Singapore 2013 checkover

April 19, 2013

SINGAPORE

April 2013.

Singapore’s plates continue as shown in RPWO and a wide variety of colours and codes are enough to keep a keen spotter occupied for some long time.     Two of the outer islands have been allocated their own plates – Sentosa and Ubin – and these cannot be used on the ‘mainland’ of Singapore.      If they must go over there, for repairs etc., they will carry SGP trade plates for the journey.

Sentosa’s colourful plates have been known to us since about 1998.

(SGP3)(Sentosa)(mc)_RU 1115Y_VB_resize

This Vespa RU 1115 Y is one of few two-wheelers registered on Sentosa.     Brumby archive 1987.

RU 2424 Z is the Restricted Use plate for Sentosa Island, a hundred metres off Singapore's coast.

RU 2424 Z is the Restricted Use plate for Sentosa Island, a hundred metres off Singapore’s coast.    Brumby archive 1987

The Sentosa Development Corporation, whatever that is, has a few buses, which are allowed on and off the islet, and have a special SDC code issued!

SDC 26 M is one of the island buses, registered on the 'mainland'     Brumby archive

SDC 26 M is one of the island buses, registered on the ‘mainland’ .              Brumby archive 1987

 

UBIN

But we have only recently become aware of the special plate colour given to the few vehicles on Pulau Ubin (Ubin Island), which is a mile off the North-East coast of Singapore, by Changi airport.     The island is lightly populated by fishermen and kampong farmers and has completely escaped the rapid advance to the six-star first-world status now enjoyed by the Republic of SGP.     There are about ten mopeds on Ubin, of which half still work and about 15 minibuses, which carry the islanders and some of the weekend visitors along the narrow island roads to various camping sites and hiking/cycling trails, for which Ubin has become a popular, rat-race getaway.

(SGP3)(Ubin)_PU 4 P_VB2013_resize

The fourth motor vehicle registered on Ubin Island is a Honda moped, still in running order, PU 4 P.                                             Brumby archive 2013

(SGP3)(Ubin)_PU 104 J_cuf_VB2013

One travels to Ubin by bum-boat, for 3 ringgit ($1US) which takes fifteen people at a time on old vessels which you would not expect to be still in service, but which are the pride and joy of their rough-looking but friendly owners.     Since registrations started on Ubin, perhaps in 2000, and originally only for a few small motorbikes which had previously run plateless, about 135 total registrations have been made, of which perhaps 15 to 20 remain in use.    The system is that of the Singapore mainland, using the PU area code, a serial number (current highest 137) , and a check digit, all in white on a pea-green background.

One of the island minibuses, PU 102 P.     Brumby archive

One of the Ubin island minibuses, PU 102 P.                       Brumby archive 2013

PU 130 H is just seven off the highest number on Pulau Ubin, the. latest minibus being PU 137.      Note that all the plates are properly made, even though this island is quite primitive.... Brumby archive

PU 130 H is just six off the highest number on Pulau Ubin, the latest minibus seen, being PU 137.       Note that all the plates are properly made, even though this island is quite primitive….
Brumby archive 2013

There are a few special purpose vehicles on Ubin, such as Police Land-Rovers and a couple of biggish lorries for construction jobs, and as these are there temporarily, they retain their normal Singaporean plates.

QX 5045 K is a standard Singapore police plate, coded by the QX.    This is one of two allocated to the island - surely an easy posting for the island coppers!      Brumby archive

QX 5045 K is a standard Singapore police plate, coded by the special code QX. This is one of two allocated to Ubin island – surely an easy posting for the island coppers!                               Brumby archive 2013

 

Singapore Specials

The SGP government is sponsoring experimentation in clean/non-emission vehicles and has allocated a dedicated ‘Research and Development’ numberplate to the handful of cars being tested on the island.

A Renault experimental electric car RD 3073 K, one of two seen at the Renault distributor in SGP.  Brumby archive

A Renault experimental electric car RD 3073 K, one of two seen at the Renault distributor in SGP.   April 2013.                                    Brumby archive 2013

RD 6096 A is carried on a Mitsubishi minicar and has a 100km range, recharging 80%  in 20 minutes.   It says here.     Brumby archive.

RD 6096 A is carried on a Mitsubishi minicar and has a 100km range, recharging 80% in 20 minutes.   It says here.         Brumby archive 2013.

There may be up to 50 vehicles on test, each of which is connected by wifi signal to a central office, in which its location, performance, battery-condition, range etc is transmitted every 5 seconds for analysis.

This category uses such high numbers that they must be split in some way, perhaps the first two or three numerals indicating a code for the few participating bodies in the experimentation.    Certainly there are not more than a hundred of  these low-emission category vehicles in the whole country, so 6096 seems optimistic….

