Undiscovered series from the past

April 13, 2018

update 3                   7/04/17

Predominantly from the camera or the scissors of the pre-war collector Karel Stoel, plate types previously unknown, and/or known but un-photographed, have come to light.    There are too many new finds to list them all in the Blog – which makes careful scrutiny of our Club Historic Archive so interesting – but here we choose a few at random to give the reader a taste:

(UAE-Dub) – TEST 109  —  Thought to be the first series of Dealer plates in Dubai, starting 1964.        Subaru 360 minicar.     Taken  c.1969 by our stringer Murray Bailey down by the old camel park, where the Hilton now is.                                        (Brumby archive)

(NL-Utrecht q-51)_LZ-319_Austin fire tender.vbNL164bKS

(NL) LZ 319  —  Utrecht province is not listed as having issued its code L with a suffix, if and when it reached L-99999.    So LZ-319 is a puzzle, shot in 1940s Holland, but could it possibly be an early number from such a continuation series which started and soon stopped, when the 1951 series LL-NN-NN took over?      We know that North- and South- Holland provinces G & H used the continuation suffixes Z, and then X; so maybe Utrecht just squeezed in a run of LZ – Dutch boffins to the rescue, please!

Its an Austin K van often supplied as a very basic fire tender post-war.

(NL)(mil 44-45 CNF)_M-5845586 + CNF 1_Jeep.vbNL200bKS

During the mopping-up months after September 1944 as Holland returned to peace, the office of the Commander of the Netherlands Forces carried a second plate, usually painted or stencilled, with the code CNF.

Is this Jeep’s main military registration M 5845586 on the hood/bonnet from the US or GB issues?   Both countries’ military systems used 6 and 7-numeral serials following M, whereas Holland used M and no more than five numerals.

(NL)(mil 44-45)_CNF=Commander, NL Forces_M-B.vbNL196bKS

(NL) CNF  —  No normal Dutch plate showing on the Prince’s CNF Mercedes coupé of unknown model. but a grand car probably kept somewhere safe during the ‘unpleasantness’ and then liberated.     Or a gift from a departing German visitor……

q(NL)(mil q)_C 4525_(l.d)_Austin Ten.vbNL196bKS

(?)   C – 2545  —  No Idea.   The only clue to this C-prefixed plate filed among the Dutch military is that C was used on some Australian army cars in the immediate post-war period.    Who knows?     Looks like an Austin Eight or Ten.     

(GBG 03-07)(dlr-limited)_Z 3 + 5687_r_Standard14 m.vbGBG8aKS

Similarly, a Standard 14 uses Limited Trade plates whilst waiting to re-tax Guernsey 5687.

(GBG)  —  Z 3  —  A little-photographed shot of Guernsey’s Dealer ‘Z’ series.                             A Standard 14?

(GBG 03~)(timp)_V 5 + 261LMT_mc.vbGBG7bKS

(GBG) V 5  —  A motorcyclist from the mainland (Middlesex) carries his long-stay Guernsey Visitor plate V 5, in black on yellow.

(GBG 03~)(Lt.-Gvr)_G 2_f_Standard 10.vbGBG9aKS

Possibly the Lt.-Governor’s wife, carrying G 2 on a Standard 10 estate car.

(GBG)  —  G 2                G is not normally used in Guernsey.    Special Issue.        This van-conversion Standard 10 estate car was called a Companion.

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

(ROU 40s) – A + 4-03  —  Perhaps a doctor in post-war Montevideo?    An unlisted format, almost certainly light blue on white, as were many official Uruguayan plates.   Is this a circa 1948 Ford?   It’s a 1949 (US) Ford, David Wilson assures us!

(F)(NewCaledonia 50s)(dlr)_E 50_(Essai)_FiatMultipla.vbKS

(F)  French Oceania  —  Never previously suspected, E 50 is evidence of  1950’s New Caledonia’s having a Dealer type, this one on a new Fiat Multipla, fresh from the hold of MV Polynesie.

E=Essai=Trial/Test – Demonstration.    ?Perhaps this was for Dealer 5 and the zero is the first of a number of  Trade Plates he was entitled to use?    There could not have been 50 dealers, surely?

(F)(prov-off).national_WW D 5805_Peu.203.vb162KS

(F)  5805 WW D  —  A French new-vehicle ex-factory delivery plate with a difference.    Instead of the usual numeric départment code following WW, the letter D tells that the vehicle is being delivered to a branch of government in any part of the country.      Peugeot 203.

(DZ)(timp 51-54,53-F).Algeria_32 TT 3ZZ f_negs_AustinA40.jfvbKS

(F  32-53) – 32 TT 3 ZZ  —  (silver on red)   Noted in Francoplaque’s most detailed website, but not illustrated, there, or anywhere else, we believe, is this 1934-?  Transit Temporaire showing 3 to date its 1953 issue and ZZ (or Z)  for French Algeria.     RPWO gives it that serial numbers 1-3999 were allocated to Algiers, 4000-6999 to Oran and 7000-9999 to Constantine.       If Algiers had reached only  32 between 1934 and  1953, we may assume that those big allocations were optimistic!

Concerning the car, an Austin A40 Somerset or Devon (or Dorset), it was always extremely odd to see a British marque circulating in a French territory.   Perhaps this was a UK citizen in Algeria on a special mission.     Maybe  James Bond on his first assignment, even.

(CS 45-53).Prague(UNRRA 43-45)_P-1383 (+AA161)_(b.w)_4wd.vbCS23bKS

(CS)  —  P-1323 is a strangely low number for a c.1945-6 Prague registration, painted on to an imported US Jeep by the UNRRA   sic

United Nations’ Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation Administration 

which operated from 1945-47, thus helping to date this photo.    The additional plate AA 161 is not understood and theories are requested.

q(Rus-SU 15-q)_24_(w.b)_1915photo.anonVB

(R)   24  —  Before the revolution, Russia had no national registration system, and each area/town licenced the very few local vehicles in varying ways.   Member Rein Veldi advises us that this Benz is actually carrying a plate issued in Chisinau, Moldova (then Bessarabia), which the car used to complete an overland expedition to Moscow – a heroic feat in times without roads between towns.

