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Old 2nd July 2009, 17:10   #91
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Gents,
I have just looked on an old hand written list I have of pre39 code letters (that I had forgotten about) and BGM is indeed listed as Belgaum (and BJP as Bijapur) so that about does it!
Cheers
Cedric
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Old 4th July 2009, 16:47   #92
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Hello Cedric,

I have some doubt about this.
Going by what we can see in the old pictures collected, all vehicles were re-registered some time around 1940, + / - a year or so.
For Bombay, the series started with BMW, outside Bombay there were the BYJ etc. series. This was applicable for Bombay Presidency, later Bombay state. This state included parts of Gujrat. Now no one knows how these registrations were exactly divided. BYA was a car registered in Ahmedabad, this was re-registered GCY or so. I have seen such a registration book with this new number and the old number mentioned inside. Similarly I have seen a BMW registration book, where the old number given was T 1111. I will go and see the book again to get a date of re-registration. But, soon after Bombay state was split in 1960, Gujrat re-registered cars, Maharashtra kept the old series and started MRA in Mumbai and MHC, for example outside Bombay. Maharashtra did not re-register the BMW etc. series.
Somehow BGM and BJR as Bombay Presidency numbers do not seem to fit into this scheme, I doubt whether these are Bombay state series. And the BGM Stoewer car has a plate saying 'Midnapore', so am not sure if it is indeed of Midnapore, but unlikely to have been Belgaum. I have not seen any vehicle with BGM registration from Belgaum. I have seen BYJ over there, but that could have migrated.
The heaviest concentration of vehicles in Bombay state was in Bombay, so they seem to have given only Bombay a separate series. Perhaps at that time Bombay had no octroi or negligible octroi duty. All other areas in Maharashtra had BY series like BYA.
Though there were exceptions, the series were generally sorted for type of vehicle. So cars were MRD, etc. taxis were MRP etc, commercial vehicles MRK etc, two wheelers MRE etc. Some taxis were also MRK, there were motorcycles in MRC. But whenever they issued a new series, they did not do so logically, leading to confusion. There was MRA, MRB a temp. series, MRC, MRD, etc. but no MRM, MRV. They were also not issued in order of the alphabet, MRP was issued before MRJ for example. So dating becomes difficult unless you have a registration book and make an educated guess.
One cannot gauge the date of a registration number on a car going by its age. This is because of the re-registration process which had been going on. Those cars which missed out on re-registration are actually in trouble because there is no access to the old records. These records were dumped somewhere, by now the termites must have destroyed them.
Best is if someone gets in hand old registration books and looks inside to the date of registration. Then he can make an educated guess as to when the series had started. But in many cases where old registration numbers exist, the car has "Duplicate" books and normally the history is not entered. So one must look into original old books. I shall do some looking over Sunday. I have a registration and tax book of a Mercedes. In the registration book, which is original, the first owner's name is J.R.D. Tata. But in the tax book all the previous owners names were not copied, Tata name disappeared.

Bhasin 54 talks about BGM 10. Do you have the original registration book? If so, it will contain interesting information.
If you have the address of the last registered owner, you may be able to find out where this registration comes from. But generally RTO records in Bengal are in a mess.
One more problem in Maharashtra, I do not know about other states, is that when a car is transferred within the state, the number does not change. So you can find a MRD registered vehicle in Nashik having a Nashik address, but the first owner would have a Bombay address.
Some of the previous posts are summed up in this.

Cheers harit

Last edited by harit : 4th July 2009 at 16:51.
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Old 4th July 2009, 17:17   #93
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My family have owned a few nice numbers, many of them gone with the vehicle but a few remain.

BRA 2 was a Chrysler AIr Flow now rotting in my village.

BRJ 1 was a Willys MB purchased from Calcutta and delivered by goods train

BRJ 5 a Willys MB purchased in 1948

BRJ 7 a WHite Hindustan Landmaster

BRA 78 was a Hillman

BRA 100 was an Austin

BPQ 1 was a red maruti 800 purchased in 1984, later it went on my brother's Gypsy and then Cielo.