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It is of mild interest to note that Singapore vehicle owners can choose for themselves whether they plate their vehicles with the original silver/white on black plates, fore and aft, or Euro-style black on white (front) and yellow (rear).     About 20% favour white on black, I estimate.

Light goods vehcle codes seen here with both plate colour options.     Brumby archive

Light goods vehicle code G seen here with both plate colour options.         Brumby archive 2013

TR – Singapore trailers are now up to TRE, having exhausted TR and  TRA to TRD.

Another unusual SGP variant is the recently-adopted orange background to distinguish lorries wh.ich carry hazardous cargo, such as fuel and chemicals.     These cannot enter tunnels and need to advise police and fire when they need to access certain zones of the island.   The Y starter letter tells us that the truck exceeds 3 tonnes unladen; the M is serial.      Brumby archive.

YM 942 S – Another unusual SGP variant is the recently-adopted orange background to distinguish lorries which carry hazardous cargo, such as fuel and chemicals. These cannot enter tunnels and need to advise police and fire when they plan to access certain zones of the island.    The Y starter letter tells us that the truck exceeds 3 tonnes unladen; the M is serial.        Brumby archive 2007.

SH – Taxis have progressed to SHA, SHB and now to SHC.

SHA 5376 H is the Singapore Hire code with suffix serial A, on a typically smart, clean, new car, a credit to the taxi fleets.    Brumby archive.

SHA 5376 H is the Singapore Hire code with suffix serial A, on a typically smart, clean, new car, a credit to the taxi fleets.         Brumby archive 2013.

New private cars are up to SKJ, having jumped SH (kept for psv’s) and SI (‘I’ never used) and having presumably used up SJA-Z (though not seen).

 

Odd Chauffeur-drive/Private Hire possiblity.

We have believed that the special series for hire cars, SZ and SZA, had been long abandoned.   But now e find SZA 8 R, from the  current series on a chauffeur-driven/livery Mercedes, outside the Copthorne Waterfront hotel.   When questioned the driver claimed it was just a standard plate issued alphabetically in the normal series, but we know that Singapore is nowhere near 'S' inits alpha issue.   So perhaps there are a few (note this is only car 8) special-category registrations continuing to use the SZ prefix.     This was the only example seen.     (Brumby archive 2013)

We have believed that the special series for hire cars, SZ and SZA, had been long abandoned. But now we find SZA 8 R, from the current series, on a chauffeur-driven/livery Mercedes, outside the Copthorne Waterfront hotel. When questioned, the driver claimed it was just a standard plate issued alphabetically in the normal series, but we know that Singapore is nowhere near ‘SZ‘ in its alpha issue.      So perhaps there are a few (note this is only car 8) special-category registrations continuing to use a version of the old SZ hire/rental prefix.   (This was the only example seen.)    Brumby archive 2013

Here is SZ (Singapore Rental-Hire) carried on a new Toyota in 1968, seen at Singapore docks.     Brumby archive 1968

Here is SZ (Singapore Rental-Hire) carried on a new Toyota in 1968, seen at Singapore docks.                       Brumby archive 1968

680224 3 _4532TT25 at docks_resize

The only other SGP hirecar plate I ever saw was on this Vauxhall Victor, SZ 1779, also at the docks in 1968, alongside the Peugeot 4532 TT 25 which we drove back to Britain over four months.         Brumby archive 1968

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A very rare sight in Singapore is the semi-diplomatic plate allocated to foreign technical aid personnel.    TE is the suffix code for these ‘Technical Expert’ vehicles and this BMW 525 example is coded 36 for the Philippines.

S 3682 TE is a semi-diplomatic plate for foreign technical aid personnel.   Brumby archive

S 3682 TE is a semi-diplomatic plate for foreign Technical Experts personnel.   36 is used by the Philippine embassy.         Brumby archive 2012

The Consular Corps variant is also hardly-seen, but Taiwan had code 66 in this category (photographed there in 1993, so possibly not current).

Taiwan's mission code 66 seen on a Volvo given Consular, rather than diplomatic recognition, presumably due to pressure from PRC to sideline the territory they hope to recover some day.     Brumby archive.

Taiwan’s foreign-mission code 66 seen on a Volvo 240, given Consular, rather than Diplomatic recognition, presumably due to pressure from PRC to sideline the Formosa territory they vainly hope to recover some day.        Brumby archive 1993.

Motorcycles exhausted their two-letter FA-FZ prefix codes some time ago and current registrations, for every size of  2-wheeled bike, has re-started from FAA…..     Note that, against the trend, SGP still requires a front plate to be displayed, either double-sided along the front mudguard or a forward-facing plate adhering to the faring.