The few extant pictures of pre-1917-and-later Russian vehicles are all-numeric and often black on white, like Lenin (the worker’s hero) carried on his proletarian Rolls-Royce 236  below.

(TO 60s-80s)(trac)_G271_comp_2005VB(Tonga)  G 271  —  Your forthcoming visit to any jungly garden in Nuku’alofa on Tongatapu should throw up an old agricultural tractor, awaiting spares or the enthusiasm to get it working again.    The G-prefix was used for agric. vehicles from the 1960s until the 1980s, but is no longer.     Another item for the history books.

(GB)(timp 31-49)(RAC 48c)_QC 8825_(+Tangiers)_Standard 14.vbJP(MT)  T-4145  —  Tangiers was an international Zone in Morocco between 1924-1956 and issued its own plates, mostly manufactured in the British style and size.    Only the private T-series was officially known, such as carried on this British Standard 14 below.

Here, the car has been brought back to Britain and been given QC temporary-import plates at the port of entry, as Tangiers probably wasn’t a member of the Go-Anywhere Club.     The QC code was issued by the Royal Automobile Association from 1931 to 1949 and 8825 is probably from 1948.

T.W.1  —  Mr. Stoel, however, has passed us an image of a Morris Minor Tourer  at Christmas 1952, driving by a crowd of schoolchildren in the city.     Amazingly (to the writer, anyway) it bears a French-influenced Dealer plate, in which one  W letter-code is supplemented by a T, giving us T-angers/W-dealer/1 and the 1952 year of validity.

Tangiers Dealer – who ever thought they’d see one of those?????

(D 07-50)(temp).Prussia_31205_UScar.vbKS

(D)  31205  __  Germany had used a special oval plate for visitors’ vehicles since 1907 and ran it through to 1950, when the new ‘Z-plates’ (Zoll=Customs) replaced them.     They were mostly used by visitors from the USA, because the US government had not participated in the international agreement on trans-border traffic which allowed entry without carnet and plate-change.    This meant that when a US citizen wished to ship his car to Europe for work or leisure, he must obtain some local plates  to entitle him to circulate in Europe.    Each European country had a system by which a temporary importation could be plated.        The serial numbers of these German oval timp plates were batch-identified to the city of issue; here, 31 coded Hamburg, the great port.

(RI)(cc honcon 62-77).Jakarta_B.7178 K CC_comp_mb1970sVB

(RI) –  B.7178 K CC  —  Indonesia continued the plate system introduced by the Dutch during their tenure of the archipelago.

Consular Corps personnel used normal plates (B=Batavia=Jakarta, in this case) with an added red on white CC following.   This Beetle is outside the Djakarta Hilton circa 1970 – before the current, (flimsy) pressed-alloy plates with slim lettering started in 1977.


PK 68, 140, 1184 & 1784  —  Some Malayan states had their own early 2-letter codes between 1906 and 1948, when a unified system started, using single letter codes.     Perak State was given ‘A‘ and all the previously ‘PK‘ -registered vehicles had to replaced their plates, even pictures of which are now very rare.    However, in this shot, we see four of that long-lost Malay format.

At that time, Ipoh, the main town of Perak state, was the centre of the rubber and tin industries and boasted a higher population than the capital town, Kuala Lumpur (which means ‘muddy estuary’).   Thus there were plenty of prosperous motorists and their car-clubs, as depicted here.                                                           (Douglas Fox archive)


(BUR) –  RD 1802  —  Burma’s independence from Britain in 1947 permitted foreign legations to open, mostly in Rangoon.    Embassy staffers used normal plates (RA/RB/RC to RD) with Latin cyphers, supplemented by a CD oval which included the Burmese script for CD.    This Packard Clipper is thought to be from 1948.  DW corrects this to a 1951 model.   In 1953 to 1958 the plates all changed to Burmese script only, the diplomats still mounting the separate CD oval.


Zephyr Six

(-)  EG 75  —  Eritrea Government plate captured on  a c.1951 Ford Zephyr Six.    Another Ultimate Rarity!


(AOF) –   M 43  —  The first and only known picture of an early French-era registration in modern Mauritania, when it was the colony of French Sudan in Afrique Occidentale Français and would have used the international oval AOF.     (the oval never pictured – nor AEF!)


(F)  CC IT 4  —  This Volvo was photo’d in London in the 1960s and the owner, whom we interviewed, was a Dane living in Tahiti.    It is not thought that French Polynesia had a consular series at that time, and recent visits have confirmed that there is still no such thing – but here is evidence that something did exist – perhaps an Honorary Consul….    Yet the plate itself is made up in exactly the correct form, as if it had been ordered from Paris!

(F)(Tah)(cc 60s)_CC IT 4_compr_wee_London.c1962.VB

(Ray King had a photo of IT 1459, identified as a Foreign Resident , maybe from the 1960s.)                                                                                                        Ray King archive

(F)(Tahiti)(for.res 60s)_IT 1459_(b.g)_press_vbRK


(YU)  —  Thought to be from the little-seen 1956-61 Yugoslav diplomatic series, CD-70-20 was spotted in London circa 1962 on an MGA sports.    Recalled as black on white, with red star before the embassy code 70.            Are there any others pics of this period series?                                                                                       (VB archive)

TEHA website


(AOF) 42-1-CD  —  On a rare Austin A40 Sport, made for the US export market and based on the Austin A30 pan, with body by Jensen Motors, we finally devined that a confusing series of black-on-green CDs with a ‘1‘ anywhere within the plate, were from Senegal.    Plates’ formats varied, sometimes using IT, sometimes CD (even one with neither, 29-1) , and with the ‘1‘ in any position along the plate, plus some serials with leading zeros.      Eventually, our amalgamated collections’ dozen different pictures were recognised to be from the common source of Dakar, the diplomatic centre of French West Africa in the 1950s.

TEHA website

(BW 24-50s)(BPmaybe)_B 141_Gweta Botswana_RPW_resize

B 141 is said to be the original series for Bechuanaland – but the jury is still out.    What is it?    Picture taken in Botswana’s bundu recently.     It’s a Dodge.