BPE 1 was on my uncles Ambassador for many years before he bought a Contessa in 1986.

BPS 3 was my old Cj3B Jeep

BRX 1 was a Fiat 1100 D we had purchased in 1972

BPS 4, was a Bajaj Chetak Scooter that got stolen. Later I had it on my Bullet.

BRV 4 was our Willys station wagon in the village home

BRA 1 was a Rolls Royce owned by nawab Hajjan ALi, a clse family friend. Later it went on his daughter's fiat 1100 D and now it is on her Maruti 800. This was the first ever registered number in the State of Bihar when it was seperated from Bengal.
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Old 4th July 2009, 17:56   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
My family have owned a few nice numbers, many of them gone with the vehicle but a few remain.

BRA 2 was a Chrysler AIr Flow now rotting in my village.

BRJ 1 was a Willys MB purchased from Calcutta and delivered by goods train

BRJ 5 a Willys MB purchased in 1948

BRJ 7 a WHite Hindustan Landmaster

BRA 78 was a Hillman

BRA 100 was an Austin

BPQ 1 was a red maruti 800 purchased in 1984, later it went on my brother's Gypsy and then Cielo.

BPE 1 was on my uncles Ambassador for many years before he bought a Contessa in 1986.

BPS 3 was my old Cj3B Jeep

BRX 1 was a Fiat 1100 D we had purchased in 1972

BPS 4, was a Bajaj Chetak Scooter that got stolen. Later I had it on my Bullet.

BRV 4 was our Willys station wagon in the village home

BRA 1 was a Rolls Royce owned by nawab Hajjan ALi, a clse family friend. Later it went on his daughter's fiat 1100 D and now it is on her Maruti 800. This was the first ever registered number in the State of Bihar when it was seperated from Bengal.
Hello Desert Fox,

You will get many contact asking you to show pictures of the Airflow and its current whereabouts. Can you oblige?
You mentioned that BRA 1 was transferred onto other cars. That is not allowed under our laws.
BTW, where is this Rolls now, any pictures?

Cheers harit
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Old 4th July 2009, 18:15   #95
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Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
My family have owned a few nice numbers, many of them gone with the vehicle but a few remain.
Wow, that is quite a list you have there - all very desirable.

Of course, we would love to know more about the Airflow you mention. Do tell us more. If you have any photos of this and the others, do share.

I remember Auto India magazine had the last page reserved for something comical related to cars - one issue had a black and white photo of a white (?) Landmaster's rear number plate - BRA 13.
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Old 4th July 2009, 18:35   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harit View Post
Hello Cedric,

