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The last Right-hand drive cars


I wrote this years ago for a magazine, and thought that it might interest:



1969: THE LAST R.H.D. CHEVROLETS AND PONTIACS

Until the move in recent years to export r.h.d. versions of North American Chevrolet cars, it has been left to G.M.-Holdens to produce Chevrolet badged r.h.d. cars for certain export markets where they drive on the left. This arose from a deliberate decision by Ford and G.M. that from 1969 and 1970 respectively, all export r.h.d. cars were to be sourced from assembly plants overseas. Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen are now producing all r.h.d. versions of part of their ranges from their South African Plants. With the Ford Taurus, Ford produced their first r.h.d. U.S. cars since the days of the T. The first r.h.d. factory Chevrolets were the 1999 Mexican-assembled Suburban, followed by the Linden, New Jersey-assembled 2000 Model Chevrolet Blazer. It is not yet known when the next North American Chevrolet passenger cars will be offered in factory r.h.d., though Cadillac are already there.

The 1968 Model Year saw the end of assembly of the last C.K.D. Chevrolets and Canadian Pontiacs ex-Oshawa, Ontario, and St. Therese, Quebec, for G.M.-Holdens, G.M. New Zealand, and G.M. Continental, Antwerp, Belgium. These were assembled locally well into 1969 though. The r.h.d. versions of the Canadian Chevrolet body all used the basic 1965 l.h.d. dash with embellishments in the case of the 68 Pontiacs. This year was also the last for the [two year only] r.h.d. Chevrolet Caprice and Pontiac Grande Parisienne, assembled C.K.D. in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It was also, it is believed, the last year for the r.h.d. Sedan [pillared] and Convertible versions. This meant that for one year, 1969, there was just one model available in r.h.d. factory form for Chevrolet and Pontiac: the hardtop. After the last of the 69 cars, S.U.P. [built-up] or C.K.D. [for South Africa] left either of the Canadian Plants, the new lines for 1970 switched over to l.h.d. production only, at St. Therese, Quebec.

These last r.h.d. Chevrolets and Pontiacs were restricted to one model only, namely the Chevrolet Impala HT and Pontiac Parisienne HT, with either the 250 cu. in Six, or the 350 V-8, Chevrolet units in both cases though painted orange in Pontiacs. Although the 68 r.h.d. cars used the 65 Dash, the 69 Chevrolets used the l.h.d. 69 Dash transposed, and may have been installed in the Parisiennes as well though I have never seen one so cannot tell. The l.h.d. Parisienne Dash was nothing like the 69 Chevrolet, even though they used the same basic bodyshell, albeit with the 69 Chevrolet Wagon running gear under the Parisienne.

Although the r.h.d. cars were restricted to the HT versions, l.h.d. pillared Sedans and Convertibles were available for export as well. I have come across one only 69 l.h.d. Parisienne Convertible, VIN # 764679110358, which was exported new to the UK from Oshawa Plant, and one 69 r.h.d. Impala, # 16343992044739, from St. Therese Plant [note 1 was Oshawa, and 2 was St. Therese]. Both have the 350 Chevrolet engine, with THM 400 transmission. However, the Parisienne has horrible wood-look plastic internal trim to distinguish it internally. This export car has the Imperial m.p.h. speedo, which might be very rare as I am not sure that Canada had reverted to k.m.h. by then. I have information on another 1969 Chevrolet Impala, registered September 1970, # 164692059502, again from St. Therese Plant, though I am not certain whether it was l.h.d. or r.h.d.: this was a pillared sedan and not the HT.

Although G.M. stopped exporting C.K.D. cars to all but S.A. for 69 Model Year, reasonable numbers of r.h.d. Impalas, equipped with the 250 Six mostly, though some were V-8 powered, were imported into Australia and New Zealand. The latter market also received it seems l.h.d. cars, HT and Sedan versions. There were no doubt cars delivered to other markets as well. The last 69 r.h.d. cars sold new were in fact assembled in Port Elizabeth well into 1970. These were either Impalas or Parisiennes, and were V-8 powered exclusively I believe. Chrysler S.A. assembled the last of the 69 Valiant Barracudas as they were called locally, with the indigenous slant six as against the Hamtranck, Detroit, Plant 283 V-8 which the UK received. These were the last assembled N. American Chryslers until the Neon.

One of the reasons why G.M. and Chrysler decided not to offer the r.h.d. versions of their cars for 70 was because the B-Body and Barracuda bodies were all-new for 70 and the cost of re-engineering for the limited markets was too high. In the case og G.M., all r.h.d. Pontiac assembly stopped, though Chevrolet badging was put onto Opels and Holdens instead. Ford of Australia supplied r.h.d. Fords for export, save in the case of the to 73 LTD which were converted by Ford of Australia for their own consumption.

