The first Ford to arrive in South Africa was a 1903 Ford Model A, which was imported by Mr Arthur Youldon of Johannesburg.
1903 Ford Model A Runabout
In September 1903 Mr Youldon, an importer, was in New York where he sawHenry Ford demonstrate his new car. He immediately placed his order with Henry Ford, who informed him that it would be the first Ford to be soldoutside North America.
The Ford Motor Company was founded earlier thatyear, on 16 June 1903.
1903 Ford Touring Car
The car only arrived in February 1904 in Port Elizabeth from where it had to be transported by train to Johannesburg. This car survived to this day andcan be viewed at the Franschhoek Motor Museum in the Cape, which has a large display covering 100 years of motoring in SA. The first two Ford agents in South Africa are believed to be Arkell & Douglas of Port Elizabeth and Georges Chapart of Durban. Mr Chapard, a Frenchman,travelled throughout Natal and later also the Orange Free State, selling the popular Ford Model N, the predecessor of the Model T.
Other early Ford dealers followed such as Mr H.G. Holmes of Kimberley who later moved to Cape Town and Atkinson's Motor Garages of Bloemfontein, which much later were incorporated in the McCarthy Group of companies. During July 1923 Mr Holmes and Mr H.F.A. Stockelbach visited the Ford factory in Canada to investigate the possibility of starting an assembly plant in South Africa. Due to preferential tax and duty applicable to Commonwealth Countries, it wasadvantages to source the kits from the Canadian Ford factory rather than the USA.
This was realised in February 1924, when an old wool packing shed in PortElizabeth was used to start the assembly of the Ford Model Ts.