PHS 23-1ADN 223 (ADN 60s_BL)

(ADN)  PHS 26  —  Pre-independence Aden used the code 1 preceding the registration, to indicate government/official vehicles    But what is the meaning of the Land Rover’s second plate reading PHS 26?

(ME dd-56)-7689_AG

(ME)  ME-7689  —  Spanish Morocco only stopped issuing its own plates in 1956, having begun in 1922.    It had its own oval, (ME), but no picture exists of that oval.         How many members are old enough to have seen these in circulation?     These girls are proud of their 1951-DW Studebaker Commodore.

TEHA website

(AN 55-96)_ATE 01-69_comp_VB1958

(PAN)   ATE-01-69  —  was an exciting find in 1958 London, though I had no idea it was Angolan until I obtained Keith Marvin’s seminal book a few years later.    We have never been able to divine the ‘TE’ code and a web-search for settlements in that benighted country beginning with T or TE, gives no clues.   The handsome wagon is a Borgward Isabella. Thank goodness for that early camera – and an unaccustomedly steady hand that day!    I never saw another Angola (in Britain) again.          Note London’s traffic in the 1950s.


Another Austin, an A40 model, retired to an outdoor museum in Kota Kinabulu, Sabah, but sporting 1960s plates from Labuan Island.

L 567  —  There are none of the old ‘L’ plates still in Labuan island, but fortunately the museum in Kota Kinabulu, ex-Jesselton, saved this 60’s Austin A40 Farina and gives us a glimpse of the Labuan plate format from 1905 to c1963.   The very few cars which might have left the island in that 60-year period, would have carried changing international ovals as the status of the island changed: 1906-46=Straits Settlements (SS), 1946-59=North Borneo Colony, then N.B. State (CNB,SNB), then maybe a 60s period using (FM) & (PTM), then 1963-current, Malaysia(MAL).

The A40 Farina was manufactured between 1958 and 1967 – in AUS, MEX, ZA and NL as well as in England.

TEHA website

(IR)(cd 41-52)(oos).Tehran_T 58-CD_r_(r.w)_('Political' oval)_Sunbeam-Talbot.csKS

(IR) T 58 CD  —   The stuff of dreams!     A  1940s picture of a (thought-to-be) 1939 Sunbeam-Talbot 3-litre 6-light Sports Saloon (also badged Hillman Hawk) working from the British embassy in Teheran.    The left-mounted oval reads ‘Political Staff’,  the Farsi way to convey ‘Corps Diplomatique’.    The serials were probably not embassy-coded in those times.   

But there were legation offices in other big centres and the rarest diplomatic shot which Mr. Stoel’s Iran album proffered, is this Standard Vanguard Phase 1,  from the late ’40’s.      TABRIZ 2 CD.          What a find!!

(IR)(cd 41-52)(oos).TABRIZ 2 CD_(r.w)_Vanguard.csKS

(NL-S.Holland 28-51)_HZ-76719(cc)_Liberian Consul,Opel.vbNL145aKS

The Consulate-General of Liberia in the Netherlands.

(NL 1928-51)  HZ-76719  —  Before Holland discontinued its 1906-51 plate series, and adopted their characteristic typestyle in the new 1951 LL-NN-NN series, this US-built Consular car (or Opel?) carried a  home-made panel in place of a normal CC oval.      Why on earth the benighted territory of Liberia warranted a presence in post-war Netherlands, I cannot conceive, but presumably some lucky chap enjoyed a two-year spell away from mosquitos, serpents, kidnap and road kill.           After reaching H 99999   South Holland’s code area H had been extended in 1928 with a Z suffix, .          

(Europlate Archive, former Stoel)

Pre-51 registration, post-51 style.   The slim dies used in the making of this particular number-plate, and some others from around the switchover time, are those which characterised the forthcoming 1951 series, yet using the pre-1951 registration, HZ, of South Holland province.    Both periods adhered to white on dark blue. 

TEHA website

(GR 14-54)(mil-af)_EA 205_f_Hillman10.plKS

(GR)  EA 205  —  The Greece Police still use their own plates and we see from this 1944 photo that it started a long time ago.    A high-spec Hillman Minx  of the period.

EA is the abbreviation of Elliniki Astinomia = Greek Police.


Greece had some assistance from Britain in the 1940s and their vehicles were allocated a separate plate format, of which we only have this glimpse…….British Mission        Any ideas?

(GR 40s-50s)(GBfGR q)_V 5319_plKS

(GR Query – V 5319  —  And an unknown Greek type, which has a coloured ‘V’ painted over a GB-style pressed-alloy plate CN 5319.    (The CN could have been from Kitts and Nevis, but is much too high a serial, or from Ceylon – but it was too early to have been part of the CE/CE/CY/CL/CN series there.)

That leaves 1932 Gateshead (GB), and it could be possible, as the car could well be of that vintage.     Might the V be a tax-exempt Visitor sign, for what we now deem Foreign Resident?


That’s all for now………..send any comments – and please keep sending your old (pre-1975) photos for entry to the Club historic archive.

TEHA website

I have checked this draft for errors and omissions, and all seems well.    However, the moment I press ‘Publish’, I will find clangers incomprehensibly still present.    Ho Hum.

Told you so.        Several ‘enhancement’ made already – and only 16 hours had passed!

And more, with new pics – 17/04/2018     Further edited 27/4/18

Feb-2018 Stoel albums progress – Wolseley Worldwide

February 15, 2018

(GB-NI.Belfast 47-50,47)_MZ 1_Belfast Mayor_Wolseley 25.vbGB180KS

TEHA, the Europlate photo archive* comprises the photo collections of Members who have kindly offered their  now-historic (pre-1975-ish) pictures for the others to enjoy.    Press cuttings, b/w and colour photos and transparencies (slides) are all included in the sources.   The amalgamation of several collections has helped to identify plates previously uncatalogued, and even to discover new series.   A handful of countries remains to be completed, as time permits.

All Europlate members can find the entire Archive to date, which is supplemented every day by extra pictures and by added or corrected details, at thisaddress, current 25/11/2019:


TEHA website

Many of the photos in Members’ albums were principally taken to record  number-plates, but they also include background items of interest to other collectors, travellers and to old vehicle buffs, and a few such images follow in this chapter, which shows Wolseley cars around the world..

