Never one to shirk La Dolce Vita, my plate-researcher’s soul was ever drawn to warm, safe places and I felt it could be left to other, bolder members to deal with Chechnya, DRC, CAR, North Korea, Nigeria and New Guinea. In modern times, Mr Ralidis appears as a heroic figure, who chances life and limb to snatch plates from the jaws of cruel zones such as Iran and Pakistan. A medal may one day be his. The islands of the Indian Ocean always seemed to appeal on hedonistic grounds, and save, now, for the marauding bandit sea-pirates off the Somali coast, it remains one of the world’s fine zones.
British Airways catapulted me to Mahé Island, and to the capital village, Victoria in 1991. For a tiny place, it had a pleasing variation of plates, designed after the style of the British, who controlled the islands from 1903 until independence in 1976, when they fell under the stultifying spell of Russian communism. From the first cars there, about 1937, straightforward white/silver on black plates with an S prefix followed by up to four serial numbers were, and remain, the normal private series (though now using five-digit serials).
Most plates were properly made, but here is a painted variant. Brumby archive
S 234 is a plate from the Mas collection
Seychelles permits retention of voided numbers and low numbers like S 5 are always re-used. Motor cycles use normal car plates, but smaller. Brumby archive
Musician/Beatle George Harrison had invested in a grand hotel project with Peter Sellers and others on Mahé – and in the British rowing town of Henley-on-Thames, where he lived, near my home, I saw his gold Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible on Seychellois plates AND sporting an SY oval – clearly a souvenir of the islands which he had had flown home! Sadly no photo – he was driving the other way – and George was no slow driver! Among his many quick cars was one of the first V12 6-litre F1 McLaren streetcars.
Taxis carried normal plates, supplemented by this specially-manufactured Hire Vehicle plate with a unique authorising number. Brumby archive
Seychelles Government plates employ a serial from the national series, on black, using a G prefix, removable when withdrawn from service.. Brumby archive..
Parastatal (semi-government) vehicles used the same series, but with a red background, repainted black when sold in to private use. S 1537. Brumby archive
Diplomats’ plates were also taken from the main series, but yellow-backgrounded, and with CD or CC appended to the plate in a random way. S CD 6266. Brumby archive
1991. Uncoded Seychelles Diplomatic Corps S 2064 CD
The less-frequently-seen Consular Corps variant, CC S 1884. Brumby archive
The very rare sight of a CD UN variant UN S 6993 is characterised by a green background – a change from UN blue! Brumby archive.
A handful of motor dealers exist on Mahé island only and use red Seychelles Test plates to legally move untaxed vehicles. What a fine plate! Brumby archive