Curious car sighting

We were driving back down A39 yesterday coming home from Dijon and we passed a car transporter full of UK registered cars, also heading South. They didn’t look damaged, and were a mixed bag of modern mid range cars.

Now why would they be going South? We’ve seem seem transporters heading north on A26 with what we assumed were broken down cars being repatriated…but why would RHD cars be wanted in the South of France?

Any theories?



A new French initiative to round up all improperly registered Brit cars and take them to the crushers :wink:


For expats in Spain trying to beat the 31st Dec deadline?


I’m with Tory on this.

Good quality used cars are extremely cheap in UK.

My Merc 230 SLC Cabrio cost me £3k, which included a full service by a Merc indy specialist. It had FSH, was on 70k miles, was fully loaded, inc leather and, according to a pal in the trade was in ‘exceptional’ condition. Give me £4k and I could round up one from a selection of 4-5 like that, next week.

I bought a Mitsubishi Carisma [it had none] trade-in on the basis of 'much used rather than much loved but drives straight and true.’ It did. Everything worked. The a/c was better than on my Jeep Cherokees. Mine for £353.

Presumably they are going to somewhere where RHD/LHD is not an issue. In Pakistan, for example the middle of the road is where you drive unless the vehicle coming the other way is bigger than yours.


They all had registration plates on…wouldn’t they be removed first? (I know nothing about cars!)

Pr’aps like most places, FR for eg, the re-reg starts with the original plates and matching reg doc.

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On occasion we pass a house that has between 1/4 english reg cars parked up. After some time we came to the, rightly/wrong, conclusion that maybe the cars were being sold and leaving the buyer to make it legal in France? If the ‘business’ is going well than easier/cheaper to buy in bulk and transported over. Maybe even buying specific cars to order?

The RHD cars were most likely destined for Malta or Cyprus (legacy of UK rule).

Apropos Africa: I think South Africa’s the only African country that drives on the left. To import a car there you need to have owned it for at least a year otherwise there’s massive duty. as they protect their local industry (Mercs, BMW, Ford and most of the Japanese cars are made locally).

Incidentally, SA’s a great place to own big thirsty classic cars - cheap petrol, outside the cities there’s high quality empty roads and best of all, forty and fifty year old cars without any rust!

Oh, and in the Eastern Cape province we had probably the coolest licence plates in the world…


Back in the UK, during another lifetime… I had a super little mini 1275 GT or some such… went like a bomb (without exploding…) :rofl: :rofl:

anyway… it was LHD and OH bought it cheaply and changed it over to RHD… :hugs:

One could do that sort of thing… way back when… no idea it if is possible with the modern cars…

I have seen dealers buying for Gibraltar and Malta at UK auction’s before, one bought 12 cars in a night.

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Zambia, Zimbabwe and - if my memory serves me well - Tanzania all drive on the left, a British colonial legacy.

Edited to include Kenya :kenya: and Uganda…:uganda:

Thanks Peter,

I’ve never been to East Africa (and is Zim still a country?) but I should have remembered Zambia, not least because I’ve a painting of one of those huge trucks that lumber down the highways of SE Africa and as you probably know, drove the spread of AIDS from Central Africa to the south. The painting has an ironic poignancy because it’s by a Zambian former postgrad of mine, Godfrey Setti, who did his BA inFine Art at Reading and died of AIDs before he could finish his PhD in my department at Rhodes. His second wife died a few months before him and they had seven children who were probably HIV positive. A long way from cool licence plates, but they co-exist.

Incidentally, when the Eastern Cape changed from boring Apartheid era licence plates, the sole franchise for the new plates was given to a cousin of the then governor…

To end on a happier note, I still think the licence plates look great…

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Could be breakdowns being repatriated? People stll seem to travelling :roll_eyes:

Heading north maybe, but south …

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Gibralta drives on the right, so could be Malta or just being broken for spares. Its amazing what Uk Insurers write off as uneconomical these days, criminal really.
You cant take vehicles overland to RHD African countries and uneconomical to ship from Bilbao or Marseille when they could be shipped from Uk.

Thanks to suggestions I have done some digging, and seems there’s a healthy second hand market in exporting used cars from UK. Car sales firms that do nothing else! So looks like Malta or Gibraltar were spot on.

I don’t s’pose these count as cool plates but I have seen PEN15 in London on two cars, a R-R driven by a Ronnie Wood look-a-like and some years later on a Merc. And parked for 3-4 years on Chepstow Villas W8 a TVR Chimaera with G5POT

No! Definitely not cool!

Probably couldn’t find it🤣