In a world now dominated by Japanese brands, it is interesting to look back on the earlier days of motoring, when British, American and European makers fulfilled the global demand for transport.    Then, in later post-WW2 years, dozens of once-famous marques ceased production and the New Asia became the bulk motor-builders, leaving only a handful of famous makes in the fields of specialist and luxury vehicles manufacture  to the ‘Old World’.

WOLSELEY was a high-quality British maker from the turn of the 20th century.   The marque was used by senior administrators of Empire, as witness this picture below of a gold Wolseley 25hp Mk.3 ‘Silent Six’ convertible carrying Governor Lt.-Grn. Northcott on a tour of Sydney circa 1938.

(AUS)(NSW gv 40s)_CROWN_(gvnr.Northcott 46-67).Wolseley S3 Super6-25hp dhc.vbAus042534KS

(AUS)(NSW gv 40s)_CROWN_Wolseley S3 Super6-25hp dhc.vbAUS042534KS

and, above, on another occasion, showing the massive Lucas P100 headlights as fitted to many grand cars of the period.                (Europlate archive)

Below, a saloon model of the 14/56 owned by 1935-41 C-in-C New Delhi, circa 1937, sporting a privileged number  D 9.                          (Europlate archive)

(IND-BI 02-39c).Delhi_D 9_(C-in-C)_Wolseley1456.1935csKS

(BI – 1900-1947)
   A 25hp Wolseley on Dealer* number-plates 131 Z in late 1930s British India.   *Trade plates are thought to have been red on white.                           (Europlate archive)

(IND-BI 02-39c).Bombay(temp)_131 Z_Wolseley.csKS

(IND 47-68).Madras dist._MDN 66_Morris25-5.Ooty1968VB

(IND – 1947-68)

Above – Morris Motors amalgamated with Wolseley in the 1930s and that union spawned the mighty Morris 25-6, or Big Six, which a casual observer would surely take for a Wolseley 25.     This 1930s chauffeur-driven Morris example MDN 66 was photographed in the Nilgiris tea-country at Ootacamund, Madras State, in 1968, as the mem-sahib went about her shopping.   The c.1936-ish car has been re-registered in to the c.1947-68 series.         (MDN = Madras State, Nilgiris region.)                                   (Brumby archive)

(NZ 56-61)(lgv)_Morris_van L 10459_hmVB

(NZ)  L 10459  —  Unusually, this Morris 25 above, in New Zealand, was bodied as a van.   Registered (L) as a Light commercial, the 1956-61 plate series was white on mid-brown, L 10459.                           (Courtesy Helen MacFarlane)

(ROU 49c).Montevideo_52-76+48-701_(w.b)_Riley RMA+Wolseley1885.vbU166KS

Above:    The 1938-41 and 1945-48 Wolseley 18/85 model found an export market in Uruguay, where Montevideo-registered 48-701 in white-on-black was seen alongside a Riley RMA 1.5 litre saloon 54-886.        (Photo c.1949, via Karel Stoel-Europlate archive)

(RA 40-70,51).Neuquén,Lajas-city_14 51 750_Wolseley.vb1950cJP

Above – Another Wolseley 18/85 in South America is this Argentine example, registered in 1951 Neuquen state, Lajas City.    The car would have probably have been from the 1945-48 post-war batch.   Plate 14 51 750.      (Europlate archive)

(AUS)(NSW gv 57c)_CROWN_(gvnr.Northcott)_Wolseley690.vbAus042504KS

Above  —  Carrying no plates, but the British Crown, this 1957 shot depicts the Wolseley 6/90 of the long-serving Governor of New South Wales.    Northcott served in that capacity from 1946 to 1957, being the first Australian to hold the post. (Europlate archive)

(AUS)(SA 30-66,57c)_sa 357_(VIP)_Wolseley690.vbAusB002bKS

(AUS SA 1930-66)  —  Another Aussie plate above, and with a privileged, low number SA 357, given to the Governor of South Australia, Sir Willoughby Norrie, for his Wolseley Six-Ninety.     This S/A series duration was 1930-66, this photo being circa 1957.    (Europlate archive)

(GB.Herts. 58-58)_4 CAR_Wolseley 690.vbGB022KS

Above – Back in Britain, a new 6/90 Wolseley model meets its new owners, and is handed over by William Morris himself, by now a peer of the realm.   Jan 1958 Hertfordshire (county-registered   4 CAR.    (Europlate archive)

q(AUS)(NT 53-56)(q cgo)_L 3531_comp_Wolseley444_(s.b)_Bachelor1966VB

This Wolseley 4/44 captured in a shed in the Northern Territory of Australia in early 1966, has always been a poser, because the L-prefix was for Lorries, not cars!               Any ideas?     White on black L 3531.                       (Brumby archive)

(ZA-KZN 14-71,50s).Port Shepstone_NPS 4422_comp_2005VB

AboveThe James Hall Museum of Transport in Johannesburg Motor  Museum http://www.jhmt.org.za/   is an unmissable visit when in that city.

One exhibit is a rather jaded Wolseley 4/44, NPS 4422, from (former) Natal-Port Shepstone,  which keeps company with a Phase 2 Standard Vanguard, TJ 4390, from Transvaal-Johannesburg.   The white on black plates are from the 1914-71 series, both issued in the early 1950s.               (Brumby archive)

(NZ 63-86)_DV 5573_Wolseley 6-110.VB

(NZ – 1963-86)   DV 5573 is a Wolseley 6/99 in New Zealand c.2000.     (Brumby archive)

16-2-2018  POST SCRIPT – New Finds.     Can you identify them all?

Details now entered – 27/4/2018

Wolseley Aus Gen. D.McArthur - 4 StarsWolseley Aus Gen. D.McArthur - USA 1

General MacArthur car  Sydney 1940s

Wolseley 699-r_NZ VB2003

(NZ – 1963-86)   BS 6496 – Wolseley 6/99

Wolseley 1560, NZ VB2003

(NZ – 1963-86)  AL 276  —  A Wolseley 15/68 serves in New Zealand    (Brumby archive)

Wolseley Hornet_C940_Cairo1934_VB

(ET  – 1913 – c.1956)    C 940  —  Cairo-registered Wolseley Hornet uses a cast-alloy plate, with the registration centre code C in red.  Taken in the mid-1930s.       (Brumby archive)

Wolseley Ceylon_Z84_f_VB1935

(CL – 1928-40)  Z 84  —  Another Wolseley-derived Morris 25?    Note the Ceylon AA badge, now a rarity.    Z 84 is thought to be preserved in Sri Lanka by an active motor club.

