Oz col­lec­tor needs help

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

DEAR Wheels read­ers, I am a keen num­ber plate col­lec­tor and have turned up a plate which is a bit of a mys­tery, how­ever the money is on it be­ing from South Africa.

The rec­tan­gu­lar plate is cast in alu­minium with the let­ters SA to the left ver­ti­cally aligned and the num­bers 1.128 and the name RENOVIA across the bot­tom. On the web­site of Reg­is­tra­tion Plates of the World the his­tor­i­cal notes on South Africa re­ports that Dur­ban and Pi­eter­mar­itzburg is­sued reg­is­tra­tion num­bers for cars in 1898, with ve­hi­cles dis­play­ing the name of the bor­ough and a se­rial num­ber.

Ve­hi­cles were reg­is­tered un­der lo­cal reg­u­la­tions in Jo­han­nes­burg com­menc­ing in 1902 for nor­mal se­ries and 1905 for trade plates. 1903 pho­to­graphs show cars in Cape Town with white on black plates, 10 and 262. A 1910 pho­to­graph in Jo­han­nes­burg shows a black on white plate, Z 1.

The Pro­vin­cial Mo­tor Or­di­nance came into ef­fect on Jan­uary 1, 1914; au­tho­ris­ing the first is­sue of plates in the four prov­inces which then ex­isted.

How­ever, there are very few old South African plates around and no­body has a clue as to where this plate re­ally is from. The ear­li­est plates post the Road Traf­fic Act of 1913 seems to hold true, but any­thing prior to this is a big mys­tery. My ques­tion then: Was Renovia a small town or sub­urb of Dur­ban or Pi­eter­mar­itzburg that un­der­went a name change? Any thoughts or com­ments would be wel­come and any links to very old his­toric pho­tos of South African cars with plates would be ideal.

Please ad­vise me on Jim.Gor­don@riotinto.com

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Where does the third plate from the top, “SA 1.128 Renovia” hail from?

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