Examples of motorbike front plate mounting positions.    Brumby archive

Examples of motorbike front plate mounting positions.     Brumby archive 2013

The current motorcycle format now uses two serial letters, the leading F, designating 2-wheelers.    Brumby archive

The current motorcycle format now uses two serial letters, the leading F, designating 2-wheelers.                          Brumby archive 2013

There is an auxiliary police orce,it seems, but they use normal private m/c plates.  FBA 6232 B.     Brumby archive.

There is an auxiliary police force,it seems, but they use normal private m/c plates, as FBE 5246 A.                              Brumby archive 2013.

The author’s first visit to Singapore was in 1966, when the vast majority of the vehicles were made in Britain, from motorcycles to double-deckers.     I still enjoy finding the leftovers from that period and recognise that many owners are very proud of their cars, which are now collectors’ items!

A well-restored MG TC sporting the special, low-tax plates of the approved vintage and veteran cars and bikes in Singapore.    SCL 69 D is a normal registration issue, and it is the plate colour which gives the privileged status.    Brumby archive.

A well-restored MG TC(?) sporting the special, low-tax plates of the approved vintage and veteran cars and bikes in Singapore.    SCL 69 D is a normal registration issue, and it is the plate colouring which gives the privileged status.                                Brumby archive 2008.

 

Singapore Historic

 

About 1960, many British Army, Navy and Air Force personnel served in Singapore and it was a period of very heavy registrations, as most  purchased a car there or duty-free at home, to take out.    This Austin A40 Farina belonged to a Wing-Commander, whose daughter June, modelling here, now dwells in Ottery St, Mary and makes jam for the W.I.     Brumby archive.

SS 9806.   A plate from the former series.       About 1960, many British Army, Navy and Air Force personnel served in Singapore and it was a period of very many new registrations, as most of them purchased a car there – (or duty-free at home, to take out and register there).    This Austin A40 Farina belonged to a Wing-Commander, whose daughter June, modelling here, now dwells in Ottery St, Mary and makes jam for the Womens’ Institute.                Brumby archive-June Harvey.

Finally, a photo which has materialised recently is certainly worth display.     Here is Singapore’s eighth car looking as  if it had just come off the ship from the Britton* motor factory in England.    Unusually for a British territory, Singapore used a dash or dot separator from inception to the mid-1930s; S-8 favours the dash.      The driver was known in those times, out east, as a syce – an archaic term for a horse-carriage driver/groom, which carried on into the age of the car.

*I can find no reference to the Britton marque after a quick search……..

S-8, among the very first automobiles to reach the Straits Settlement of Singapore, in 1911.    anon.

S-8, a Britton, among the very first automobiles to reach the Straits Settlement of Singapore, in 1911.     (No details seems to survive of this marque.)                   anon.

...and to conclude, another elegant car from another of the Straits Settlements, Penang no. 64n, the car of the Chief of Police there in the early 1900s.     June Bennett

…and to conclude, another elegant car from another of the Straits Settlements, Penang no. 64n, the car of the Chief of Police there in the early 1910s.     It may be a Stutz Bearcat.                       June Bennett

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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


The Straits Settlements

January 12, 2013

Will sharp-eyed viewers note the  apparent error in this picture of N 3138?

The Straits Settlements were originally named for the coastal enclaves ceded to Britain by the sultans of the independent states of Malaya – lands facing the Straits of Malacca, in the Bay of Bengal.      N was the code for Negeri Sembilan state from 1948, (from 1932 it had been NS), when all the states of Malaya combined to form the Federation of Malaya (international oval FM.)      Thanks to EU83 John Henderson for this historic picture/puzzle.

Q.  Is this a German-built Ford Taunus 12M (built from 1952)?

A.  (No”), responds David Wilson  “It’s an 1949 (American) Ford, with the right-hand part of the trunk- (boot-) lid piece broken off.    With RHD, this was likely made in Australia by Ford Australia”.      (That would tie in with its presence in ‘nearby’  British Malaya and the lower duties applied to Commonwealth-built vehicles.)

Negri Sembilan N 3138, in Harwich (GB) during the early 1950s.

Negri Sembilan N 3138, in Harwich (GB) during the early 1950s.

The rare SS oval is shown twice in the Pemberton album, this second one being from Penang island, and seen in London, probably 1949.    An MG YA is parked alongside, built from 1947.

Ford Eight from Penang, Straits Settlements, London 1940s.

1939 Ford E04A Anglia from Penang, Straits Settlements, in London, 1940s.