It is amazing to see that a Parisienne Convertible was ever offered new in the UK, but they were, as well as an Impala Convertible. These huge cars were simply too big for UK roads, though some 70 Impala and Parisienne Models were also imported subsequently. From 1970, some modicum of commonsense prevailed and the importers, General Motors Limited, pushed the smaller Monte Carlo instead though build quality was simply not up to the high price that had to be charged.


This is all the shots†I have of the car now! It had MOROSO chrome valve covers, and was quite tatty (worn/dishevelled) inside.


interior.jpg



-- Edited by Oracle on Tuesday 21st of July 2009 03:49:52 PM

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Since then I found another Parisienne, rhd:

plate.gif


69.gif



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1969 rhd Impala in UK:

impala.gif

-- Edited by Oracle on Tuesday 21st of July 2009 03:46:47 PM

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Very interesting . Thanks for posting.

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Great article, thanks!† Love the pic of the pillarless 4 door Impala hardtop, I always loved that body style.

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Excellent! Thanks for posting this!

Todd


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Great articles. Did you have them published in a book or magazine article?

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good reading!

i have a '69 chevrolet b-body assembly manual, it shows the rhd assemblies.

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I am not sure now whether the rhd piece was used in RESTORED CARS in Australia or not. I wrote a series of pieces for them some years ago on Australian cars in the UK...Ford, Chrysler and Holden.

I would be fascinated to know what the assembly manual etc say about rhd cars.



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Oracle wrote:

I would be fascinated to know what the assembly manual etc say about rhd cars.


Oracle; Thank you for a great piece of History that I was part of.† My Avatar shows my 1965 Malibu Chevelle that was CKD'd† in Nov 1964 from Oshawa and assembled whilst I was a Specifications Clerk (1965 to 1966) At the GMSA Plant in Port Elizabeth.†

My daily task, humble as it may have been was to keep the GM specification manuals up to date.† I never saw any reference to RHD models.† I am fortunate in having an original GM Dealers Maintenance in my possesion which covers the Chevrolet, Chevelle and Chevy II models and was printed in Canada in 1964.† This manual also does not refer to RHD models.

Here is the latest pic of the 65 Malibu, that I suspect is the sole RHD survivor. There are about 5-6 Chevelle 300's (RHD) from 64-65 still around locally.

I have posted your article on our local Forum.

Body 50007.JPG




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  1. 1965 Malibu 4dr Sedan†L6 (Original)
  2. 1975 Chevrolet Kommando†305†(Monaro Clone)
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  4. 1996 VW Golf Chico


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thanks for posting†† very good article†††

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Hiya! This has prompted me to dig up old info! At last it might see the light of day:

GENERAL MOTORS SOUTH AFRICAN SALES FIGURES FROM "CAR" MAGAZINE

1964 JANUARY to JUNE:

OPEL REKORD 4,631† [1,680 c.c.] 2-door sedan, L sedan and Car-a-Van wagon

OPEL KADETT 3,054 [993 c.c.]

VAUXHALL VELOX/CRESTA 1,937 [including VX4/90]

VAUXHALL VIVA 1,533

HOLDEN EH 1,291 Sedan and Station Wagon

CHEVROLET CHEVELLE 1,076 6-cylinder 3,760 c.c. Chevelle 300 Sedan

CHEVROLET CHEVY 11 911 6-cylinder 3,180 c.c. Nova Sedan and Station Wagon

Also Pontiac Parisienne with Powerglide [V-8 5,450 c.c.]

1965 JULY to DECEMBER:

OPEL REKORD 9,602

OPEL KADETT 6,043

VAUXHALL VELOX/CRESTA 3,696

HOLDEN HD 3,569

VAUXHALL VICTOR 3,285

VAUXHALL VIVA 2,975

CHEVELLE/BEAUMONT 1,927

CHEVY 11/ACADIAN CANSO 1,445

CHEVROLET IMPALA/PONTIAC PARISIENNE 1,250

1966:

The 1966 Chevelle line-up was launched March 1966, and consisted of the Malibu 4-door Hardtop Sedan and 300 de Luxe Sedan and Chevy II Sedan and Chevy II Nova Wagon with the 230 cu. in. 6-cylinder. The same month saw the Chevrolet Impala and Pontiac Parisienne Hardtop Sport Sedan with 327 cu. In. engine and Powerglide transmission. Also available was the Acadian Canso Sedan and Wagon based on the Chevy 11 with the 3,180 c.c. 6-cylinder as well.

