FlyingSicilian
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Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:01 pm

Last month in Texas I saw a car with a "european" style license tag on the rear that was black and white, and said USA on the left side with a snall American flag underneath. This was not like the old USA tags for military in Europe.

Anyone have any ideas what it is from? Just curious



a bad photo of said plate
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Doona
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:37 pm

Could it simply be a US plate custom made to fit on an personally imported vehicle?

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flymia
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:21 pm

No idea. Not sure what the license plate laws in Texas are but maybe the car doesn't have it's plate yet either newly purchased or imported so it has a souvenir plate. Not sure if Texas requires temporary plates or not.

Highly doubt any state would make a euro plate for a car and why would they put USA on it.
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Maverick623
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:24 pm

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Thread starter):
Anyone have any ideas what it is from?

Probably from one of the various websites that sells such plates.

And no, they are not legal, as that guy is likely to find out.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:47 pm

Since quite a few years the personnel of the American military garrisons around here in Germany use number plates on their civilian cars, which look at first glance like a German EU one. Only if you look closer you´ll see USA and a coat of arms where the EU flag and the EU nationality sign would be.
They were introduced during an increase of terrorist threats to US military personnel abroad, to make them less conspicious than the old yellow or green US style plates they had before.

Jan
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FlyingSicilian
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:47 am

This car actually had Euro plate fitting cut outs in the front and back and the same tag on the front and back. (I saw it closer up before the photo). It actually kind of reminded me of the New Zealand tags I saw down there but it had a somewhat shiny finish.

I remember the old Germany and Italy US forces tags, and I've seen the current ones and neither were even close to this.

Texas is a two tag state, though people do often put vanity tags on the front anyway. I do sometimes see the military tags here (IIRC one has 30 days to get new tags) and I have even seen a European Tag from Italy and Germany (I've heard one can import up to 6 months with the Euro tags and a customs form if you are sending home) albeit both were on exotics driving around.

I don't know why it just struck me as odd. I tend to notice such non-sense when stuck in traffic LOL.
Thanks for the inputs. I googled a bit and it does seem there are companies that make the "custom" size tags. Seems odd but the state DMVs seem to make a fortune on them now. Texas has myplates.com along with what the state sells and there are countless examples.
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aznmadsci
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:20 am

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Thread starter):
Anyone have any ideas what it is from? Just curious

a bad photo of said plate

Looks like you were on 59South headed North near the Fondren exit because it looks like the HBU sign, with Discount Tire and Memorial-Hermann Southwest Hospital in the background.

The only cars I've seen around Houston with European style plates are imported cars and have both TX plates and Euro plates. My neighbor had Saudi plates as he and his wife lived there for work before getting transferred back to the US.
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AirPacific747
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:57 am

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Thread starter):
Last month in Texas I saw a car with a "european" style license tag on the rear that was black and white, and said USA on the left side with a snall American flag underneath. This was not like the old USA tags for military in Europe.

Probably some American who shipped his car with him home from Europe. Is it not possible to get Euro sized American licence plates?

I sometimes see cars here with American shaped licence plates most definitely because the car was imported from the US at some point. Sometimes I even see cars with American licence plates here in Europe, indicating that they were imported just recently.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:10 am

When it said "USA" on the left side with a US flag on it, then it comes close to the NATO license plates. Could be a US Nato soldier who got transferred back from somewhere overseas. If you could tell the numbers and letters it would be helpfiul.

In Germany, like here in Wiesbaden, they have normal WI- (letter) (Numbers) plates but with the Nato star and USA in small letters.

I also have seen in AZ and NM that our soldiers stateioned there have NATO plates with the German flag shown.
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rlwynn
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:15 am

Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 7):
Is it not possible to get Euro sized American licence plates?

No, America does not do that. All the plates are shaped the same.
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FlyingSicilian
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:24 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 8):
When it said "USA" on the left side with a US flag on it, then it comes close to the NATO license plates. Could be a US Nato soldier who got transferred back from somewhere overseas. If you could tell the numbers and letters it would be helpfiul.

