I realised that there remained not one single speck of paint on my rusty tin sheet.    So much for retaining originality!     Now only I know that I once had a Belgian Congo plate!   This photo was taken about 1970, and one can almost see the registration C 23938 (C was for Léopoldville, named for the eccentric King Léopold to whom the vast country had once personally belonged).   It is now Kinshasa and no-one knows to whom DRC belongs.     Brumby archive.

A Nigerian pre-1976 plate from Sapele, which look s as if it might have some history...     Brumby archive

A Nigerian pre-1976 plate from Sapele, which look s as if it might have some history… Brumby archive

More to be  added later…………. 


West Africa – Nigeria

February 17, 2013

NIGERIA Historic

 

West Africa  had four British-governed territories until March 1957, when Gold Coast/Ghana become the first to obtain independence under Kwame Nkrumah.   (Actually, there was also the ex-German Trust Territory of the British Cameroons, which was  absorbed into Nigeria).

The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria were the other three and we see below a smart sports saloon of the 1930/40s,  from the Nigerian city  of  Onitsha in Anambra State.    The port city lies on the banks of the Niger river and was an important trading settlement in palm oil.    This expat.  had been so successful there as to own and run what seems to be a very prestigious motor (Bentley? Jaguar? Alvis?), and ship it home to England, where member Pemberton shot it in the late 1940s in London.

Nigerian reg. ON 1175 is  from Onitsha, seen in the 1940s in Oxford, on an unidentified car.  Pemberton archive

Nigerian reg. ON 1175 is from Onitsha, seen in the 1940s in Oxford, on a yet-unidentified car (any ideas?).            Pemberton archive 1940s

Below   John P. also saw this 1948 Morris Oxford OM type, with the unusual  OO code, probably signifying Abuja, now the administrative capital.    Fortunately for us, he was carrying his camera on  this wintry day in London.

OO 3860 is an unlisted area code, but may be from Abuja (OOA), seen on a 1940s Morris Oxford.   Pemberton Archive

OO 3860 is an unlisted area code, but may be from Abuja (OOA), seen on a 1948 Morris Oxford MO.     Pemberton Archive late 1940s

OO 3860  —  Most interesting data concerning the Morris Oxford above may be read below,  from Morris specialist SMODRIVER – see his 17/2/2013  notes in the Comments section.

 

BYA 2866 was caught stationary in traffic during the early 1960s, and had the oval WAN not have been mounted, we would have been baffled by the non-African look of the plates.    BYA = Jos city, a prosperous tin-mining area .

BYA 2866 was seen in London by EU38 in the 1960s, coded for Jos, capital of Plateau state.   On a VW Karmann-Ghia.   Brumby archive

BYA 2866 was seen in London by EU38 in the 1960s, coded for Jos, capital of Plateau state. On a VW Karmann-Ghia. Brumby archive

LA 1561 is an early 1950s Lagos registration, shot by member Reg Wilson in Britain in 1954.    Rover 60.   Wilson archive

LA 1561 is an early 1950s Lagos registration, shot by member Reg Wilson in Britain in 1954 on a Rover 75 P4 saloon.     Wilson archive 1954

Z 2779 is a Flickr-sourced Picture of a Ford Consul Mk2 in Zaria, Kaduna state.

Z 2779 is a Flickr-sourced picture of a Ford Consul Mk2 in Zaria, Kaduna state.    Must be about 1958.

Official series below, from Nigeria 1960-70……

This Mini-Minor Traveller was a rare Nigerian Diplomatic Corps to be seen in London during the 1960s by EU38.    Red, cast-alloy plates abbreviated Federation of Nigeria and were not thought to be country-coded.    Brumby archive

This Mini-Minor Traveller shows the rare Nigerian Diplomatic Corps series, seen in London during the 1960s by EU38.     Red, cast-alloy plates abbreviating ‘Federation of Nigeria’  are not thought to have  been country-coded.          Brumby archive

This time, seen in Nigeria, another layout of the Federation-period CD plates, pressed on soft alloy sheet and un-coded.   Brumby archive

This time, seen in Nigeria, a variant layout of the red Federation-period CD plates, pressed on soft alloy sheet and  believed un-coded.         Brumby archive 1970s

 

Below:     CMD = Chef du Mission Diplomatique – Chief of Diplomatic Mission – Ambassador.

61 CMD was an ambassador's plate, possibly for Hungary, and taken during the 1970s in Abuja by Murray Bailey.

61 CMD was an ambassador’s plate, possibly for Hungary, and taken during the 1970s in Abuja by Murray Bailey 1970s.

Early issue government series FGN 103 from 1960s or 1970s.   Info needed.    Brumby archie

Early issue Federal Government of Nigeria series FGN 103 from 1960s or 1970s. Info needed.                         Brumby archive

 

Below17 may be coded for the National Planning Commission, seen on this later-series1970s Nigeria Federal Government plate.