The others available in 1966 were:

Vauxhall Viva de Luxe [1,057 c.c.]

Opel Kadett Car-a-Van wagon [993 c.c.]

Opel Rekord 2-door [1,680 c.c.]

The 1966 Chevelle line-up was launched March 1966, and consisted of the Malibu 4-door Hardtop Sedan and 300 de Luxe Sedan with the 230 cu. In. 6-cylinder. The same month saw the Chevrolet Impala Hardtop Sport Sedan with 327 cu. In. engine and Powerglide transmission.

Vauxhall Victor 101 [1,595 c.c. or 2,124 c.c.] Sedan and Station Wagon

Vauxhall Velox [3,293 c.c.]

1968 JANUARY TO MARCH:

OPEL REKORD C 2,226

OPEL KADETT 1,405

CHEVELLE/BEAUMONT 363

CHEVROLETCAPRICE/PONTIAC GRANDE PARISIENNE 229

HOLDEN HR 697

VAUXHALL VIVA 670

CHEVY 11 57



-- Edited by Oracle on Wednesday 22nd of July 2009 12:54:43 PM

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This is an extract of an item sent to me:

Brief Outline of GM South Africa

The role of Chevrolet and Pontiac was far more upscale in South Africa than in the US - more at the level of Buick and Oldsmobile. Hardly any Oldsmobiles were sold, with Buick having far better recognition likely because of the Commonwealth connection to the Canadian McLaughlan Buick. The straight eight senior Buicks of the late 40s had right hand drive, indicating that they were assembled in SA.

All Pontiacs and Chevs (they were not abbreviated to Chevys in SA) were either four door sport sedans or sedans with the only wagons in the Chevy 11 and the 1958 Biscayne/Brookwood form. The regular full-sized sedans in 6 or 8 cylinder standard transmission form lasted until 1969 with the following exceptions - early in 1962 there were problems getting Impalas so the V8 Biscayne came with power-glide, power steering and brakes for a short period The final year for the full-sized cars was 1969 and the Impala and Parisienne were fully optioned sedans. Otherwise from 1960 the top-line Impala/Caprice and Parisienne were all hard top sedans with automatic V8s, power steering brakes and windows. It should be noted that the these cars were sourced from Canada and the Pontiacs shared the Chevy chassis rather than the wide track chassis featured in the US.

The mid-sized Chevelle came only in 6 cylinder form with the Malibus being hard tops and sharing the same options as the full-sized hardtop counterparts. The Pontiac equivalent was the Acadian Beaumont. Both these mid sized cars lasted until 1969.

The Chevy II ran from 1962 to 68 and I only remember the Corvair in 1960 in left hand drive. The full Opel and Vauxhall range were assembled through to 1964 when the Kapitan stopped followed by the Velox in 1966, Victor in 1968, Cresta/Viscount in 1969, Rekord and Viva in 1971 and finally the Kadett in 1974. The full size Holden ran from 1960 to 1971.

Up until the mid sixties South Africa assembled a wider range of GM products than any other plant in the world. Effectively all models of Opel, Vauxhall and Holden were included plus all four door sedan versions of Chevrolet and Canadian Pontiacs excluding the Corvair.



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This is a rhd 1968 Chevelle wagon in England, imported in 1978 I think. I believe that it's an ex-SA car. The plate on the car I seem to recall indicated that it was ex-Oshawa and was EXP RD, i.e, export right hand drive, and not an assembled car.

chevelle.jpg



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Just found this that I wrote as well


RIGHT-HAND DRIVE

The argument about which side of the road to drive on has been going on for something like 2,000 years now, since the Romans decreed that carts should occupy the left of the road when heading for Rome. A few hundred years ago when horse-drawn transport became more sophisticated, it was standard practice for the British and their colonies to drive on the left and have the driver of the carriage or cart located on the right, all the better to control the horses with most people being right-handed. Rather like why does a man walk on the outside of the lady? To keep his right sword-arm free, or to collect all the road muck thrown up by horses?

This was to change with Napoleans desire to do everything different in Continental Europe, and also with George Washington in the infant United States wishing to do the opposite of British colonial practice! However, as you know the US had centre-steered horseless carriages at first, then with the advent of steering wheels, the wheel was placed on the right even though the vehicle may have been driven on the right! British colonies and the Dominions of Canada and Australia and South Africa stuck with British practice, and drove on the left and had right-hand drive steering. Other countries had odd ideas such as Argentina and Italy, where you drove on the right side in town and left side in the country! Eventually, with Henry Fords decision to concentrate in 1915 on left-hand drive Model Ts for everywhere, countries began to concentrate on left-hand steering, and by 1925 there was dominance for that practice. By then, Canadian Provinces had gradually switched over to lhd, and that left Newfoundland as the sole market for rhd vehicles in North America, which continued until 1948 when Newfoundland joined the Confederation.

