Vehicles Made in South Australia



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This collection comprises a variety of South Australian-made cars, motorcycles and components and spans over 100 years of motoring in South Australia. Donated largely by various companies and individuals, these vehicles were all manufactured and/or assembled in South Australia. The collection includes the earliest example of a steam powered vehicle manufactured in South Australia (the 1899 Shearer steam carriage), right up to a 2008 Mitsubishi 380 (one of the last off the assembly line at Tonsley Park before the plant closed).

This collection documents the evolution of the automotive manufacturing industry in South Australia during the twentieth century. Motor vehicles have been made in South Australia since 1899, when agricultural implement maker David Shearer built a steam powered wagon. South Australia, with a strong tradition of horse drawn vehicle manufacturing, was well placed to develop a motor vehicle industry at the start of the 20th century. The collection provides insight into the emergency measures taken by the Commonwealth Government during the First World War to limit the importation of motor vehicles as well as further Commonwealth Government requirements for local content in motor vehicles which were to be sold in the Australian market. [NP] The collection reveals the development of working relationships between local body builders and major international vehicle manufacturers. This ensured the viability of the local manufacturing industry which became responsible for producing most of the significant components for vehicles in Australia by the early 1950s. Some specialised vehicles were still imported as large kit sets (known as Complete Knock Down or CKD) with the vehicle being assembled in South Australia and utilising fewer local components. [NP] More recent additions to the collection document the significant fall in the number of South Australian vehicle manufacturers after a series of financial crises and mergers with overseas companies.

A National Motor Museum collection. Access to collection items held in Museum Stores is by appointment only.


Cars; Motorcycles

Cars; Motorbikes; Road vehicles

Manufacturing; Motor Body Building; Motorcars

Motor cars

National Motor Museum, South Australia

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2012-05-30 23:40

2011-03-04 13:46