I have some doubt about this.
Going by what we can see in the old pictures collected, all vehicles were re-registered some time around 1940, + / - a year or so.
For Bombay, the series started with BMW, outside Bombay there were the BYJ etc. series. This was applicable for Bombay Presidency, later Bombay state. This state included parts of Gujrat. Now no one knows how these registrations were exactly divided. BYA was a car registered in Ahmedabad, this was re-registered GCY or so. I have seen such a registration book with this new number and the old number mentioned inside. Similarly I have seen a BMW registration book, where the old number given was T 1111. I will go and see the book again to get a date of re-registration. But, soon after Bombay state was split in 1960, Gujrat re-registered cars, Maharashtra kept the old series and started MRA in Mumbai and MHC, for example outside Bombay. Maharashtra did not re-register the BMW etc. series.
Somehow BGM and BJR as Bombay Presidency numbers do not seem to fit into this scheme, I doubt whether these are Bombay state series. And the BGM Stoewer car has a plate saying 'Midnapore', so am not sure if it is indeed of Midnapore, but unlikely to have been Belgaum. I have not seen any vehicle with BGM registration from Belgaum. I have seen BYJ over there, but that could have migrated.
The heaviest concentration of vehicles in Bombay state was in Bombay, so they seem to have given only Bombay a separate series. Perhaps at that time Bombay had no octroi or negligible octroi duty. All other areas in Maharashtra had BY series like BYA.
Though there were exceptions, the series were generally sorted for type of vehicle. So cars were MRD, etc. taxis were MRP etc, commercial vehicles MRK etc, two wheelers MRE etc. Some taxis were also MRK, there were motorcycles in MRC. But whenever they issued a new series, they did not do so logically, leading to confusion. There was MRA, MRB a temp. series, MRC, MRD, etc. but no MRM, MRV. They were also not issued in order of the alphabet, MRP was issued before MRJ for example. So dating becomes difficult unless you have a registration book and make an educated guess.
One cannot gauge the date of a registration number on a car going by its age. This is because of the re-registration process which had been going on. Those cars which missed out on re-registration are actually in trouble because there is no access to the old records. These records were dumped somewhere, by now the termites must have destroyed them.
Best is if someone gets in hand old registration books and looks inside to the date of registration. Then he can make an educated guess as to when the series had started. But in many cases where old registration numbers exist, the car has "Duplicate" books and normally the history is not entered. So one must look into original old books. I shall do some looking over Sunday. I have a registration and tax book of a Mercedes. In the registration book, which is original, the first owner's name is J.R.D. Tata. But in the tax book all the previous owners names were not copied, Tata name disappeared.

Bhasin 54 talks about BGM 10. Do you have the original registration book? If so, it will contain interesting information.
If you have the address of the last registered owner, you may be able to find out where this registration comes from. But generally RTO records in Bengal are in a mess.
One more problem in Maharashtra, I do not know about other states, is that when a car is transferred within the state, the number does not change. So you can find a MRD registered vehicle in Nashik having a Nashik address, but the first owner would have a Bombay address.
Some of the previous posts are summed up in this.

Cheers harit
BYJ was Nagpur for private vehicles and BYY for commercial vehicles
BYF, BYH were Pune BYL Pune commercial vehicles
BYA was Ahmedabad
MYL was Belgaum
MR, MM,MF, BM, BL series were all exclusively for Bombay.
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Old 4th July 2009, 19:15   #97
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An Amby taxi in the Andamans

Early registration numbers in India-30.jpg
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Old 4th July 2009, 19:59   #98
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Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
An Amby taxi in the Andamans
Almost all over India, all registration numbers started with three alphabets. If not, they were re-registered. Except P for Pondicherry, AN for Andamans and CH for Chandigarh. I am not sure about JK.
Anyone knows any other exceptions?
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Old 5th July 2009, 13:15   #99
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Harit,
From the start of the 1947 series until 1989, 100% of newly issued Indian (Pondicherry wasn't an Indian registration in 1947) registrations (except places like Andaman, Laccadive islands and the Minicoy islands) had 3 letters and up to 4 numerals. In the 1939 series that is pretty much true also but Jammu & Kashmir was J&K initially. Prior to 1939 two letters were more common than three and many early ones (1902) had one letter or none. CH for Chandigarh didn't start (and with a third letter) until 1966 as far as my records show but was Chinglepur (CH with no third letter) in the Madras Presidency in the 1902-39 series.
We know of many examples of old pre39 numbers that are still either running on the roads or at least still carried on the vehicle. BGM 10 may have been unlicensed for many years and it is a 1933 car so that would fit with the number it has. Yes I know this is the biggest problem with Indian registrations and trying to date them as so many vehicles got reregistered.

Can bhasin54 provide a photo of the car or plate?

I am certain that BGM is a Belgaum pre39 number and how one of the two we know of came to have Midnapore on the plate (and that plate was made in the 1980s or 1990s but the look of it) is a mystery. Midnapore could not possibly have had BGM as an original in-situ registration from the 1939 or 1947 series, being in West Bengal. All West Bengal numbers from 1939 onwards started with WB or WG up until the 1950s. BG does not exist as an Indian registration in the 1939 or 1947 series. It just has to be pre39. BGM is also on my original hand written list and that has so far proved correct.