In Europe, in modern times the only Continental country which drove on the left was Sweden , and I remember distinctly that at 2 am on the morning of 6 September 1967, the whole country stopped for 2 hours, and they switched the whole system to driving on the right instead. That left:

ENGLAND
WALES
SCOTLAND
NORTHERN IRELAND
EIRE
ISLE OF MAN
JERSEY
GUERNSEY
ALDERNEY
GIBRALTAR
MALTA
CYPRUS

that drove rhd vehicles. However, something like 25% of countries drive on the left still, including odd islands of the West Indies, where they drive on different sides according to custom! [SINCE THEN NAMIBIA HAS SWICTHED TO THE LEFT, BURMA TO THE RIGHT, AND MY SON SAYS SAMOA TO THE LEFT]

In addition, Jeeps have always had a market for rhd vehicles for postal services, and that postal market included a few years back a massive order from the Canadian Post Office for Chevrolet walk-thru vans from GM of Canada.

In this country, apart from the constant demand for rhd ambulances, and this specialist demand by the way continues in Australia, there have been airport trucks based on Chevrolet chassis. There is also a demand surprisingly for lhd and dual-control trucks for road-sweeping duties.

Another little-known demand has been for rhd trucks for US Services here: at the moment the USAF and Army use British-built trucks and minibuses, sourced from, say, LDV in Birmingham.

For the future, there is most definitely a market here for US-style 4 x 4s, and the biggest users are the Yachties around here. There is even a 1976 Model AMC Cherokee still in use as a boat-puller!

NORTH AMERICAN RHD CARS

Rhd vehicles from the US and Canada have fascinated me and other sad individuals for many years now: we tend to swap information and so we have built up a terrific database of rhd conversions.

GM:
BUICK: the last rhd factory Buicks from Flint, Michigan, Plant were probably in 1953. There is no evidence on paper to show but observations seem to confirm. The last Canadian Buicks in rhd form may have been in 1942!

CADILLAC: this is a difficult one because there is no straight answer. Detroit built rhd cars up to around 1948 at least, but then went over to factory conversions for those with the necessary Dollars, and I have evidence of a rhd Cadiallac sold in England in the late Fifties, being a 1953 Model.

CHEVROLET: this one is easy! The last rhd factory Chevrolet cars was the 1963 Model Impala 4-door Hardtop, built in the Tarrytown, New York Plant. [UPDATE: THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT 1964 WAS THE LAST YEAR FOR US RHD CARS]. These used the 1961 Model PONTIAC dash adapted to rhd. The last Canadian cars were sourced from St Therese, Quebec, Plant as 1969 Models using the 1969 lhd dash adapted. The 1961 to 1964 Models used the 61 Pontiac dash and the 65 to 68 cars the 65 Chevrolet dash. All the latter were Impalas, save for 1967/8 Caprices for South Africa.
In addition, rhd Chevelles were produced in Oshawa Plant from 1963 to 1969. Chevy 11s were also produced in rhd form from 1962 to 1968 as well, except that from June 1967, all Canadian Novas were built in St Louis, Missouri, Plant, and that must have included rhd cars for export and CKD for South Africa, so strictly speaking the last rhd US Chevrolets were 1968 Models.
From 1973 to 1975, Chevrolet had a batch of Monte Carlos converted to rhd for Australia by GM Bus and Coach in Arlington, Texas to compete with the Canadian-sourced Ford LTDs.
Then in 1996, GM started building 1997 Model U-body MPVs at Doraville, Georgia, as CHEVROLET VENTURE/PONTIAC TRANSSPORT/ OLDSMOBILE SILHOUETTE/OPEL SINTRA/VAUXHALL SINTRA and for Europe the Pontiac rebadged as CHEVROLET TRANSSPORT. The Opel Sintra is also built as rhd for Eire, and as a Vauxhall for the UK.

OLDSMOBILE: this one is easy as well: the last rhd factory Olds from Lansing, Michigan Plant were in 1950. That was it, period.

PONTIAC: this one is easy as well: the last factory rhd Pontiacs from Pontiac, Michigan, Plant were 1957 Model Super Chiefs, 4-door Hardtops.
The last CANADIAN Pontiacs were as follows: 1961-1964, all used the Chevrolet bodyshell with the 61 Pontiac Dash, as per Chev, then 1965 to 1968, the rhd Chevrolet 65 Dash in Parisiennes except for 1967-8 Grandes Parisiennes, for South Africa, then 1969 Model Parisienne 4-door Hardtops, with the 69 rhd Chevrolet Dash.
In addition, rhd Acadians were produced until 1968 [from June 1967 sourced from St Louis, Missouri] and Beaumonts from 1963 to 1969.