The Blog images are taken from The EUROPLATE HISTORIC ARCHIVE

which you an access here:

TEHA website

GUERNSEY, Channel Isles

January 4, 2018

For a small island, Guernsey sports a good variety of licence-plates, though most are seldom seen, even to the visitor hunting for the oddities.       Karel Stoel, Terry Gray  and Ray King captured most of the following images, all pre-1970s.

(GBG 03~)(Bailiff-PM)_1_f_Rover105.TG
Guernsey no. 1 – The Prime Minister is titled ‘Bailiff’ in Guernsey, and registration no. 1 is retained for his principal car.
(GBG 03~)(Bailiff-PM)_1_cr_Rover105.TG
GBG   1 – The Bailiff’s Rover 100 from astern.
(GBG 03~)(Bailiff-PM)_1_r_Rover100.TG
1 —  Another stern shot of the Guernsey Bailiff’s Rover in the 1960s.
(GBG 03~)_CROWN_Austin 25.vbGBG2aKS
A 1930s royal visit to Guernsey used this Austin 25 limousine, registered only with a Crown, unfortunately hardly visible here.
(GBG 03~)(Lt.-Gvr)_G 1_f1_Singer conv.vbGBG9aKS

The Lieutenant-Governor of this period (50s-60s) used an Austin Princess (Vanden Plas?) limousine for formal occasions and a Singer Gazelle drophead  G 1 as his principal private car.

The Austin limo may have been designated an A 135 in the current catalogue.   It used a lorry engine which powered their medium commercials.   (See David Powell’s comments below).

(GBG 03~)(Lt.-Gvr)_G 1_r_Singer conv.vbGBG9aKS

G 1 — Lt-Governor again.

(GBG 03~)(Lt.-Gvr)_G 2_f_Standard 10.vbGBG9aKS
Possibly the Lt.-Governor’s wife, carrying G 2 on a ’50s Standard Ten estate car.
(GBG 03~)(Bailiff-PM)_1_f_Humber.vbGBG1aKS
An earlier Bailiff, circa 1953, ran this Humber Super Snipe, on which the Guernsey serial 1 was shown.      Camera shake was de rigeur in those days.
(GBG 03~)(dlr-general)_T 114_Commer EDV.vbGBG8bKS
T 114  —  Awaiting registration, vehicles were moved from docks to dealers and on, using the T-coded trade plates in white on black for General Use and Z-coded white on black for Limited Use.    When Hillman made vans and pick-ups (utes) they called them Commers.      Earlier versions of this Minx-derivative vehicle were listed in Rootes’ catalogue as EDV’s – Express Delivery Vans.   So might this later model have been.    I had one once, BVV 111.   It cost £5 and lasted several weeks.(GBG 03-07)(Trade)_T 120 + 5959_r_Cit.H15-vbGBG8bKSDealer General Trade plate  T 120  covering untaxed 5959. This ‘Big 15’ Citroen Traction-Avant illustrates the enthusiasm for French cars on the former French Channel islands, whereas on the British mainland, they were less common.       By comparison, British cars have always been hardly known in France, the French being fiercely loyal to their own brands..
(GBG 03-07)(dlr-limited)_Z 15 + 4036_Hillman c38Minx.vbGBG8bKS
Z 15 — — Pre-war Hillman Minx is untaxed as 4036, so uses dealer plate Z 15 to move between the workshops etc.
(GBG 03-07)(dlr-limited)_Z 3 + 5687_r_Standard14 m.vbGBG8aKS
Z 3  —  Similarly, a Standard 14 uses white/black Limited Trade plate Z 3 whilst waiting to re-tax Guernsey 5687.    Unusual that Trade plates didn’t adopt the Empire-wide colours of red and white.
(GBG 03~)(dlr-mc)_X 25_mc.vbGBG7bKS

X 25 — The long-discontinued Guernsey Motorcycle Dealer with X prefix.

(GBG 03~)(timp)_V 15_Austin A40Devon.vbGBG7bKS
V 15 — For a time, visitors to GBG who wished to stay longer than usual, would be issued black on yellow Visitor plates, as on this 1950 Austin A40 Devon.
(GBG 03~)(timp)_V 5 + 261LMT_mc.vbGBG7bKS
A motorcyclist from the mainland (Middlesex) carries his long-stay Visitor plate V 5.
(GBG 03~)_134_Hillmaninx.vbGBG6bKS
1344  —   The normal white on black plates for Guernsey, which didn’t follow the fashion to switch to the white front/yellow rear of most countries from the 1960s-on.       This late-1940s Hillman Minx uses low-number 1344, which would have been a re-issue, as originally, 1344 would have been issued in the 1910s or 20s
(GBG 03~)_774_car.vbGBG1cKS
774 — Here’s a genuine oldie, rather than a re-registration, probably about 1919.       We could do with a timeline of the GBG issues……            What’s the car?
(GBG 03~)(rtl)_11201 H_Ford105Anglia.vbGBGKS
11201 H — Rental cars use normal plates, but carry a second ‘H’ plate, for “Hire’. It’s removed when the car returns to private use.      1960s Ford Anglia 105E.
(GBG 03~)_1121_Lancia Flavia.TG
1121  —  Occasionally, one sees a coloured plate in Guernsey, but it’s unusual.        This Lancia Flavia carries re-registration 1121 originally from circa 1920.
q(GBG 03~)_GBG 961_MorrisOxford.vbGBGKS0003
GBG 961  —  It is very unusual to see a Guernsey plate like this above, where the owner has incorporated the international oval, GBG, in to the (re-issued) plate no. 961.      This is a pre-Farina Morris Oxford, circa 1957.
(GBG 03~)_11675_bus.vbGBG6abKS
11675  —  Buses use normal plates and ‘route’ buses carry a second licence plate issued by the police.    Most of the Guernsey fleet were  long-lasting Albions.
(GBG )_public licence 108_bus.vbKS
PV 108  —  These enamel plates see service on a series of buses, as old vehicles are withdrawn from service. Most categories of Guernsey plate are re-issued by request.
(Note a response by David Powell below)
(GBG )_public licence 46_photo.vbKS
PSV 46  —  Another GBG bus plate of which we know little.    Any ideas?               Yes – a  private-hire coach  – chapter and verse below from David  Powell!
(GBG 03~)_4_Peu.203.vbGBG6bKS
4 — The old residents can retain their original family numbers if they wish. Nowadays, some command ridiculous prices if they come up for sale. This Peugeot 203 carries the fourth island plate, issued in 1903 and probably retained via many intervening cars.
(GBG 03~)_7_Ren.750.vbGBG6KS
7  —  Another old family heirloom – 7 on a Renault 750. 4cv.      GBG continues to use its original system, just as it began with in 1903.    That could be a world record for a long plate series…..