In Germany, like here in Wiesbaden, they have normal WI- (letter) (Numbers) plates but with the Nato star and USA in small letters.

I also have seen in AZ and NM that our soldiers stateioned there have NATO plates with the German flag shown.

It was not the old Germany style NATO tag, at least not hte ones I had in Germany. Now they just issue locals to forces there. This was all white, with embossed letters in all black. A small USA in the upper left with a very small flag printed underneath the embossed USA

aznmad, you are close but I was southbound

Thanks for trying everyone   !
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PanHAM
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:50 pm

Yes, but the ol NATO tags have been replaced in Germany with regular tags, all white with black letters/figures and the USA in small print on the left side. They usually come in small US size plates but this can vary.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:34 pm

Here is a Wikipedia article about number plates used by US military vehicles in Germany:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle..._the_United_States_Army_in_Germany

A picture of an older US military numberplate (in use between 2000 and 2002):


The number plates used before were American style, green with black lettering, but they disappeared after the LeBelle discotheque bombings in Berlin and were swapped with "lookalike" plates like the one above, which at first glance should look like German number plates. Later new number plates copying the German Euro plates were issued, only that they had the lettering USA and the coat of arms of the three branches of the US military where you´d normally find the "D" for Germany and the EU flag.
Since 2008 members of the US miltary in Germany use standard German number plates.


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Aesma
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:16 pm

Why would Germany allow special plates and US registration anyway ? I mean bending the rules a little to allow US military vehicles to not follow local standards, I understand (in fact I doubt our own military vehicles follow them), but having large numbers of vehicles not following standards or even laws (like tinting the front windows of cars) doesn't make sense.
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falstaff
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:55 pm

Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 7):
Sometimes I even see cars with American licence plates here in Europe, indicating that they were imported just recently.

I have seen that too, but the plate doesn't always come with the car. In states like Missouri and Michigan the plate does not go with the car, like in California. When I sell a car I keep the plate and either transfer it to a another car, keep it as a souvenir or throw it away.

Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 7):
I sometimes see cars here with American shaped licence plates most definitely because the car was imported from the US at some point

I have seen that in the UK, but it was on some Range Rovers. I was surprised at the number of big American trucks and vans I saw in Amsterdam this past summer, they all had US styled plates. In the 1970 film The Red Circle (which is French) all of the bad guys drive American cars and they all have plates shaped like those in the USA.

Quoting rlwynn (Reply 9):
No, America does not do that. All the plates are shaped the same.

Not all of North American has the same shape plates. Canada's Northwest Territories have a polar bear shaped license plate.

The only European plates I have seen in the USA were actually on European registered cars. In the summer of 2011 I saw a German motor home with German plates in Michigan. I talked to the man and his wife and they told me about shipping the thing over and driving around the USA for a few months. That must have been a fun and expensive trip. I would love to do the opposite one day. I have seen various EU country plates around Detroit before, I assume they belong to people who work for automotive suppliers and just haven't bothered to re-register them because the plates have not expired yet or they haven't lived in Michigan for 30 days yet so they don't need to get Michigan plates yet.
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AirPacific747
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:07 pm

Quoting falstaff (Reply 14):
I have seen that in the UK, but it was on some Range Rovers. I was surprised at the number of big American trucks and vans I saw in Amsterdam this past summer, they all had US styled plates. In the 1970 film The Red Circle (which is French) all of the bad guys drive American cars and they all have plates shaped like those in the USA.

Believe it or not, but a few years ago, I saw a Volvo XC90 with Hawaii plates in Denmark. I believe that it is illegal to drive around with foreign plates for more than three months.


And just a few days ago, I saw another car with New Jersey plates.
 
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:22 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 13):
Why would Germany allow special plates and US registration anyway ? I mean bending the rules a little to allow US military vehicles to not follow local standards, I understand (in fact I doubt our own military vehicles follow them), but having large numbers of vehicles not following standards or even laws (like tinting the front windows of cars) doesn't make sense.

