Life after Stoel

December 13, 2017

Sorry, Bloggers, but the digitisation of the images from the Stoel and other albums has kept me away from posting new stuff on our Blog, though there’s plenty of historical material to interest us therein.    So – a start to the catchup…….


We start with an American Jeep photographed in Prague between 1945 and ’47, registered P-1323, which is painted on to the tailgate.

It also carries white-on-black plate AA 161, which is not presently identified, but the stencilled UNRRA below tells us that the Jeep belongs to the (first to set up) section of the all-new United Nations.   UNRRA  existed from 1945 to 1947 (see Wikipedia/United NationsRRA).   That international body undertook Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, to help move-on or to repatriate the myriad Displaced Persons who found themselves marooned out-of-country at the end of WW2.

This Jeep team would have been working in the Czechoslovakian/Austrian zone.   Note an apparent petrol shortage?





Bloggers may not know of this excellent-quality book published by Czech enthusiasts  Zeleny and Feuereisl which gives chapter and verse on the CS systems from 1919 to today and covered the former lands of  Moravia, Bohemia, Silesia, Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia.     The quantity and quality of photographs is marvellous, and the data of codes and dates is most professional.      Good thing too – the history of plates there is a minefield!

The authors are friends of our own Czech Mate, Alexander Kavka, who may have copies for sale – that’s where I bought mine.




Another extraordinary labour of love is represented by this excellent-quality book on the plates of Latvia created by the people of the Automobile Museum of  Riga.     Again the quality of the photos is good – some very good – and though the data is much less detailed that in the Czech book, nothing important seems to have been left out.    The period covered is from 1900 to the present day.

Member Rein Valdi brought this volume to the attention  of the Blog for which, thank you, Rein.      He stopped in London during December 2017 and we enjoyed a few pints whilst nattering about plates.     As a fluent Russian (and perfect English) speaker,  he specialises in the Soviet bloc.


Titulaire Temporaire

Found among the French albums of the Stoel collection, among the red TT plate series used by foreigners in France from 1933-54, is this image of an Austin A40 Somerset from pre-independence Algeria, 32 TT ZZ.      The only written reference to this series is in the all-encompassing French Club’s website, Francoplaque, and I don’t think any previous pictures have surfaced until now.     The giveaway Algeria code is ‘ZZ‘ and in this case, the ‘3’ probably dates it as a 1953 issue.     Temporary import no. 32!

It is all the stranger because it was never a common thing for the French motorist to buy a British car – nor really any make from outside France.     Le Land-Rover was an exception, as there were no domestic manufacturers of such cross-country vehicles.

But because the TT series was also used to register used cars arriving from abroad for extended visits to France and her territories, we may perhaps guess that this Austin belonged to a Briton working in Algeria in some NGO or aid capacity, and who brought his own car with him.


This 1950s New Caledonia E 50 shot is of a new import to the French Pacific territory, carrying the trade plate of the importing dealer, who has just collected the Fiat Multipla from the vessel ‘Polynesie’.      The NC dealer code ‘E‘ had not been previously known before this pictorial evidence!    (Essai/Trial/Delivery/Dealer)




Seen awaiting the Corsica Ferry from Nice in the 1970s is a Morris 1100 (another British make with a French address!) in transit to the island zone B (Bastia).    Its Corsica dealer plates show 104 W2B and represent the 1976-93 dealer layout.     

France used the letter ‘W‘ for Dealer plates from the very beginning, probably because it is a letter which doesn’t actually exist in the French language/alphabet, except for use in imported words, such as ‘wagon’, ‘weekend’ and ‘sandwich’.      All borrowed from perfidious Albion – which took  its entire dictionary from The Rest Of  The World – and probably 50% directly from French, and in turn, Latin……


Below:   20 W 2 represents the 1952-76 Corsica Dealer layout, in which 20 then coded the whole island.    A new-looking Fiat 1100, circa 1957.




The last French oddity is this 1950s government Delivery/Provisional.    Here ‘D‘ abbreviates ‘Domaine’ or government region.

This Peugeot 203,  5805 WWD is on delivery from the supplying dealer or government motor pool to the provincial operating office, where it will spend its working life, having been first permanently registered with a simple ‘D‘ suffix




This fuzzy shot of Granada GR-3454 from the 1930s could well be the legendary Karel Stoel interviewing a Spanish voyager in the Netherlands..   Is that a US Ford?




Who should breeze in to London during November 2017, but James “McGuinnessy” Gordon, Honourable Member for Mount Tom Price?     He had come by a rare Trieste motorcycle plate in Europe which he really wanted to show to someone, so I dashed up to the capital and the only place we could find to talk about it and xeno-autonumerology in general was a pub  – so that just had to do!