Only certain states had mass reregistering programs from what I can see and if a vehicle was off the road then, it got missed anyway.
Cheers
Cedric
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Old 5th July 2009, 14:11   #100
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Harit,
Picking up on your comments about the MR series (I have it as running from 61-72) I will list what I know of the letters from the photos I have and hope someone else can add more.
MRA mc to about 2500 the rest cars
MRB temporary
MRC,D,E mc to about 3000 and the rest cars
MRF,G,H cars only
MRI mc only although more photos are needed for conclusive proof
MRJ cars only
MRK,O,P(from your observations),R commercial but only photos of taxis so presumably any commercial from what you are saying. Did L, N & Q exist as commercials?
MRT commercial but only one photo of an old BEST bus so any commercial or just BEST?
MRW,X,Y mc to about 3000 and the rest cars although not absolutely certain about mc in MRX
MRZ cars only

So we are missing MRL, MRM (not issued), MRN, MRQ, MRS, MRU, MRV (not issued).
I can understand them not issuing in alphabetical order as they pre-reserved letters for commercial and private vehicles and they will have been issued at different rates.

Attached is a nice MRB plate now owned by a Dutch collector

Anyone able to improve this list?????
Cheers
Cedric
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Old 5th July 2009, 17:20   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
BM_ didn't go in alphabetical order, the order probably was BMW, BMX, BMY, BMZ, BMU, BML, BMC, BMF, BMH, followed by MRW, MRX, MRY, MRZ, MRA, MRC, MRD, MRF, MRG, MRH, MRJ etc.

I would think BMA, BMG, BMK, BMP, BMQ, BMR, BMT were commercial vehicle registrations, purely from memory.
Dear Sir, In those days temporary regd nos.[on yellow painted background] used before actual regd, and to drive the cars to other cities by convoy drivers to be sold there used to be MRB.TEMP..XXXX

Quote:
Originally Posted by sabinesnubbing View Post
Harit,
Picking up on your comments about the MR series (I have it as running from 61-72) I will list what I know of the letters from the photos I have and hope someone else can add more.
MRA mc to about 2500 the rest cars
MRB temporary
MRC,D,E mc to about 3000 and the rest cars
MRF,G,H cars only
MRI mc only although more photos are needed for conclusive proof
MRJ cars only
MRK,O,P(from your observations),R commercial but only photos of taxis so presumably any commercial from what you are saying. Did L, N & Q exist as commercials?
MRT commercial but only one photo of an old BEST bus so any commercial or just BEST?
MRW,X,Y mc to about 3000 and the rest cars although not absolutely certain about mc in MRX
MRZ cars only

So we are missing MRL, MRM (not issued), MRN, MRQ, MRS, MRU, MRV (not issued).
I can understand them not issuing in alphabetical order as they pre-reserved letters for commercial and private vehicles and they will have been issued at different rates.

Attached is a nice MRB plate now owned by a Dutch collector

Anyone able to improve this list?????
Cheers
Cedric
Respected Sir, MRL,MRQ,MRS were issued to commercial vehicles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harit View Post
Almost all over India, all registration numbers started with three alphabets. If not, they were re-registered. Except P for Pondicherry, AN for Andamans and CH for Chandigarh. I am not sure about JK.
Anyone knows any other exceptions?
Dear si , for JK it used to be J&K we can find them on many old classic hindi movies shot in Kashmir viz . a taxi in which jeetendra and sulakshna pandit travel from srinagar to jammu in the movie APNAPAN.

