German ovals.

March 29, 2017

 

(D)(exp 51-88)_818 Z-9349_cu_1960sVB

Before the ubiquitous Export Z-plates of the post-war years were seen all over Europe, as Germany stepped up her motor manufacturing with vehicles the whole world wanted to buy, another, simpler form of the unique oval licence plate had been born.

(D 07-50)(temp)_01515+Illinois1931_vbKS(D 07-50)(temp).Prussia_31205_UScar.vbKS(D 07-50)(temp).Bremerhaven_219_r_UScar.vbKS(D 07-50)(temp)_01962_Henschel lorry..vbKS(D 07-50)(temp).Hamburg_5579_ (CD sign-S)_Ford Eiffel.vbKS

 

Who would like to write a covering piece about this historic temporary series?

 

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Faked vehicle registration

May 11, 2014

PLATEPETER writes from Austria:

I found this car last week and could recherche (I found) that an Austrian citizen used this Austrian unregistered car for the last five years with this historical British import-plate.     He parked and drove in Vienna without a driving licence and also had some troubles with police in respect of alcohol, but the discrepancy of the faked British registration never came to light…    QK is a circa 1964 issue!

 

GB  alt 10., 28.4.14

 

 

In 1964, when QK was a current issue, this Mercedes was  bought in England for subsequent export, and so was issued with a 'Q' plate for it's temporary stay in UK.

In 1964, when QK was a current issue, this new Mercedes was purchased in England for subsequent export, and so was issued with a ‘Q’ plate for it’s temporary stay in UK.

The 'Q' series had a long history in Britain, starting in 1921.    Another use for them was to temporarily register a visitng car from a country which did not subscribe to the international conventions.    This vehicle entered GB for a rally in 1932, and the Automobile Association issued it this QE 469 tag for the duration.  The AA and the RAC were authorised to allocate these plates on behalf of the State, to facilitate  motor tourism, all services for which the two clubs offered.

The ‘Q’ series had a long history in Britain, starting in 1921.    Another use for them was to temporarily register a visiting car from a country which did not subscribe to the international conventions.     Thus they were unable to circulate using their foreign registration plates.   This vehicle entered GB for a rally in 1932, and the Automobile Association issued it this QE 475 tag for the duration.                    The AA and the RAC were authorised to allocate these plates on behalf of the State, to facilitate motor tourism, as all the complex services were offered by those two venerable Clubs.

The international settlement of Tangiers, the enclave in (former) Spanish Morocco, was among the territories which required local plates in many of the countries they might visit.    Here is a Standard 14(?) just pre- or post-war, using QC 8825 for a visit to Britain in about 1948.                Pemberton archive

 

 DOUBLE-CLICK to enlarge any image

 

The Scottish RAC also had a batch of 'Q' plates to hand to visiting motorists, many of whom were US servicemen, at Scottish bases.     QS 2801 is seen here on vacation in Paris, during the 1950s, the 'S' showing its Scottish RAC provenance.

The Scottish RAC also had a batch of ‘Q’ plates to hand for visiting motorists, many of whom were US servicemen, at Scottish bases.     QS 2801 is (just) seen here on vacation in Paris, during the 1950s, the ‘S’ showing its Scottish RAC provenance.    (anon)


Djibouti

April 8, 2013

Non-member collector André Mas has been hoarding odd items most of his life and amongst other things, has accumulated a prodigious collection of rare numberplates which the writer photographed in France 06 a few years ago.    André  had found a rare Citroen DS21 Déesse Décapotable rotting in a yard in Djibouti whilst he worked there and he determined to repatriate it for restoration in UK.

It continued to sport it’s Djibouti État registration E 43.    He found that it had been brought to the French territory as a conveyance for President de Gaulle’s official visit and had been fitted with a sturdy balance rail across the rear passenger well, to stabilise the tall general, should a rebel chase ensue around the backstreets of Djibouti Town.      It was André who obtained/had made the international oval DJI – perhaps the only one in existence?    Ever?