The reason is to make American vehicles less conspiciuos for security reasons. Outwardly they have to obey the German traffic rules, e.g. no tinted front windows or loud exhaust systems. There are certain letter combinations used for the American cars, so that police officers will know which one is a regular German car and what is an American car.
The British had a similar agreement with the German governmenmt for lefthand steering cars used by British soldiers and their families based in Germany. The reason was that back in the 1980s the Irish terrorist IRA organisation was targeting British soldiers based in Germany and their families with bombs attached to bottoms of their private cars to explode when the car was started.

Quoting falstaff (Reply 14):
I have seen that in the UK, but it was on some Range Rovers. I was surprised at the number of big American trucks and vans I saw in Amsterdam this past summer, they all had US styled plates. In the 1970 film The Red Circle (which is French) all of the bad guys drive American cars and they all have plates shaped like those in the USA.

The rear number plates of my Landrover Defender are actually motorcycle plates because standard German plates won´t fit.

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Aesma
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:00 pm

You misunderstood me, I read the wiki article and found the previous system, with American cars not passing any local standards, to be strange. The current situation seems more reasonable, even if registering the car just like any person living in Germany would be even more logical.
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FlyingSicilian
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:40 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 17):
You misunderstood me, I read the wiki article and found the previous system, with American cars not passing any local standards, to be strange. The current situation seems more reasonable, even if registering the car just like any person living in Germany would be even more logical.

The cars are only in Germany "temporarily" for up to 3-4 years (Italy has a similar system).
If you try and sell a US vehicle in Germany (German farmers often wanted the trucks) the taxes were (are) extremely high.
Same thing to bring a euro spec car back to the US permanently-you pay a small fortune to convert to US safety and emmission standards.
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falstaff
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:07 am

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 18):
Same thing to bring a euro spec car back to the US permanently-you pay a small fortune to convert to US safety and emmission standards.

Of course there are "Gray Market" imports that find there way in with no modifications. If you live in a state with no inspection of vehicles, like Michigan, nobody will ever find out.
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:37 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 16):
There are certain letter combinations used for the American cars

The last letter combinations of vehicles registered to US military in Germany through US Army Europe were HK, AD and AF. In place of the sticker of the German state was the seal of US Army Europe/7th Army. Instead of the EU Seal and a "D", the plates had the NATO star and "USA." US Army Europe began issuing plates "loaned" from German states with the letter combinations of where the garrisson/base was located in 2006/2007. I know how much it costs to register a car in Germany and I'm sure you'd blow your top if you knew how much it costs to register a car for a US Soldier.  
When shipping the vehicle back to the US, with the old US Army Europe plates, it depended on which state you imported it to as to how long you were allowed to keep the euro plates on the car. I know when I went from Germany to Montana, I was allowed to keep the plates on my car for 90 days. I propbably got stopped 30 times in those 90 days by curious police officers.
Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 15):
Believe it or not, but a few years ago, I saw a Volvo XC90 with Hawaii plates in Denmark

I don't know about Denmark, but here in Italy, according to the Status of Forces Agreement, US military retirees are allowed to keep their US license plates on their cars as long is it is currently registered and they have Italian insurance.
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:50 am

I can' t tell from the picture if this is the case but the new Texas plates are plain white with black lettering and no artwork.
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FlyingSicilian
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:08 am

Quoting IMissPiedmont (Reply 21):
I can' t tell from the picture if this is the case but the new Texas plates are plain white with black lettering and no artwork.

no not even close. While the photo is bad, I got a very close look at it in traffic. It is as wide as a standard European plate and as short.

The new Texas standard are old school black and white with the little lone star in the top left and state outline in the middle and if you get close it looks like two strands of DNA going down the sides as some sort of watermark or something but they are standard size US tags.

Quoting falstaff (Reply 19):
Of course there are "Gray Market" imports that find there way in with no modifications. If you live in a state with no inspection of vehicles, like Michigan, nobody will ever find out.

