I call the Chief Transport Officer at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday to say I that I was interested in learning about the history of the vehicle I had bought, and that I needed a signature on a Form C transferring ownership from EPA. Of course he was rather suspicious about who I was and what I was after exactly, but accepted my offer to come by the following week to see him. His unease was perfectly understandable, he was only being professional. When I visited is small office in the basement of the EPA building the copy of the letter I had from the EPA Director to DVLA asking them to transfer ownership, together with the picture I brought of me standing with the unrestored Defender with the EPA logo still on the side helped put him at ease. It did take some explaining why Mr. Andy had not come himself, but I just said that as a diplomat and ultimate owner of the Defender I was the one in whose interest it was to get this done in a legal and transparent manner. His primary concern was actually that the EPA markings had to be removed before he would sign the form, which also made sense. I did not have it with me so had to return a couple of days later. Mr. Orgle was delighted see the restored Defender and talked to me about an internal debate going on in EPA about the pros and cons of maintaining vehicles beyond a certain point. He sounded as if he was partial to the “sell it before it gets too old” option, while the Director apparently has a soft spot for a couple of other old Defenders they have and wants to restore them. Mr. Orgle seemed very impressed by the condition of the vehicle and when I told him how much I had paid to have the work done he took Opere’s contact info and said they might go see him. He then signed the Form ‘C”’, had me take his picture with the vehicle and we shook hands.
Armed with the signed Form C from EPA I returned to see “Sam” at DVLA. I needed four photos for the paperwork, which were readily available from a few photographers set up under trees around the DVLA grounds, and was treated to a long period in a cubicle with three women who were filling out forms, mine among them, asking me if I was married, and when I said yes inquiring if “mummy” would beat me if they took me home with them. After paying GHC 60 to a cashier I finally had the registration and the windshield sticker to prove it. They did not change the plates, which did not bother me at all as I rather like have plates that have the same number as the year of the vehicle – 1995. I inquired about getting diplomatic plates but Sam explained that this had to be done through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which makes perfect sense. I just don’t know if we will have time to go through the process, although it would greatly reduce pullovers by police and facilitate border transfers.