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Michaelfj

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The West Heidelberg assembly plant was built by an Ausdis subsidiary Northern Engineering to assemble 3000 Simcas per year with 40% Australian content. As the name implies they were Austin distributors left out when BMC was formed. The plant was opened late 1955 and the sales manager of Simca came out for the opening. Which is more support than the Australian Peugeot operations ever got from France. It replaced an assembly plant in North Melbourne. The only Simca assembly plant ever in Moorabbin exists in the minds of the curators of the Museum of Victoria. Another Ausdis subsidiary was Continental and General Distributors that handled used cars.
When Chrysler bought Simca assembly was moved to Adelaide in 1959. Peugeot was being assembled in two separate plants, the Harden and Johnston plant in Roseberry NSW and the Canada Cycle and Motor Company plant in Keys Road Moorabbin. This was an expensive and inefficient operation. There was no Peugeot importer for Australia but separate state arrangements. CCM had Victoria and the Riverina. Ausdis negotiated a sole Australian importation agreement with Peugeot and Studebaker and moved assembly to West Heidelberg under the control of their Continental and General subsidiary. What Harden & Johnston and Canada Cycle thought of the new arrangements is not recorded but there seems to have been co-operation. The last manager of the plant in 1966 was Tas Smith, sales manager of Canada Cycle and founder of the Peugeot Car Club.
Price of the 403 was reduced to 1218 pounds and it sold its highest ever figure of 2379 in 1960. It had been 1450 pounds in 1956 and reduced in price over the years. The Government or at least Treasury seemed to have it in for Peugeot because every time the sun was shining and sales booming they came down hard with a fiscal change that knocked sales as in 1956. This time it was the Credit Squeeze in 1961 that put an extra sixty pounds of tax on a 403 but also made money hard to get. Companies laid off staff, unemployment shot up and the Government held power in the general election that year by 120 votes.
Under capacity remained a problem for the Heidelberg operation. They took up NSU Prinz and Citroen ID19 assembly but they weren't big sellers. The situation was made worse by the failure to launch the 404 until late 1962 and at too high a price. In 1964 Peugeot sales were 632 and the 403 outsold the 404. It took substantial price reductions in 1965 to get 404 sales moving again. The bright spot was Studebaker. In America the company made production of police cruisers something of a specialty and Victoria Police bought numbers of them. By 1966 they were assembling 1100 Studebakers a year at Heidelberg. When Studebaker closed down that destroyed the viability of the Heidelberg operation. A buyer was sought and that was Renault. The existing Studebaker stock was dumped on the market at huge discounts.
Simca Assembly Moorabbin



https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/265709438?searchTerm=Simca moorabbin



Found this 1958 advertisement saying that the Simca Aronde is assembled at the “new” factory in Moorabbin.

It maybe that for a very short time the old CCM factory was rebranded…but then maybe not, is interesting though.
 

Russell Hall

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What I have learned is to not put too much weight on a particular piece of information. Two sources are good, three better. Chrysler had bought Simca in 1958 and planning was underway to move assembly to Chrysler Adelaide. There was common shareholding between Northern Engineering and Continental & General. The CCM plant was operated by Continental and General at some point in 1959 and Peugeots bore a C&G Keys Rd plate. They were cars with 1960 style seats and side flash but lever arm shocks. I do not believe Simca was ever assembled in Moorabbin because the body jigs were moved from Heidelberg to Adelaide. There was however a large Simca dealership there later C&G and Renault Australia. Advertising copywriters are not always sticklers for accuracy. If Simcas ever were assembled there they would carry a plate saying Keys Rd Moorabbin. Possible imported cars were prepared there. The museum photos are of Heidelberg.
 

Michaelfj

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What I have learned is to not put too much weight on a particular piece of information. Two sources are good, three better. Chrysler had bought Simca in 1958 and planning was underway to move assembly to Chrysler Adelaide. There was common shareholding between Northern Engineering and Continental & General. The CCM plant was operated by Continental and General at some point in 1959 and Peugeots bore a C&G Keys Rd plate. They were cars with 1960 style seats and side flash but lever arm shocks. I do not believe Simca was ever assembled in Moorabbin because the body jigs were moved from Heidelberg to Adelaide. There was however a large Simca dealership there later C&G and Renault Australia. Advertising copywriters are not always sticklers for accuracy. If Simcas ever were assembled there they would carry a plate saying Keys Rd Moorabbin. Possible imported cars were prepared there. The museum photos are of Heidelberg.
I also think the internal museum photos are from the C&G, Northern Engineering, Ausdis Heidelberg factory.
the exterior factory photos labled as “moorabbin” are a puzzle as to location, the motto is in english, the photographer was australian, that could count as two sources? Has anyone worked out where that factory was?
 