The restored Citroen, registered in Belgium; with the unique DJI oval.   Brumby archive

The restored Citroen E 43, by then registered in Belgium; with the unique DJI oval. Brumby archive

This Djibouti Page begs some questions:

Has any member, or known source, a picture of the French Somaliland colonial plates which preceded independence in 1967?

And pictures from the 1967-77 period when it was titled the Territoire Francaise des Affars et Issas?

And why were so many Djibouti plates manufactured in a style faithful to the British design as witness the following

plates André brought back from his tour there?:

(DJI) DSC_0167

From 1960 to about 1970, the final numeral (the ‘9‘ in 849 D ‘9‘ below) was a year-of-issue marker – thus this plate is thought to be a 1969 issue.     From 1970 the latter 2 numerals (possibly starting with 11 rather than 10) were simply thousand counters as normally given in prefix (11 123).    (Why not just print 11123??)     Morocco also used this dating scheme with its TT plates during the 50-70s, but it gave rise to duplication (1955/65/75).

Thus the multiples above were post-1970,  whereas 849 D 9, below, is pre-1970 (1969).

(DJI2)('69)_849D9_cu_VBpl

VB’s own 1969 plate 849 D 9

(DJI2)(exp)_729TT_cu_MasplVB

The Mas collection includes the rare Djibouti temporary/duty-free import 729 TT (undated, but from the 1960s/70s).                           (Mas)

The only Djibouti ever seen by the writer was this little NSU Prinz coupe, in London in the early 1960s, the '4' in its registration probably indicating 1964 validity.

The only Djibouti ever seen by the writer was this little NSU Prinz coupe, in London in the early 1960s, the ‘4’ in its 271 D 4 registration indicating 1964 validity.     Brumby archive

But member Ivan 'Nip' Thornley saw an Austin 1800 in Northamptonshire in the 1970s, carrying  handsome, British-made, Djibouti, CD plates, 15 CMD 1 !      Nowadays embassy 15 is China, and I doubt whether GB has any diplomatic link with Djibouti.     I would seem from this photo that once, 15 had been for GB.     Thornley archive

But member Ivan ‘Nip’ Thornley saw an Austin 1800 in Northamptonshire (GB) in the late 1970s, carrying handsome, British-made, Djibouti, CD plates,             15 CMD 1 !      Nowadays embassy 15 is China, and I doubt whether GB has any diplomatic link with Djibouti.    It would seem from the car model and location of sighting, that once, 15 had been for the GB embassy.      The country became independent of France in 1977, so the Djibouti CD series would not have appeared until after that.        Thornley archive

 

LABOUR OF LOVE

Djibouti was the subject of my most costly contribution to my hobby.     Deciding to go somewhere really unusual for a week or so in the 1980s, and knowing an exec. in a hotel group, I picked the former French Somaliland, where he ran a grand pension in which he granted me a room.     It may have been the only building in Djibouti with more than one floor.      Travelling via the French third-world aerodrome of Le Bourget, from London, my flight touched down at midnight in the North Sahara, and I was one of four westerners on a flight carrying about 20 people.      The locals melted away into the hot night, with no visible checks through customs or immigration but we Euros were challenged for our visas.     I had established that no visa was required, before leaving London.     The other three Brits were old hands.    They worked for British Telecom, which maintained the Djibouti phone system, and were frequent visitors to fix equipment which was eternally being fiddled with by unknown hands.    Something untoward happened every time they tried to enter or leave and they were inured to procrastination.

In the francophone exchange which ensued, it transpired that foreigner visa requirements had changed in the previous weeks/months, but the team of  former cameleers eventually admitted that since the change of rules, they had not yet been able to afford to advise The World At Large of the changes.    Naturally, The Rule still applied, however – the prophet be praised.    Our techmen demanded to speak to their special mate, the Minister of Telecomms, who would spring them from that dusty, hot  tent – along with me, whom they had now kindly decided to adopted as their bag-carrier/general factotem.   I would be borne through under their general laissez-passer.

