The M-Plate decoded: Taiga Lily’s Birth Certificate

15 04 2012

Our sage green beauty…

... and some sage green sage on our balcony.

When we bought Taiga Lily in 2010, she did not come with much history. The few facts came from the German registration papers: First registered in Berlin on June 1976, five previous owners, all from Berlin, which kept her on the road from 1976 to 2003, when she was de-registered and put aside. A friend bought her in about 2007, got a few rusty patches welded and gave her a new paint job, but left her semi disassembled in storage. A new start in 2010 when we bought her and slowly put her together again – back on the road since 2011. Now it took me 17 years of driving VW buses to realize that there is another little treasure box of information, hidden in the car in the form of a credit-card sized metal plate, the M-Plate. This here is Taiga Lily’s M-Plate, riveted to the metal wall behind the driver seat:



The M-Plate is short for “Mehrausstattungsplakette” (German for “additional options plate”). It lists in encoded form a whole set of information on how the car was originally manufactured and delivered, at the beginning of its life. I have seen this plate in both our buses many times but never understood what it meant. Finally found out when I saw that some members on the Late Bay forum proudly show their M plate-derived bus info in their signature line, including a link to David Garroux’s Type 2 M-Plate decoder. So here is what this decoder tells us about Taiga Lily: First output is a neat little figure with the model year and a graphic how your bus is meant to look:

Then comes a table full of information:

So Taiga Lily is a 1976 model, but was produced already in November 1975. She should be an eight-seater microbus – we are missing the middle bench. She was produced for a customer in Berlin, at that time in West Germany. The current color scheme, sage green (L63H) and pastel white (L90D), is the original one. The interior, “black leatherette”, is also authentic. Sage green was called taiga green for the German market, as in the Russian taiga.

There should be a sticker with the Volkswagen color codes behind the driver seat as well, but it is not there anymore in our bus. Here is a photo of how it probably have looked – taken from the Volkswagen-T2b web site of Rolf-Stephan Badura where he sums up the history and restoration of his T2b campervan.

The hinge of the sliding door shows some bright yellow paint job coming out under the green, so I had started doubting whether the green and white color scheme was original. But with this M plate information it is clear that the color is authentic. Perhaps the hinge was installed later. Not long ago someone mentioned that worn out sliding door hinges were often replaced by (second hand?) hinges from kombis from the German Postal Service, extra heavy duty versions which probably came in Postal Service yellow. Anyway, pretty amazing that all this information is stored in the bus – thanks to David Garroux for his fantastic decoder web site!

PS: In the Old Lady, the M-plate is fixed to a panel under the dashboard, behind the steering wheel, in front of the left indicator housing. Seems to be the second standard position where one should find the plate in a VW bus.


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15 04 2012
The M-Plate decoded: Taiga Lily's Birth Certificate « Campervan Crazy | VW Buses

[…] where he sums up the history and restoration of his T2b campervan. … See the original post: The M-Plate decoded: Taiga Lily's Birth Certificate « Campervan Crazy ← Another Happy Customer! 1958 Chevy Delray Complete! | JNG […]

4 06 2016
Happy 40th Birthday, Taiga Lily! | Campervan Crazy

[…] on the road! She was first registered on June 3, 1976 to her first owner in West-Berlin. And her M plate reveals that she already was delivered as a sage green and pastel white microbus which she still […]

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