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The externals of the factory except for the Vedette photos are of Dougherty Rd West Heidelberg which was very different in 1956 including the swampy area where the Cycles Australia plant was to be built. It was something of a wasteland. A firm called Georgian Engineering was to grow up on its boundary and Renault eventually bought land off them. Heidelberg was known as the northern assembly plant and the company generally called northern assemblers. The last Heidelberg Simcas bore a C&G plate.
Keys Rd was a much smaller plant than Heidelberg. In 1958 it assembled around 750 Peugeots plus Studebakers compared to the 3000 capacity of Heidelberg.
 

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Russell Hall

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Don't know who the manager is. Obviously not a frequent visitor to the factory floor. Very old fashioned and slow method of construction.
 

GRAHAM WALLIS

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What I have learned is to not put too much weight on a particular piece of information. Two sources are good, three better. Chrysler had bought Simca in 1958 and planning was underway to move assembly to Chrysler Adelaide. There was common shareholding between Northern Engineering and Continental & General. The CCM plant was operated by Continental and General at some point in 1959 and Peugeots bore a C&G Keys Rd plate. They were cars with 1960 style seats and side flash but lever arm shocks. I do not believe Simca was ever assembled in Moorabbin because the body jigs were moved from Heidelberg to Adelaide. There was however a large Simca dealership there later C&G and Renault Australia. Advertising copywriters are not always sticklers for accuracy. If Simcas ever were assembled there they would carry a plate saying Keys Rd Moorabbin. Possible imported cars were prepared there. The museum photos are of Heidelberg.
I also think the internal museum photos are from the C&G, Northern Engineering, Ausdis Heidelberg factory.
the exterior factory photos labled as “moorabbin” are a puzzle as to location, the motto is in english, the photographer was australian, that could count as two sources? Has anyone worked out where that factory was?
Corner of keys rd and Warrigal rd I think
 

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CCM may well have owned the freehold on the Keys Rd plant. They had bought a site on Racecourse Rd in Flemington in 1952 and announced plans for an assembly plant. It was never built and the site is flats, possibly ex Housing Commission. So it was possibly rezoned or compulsorily acquired. I have not come across the address of their plant in Tottenham which they described as small.
 

Michaelfj

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CCM may well have owned the freehold on the Keys Rd plant. They had bought a site on Racecourse Rd in Flemington in 1952 and announced plans for an assembly plant. It was never built and the site is flats, possibly ex Housing Commission. So it was possibly rezoned or compulsorily acquired. I have not come across the address of their plant in Tottenham which they described as small.
1955 New Factory at Cnr Gwelo St and Srendna St Tottenham (West Footscray)
1962 Tottenham Extension
Port Melbourne Factory at Ingles st Port Melbourne 1955? To ?
 

seasink

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Is https://amoureux203-403.com the resource you refer to Russell?

One thing you might consider as a historian is to download the entire website contents onto a drive. Big plug in hard drives are cheap now. Suitable software is WebHTTrack (GUI) or Wget (command line). Eg, https://www.wikihow.com/Copy-a-Website You can start part way into the site if required. The Wget downloader has more options but is also more technical.

When you have it you can delete the uninteresting parts. You can read the copies in your browser by opening the local index file in your browser.

Hopefully the site doesn't have too many references to megabyte stuff held elsewhere. You can check that by displaying links. Some forums, like AF, are a difficult copy.

These programs rearrange all the links to point to your storage instead of theirs. Occasionally a website resents this sort of mass download; if so do it in chunks. Just don't republish it intact.

If French websites present translation problems, the Vivaldi browser will translate them to English as you browse.
 
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Russell Hall

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1955 New Factory at Cnr Gwelo St and Srendna St Tottenham (West Footscray)
1962 Tottenham Extension
Port Melbourne Factory at Ingles st Port Melbourne 1955? To ?
Port Melbourne may have been used to prepare imported cars but the official CCM history does not mention what it was used for. Nor the date of set up of Keys Rd. I have dates for Harden & Johnston assembly in Adelaide and Rosebery but not CCM beyond the general mention of their cars being locally assembled in 1953. There is no mention of any Chrysler assembled cars coming to Melbourne but it is possible.
 