Thanks for the visit, Jim!

=========Pretty Barmaid archive========



For no special reason, except that it is a little-seen San Marinese variant, here is (RSM) Dealer 195 on a Mini-Cooper a few years ago.

nb   In 59 years of plate-spotting in GB, I have never seen ONE RSM vehicle !


And finally, for this session, Uruguay.

 The next-to-never-seen Uruguay international oval (U) in Holland in the 1960s.                 7-47  on a VW Karmann-Ghia VW.   The letters ‘CD’ and ‘CC’  were not shown on Uruguayan plates until the 60s or 70s.    Simply ‘Montevideo’ either over or under the number, the second component of which was probably the embassy code, and the leading number, the serial.  So, Mission 47, car 7.

(Now apparently using (ROU) – but we’re not likely to see that oval either!)

(ROU)(cd 50s).Montevideo_9-64_comp_(bl.w)_M-B.France1958VB

This Benz was snapped in southern France circa 1960, when the (U) dip. plate colours were light blue on white, as per the national flag.

========= (Brumby archive)==========

BELOW:    1955 saw a new ROU president taking a ride in his new company car, below.  Probably in white on the light blue shades of the national flag.

(What is that car?)

19 Dec 2017 –  A Dodge Custom Royal Lancer, advises member Rein.

(ROU)(off 55).Montevideo(gv-pres.)_1_(bl.w)_UScar.vbU162.KS

===========  (Stoel archive)============

And who can offer an analysis of this unusual Uruguayan plate 4-03, seen in Europe, we can assume, from the architecture and the international ‘U’ sign, carried by a mid-1940s US Ford Sedan.     Possibly blue on white.

(ROU)(off 50c)_A-403(ambulance m)_(r.w)(U oval)_FordCustomSedan.vbU167KS

=========  (Stoel archive)==========



The RPW online-pictures site TEHA2 is full of these rare and unusual plate shots captured by the early collectors and photographers, and it is updated daily, as new material arises.   It can be a useful aid to identifying your unrecognised plates.

The Blog pictures are mostly selections from that repository of about 30,000 images which covers every country from the start of motoring to the mid-seventies  (save for continental USA and CDN, which would be a life’s work on their own).

All paid-up Europlate members should peruse TEHA2.    In future, it will be contained within the passworded Europlate website, we earnestly hope, but for now, if you would like it sooner  – just email me for the standalone link:



ps.    No news yet on the Europlate website, which is suffering from a (nervous?) breakdown at the hosting outfit in the US.      We understand that Mr, Trump is taking the matter up with them.

 18/12/17   NOW RESTORED – hallelujah!



VB – Streatley, Dec 14 2017.


















Terry Gray’s old slides found!

June 12, 2013

UPDATE 21-12-14

Terry Gray has located the pictures he took on colour transparency film from the 1960s/70s!     They were thought to have been lost in a house move, 30 years ago….

Your Blogmeister rushed them to                

in Southampton, who speedily transmogrified them into digital pictures which now we can all see – providing we have access to a computer….       This is another wonderful event for Europlate and platesmen worldwide, as a few more rare images of extinct series appear unexpectedly before us, on the Europlate Blog!

What with the recently-released photo gallery of John Pemberton, and now his notated spottings from 1954 (more to come) and the slow release(!) of Bernt Larsson’s early shots, the Gray archive becomes our latest link with the past days of xeno-autonumerology.      Many thanks to T.G. – early member (number 9)  for clearing the attic!

A taste of the period Terry covered, without editor’s notes:    (Later – a request has been received for picture notes to be added, so keep visiting the Page and you should see it happen progressively, starting now.)

(RUS)(SU)_05-10 ABT_TG_resize

David Powell explains:
I am fairly sure that the USSR plates with an ABT suffix were manufacturers’ plates for an organization called Autoexport who managed the export of Moskvich cars and vans.

Cedric Sabine adds:  The 1959 Soviet ABT series was for any vehicle travelling out of country and was issued by Moscow city. So, the export Moskvich cars would indeed have got them but other vehicles did too.

VB:  That would explain why Terry Gray pictured the Moskvich team in London, preparing for the start of the London-Mexico Rally in 1970.



(TN)(56-70s)(for)(UN)_FT 1142_TG_resize

FT was the first prefix used in Tunisia after independence from France,in 1956, at which it had to establish a series for foreign residents, including diplomats in the new embassies in Tunis.    In this case, a member of the UN (ONU) had been accorded diplomatic status, to receive this plate.     FT abbreviated ‘Franchise Temporaire’ (Temporary Licence); such vehicles were allowed to enter Tunisia free of local duties, because they were to be re-exported at the end of the owners’ tours of duty. FT is thought to have run from 1956 to sometime in the 1970s.     Blogman knows only of FT 3 and FT 1142 which have been photographed in service.    Anyone else got a picture??  Terry Gray archive

June 25th.2013  Member Cedric Sabine writes that he has more pictures of this rare Tunisian FT plate series; we have asked if we might have his pictures to further illustrate this item……

21-2014       THANKS, CEDRIC!   What a batch!!