Not bad plates-variation for a tiny island, eh?


RPWO is back On-Line!

December 18, 2017

Good news – the Registration Plates of the World Online is back, after a hiatus of some weeks.  The U.S. hosting Company, GoDaddy, ran in to snags, but our webmaster, John Northup, has bent them to his will, and somehow re-opened the door.

Members will be pleased to Resume Normal Inspection.     One or two pages remain to be connected, but its only a matter of hours, we believe.

TEHA website

It was not the Russian navy ploughing the seabed and disturbing the Europlate cable, as we had wondered.

While you’re here –  an unidentified old Russian

Member Rein Veldi comes to the rescue..   

Its a 1928 AVTODOR Nami prototype Russian car of a type which did not go in to production.    The plate is a 1928-30 manufacturer’s tag reading 19/ISPYTANIE, probably black on white.


Study the Historic shots from a few of our members’ photo collections, at:

TEHA website

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.


















Some curiosities

August 3, 2017

Is this one of the best postings for a diplomat?     This Land Rover Discovery is seen outside the British High Commission in Nuku’alofa, which is a two storey(!) beach house right next door to the mini Royal Palace on peaceful Tongatapu island.

(Tonga cd 90s~-GB)_UK 2_comp_2005VB


The principal assistant to the Tongan economy is generous New Zealand, whose High Commissioner uses the CD type NZ 1.

(TO)(cd 90s~-NZ)_NZ 1_comp_2005VB


 The Palace roof is of corrugated iron and the household operates a few vehicles with special-issue plates; here is a 1950s King plate (1)  from Jim Gordons’s photo collection.

(TO 50s)(king)_1_pl_JG


PM 16  —  Parliament people carry privileged PM plates, more recently in white and yellow, front and back.

(TO 2000c~)(off-PM)_PM 16_comp_2005VB


And also from the early times, G 271 illustrates the tractor issue, used during the 1960s-80s:

(TO 60s-80s)(trac)_G271_comp_2005VB

C 16 DKH   —  This pic has been sent in from Singapore recently – any ideas?



Alastair Caldwell shot these plates for tourist-sale on one of many stalls in Buenos Aires.          The re-painting has  created some variations on the original black-on-white format!

(RA 68-10)(cd)2-Caldwell_2013VB



Roy Klotz made this note below in Europlate some years ago and Ray King saved it in his scrapbook, which is now part of our RPWO on-line archive. What a rare find – the only plate of its type in the world.

Or was it?

(D)(Formosa Military Mission Berlin 45-45)_article.Ray King,Roy Klotz


KB 042 846  —  The Stoel albums unveil another version of that Chinese mission, carried on a Mercedes 170(?) which also bears the 1947-48 Berlin plate type issued by the Allied administration of the city in the aftermath of the war – Kommandatura Berlin (Berlin Command).

(The subject of Chinese/Formosan/Taiwanese participation in the restoration of  1940s Germany must be worthy of some research…..)

(D national 47-48).Berlin Command_KB 042-846+China Mil Miss.M-B.vb4443KS


BR 510-075  —  This Mercedes’ plate ticks several boxes.    It’s the Berlin 1948-56 series with BR meaning British Zone-North Rhein-Westfalia and the leading zero of the second number-set 075 shows that it is a dealer plate – as would the red-on-white colouring, if Mr. Stoel had had colour film.   Then, to make the matter even more interesting, it seems to have been an embassy car!      Diplomatic Dealer – quite unusual, we suggest….060117 – See Marcelo Taverna’s interesting observation on this curiosity in Comments below….

(D GBz 48-56).Nordrhein-Westfalen(dlr)_br 510-075_(r.w)(CD oval)_M-B.vb4443KS


In the 1930s, King Edward the Eighth of Great Britain visited Vienna and was driven about in A 182 (CD) which was probably the GB embassy Rolls-Royce.

Diplomats used low Vienna serials.

‘A’ coded Vienna until 1947, when ‘W’ became the capital’s identifier (Wien).

(A-H 30-38).A-Vienna(cd)_A 182_(w.b)_King_vb28KS___________________

Below: A page from the Stoel albums, prior to breaking-up in to individual images.

0291 P is thought to be an artist’s impression, not a Russian plate type.     The vintage car stuck in the mud somewhere is sporting an Asian script and is quite unidentifiable so far.

The motorcycle combination registered ‘Zh 12 11 is thought to be a 1931-34 *military issue in red on white.      30.09.2017 – We now learn  from reader Rein that it is a black on white normal plate from the 1931-34 USSR series, though so far, which area (Zh)  is not clear.    *Rein adds that pre-WW2, Russian military vehicles were unregistered.


(Rus-SU 20s).. vb01KS-DONE


And finally 24  – a Russian query.    Do we know of light-on-dark Russian plates in Tsarist 1915??

Right-hand-drive – and is it a FIAT?

19Sept2017 – Well – 24 is obviously a pre-revolution (1917) registration and there wasn’t a national system yet in Russia – each town used whatever they liked.   Member Rein has info that this is a rally car in Moscow from Chisinau after that long drive, so now we don’t know if it is a Russian or a Bessarabian plate!!  