The Minister was run to ground under some ladies in the Tin Palm Nite Club at 2 a.m. and BT hailed him familiarly as ‘Jacko’ as he sportingly took the telephone call with his free hand.     Having heard their problem described, he told them to pass their phone to his mate, the chief of customs and immigration, the official with the least grubby blanket swathing him from head to dusty foot.    A noisy one-way tirade took place at the ear-piece, after which an embarrassed ‘Welcome to Djibouti’ was profferred to the technicians by the assembled group of customs and immigration bods, who, on reflection, did rather look to be out of it on Qat, their sharia-cleared drug of choice..

They were not convinced that I had the credentials to climb telegraph poles, however, and despite the protests of the might of  BT,  I was held back for private interview.      Failing to recognise the encouraging signals emitted by third-world power-brokers, I was eventually formally refused entry at 0300 and told to go back out on the returning morning flight, and come again with a visa some time.

Predictably, I never went back, and I never got even one photograph of a Djibouti plate, though I did see a red TT plate with arabic on the tarmac tanker, when we were taxi-ing.      The French aircrew had all stayed a refreshing night at the same grand hotel to which I had been bound, and were amused at my plight.     I think I was the only departing passenger on UTA from the Horn that dawn.

It was in the pub that night, back in Buckinghamshire, recalling my wasted couple of days, that everybody asked “Why didn’t you just give them baksheesh??” and I had to lamely reply that it simply hadn’t crossed my mind!     I haven’t lived in the corrupt zones of the world, and am not really fit to travel in them, I now realise.    OF COURSE, a ‘dash’ would have let me in – and now I divine the hidden meanings of their strange and oblique questions as they fruitlessly tried to  lead me to the fulchrum point of the moral see-saw in that hadean aerodrome tent.

A waste of a thousand pounds, as I recall!       Though I did get some new mosquito types for my collection and I wasn’t bundled in to the Foreign Legion, so there was much to be thankful for.

B*** number-plates……

(Tanganyika was another costly brush with the ‘law’ – a word without meaning in the Dark Continent.)


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…)


Greece in the 1950s

February 2, 2013

Young Pemberton collared two odd Greeks on celluloid, during his forays into the capital during the days of rationing.    A 1950s American Buick Eight convertible  parked in Upper Regent Street in London bears a baffling, plain,  T 38  plate, unlike anything we know.   John  was certain it was Greek.

Was it a Thessaloniki Port tourist entry plate?

Any ideas about this 'Greek'?

Any ideas about this ‘Greek’?                   JP archive

 

 

Below:

A Morris Oxford was the choice of transport for this 1940’s-era British diplomat in Athens, seen on leave in UK.

CD 277 on leave from Athens. in Britain, circa 1949-50.

CD 277 on leave from Athens. in Britain, circa 1949-50. Pemberton archive

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

Below; Not many years later, in about 1958, the rare Greek diplomatic was photographed in Earls Court by VB.

A Farina-designed Morris Oxford from Athens embassy, in about 1958. VB archive.

A Farina-designed Morris Oxford from Athens embassy, in about 1958.           VB archive.

 

The 56 on these plates gave the year of their first issue.   56 continued to be issued until they were replaced in 1969 with similar plates, but showing ‘69‘.   This ran until about 2011, still marked ‘69‘!

The DS transliteration of the Greek dip. plates abbreviates ‘Diplomatikos Somos‘ or ‘Diplomatic Body‘.   Greeks are not keen to use Latin-based words (corps), when they have the older language!

At last, an attractive new turquoise plate design has replaced the 1969 series:

The latest Greek CD.

The latest Greek CD.


Maroc-Tangiers MT international zone

January 12, 2013

Another notable photo-capture of member EU83 is of the short-lived issue to the international settlement of TANGIERS, an enclave in Morocco, facing Gibraltar across the Straits.    The plates followed the British style of the times (and might have been made across in Gibraltar, half-an-hour away on the ferry.)