FORD:
The last rhd US Ford was possibly the Model T in 1927 until the Mazda-built Probe in 1990? Built in Flat Rock, Michigan. The next rhd Ford was the Taurus for Australia, 2 years ago.
The last rhd Mercurys were possibly 1953 Models, from Oakville, Ontario.
After 1927, the responsibility for rhd Fords fell on GM of Canada. Thus export factory cars continued until 1968 from Oakville Plant, and then from 1969 to 1973, Ford of Canada exported lhd LTDs to Australia where they converted them to rhd.
In addition, until 1991 Ford imported F-series trucks from Canada, converted to rhd in Australia. There is a move affot to reimport them again I gather.
AMC: Kenosha Plant built rhd Ramblers for export right through to 1976, badged as Ramblers in the UK and Australia [assembled by AMI], and the last models were Ambassador sedans.

CHRYSLER: the Canadian Plant stopped assembling rhd cars in 1966, when the emphasis changed to Australian cars exported instead, though South Africa continued on with locally-assembled cars until 1969.
The last rhd US cars were the 1965 to 1969 Plymouth Barracudas, with the slant-six or 283 V-8. The prototype rhd car, #25 was sold in the UK and I have seen it! The next rhd cars were the Neons from about 4 years ago.

CONVERSIONS:
A few companies have handled conversions to rhd in the UK. A former racing driver and garage owner, Ken Rudd, started converting North American cars in 1965, and this included Mustangs, with the rhd Dagenham Ford Zephyr column or an Australian Falcon column, and Buick Rivieras, using a chain-driven system. The really big players though were a company called C.T. WOOLER in Andover, Hampshire. Woolers were a very old company, and were manufacturers of gears, and then conversions for gearboxes including floor changes, 4-speed units, etc., and then they got into rhd conversions for Mustangs, etc. using a sawn-off steering column and a chain drive to the lhd steering box. They then picked up a fulltime contract to convert AMC vehicles as well: with the non-factory Jeeps, AMC Pacers and Gremlins, and then until AMC died, the later Jeeps. Woolers also converted quite a few 197smile.gifn Mustang 11s for Ford in the UK.






-- Edited by Oracle on Thursday 23rd of July 2009 06:51:15 AM

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Thank you for the invaluable info! I have downloaded all your articles and data and wish to compile it into one file, if you don't mind.

Just for info the 64 to 65 Chevelles and Malibu's were all posted. The HT started in 66 with the body change. What distinguished the Malibu from the Chevelle was:
1 Power windows vs Manual winders
2. Auto Transmission vs Manual Transmission
3. Malibu badging and trim vs Chevelle 300 badging and trim


The Chev Impala's and Pontiac Parissiens were HT versions.

With regard to Buick and Oldsmobile being low sellers, you are right! I recall only one 59 Buick being sold at the local dealer in Port Elizabeth. As kids we all went to look at this car.

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Ah yes! I remember it well!!! (With Pictures)

  1. 1965 Malibu 4dr Sedan†L6 (Original)
  2. 1975 Chevrolet Kommando†305†(Monaro Clone)
  3. 2000 Peugeot 406†2.0L
  4. 1996 VW Golf Chico


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I have somewhere, goodness knows where, copies of CARS adverts from about mid-1956 to 1959. The '58 Buick and Olds adverts were simply stunning in their own way. These were top-SA Rand cars, affordable only by the mega-monied, and of course White with big houses. I cannot imagine how much these cost without looking up, because of the import taxes. I understand that a few years down the line these large cars after being†sold down†ended up as taxis especially in Townships?

I suppose as always, money talks, and dealers were enterprising (as in Australia) so that in practice in 1959 El Caminos came in from the States, and special-order cars came in at very high prices.

The figures of course also show that rhd Acadians, Acadian Beaumonts and Beaumonts were imported, uniquely in rhd form and then in 1967-8 the Grandes Parisiennes HTs. CARS did a Road Test of a '67 GP as well as a rhd Caprice; both were assembled from CKD kits from Oshawa.

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From my website:

During May 1915, William U. Meriheina left New York to visit South Africa as representative of the Export Company. He had an eventful trip being a passenger on the ill-fated Lusitania which was torpedoed by a submarine and eventually arrived in Cape Town to set up office.