See his notes below:

The last plate “24” is pictured in May 1913, not 1915 as printed. The car is a Benz and it arrived to Moscow from Chisinau, Bessarabskaya guberniya (Moldova). The owner of the car was Mr Suruchan, winner of the 1913 Star Race, organized by Russian First Automobile Club. Competitors started from different cities to drive to Moscow. There were no general Russian plates at that time; every city and province had its own colours and designs. Colours were usually changed every year, to denote payment of annual vehicle tax.

q(Rus-SU 15-q)_24_(w.b)_1915photo.anonVB






Honduran check-out

April 14, 2017

Friends having been persuaded to invest in the Honduran island of Roatan, south of Cuba, invited the Brumbys to visit in March 2017.    Having little knowledge of the Central American region, save for Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, if that counts, we took them up and flew United Airlines London-Houston where one must overnight at the massive airport before taking another 2-hour island flight next morning.    On arrival, the airport carpark gave up a prize immediately, with 3 of the International Mission (also titled elsewhere Aid/Non-Government Org.) MI plates.    Brown rim and lettering rather than the red suggested in the guides.    They must be batch-coded, as there would not be 4463 such vehicles, even in Honduras!   MI 4463

(HON 99~)(aid)_MI 4463_cu_(b.br.w)_2017VB


Though I have always favoured pictures of plates mounted naturally on their vehicles, I find that photographing plates in countries which use small detail in their plates is seldom successful when reviewing them later.      Nowadays, aided by the free-use digital cameras and phones, we can take both distance AND close-up shots.

I used to be able to then create a ‘comp’ – a composite picture for display, using Photoshop – but I have forgotten how to do it!

This is an comp. example, from a 1996 visit to an Egyptian fire station

(ET 96)(mun)(fire)_LU 4&5_comp_1996VB


Therefore, the Honduran photos shown here tend to be portraits, so that the reader can see the detail.



Another plate type first seen at the airport, was this National Government plate using an ‘N’ prefix.  N 11905(HON 99~)(gv)_N_11905_cur_(b.bl.w)_KIA ute1.2017VB

These National plates use the colours of the current private vehicles issue and are used by the regular police and other state offices.   N 11905 is an undercover  police ‘ute’ (or pick-up truck), photographed from the safety of our hire-car, as they had more guns than we..

(HON 99~)(gv)_N_11905_r_(b.bl.w)_KIA ute3.2017VB

The alpha system uses two forms of the letter ‘N’ and perhaps Honduras could be the only country to use Ñ….

PDÑ 9676 has the Private vehicle prefix P and the Dx serial was current during our visit, changing to PEA just as we left, pursued by swarms of sandflies and mosquitos, two of the islands’ most successful breeding fauna, alongside the poor but jolly villagers.

(HON 99~)_P DN 9676_(bl.w)_.Roatan2017VB


Duty-Free Imports

There are two colours of PP plates, which were thought to be for rental cars – but they use normal plates.     I was told by a Thpanish-thpeaking local that the PP abbreviates ‘Placa Pimiente’ or Temporary Plate, and later,  by an American whose car carried a set of them, that, to encourage retirement settlers from US and Canada to Honduras, their household equipment and cars may  be brought in free of import duties, providing they are not sold within five years.

Costa Rica has a similar privilege plate for retirees.

Our esteemed Editor, Señor Barragan, who knows a good bit of Thpanish tells me there is no  such word as Pimiente – so it seems that my first source spoke with forked tongue.

Anyway, most PPs are all-red but a few light pick-ups (utes) had black lettering.     Why?

A new discovery was a trailer system, with a leading ‘R’ as usua;, for Remorque or similar, and a serial letter.     They are uncommon, yet they have reached C as a serial.   Trailer R C 1429,  adjuring all to ‘Protect our Forests’.   The English word ‘bosky’ is a relative of this Latinate word Bosques….

(HON 99~)(tlr)_R C 1429_(bl.w)_trailer.Roatan2017VB

and trailer R A 8536

(HON 99~)(tlr)_R A 8536_cu_(bl.w)_trailer.Roatan2017VB

Motorcycles are  as expected, prefixed M …

(HON 99~)(mc)_M AB 7049_(b.bl.w)_mc.2017VB


The Fire Brigade seems to have freedom of choice about what it displays!

(HON gv)(fire)_HRB-00146_f_(r.y)_Nissan ute.Roatan2017VB

(HON gv)(fire)_HRB-2409_(y.r)_mc.Roatan2017VB

(HON gv)(fire)_HRB-2401_c_(y.r)_Roatan2017VB

Ambulances enjoy a similar freedom.   Same plate front and back.



A lengthy chase following a high-speed turn-round  enabled the photo-capture of an unknown military plate type, Repubblica Honduras Fuerzas Navales, as I judge it to mean, and we may rely on the Placamundi contingent to bring accuracy where there is only inspired guesswork.


(HON gv)(mil-navy)_RHFN 5718_cu_(bl.w)_Roatan2017VB


Several small cars carried the plate below and were hired to tourists.   It’s not exactly a plate, is it?




A special police group travel with blue plates, unlike any others and are tricky to photograph, for reasons you will understand.    This is as close as my survival instinct permitted me to get to white on blue, stencilled UD 11-001….


….from which my editing software gleans this:

(HON)(pol)_UD 11-001_ute.Roatan2017VB



The only non-Honduran plates on the island were from Guatemala.   It seems that there is paid work for GCA workers if they come to the island.     The authorities are still issuing 2004-dated plates!

(GCA 2004)_P 947PWS_Roatan2017VB

This GCA ute was dumped.   Its  P947 DWS plates were secured by self-tapping screws and are no longer attached.     A brand-new ute (still 2004)  P767 GJJ is seen below.

(GCA 2004)_P 767GJJ_cr_Roatan2017VB

A couple of odd US plates varied the diet:

(USA-Tex 2016)_transit_Roatan2017VB

(USA-Tex)(disabled)_68KBJ_(bl.w)_Chrysler SUV.Roatan2017VB

I suspect the driver of the Texas vehicle was laid low by the sandflies, the heat and the ghastly food of the island and was issued a handicapped plate by his hospital back home. Odd thing is, he went back to Honduras for more……       We won’t.

