Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

john macauley003a

This isn’t a hard one to guess. Yes, it’s another photograph of Ipoh Motors Ltd. What I’m curious about is the street vendor – far right of this photograph (click to enlarge). What was he selling at that time? Can you also spot the petrol pump (below the sign Fargo Truck)?

This photograph is part of John McAuley’s collection. McAuley served in Ipoh in the mid 1950s.

  1. AHLAI says:

    It isn’t easy to tell what he was selling. It could have been iced cendol, fried noodles which were common those early days.

  2. Mano says:

    Can’t make out the names to the left of the facade but it’s interesting to note the American representation here with their Plymouth, Hudson and Willys, which is the now famous Jeep. As for the Brits’, I recall seeing the Singer Rapier around till the late sixties. Later on it was sometimes in the form of the Hillman Imp rebadged as Singer. Didn’t know much about Trojan back then. As for the BSA motorcycle, there probably are a few around. Those were the days when one could count the number of parts of a motorcycle not made from metal in one hand!
    As for the stall. Without even the sight of a plate or a bowl, it is next to impossible to tell what was being sold. To me, it seems more like the stall owner, for some reason, is doing a ‘runner’. That’s him on the bicycle in the foreground!:)

      • Ipoh Remembered says:

        Dear vincent

        It’s nice to hear from one more car enthusiast!

        In the old days Trojan used to make cars as well as lorries (in partnership with Leyland). The cars were sturdy and ran inexpensively and were therefore often used in Malaya as taxis. The Singapore distributor’s Ipoh agent was Wing Lee (long gone now, I am sure).

        Speaking of the distributor: At some point two mechanics working for the company — the Straits Motor Garage — decided to make (or were sent on) a trip in a Trojan car: their stated goal was to drive from Singapore to Calais and then make their way to London!

        On the way, they even stopped in Ipoh.

        But did they make it all the way to London? Not exactly as planned: once they got to the Siamese (now Thai) border, the roads, even if mapped, were frequently bad or non-existent. They considered taking their car apart and carrying it in pieces overland through Siam to Burma but even that was not possible! — so they crossed the Indian Ocean on a ship before driving more than two thousand miles across northern India.

        Their trip across the Sind desert was the first one ever made by a car, and when a sand-storm erased the camel tracks they were following, it was a pure miracle that they ever reached Karachi. From there, they made it to Constantinople (now Istanbul), a year after leaving Singapore! And after that, well, it was plain sailing, so to speak: two months later they were in England!

        Yes, it was impressive, I’ll say, especially if we remember that their car ran on solid tyres, their axles broke several times, and they spoke few of the languages they encountered on the way!

        Anyway, enough about that. You’re right that by the time the photograph was taken, Trojan was making mostly vans and small lorries. As far as I know there was never any association with Ford. And not long after the photograph was taken, the company more or less ceased to exist.


        By the way, felicia, when the photograph was taken, the right side of the building was occupied by tenant Ipoh Motors; and the left side was occupied by another tenant, a transportation company. Ipoh Motors, however, was not only a tenant: it was also the local agent for the landlord, Cycle & Carriage.

        So, not long after the photograph was taken, when Ipoh Motors wanted more space for its show-room, Cycle & Carriage filed a lawsuit in order to evict its other tenant! (And yes, the lawsuit was successful.)


        Final detail: you mentioned the petrol pump, but notice also the winged horse on the hanging shield. The brand is “Mobilgas” and the design was a Socony-Vacuum trade-mark used until the mid-’50s.

  3. rosebud says:

    Are those cement bags or sandbags I see on the left. If they are the latter, I wonder what it is trying to protect?

  4. Ignatius Chiew says:

    Between “Fargo Truck” and “Trojan S S” is a sign showing a horse with wings, Pegasus. I just make out the word as Mobilegas. That was the US oil company selling petrol. Gas is the short form for gasoline, which is petrol here. It was taken over by Esso.

  5. Steven Lee says:

    Pegasus was the logo for Mobil, hence Mobilgas. Esso came from SO or Standard Oil. Esso and Mobil were separate companies owned by Rockefeller. Esso changed its name to Exxon and later merged with Mobil to become ExxonMobil. There was a story that Exxon paid USD20m to ensure that the word doesn’t have any offensive meaning in all common languages on Earth since the name will be used globally. One condition was that there should not be any meaning to the name.

  6. Kamy Suria says:

    Terdapat tangki simpanan petrol telah ditanam dihadapan kedai ini. Lebih kurang pada tahun 1971(?) satu letupan telah berlaku sewaktu tangki itu hendak dikeluarkan. Tidak ingat ada yang cedera atau meninggal semasa kejadian tersebut.

  7. Ruth Iversen Rollitt says:

    I used to buy my petrol here. We signed a chit an paid at the end of the month. The building WA renovated but my father: architect BM Iversen!

  8. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Yes, it’s another photograph of Ipoh Motors Ltd. […] This photograph is part of John McAuley’s collection. McAuley served in Ipoh in the mid 1950s.

    Yes, Ipoh Motors was originally on Silibin Road; they moved to the Brewster Road location after the war.

    In the old days, at their Silibin Road location, they were the local agent for a number of makes, including FIAT and Renault. After the war, as Italy and France lay in ruins and the Americans were ascendant, Fargo, Willys, and other American makes were more available for a while.

  9. Ipoh Remembered says:

    rosebud wrote:

    Are those cement bags or sandbags I see on the left. If they are the latter, I wonder what it is trying to protect?

    As mentioned, the tenant on the left side of the building was a transportation company, whose name I still can’t recall! Those bags, whatever their contents, were probably items waiting to be loaded onto a lorry and transported.

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