Within two years he had established firm and good relationships with GM dealers. During December, 1917, he attended what was probably the first dealer meeting in South Africa.

Then Nathaniel Currier Tuxbury, or "Tux", as he was generally known, arrived. He was instrumental in the formation of General Motors South African.

Representing the Export Company, Mr. Tuxbury first arrived in South Africa in 1918. He was destined to become known as the Father of the Motor Industry in South Africa.

His first stay in the country ended in October 1919, but he returned in 1926 and as Managing Director, General Motors South African, a post he held until 1947. He also became the longest serving Managing Director of General of the company.

General Motors South African (Pty) Ltd was formally registered on 20 February 1926 with a capital of £10,000. Production began in an old wool store in Darling Street, Port Elizabeth, at that time called Elizabethtown.

Initial production was around eleven cars a day all Chevrolets, and in October 1926 the 1,000th Chevrolet had been assembled, as well as one GMC Truck. The demand for the vehicles encouraged GMSA management and a new factory was built In Kempston Road. The factory was completed in 1929 the same year of the Wall Street crash. Despite the depression Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick and Chevrolet vehicles continued to be assembled at a brisk pace, together with Chevrolet and GMC Trucks.

Total production in 1929 reached 11 457 units, in 1930 the figure dropped to 5,678 units and a year later the figure was 2,100 units.

A production record was set in 1938 when 2,795 vehicles left the plant in only 23 working days.

The Second World War saw General Motors South African going into full war production (even Ford pick-ups were built at the factory) and an assortment of items were produced, including buoyancy drums, petrol tank caps, ammunition boxes, torpedo carriers and camp chairs.

On 19 October 1946 the first Chevrolet passenger cars since September 1942 came off the assembly line together with Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs.

Post-war vehicle demand resulted in the construction of a new 34,000 square meter plant completed in 1948 and the old assembly plant was converted into a manufacturing hall. Delco battery, Fridigaire refrigerators, leaf spring, muffler and Frigidaire stove production was started during the following four years.

The Opel Rekord appeared in 1955 the vehicle proved so popular that with minor changes production of it was destined to run for 16 years. Also launched in 1955 was the Opel Kapitan and E-Series Vauxhall Velox followed by the Vauxhall Victor F Series in 1957 and the PA Cresta In 1958.

The Fridigaire operation was discontinued in 1963 100,000 refrigerators had been manufactured. The same year saw the introduction of the Opel Kadett, assembled through until 1974 and only reappeared in 1980.

During March 1965 GMs Rand 21 million engine plant went into production followed by a Rand 6 million investment to Improving facilities at the Kempston Road factory.

South Africas own car, the Ranger was launched in 1968, the same year Port Elizabeth was hit by one of the worst floods ever. The Ranger was followed by the Holden based on the Kommando/Constantia/De Ville series and in 1972 one of the most successful lines ever produced by GMSA appeared the Chevrolet 2500, 3800 and 4100. The latter topped sales charts in 1974 and 1975.

15 November 1974 saw the official opening of the Locomotive Assembly Plant.



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Oracle wrote:

Just found this that I wrote as well


RIGHT-HAND DRIVE

The argument about which side of the road to drive on has been going on for something like 2,000 years now, since the Romans decreed that carts should occupy the left of the road when heading for Rome. A few hundred years ago when horse-drawn transport became more sophisticated, it was standard practice for the British and their colonies to drive on the left and have the driver of the carriage or cart located on the right, all the better to control the horses with most people being right-handed. Rather like why does a man walk on the outside of the lady? To keep his right sword-arm free, or to collect all the road muck thrown up by horses?

This was to change with Napoleans desire to do everything different in Continental Europe, and also with George Washington in the infant United States wishing to do the opposite of British colonial practice! However, as you know the US had centre-steered horseless carriages at first, then with the advent of steering wheels, the wheel was placed on the right even though the vehicle may have been driven on the right! British colonies and the Dominions of Canada and Australia and South Africa stuck with British practice, and drove on the left and had right-hand drive steering. Other countries had odd ideas such as Argentina and Italy, where you drove on the right side in town and left side in the country! Eventually, with Henry Fords decision to concentrate in 1915 on left-hand drive Model Ts for everywhere, countries began to concentrate on left-hand steering, and by 1925 there was dominance for that practice. By then, Canadian Provinces had gradually switched over to lhd, and that left Newfoundland as the sole market for rhd vehicles in North America, which continued until 1948 when Newfoundland joined the Confederation.