Victor Brumby, April 2017


For three weeks I have been dismantling the pages of Karel Stoel’s German albums and the period 1895-1945 is at last complete.      A plate I cannot identify presents your chance to show us your skill as a xeno-autonumerologist:     D 7090

(D 40s).q_D-7079_(l.d)_mil car.vbKS



More early German shots will appear in the next posts plus some of the Protectorates seized from the surrounding countries when Adolf got the bit between his teeth.

Here are two cars of senior government personnel, parked outside a great meeting hall in Vienna some time during 39-45.    Early vanity plates!   Nd 1 and W 101 are from Lower Austria and Vienna Protectorate…      Vienna/Wien used white plates during the occupation.

Less exotic IIB 57022 is from Upper Bavaria (Oberbayern).    How about identifying the three cars?

(D 39-45).Prot.Niederdonau-Lower Danube(A)_Nd-1 + W-101_vbKS

Now get back to work.




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

Reader Hassan translates: “Second to last car from Berlin… Captain Sigvard Drake of the P-4 (armoured) regiment, Skövde, narrates an exciting trip home from Berlin in his Ford Eifel Cabriolet in the letter below. (letter absent -Ed)  The picture is taken outside of Hedberg’s (Ford Dealership) in Malmö”     Thank you Hassan.


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



Bali Query

March 29, 2017


Jake Brumby was alert one morning last week, when this very odd Indonesian Consular Corps passed him in  traffic.    iPhone at the ready, he grabbed this shot.

Expiry being apparently in the 68th. month of 2001 leads you to the suspicion that this false-plate maker doesn’t know a lot about his subject!   Or is it something NEW?(RI)(cc)_CC_ DK 68-01_BMW.Ubud2017JB


Usually, Indonesian Consulars are thus:

where 12 is the US embassy and 22 indicates that the driver is 22nd. in line for the Big Job if it ever becomes free.   His plate ran out of tax  in July 2012.

(RI)(cc 92~-USA)_CC 12 22_cu_VB

But regional Consulars are  coded for their locality which in this case is the DK  code for Denpasar, the BALI capital.   42 tells us that there is a Mexican consulate there, and 01 would be the Consul himself.     Not a bad posting!

(RI 92~).Bali(cc-MEX)_DK 42 01 CC_2008VB

Maybe they run out of consular volunteers sometimes and pull in a few Honorary Consuls, because Indonesia makes a special plate for them……

(RI)(cc honcon 77~)_L 980 CC_cu_ITvb

and before the thin tin plate design commenced years ago, the original Netherlands Indies designs were in use, and show the family history.

(RI)(cc honcon 62-77).Jakarta_B.7178 K CC_comp_mb1970sVB

Note also how cameras have improved since the 1960s!

The country sports some of the most baroque military and police plates in the world, and because it’s a laid-back place, the cops don’t mind you photographing them.    Try this in Moscow!

(RI).Bali(pol)(mc)_XI 14-115_cr _2008VB

Roman numerals, indeed!


And what did Mr. Karel Stoel have to say about the Spice Islands?    Plenty – including BA-439

Sumatra West – on another of those Auburns which Jean-Emmanuel found in Guadeloupe!

(RI 20-62)(IN).Sumatra west_BA-439_plKS

(Guad 20s-52)_3162 1930s Auburn.jec.jpg

Next – notes from a banana republic….


Bhutan acquisition and rallying

February 24, 2017

Alastair C., a pal who enjoys rallying old cars in unusual places has caught the bug of plate-collecting, due to over-long exposure to your editor in bars and over dinner-tables.    In 2016 he returned from Bhutan having somehow persuaded someone to let him take one of their colourful plates home, which he presented to me at the Red Lion Inn at Coleshill, GB.


Bhutan Private .    2 =  Phuentsholing (Western region)


In 2009, he rode his Ducati(!) motorcycle to Senegal with some biker friends and collected a few mementos:

rim-97_4828-ae-00_masvb rim-97_6875-ae-00_cu_ac2009vb

wag-99_km-2820-a_cupl_ac2010vb wag-99comv_bjl-4027-c_cupl_ac2010vbMAURETANIA, SENEGAL and GAMBIA plates


I asked him how he transported them, on a motor-bike, from West Africa to Maidenhead, where he lives and keeps the dozen varying vehicle types with which he pursues his hobby of world motoring.    He replied, nonchalantly “Strapped ’em to me handlebars, old boy”.   Across the Sahara???    Past African border officials????    On a 2-wheeled, unstable conveyance????

Yes – well, I should have known better than to ask.

At present, that worthy has just finished the Haka Rally in New Zealand, for which he used his Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud – and that was with burma-rally-2014-alastair-caldwellhis (Kiwi) 99-year-old mother Dorothy, who frequently accompanies him as navigator (she is now in the Guinness Book of Records as the World’s Eldest Navigator).

The 2014 photo was taken in Mandalay by Australian friends visiting Burma and who saw Alastair’s Rolls parked-up during the lunch-hour, whilst he was on another rally!

Aussies Sue and Peter White took the photo to send to me for interest, and they  “spoke for a while with the owner”,  but no-one discovered that they had a mutual friend in England until I put 2 and 2 together weeks later, after receiving this picture!

Small world……


From a rally intended to take place in Cuba came this photo of repainted plates, which stallholders in Havana habitually prepare to sell to visitors as a memento of the island with The Worst Food In The World.     When the ship carrying the rally cars arrived at Port Havana, the authorities decided to blackmail the rally organisers by refusing entry for the cars unless an arbitrary and significant bribe was offered.    The organisers declined the invitation, by agreement with the  competitors and as a result, the containers full of rare cars never left the ship and were returned to Europe unopened.  The bankrupt country didn’t get either the bribe or the good deal of money which would have been spent by the rally crews.      They have much to learn.



< This period of Cuban plate is now over and every vehicle except some government and military departments have been obliged to re-plate with the new German-style below;

Cuban repainters usually change the colours.







Below: Black-on-white, Legible but rather dull new Cuban system, uses German dies.        1930s US Ford V8 tourer?c-2013_p-140-800_2015vb