Last edited by v12 : 5th July 2009 at 21:37.
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Old 5th July 2009, 21:16   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IQBAL VEERJI View Post
Dear Sir, In those days temporary regd nos.[on yellow painted background] used before actual regd, and to drive the cars to other cities by convoy drivers to be sold there used to be MRB.TEMP..XXXX
Fiats/Premiers and Willlys'/Jeeps/Mahindras sported the MRB TEMP number plates (red letters/digits on an yellow background.
Ambassadors had the WGK______.It used to be a number like 8000 something or 9000 something. Don't remember having seen a WGK 7000 something or anything less than 8000. There was no mention of the WGK ____ as a TEMP number (like MRB TEMP) but the same yellow background and red letters/digits with larger fonts on larger plates were the norm for older Ambys.
The Amby temporary number plates used to be bolted with the right lower number plate nut and bolt dangling below, leaving the number plate blank and black.
For Fiats/ Premiers the yellow plates used to be fixed to the front and rear chrome plated bumpers.
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Old 6th July 2009, 01:42   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabinesnubbing View Post
Harit,
From the start of the 1947 series until 1989, 100% of newly issued Indian (Pondicherry wasn't an Indian registration in 1947) registrations (except places like Andaman, Laccadive islands and the Minicoy islands) had 3 letters and up to 4 numerals. In the 1939 series that is pretty much true also but Jammu & Kashmir was J&K initially. Prior to 1939 two letters were more common than three and many early ones (1902) had one letter or none. CH for Chandigarh didn't start (and with a third letter) until 1966 as far as my records show but was Chinglepur (CH with no third letter) in the Madras Presidency in the 1902-39 series.
We know of many examples of old pre39 numbers that are still either running on the roads or at least still carried on the vehicle. BGM 10 may have been unlicensed for many years and it is a 1933 car so that would fit with the number it has. Yes I know this is the biggest problem with Indian registrations and trying to date them as so many vehicles got reregistered.

Can bhasin54 provide a photo of the car or plate?

I am certain that BGM is a Belgaum pre39 number and how one of the two we know of came to have Midnapore on the plate (and that plate was made in the 1980s or 1990s but the look of it) is a mystery. Midnapore could not possibly have had BGM as an original in-situ registration from the 1939 or 1947 series, being in West Bengal. All West Bengal numbers from 1939 onwards started with WB or WG up until the 1950s. BG does not exist as an Indian registration in the 1939 or 1947 series. It just has to be pre39. BGM is also on my original hand written list and that has so far proved correct.

Only certain states had mass reregistering programs from what I can see and if a vehicle was off the road then, it got missed anyway.
Cheers
Cedric
About the three letters and numerals, forget about 1947. All early vehicles were at some point of time re-registered, whether they had one, two or three alphabets. This seems to have happened around 1939. But when Pondicherry became a part of India, cars with the "P" registration were not re-registered, they continues to ply with that registration. On the otherhand, Goa vehicles were re-registered after Goa became a part of India. So all I was asking and saying was, after re-registration, which were the series which continued and are valid even today with only one or two alphabets. These seem to Be AN, CH and P. Then there was J&K, the question is whether any car registered J&K has valid papers. I am quite sure that the white 1951 Plymouth Woody station wagon which came for a Mumbai rally once had a simple JK registration number. Have search for that picture.
About BGM being from Belgaum, I have my doubts. So, as a first step to clarity, can anyone say what were the registration number alphabets in Mysore state before MYA etc? This would be intersting. I believe that Belgaum belonged to Mysore state that time also, it was not a part of Bombay state. Any feedback on this? I believe that they were only two alphabets. Maybe Dominator can elaborate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sabinesnubbing View Post
Harit,
Picking up on your comments about the MR series (I have it as running from 61-72) I will list what I know of the letters from the photos I have and hope someone else can add more.
MRA mc to about 2500 the rest cars
MRB temporary
MRC,D,E mc to about 3000 and the rest cars No cars in MRE
MRF,G,H cars only
MRI mc only although more photos are needed for conclusive proof Yes only MC
MRJ cars only
MRK,O,P(from your observations),R commercial but only photos of taxis so presumably any commercial from what you are saying. Did L, N & Q exist as commercials? L & Q existed as commercials, N was temp.
MRT commercial but only one photo of an old BEST bus so any commercial or just BEST? Also very much as taxis
MRW,X,Y mc to about 3000 and the rest cars although not absolutely certain about mc in MRX also not sure, any MRX two wheeler out there?
MRZ cars only

So we are missing MRL, MRM (not issued), MRN, MRQ, MRS, MRU, MRV (not issued). SO only missing now MRM, MRU, MRV
I can understand them not issuing in alphabetical order as they pre-reserved letters for commercial and private vehicles and they will have been issued at different rates.