(TN 56-65)(for.res-cc)_FT 743_r_  longMV4-KM book 1963 (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd-GB)_FT 3_cu_VB (ex GB ambassador 1956) (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd)_FT 149_cur_ long pressedYL1 (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd)_FT 728-CS (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd)_FT 1940  CS1968) (TN 56-65)(for.res)_149_cuf_YL2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA (TN 56-65)(for.res)_FT 718  longMV1 (red-white maybe) (photo 1968) (TN 56-65)(for.res)_FT 1938 HSexJF




This Triumph Toledo(?) has been to Saint Helena and back(!), and was photographed in Northamptonshire on its Helenan 669 plates.    St. Helena has also been seen with an SH prefix.         The owners were British government officers involved in the administration of the Territory, and their cars were returned at the conclusion of their duty there..




SYR 2480.    Between the 1950s and the 1970s, red plates in Syria were issued to public service vehicles including buses, which is what TG photographed in London in the early 1970s. Serials 2001-12000 were issued to Damascus. Long trip!



(SOM)_16564_ c_TG_resize

16564. One of very few 1960-1970s Somalian plates seen was photographed – also in Northamptonshire -on a Mk 3 Ford Cortina, circa 1974. These were oddly well-made plates for such a backward territory; perhaps they were made for them by an international aid process – possibly Italian, as the former colonial power?      In recent decades, the few Somalian vehicles seen in news broadcasts have generally run without bearing plates, as no registration system exists.     Breakaway Puntland (1998), Galmudug (2006) and Somaliland (1996) have established their own systems (see RPWO).



Somalia mini front plate, a la Italiano.

Somalia mini front plate, a la Italiano.



(SD)_SD 8016_TG_resize

SD 8016 is from the original Swaziland series running from the 1920s to 1979. This Mk. 1 Ford Cortina was seen near Brackley, England, during the 1960s.



(S)(trans)_M 4221_TG_resize

From 1937 to ?, these white on red Swedish plates were issued to vehicles temporarily imported.          Terry Gray saw this Fiat in Europe in the 1970s, carrying a normal Swedish plate of the period underneath.



The unusual sighting of this old Swedish tourist import plate was at a Morris Minor rally in Oxfordshire in June 2013!      (Brumby archive)

The unusual sighting of this old Swedish tourist import plate was at a Morris Minor rally in Oxfordshire in June 2013!                  (Brumby archive)



(RSM)(pol)_RSM 0013_c_TG_resize

San Marino issued special plates to the city police in different sizes for cars and motorbikes.     A poor shot, unfortunately, but it must be kept for posterity, as so few were issued and ever fewer were photographed….. (Gray archive)




From 1958, while still the Belgian Congo, this Belgium-manufactured (Howoco?) series was introduced.     It continued from 1960 independence under the re-named ‘Rep. of Congo (Leopoldville)’ (oval RCL).      If this were a  Congo Belge (CB)-issue, the T would mean it came from Kasai province, but after 1960, the regional codes became simple serial letters.     Later two letters with three numbers LL-NNN superseded these L-NNNN plates. The provenance of this picture is presently unknown. (Gray archive)



(RA)_B 131859_TG_resize

From the 1960s to 1995, Argentina’s first countrywide series was issued, with a letter for the State and a up to 6 numerals.      B 131859 is from Buenos Aires (county).      Somewhat dull, in white on black, but a rare sight outside Argentina.      This Peugeot 404 in an odd colour is probably a car manufactured under licence in (RA), where a different colour range was available.                        (Gray archive 1970 London)

Yves Laussecq Comments below:

Regarding the 404 PEUGEOT picture, I’m quite sure it was the vehicle of Gaston Perkins during the 1970 LONDON-MEXICO rally



(R)(cd)_CD 442_r_TG_resize

Member pseudonym’d  ‘BlackVolga’  identifies the smart oval plate in red and black on white, CD 442 as for Roumania Diplomatic Corps from 1968 to  1992.      On a BMW 2000 ‘Touring’, a fine-looking car in its day.                (Gray archive)

These and hundreds of others were taken in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s and captured by Terry as slide transparencies, which are difficult to view except by old projectors, but  give a very clear and well-coloured image, when converted to computer  files (.jpg).

Any readers who have slides, might consider their conversion thus; the lady Corrie who did these being highly recommended AND economical!

More to follow in later Posts.    Updated 15062013

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????