In Europe, in modern times the only Continental country which drove on the left was Sweden , and I remember distinctly that at 2 am on the morning of†4th? September 1967, the whole country stopped for 2 hours, and they switched the whole system to driving on the right instead. That left:

ENGLAND
WALES
SCOTLAND
NORTHERN IRELAND
EIRE
ISLE OF MAN
JERSEY
GUERNSEY
ALDERNEY
MALTA
CYPRUS

that drove rhd vehicles. However, something like 25% of countries drive on the left still, including odd islands of the West Indies, where they drive on different sides according to custom! [SINCE THEN NAMIBIA HAS SWICTHED TO THE LEFT, BURMA TO THE RIGHT, AND MY SON SAYS SAMOA TO THE LEFT]

In addition, Jeeps have always had a market for rhd vehicles for postal services, and that postal market included a few years back a massive order from the Canadian Post Office for Chevrolet walk-thru vans from GM of Canada.

In this country, apart from the constant demand for rhd ambulances, and this specialist demand by the way continues in Australia, there have been airport trucks based on Chevrolet chassis. There is also a demand surprisingly for lhd and dual-control trucks for road-sweeping duties.

Another little-known demand has been for rhd trucks for US Services here: at the moment the USAF and Army use British-built trucks and minibuses, sourced from, say, LDV in Birmingham.

For the future, there is most definitely a market here for US-style 4 x 4s, and the biggest users are the Yachties around here. There is even a 1976 Model AMC Cherokee still in use as a boat-puller!

NORTH AMERICAN RHD CARS

Rhd vehicles from the US and Canada have fascinated me and other sad individuals for many years now: we tend to swap information and so we have built up a terrific database of rhd conversions.

GM:
BUICK: the last rhd factory Buicks from Flint, Michigan, Plant were probably in 1953. There is no evidence on paper to show but observations seem to confirm. The last Canadian Buicks in rhd form may have been in 1942!

CADILLAC: this is a difficult one because there is no straight answer. Detroit built rhd cars up to around 1948 at least, but then went over to factory conversions for those with the necessary Dollars, and I have evidence of a rhd Cadiallac sold in England in the late Fifties, being a 1953 Model.

CHEVROLET: this one is easy! The last rhd factory Chevrolet cars was the 1963 Model Impala 4-door Hardtop, built in the Tarrytown, New York Plant. [UPDATE: THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT 1964 WAS THE LAST YEAR FOR US RHD CARS]. These used the 1961 Model PONTIAC dash adapted to rhd. The last Canadian cars were sourced from St Therese, Quebec, Plant as 1969 Models using the 1969 lhd dash adapted. The 1961 to 1964 Models used the 61 Pontiac dash and the 65 to 68 cars the 65 Chevrolet dash. All the latter were Impalas, save for 1967/8 Caprices for South Africa.
In addition, rhd Chevelles were produced in Oshawa Plant from 1963 to 1969. Chevy 11s were also produced in rhd form from 1962 to 1968 as well, except that from June 1967, all Canadian Novas were built in St Louis, Missouri, Plant, and that must have included rhd cars for export and CKD for South Africa, so strictly speaking the last rhd US Chevrolets were 1968 Models.
From 1973 to 1975, Chevrolet had a batch of Monte Carlos converted to rhd for Australia by GM Bus and Coach in Arlington, Texas to compete with the Canadian-sourced Ford LTDs.
Then in 1996, GM started building 1997 Model U-body MPVs at Doraville, Georgia, as CHEVROLET VENTURE/PONTIAC TRANSSPORT/ OLDSMOBILE SILHOUETTE/OPEL SINTRA/VAUXHALL SINTRA and for Europe the Pontiac rebadged as CHEVROLET TRANSSPORT. The Opel Sintra is also built as rhd for Eire, and as a Vauxhall for the UK.

OLDSMOBILE: this one is easy as well: the last rhd factory Olds from Lansing, Michigan Plant were in 1950. That was it, period.

PONTIAC: this one is easy as well: the last factory rhd Pontiacs from Pontiac, Michigan, Plant were 1957 Model Super Chiefs, 4-door Hardtops.
The last CANADIAN Pontiacs were as follows: 1961-1964, all used the Chevrolet bodyshell with the 61 Pontiac Dash, as per Chev, then 1965 to 1968, the rhd Chevrolet 65 Dash in Parisiennes except for 1967-8 Grandes Parisiennes, for South Africa, then 1969 Model Parisienne 4-door Hardtops, with the 69 rhd Chevrolet Dash.
In addition, rhd Acadians were produced until 1968 [from June 1967 sourced from St Louis, Missouri] and Beaumonts from 1963 to 1969.