Attached is a nice MRB plate now owned by a Dutch collector

Anyone able to improve this list?????
Cheers
Cedric
I think that MRE was exclusively for 2 wheelers.
MRN also existed as a temporary number plate.
MRK, L, O, P, Q, R, S, T, were commercial. MRK, O, P,Q, R, S, T, were commonly taxis. But also busses, both BEST and Private. And trucks too were accomodated. There were many BEST busses with MRK & L, and others as well. I do not believe that any series was dedicated to a type of commercial, taxis, buses etc.

About the use of temporary numbe plates, there were two issues.
Vehicles made in Mumbai like Fiat/Premier and Mahindras were driven to be delivered and so required a temporary registration. But also out of state vehicles were temporarily registered. Yopu see many TATA trucks even today. Long time ago we had a Maruti van registered in Mumbai, it came with a temp. no when we collected and correct number was given later. They also gave temporary numbers to truck chassis which were properly registered after the body was built.
But you could also get a temp registration when you imported a car and used it for a short period. As recently as last year the 10 or so Mustangs which came to India and drove upto Rajasthan all had temporary Mumbai RTO registrations. You can check in this forum on pics put up. VCCCI was upset that they managed to do this without their help. Must have saved them some money.

All above is to best of my knowledge!!!

Cheers harit

Last edited by harit : 6th July 2009 at 01:47.
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Old 6th July 2009, 11:55   #104
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I remember my mechanic telling me stories from the good old days - included was mention of a temporary regn plate made of leather for a Lambretta LD scooter he bought from Dadajee Dhackjee in Bombay.

MRX certainly was present for 2 wheelers, shall dig out some numbers later.

For the time being I am working on documenting as many regns as I can, ideally along with VIN numbers, dates, history etc. Everyone please feel free to chip in anything before the 80s.
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Old 6th July 2009, 12:18   #105
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Thanks to all for adding to the MR list!
MRE is noted - cheers Harit
As for J&K, all the early information suggests that they were J&K except for the attached which is a photo from 1987! If I had to guess, I would say it had originally been J&K but the number was remade as JK sometime after 1939.
A J&K plate was photographed in Kashmir in 1965 by a friend of mine - photo also included.

Mysore 1902 series: MS is said to be the first series (no photos only reports) and when they finished that, they used MY1234 and then MY1234A etc. Whether the letters were serial or indicated an area, we don't know. This carried on until at least 1936 I am sure as the photo of a 1936 bike shows. I would suggest that before 1939 they issued MYS as the MYS photo here is dated 1930s (nothing more specific sadly). After 1939, they moved on to MY and a serial letter that indicated the district but there is no mention of Belgaum.
MYB Bangalore district
MYC Bangalore city
MYD Chitaldrug
MYG Chickmalgalur
MYH Hassan
MYK Kolar
MYM Mysore
MYN Mandya
MYS Shimoga
MYT Tumkur

According to Wikipedia on the 'Bombay Presidency' page, Belgaum is listed as one of the districts of the presidency. It also says it became part of Bombay state in 1947 and was incorporated into Mysore state in 1956.

I will admit that I have today noticed a picture we have that is dated 1947 and has the registration BGU - marked as unknown. This does not appear in any list either but the photo was taken in West Bengal. Any thoughts on that one???

If we are lucky, we will figure this all out eventually.

Cheers
Cedric
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