T-4145 is seen here in 1940s London.

(From 1661-4, TANGIERS was a possession of the British Crown.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangier

Daimler(?) T-4145 from Tangiers, in Oxford durin 1947.

Standard 14 or Daimler(?) T-4145 from Tangiers, in Oxford during 1947.  Also bearing a British Foreign-Visitor’s registration, QC 8825.

An example of a territory which was not party to the treaties permitting free circulation of foreign vehicles, was the TANGIERS international enclave, and to visit Britain after the WW2, this owner was given QC (foreign visitor to Britain) plates to permit his entry.      Q-C was allocated to, and handed out by, the the Royal Automobile Association (RAC), as were Q-D and Q-H.        The RAC and AA  auto clubs assisted travellers with the considerable documentation required for international travel in those times – Motor Insurance, Carnets (partly to prevent the sale of cars in foreign countries), supply of International Ovals (seldom available in the originating countries) and so on.

BELOW

T 50 & T 11259.   Evidence of diplomatic activity in TANGIERS is given by these pictures below, 11259, circa 1953.

The system existed until 1956, when the TANGIERS internationally-administered zone  was re-incorporated into the Kingdom of Morocco.    You have to be fairly elderly, by now, to have seen one of these in circulation!

Most interesting explanatory notes are given below, by Thierry Baudoin, who studies the Conventions regulating international vehicle movement.  (See Comments).

An early Tangiers number T 50, used by a diplomat

An early Tangiers number T 50, used by a diplomat

T 11259 from the MV archive.

T 11259 from the MV archive.


Indian plates using Hindi

December 30, 2012
1965 Delhi sight of (part of) a Hindi-scripted plate - uncommon at that time.

1965 Delhi sight of (part of) a Hindi-scripted plate – uncommon at that time.#

In support of a member’s sighting of an Indian Jeep in London in the 1950s, bearing Hindi scripted plates, we see another example in 1965 New Delhi, snapped just as a camera came to the end of a roll of film.    The Jowett Javelin was quite a rare car in Britain, using a flat-four water-cooled engine and many advanced features.     It would have been very difficult indeed to keep a 1951 car like this, still running in India in ’65!

The sight of an Indian car in Britain was – and remains – a rarity.     Of the handful I saw, royal household red plate with silver letters  ‘PALITANA 1’  was on a red Ford Mustang belonging to Prince Shiv and was shown in the Daily Mail circa 1957, though no photo by me.    This Hillman Minx however was captured in Plymouth one day in 1964

Madras-registered Hillman in 1964 Plymouth.

Madras-registered Hillman in 1964 Plymouth.

and a Bihar-registered early Rolls-Royce in a London mews:

BRQ 734 - one of the last grand cars to be permitted to leave India for international collections.

BRQ 714 – one of the last grand cars to be permitted to leave India for international collections.

and a type never reported before or since, seen in Earls Court, London, in the 1960s, using West Bengal plates in white on red and marked with (TRYP).

WBD 6714 - VW Kombi overlander in 1960s London, with an unexplained plate type.

WBD 6714 – VW Kombi overlander in 1960s London, with an unexplained plate type .

I have concluded that an Australian overlanding team was arriving by ship at Calcutta  (WB was for West Bengal until 1973) and was required by the customs at port of arrival to mount temporary transit plates, perhaps because they could not show documentation proving paid-up overseas licencing.   (Bad luck!)   They might have had to buy a carnet to transit India and the abbreviation TRYP on a red numberplate (rear only)  might have indicated the temporary nature of the registration.   It was all painted in the exact style of the period, the letters shorter that the numerals…..

The only red plates in India then were those of the princely states’  ‘royal family’  and the trade plates for dealers, of which DLH 267 M appears in RPWO/India/Historical Notes http://europlate.org.uk/countries/hai-kyr/ind/ind-hist.htm