FORD:
The last rhd US Ford was possibly the Model T in 1927 until the Mazda-built Probe in 1990? Built in Flat Rock, Michigan. The next rhd Ford was the Taurus for Australia, 2 years ago.
The last rhd Mercurys were possibly 1953 Models, from Oakville, Ontario.
After 1927, the responsibility for rhd Fords fell on GM of Canada. Thus export factory cars continued until 1968 from Oakville Plant, and then from 1969 to 1973, Ford of Canada exported lhd LTDs to Australia where they converted them to rhd.
In addition, until 1991 Ford imported F-series trucks from Canada, converted to rhd in Australia. There is a move affot to reimport them again I gather.
AMC: Kenosha Plant built rhd Ramblers for export right through to 1976, badged as Ramblers in the UK and Australia [assembled by AMI], and the last models were Ambassador sedans.

CHRYSLER: the Canadian Plant stopped assembling rhd cars in 1966, when the emphasis changed to Australian cars exported instead, though South Africa continued on with locally-assembled cars until 1969.
The last rhd US cars were the 1965 to 1969 Plymouth Barracudas, with the slant-six or 283 V-8. The prototype rhd car, #25 was sold in the UK and I have seen it! The next rhd cars were the Neons from about 4 years ago.

CONVERSIONS:
A few companies have handled conversions to rhd in the UK. A former racing driver and garage owner, Ken Rudd, started converting North American cars in 1965, and this included Mustangs, with the rhd Dagenham Ford Zephyr column or an Australian Falcon column, and Buick Rivieras, using a chain-driven system. The really big players though were a company called C.T. WOOLER in Andover, Hampshire. Woolers were a very old company, and were manufacturers of gears, and then conversions for gearboxes including floor changes, 4-speed units, etc., and then they got into rhd conversions for Mustangs, etc. using a sawn-off steering column and a chain drive to the lhd steering box. They then picked up a fulltime contract to convert AMC vehicles as well: with the non-factory Jeeps, AMC Pacers and Gremlins, and then until AMC died, the later Jeeps. Woolers also converted quite a few 197smile.gifn Mustang 11s for Ford in the UK.






-- Edited by Oracle on Thursday 23rd of July 2009 06:51:15 AM






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Oracle wrote: South Africas own car, the Ranger was launched in 1968,

Glad you mentioned the Ranger. I was part of the development team in 65/66 that worked on the Ranger. Then Called "Operation Mayflower"

What we did was to take an Opel Rekord and fitted the Canadian 2.5L 4 cylinder engine, with a 36DCD Weber Carb, Fitted the Vauxhall 2000 grill and took the Opel Trim and changed the Opel logo to Ranger and aaded the Springbok head on the vynil trim. Great Times! I was fortunate in having a 1973 SS Fastback. Drove it for 9 years without touching the engine!

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Ah yes! I remember it well!!! (With Pictures)

  1. 1965 Malibu 4dr Sedan†L6 (Original)
  2. 1975 Chevrolet Kommando†305†(Monaro Clone)
  3. 2000 Peugeot 406†2.0L
  4. 1996 VW Golf Chico


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Here's a supre-rare car that I had not heard of before! A rhd '68 convertible in the UK.

http://gmhistory.chevytalk.org/parisienne.jpg

-- Edited by Oracle on Sunday 27th of September 2009 04:37:43 AM

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Studebaker also made right drive Larks up to 1963.



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69Laurentian wrote:
Studebaker also made right drive Larks up to 1963.

That is quite right as The majority of the Larks were used as police vehicles then. There is a 63 Lark up for sale but the purchase price is too high to warrant restoration.†



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Ah yes! I remember it well!!! (With Pictures)

  1. 1965 Malibu 4dr Sedan†L6 (Original)
  2. 1975 Chevrolet Kommando†305†(Monaro Clone)
  3. 2000 Peugeot 406†2.0L
  4. 1996 VW Golf Chico


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Hiya,

Excelant read, i stumbled across it trying to find out information on how many 57 Pontiac Super CHeifs were made in factory right hand drive, as i have one that was inported to New Zealand from Australia, it has a 347 in it.

CHeers

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I never knew that American Pontiacs were converted to right hand drive as well. I always assumed that it was only Canadian built Pontiacs from Oshawa, Ontario. Because of the common wealth country situation, it was duty free as opposed to American built cars that paid heavy duties etc. Is there anyone out there that can clarify this for sure. This of course goes for the Chevrolet as well and probably all the other GM cars of period. Any one know where the American Pontiac cars would have been converted to right hand drive. Certainly not here in Canada. Cheers. George.

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1957 Pontiac Pathfinder Deluxe sedan restored 261 six

1974 Chevrolet Caprice Estate wagon low milage original 400 V-8

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