I don't know, maybe. There are federal customs forms to fill out on every car shipped by the major shipping companies. I had two shipped back and forth between Europe an the US, albeit American spec.

BMW, and Mercedes (and probably others) have military and diplomatic sales programs where you can get the US specs at the factory in Germany and then Uncle Sam ships it home. They also have delivery programs where you can buy US spec, go pick it up, drive around Germany then ship it home. Anyone can do that and supposedly the tax is cheaper (or so I have heard).
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BMI727
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:12 am

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 22):
I don't know, maybe. There are federal customs forms to fill out on every car shipped by the major shipping companies. I had two shipped back and forth between Europe an the US, albeit American spec.

Manufacturers didn't like it much and of course idiot lawmakers listened to them, so it's harder than it used to be. Anything older than 25 years (I think that's the threshold) is okay.
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PanHAM
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:48 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 13):
Why would Germany allow special plates and US registration anyway ? I

NATO troop statute allows that. It is an agreement between the NATO countries which goes much farther bthan allowing special licence plates. Here in Wiesbaden or in the Kaiserslautern area they have Military police as well. BTW, German military stationed in the USA has special plates as well, with the little German flag and identifying as German military. NATO soliders don't have to pay petrol taxes, no VAT onm cars etc. It is like diplomatic corps..
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Go3Team
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:09 am

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 24):
NATO soliders don't have to pay petrol taxes, no VAT onm cars etc. It is like diplomatic corps..

I'd like to see how they figure that out at the pump...
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BMI727
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:16 am

Quoting go3team (Reply 25):
I'd like to see how they figure that out at the pump...

I'd imagine it's just a refund at the end of the year or something like that. Keep the receipts and total it up.
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Herc4ever
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:54 pm

Quoting go3team (Reply 25):
I'd like to see how they figure that out at the pump...

You either purchase fuel on base/post or you get a pre-paid card. You put so many $$ on the card, which translates into so many liters of fuel. You use to just get coupons for so many liters. I still get the coupons in Italy.
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FlyingSicilian
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:37 pm

Quoting go3team (Reply 25):
I'd like to see how they figure that out at the pump...

You get coupons good at Esso stations or you buy on base. Both are at US prices and controlled. You go over your amount and you pay local.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:49 pm

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 28):
Quoting go3team (Reply 25):
I'd like to see how they figure that out at the pump...

You get coupons good at Esso stations or you buy on base. Both are at US prices and controlled. You go over your amount and you pay local.

The shops for the NATO soldiers are also VAT excempted. In West Berlin German customs would lurk outside the American PX and the British NAAFI shops to make sure that Germans would not shop there illegally duty free (e.g. getting GIs to buy them alcohol and cigarettes). Access to the shops was only with an ID card as either a soldier, veteran or a family member of one.

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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:01 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 26):
I'd imagine it's just a refund at the end of the year or something like that. Keep the receipts and total it up.

Some time ago, I worked in customer service at the IKEA store in Mannheim. We did get customers from the US military and, pleasant as most of them were, their paperwork for the VAT return was always a major pain in the backside... calculate return, fill in amounts here, here and here, stamp and sign once, twice and once more for the road and - oops - don't forget the reverse of page two again. Run whole thing through the computer, print cash return voucher, send customer back to checkout to get the money. Thank you for your business and have a nice day!
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PanHAM
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RE: Need Help ID'ing Odd Euro Style USA License Plate

Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:10 pm

Quoting go3team (Reply 25):
I'd like to see how they figure that out at the pump...
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 26):
I'd imagine it's just a refund at the end of the year or something like that. Keep the receipts and total it up.

...or simply by keeping the receipts for a month, put them on a list and turn the receipts in with British HM Tax Office for a refund of petrol taxes. The ordered cigarettes and booze came from a ship's supplier in Rotterdam, tax and excise free.

Cars were picked up in Germany by yourself free of taxes and could be imported to the UK free of taxes, but were driven with UK license plates. That's how it was done some 40 years ago in perth Scotland at the small remote depot the German forces had there. .
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