Russell Hall

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Is https://amoureux203-403.com the resource you refer to Russell?

One thing you might consider as a historian is to download the entire website contents onto a drive. Big plug in hard drives are cheap now. Suitable software is WebHTTrack (GUI) or Wget (command line). Eg, https://www.wikihow.com/Copy-a-Website You can start part way into the site if required. The Wget downloader has more options but is also more technical.

When you have it you can delete the uninteresting parts. You can read the copies in your browser by opening the local index file in your browser.

Hopefully the site doesn't have too many references to megabyte stuff held elsewhere. You can check that by displaying links. Some forums, like AF, are a difficult copy.

These programs rearrange all the links to point to your storage instead of theirs. Occasionally a website resents this sort of mass download; if so do it in chunks. Just don't republish it intact.

If French websites present translation problems, the Vivaldi browser will translate them to English as you browse.
Thank you for the suggestion. I will look into it.
 

Michaelfj

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Ausdis (changed their name to (Automotive and General Industries Ltd. In 1955, wound down in 1975) but still used the Ausdis name a lot) and their associated companies Continental & General and Canada Cycle and Motor were not officially ceased until November 1984.
Ausdis seemed to use the Continental and General, and Northern Engineering names at different times for seemingly the same purpose, they may still have used the Canada name occasionally.
Northern Engineering battled along for many years under different owners and ended up being forcibly closed by the courts. I have the details filed away some where and will post when located.
 

Russell Hall

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According to the CCM history the offer to buy Canada Cycle and Motor Co was made by Continental & General after the premature death of Alec Chapman in 1964. To buy a large operation to close must have made some sense that is not obvious. The business was closed in 1965. I didn't realise they retained the registration of the Canada Cycle name. CCM was instrumental in relations with Studebaker. Buxton and Chapman had very close personal relations with the American executives. Studebaker closing killed the viability of the assembly plant.
 

Michaelfj

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Interesting read
From the Canberra Times 13/5/65

Turnover up, but without profit

SYDNEY, Friday.

Turnover for the six months ended December 31 was slightly higher than the turnover for the preceding year, directors of Automotive and General Industries Ltd. said today.

However, trading was less profitable.

On the basis of half yearly accounts and after allowing for proportion of profit attributable to out side shareholders and payment of preference dividends and subject to audit, the directors report that the group traded without profit or loss for the half year.

Difficult trading

"This result reflects the more difficult trading conditions experienced during the period. In particular trading results have been substantially affected by the cost of integrating the recently acquired business of the Canada Cycle Group of companies with the company's main business, and of winding up the company's association with the British

Motor Corporation.

"Despite the estimation of these costs previously indicated; in the event the problems turned out to be somewhat greater, and the costs somewhat higher than was calculated." the directors said.

"The company has now terminated all its associations with the British Motor Corporation, and realisation of assets employed in the B.M.C. business is proceed ing in an orderly manner.

"Production of Studebaker vehicles is now in progress at the company's Heidelberg plant," directors added.
 

Russell Hall

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1964 had been a difficult year for C&G because Peugeot sales slumped to 632 units, the lowest since the 203 was introduced in 1950. This was due to over pricing of the 404 that killed sales. The plant was now assembling more Studebakers than Peugeots particularly after they were adopted by Victoria Police. The company report conceals the fact that Studebaker was in trouble, South Bend had closed by 1964 and only Ontario was open.
C&G took a profit hit in 1965 when they substantially reduced the price of the Peugeot 403 and 404. As they had a large stock of unassembled kits this hurt. They continued to assemble Studebaker until late 1965. The remaining Studebaker stock was sold in a fire sale. Full page advertisements in the Melbourne press and a 600 pound discount.
 

seasink

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How common were Studebakers then? They were very rare on the roads here in NSW in the 60s. American cars were noticed.
 

Russell Hall

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I thought they were assembling around 1100 a year in 1964 but a Studebaker club member thinks up to 1500. Suited the Victorian policing style of the time. Local bloke, old Peugeot dealer, bought one of the discount cars and still had it when he passed in 1988.
 
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