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One of our blog readers - Ipoh Remembered - shared the following with us, regarding Universal Cars:
As with the Chua brothers and their firm, Cycle & Carriage, the Wearne brothers, too, began as bicycle repairmen. Operating in Singapore, they started selling Ford cars in 1909. When they decided a couple of years later to begin operations on the peninsula, Ipoh is where they came first.
In Ipoh they operated out of several locations simultaneously — including at this less crowded end of Hugh Low Street, where there was more space for their facilities (Riley, Hargreaves, too, had its workshops here).
By the late 1910s, Wearne Brothers was the largest importer of cars in Malaya and sold numerous brands. Their best-selling make was Ford and, by the mid-’20s, a subsidiary, Universal Cars, was formed solely to handle Ford sales.
The first Universal Cars building in Ipoh was constructed in the late ’20s. The building shown in the photograph came later.
We thank Ruth Iversen Rollitt (daughter of B M Iversen) for the picture.