A Federal Government plate of the 1970s on a Range Rover, in Lagos.Brumby archive

17 FGN 260 – a Federal Government plate of the 1970s on a Range Rover,      in Lagos.
Brumby archive

Army, Navy, Air Force and Police each had their own prefixes. (Army not shown):

Air force motorbike and Navy Land Rover.

Nigerian Air Force motorbike (leading zero) and Navy Land Rover.  Brumby archive,1970s.

Nigerian Police Force.   Austin 3-ton truck.

Nigerian Police Force. Austin 3-ton truck. 1970s

Below:    Another civilian series commenced in the early  1970s, using a regional code, with a serial number followed by a town code.  Varying colours used for differing vehicle types.

OG...E codes Ake Abeokuta in the 1990s series.  Orange on black was for cargo vehicles.

OGE codes Ake Abeokuta in the 1970s series. Orange on black was for cargo vehicles.              Brumby archive (plate)

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A radical change in Nigerian plate styles occurred in 1992 when the US style and dimensions of pressed plates appeared, continuing in use today.     In earlier years, it was not uncommon to see Nigerian plates in UK, but for the last 30 years, it is possible that only one or two have been seen in all of Europe.

UNLESS YOU KNOW BETTER!!             Share it with us, please….


West Africa – Cameroons

February 7, 2013
This Renault 750 from the (French) Trusteeship of the Cameroons was an unusual sight in the 1950 Britain, and probably France, too. 3703 C 2 carries the correct 1932-1954 oval and uses the French-designed  registration format.   John Pemberton archive.

This Renault 750 from the (French) Trusteeship of the Cameroons was an unusual sight in 1951 Britain, and probably France, too.    3703 C 2 carries the correct 1932-1960 oval TC and uses the original French-designed registration format.       John Pemberton archive.

(RUC2a)(TC)_CM2938_comp_VB1960s

c. 1962     The British Cameroons, until  then part of British Nigeria,  amalgamated with the French Trusteeship in 1961, to form the new,  independent country of  Republique Unie de Cameroun.     For a while, it seems that cars from both the former Cameroons  used the long-lived TC oval, as witness CM 2938, from the British sector, in London’s Bayswater during the early 1960s, on a Ford 105E Anglia.      The ‘ TC ‘ had been overpainted on a formally pressed ‘ WAN ‘  oval and this example was the only one ever seen in UK – (unless YOU know otherwise!).      (VB)

(RUC2)(CAM'60-84)_2281C5_comp_VB1960

1960      With no change to  the 1932 series of  (up to) four numerals, a C and a serial number – came a change of  International Code, to CAM.    This Fiat 1500 sports was  seen in Juan les-Pins in 1960.   (VB archive)

Below:

Another change of Oval is seen on Fiat 850 W 2326 A, found in Middlesex in 1963.   W was the regional code for West Cameroun (Buea); the RFC abbreviation was presumably for République  Fédérale  de Cameroun, but has not been officially recognised.     Classic stencilled French plates of the period at the rear….       (VB)

(RUC3)(RFC'73-85)_W2326A_(r)_comp1963_VB
(RUC3)(RFC'73-85)_W2326A_f_VB1963

1970s:

This Camerounian consular corps Datsun, attached to the US embassy, lived briefly in Swiss Cottage, London during the 1970s.   Brumby archive

c. 1970     This Camerounian consular corps Datsun IT 9175 CC, attached to the US embassy, lived briefly in Swiss Cottage, London, during the 1970s.        Brumby archive

‘IT ‘  was the abbreviation of Importation Temporaire, whereby such medium-term visitors to the country as Consular, Diplomatic and Technical Aid/NGO personnel and others, could enter their vehicles to the country free of import and local duties, on the understanding that they were to be re-exported at the end of tour.   Failing that, duties became payable and normal plates issued to the car.   When the vehicle was attached to an embassy or consulate, CD or CC was added as a suffix.    Other temporary imports used simple IT and up to four numbers.

Some vehicles chose a blue background , particularly in the CM former British sector. Luoma archive.

Some vehicles arbitrarily chose a blue background , particularly in the CM former British sector.    Luoma archive.

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NOTES

Cameroun ALMOST  holds the record for the territory which has used the greatest number of International Ovals

TC, CAM, RFC, RUC and now CMR

But Congo (Leopldville)  just pips Cameroun, with CB, RCL, CGO, ZR, ZRE,  and now DRC, (which, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, uses the ‘ D ‘ to refer to a political system not yet adopted by that country –  though might possibly, in the forthcoming centuries…)