My informant Tim Gallwey wrote in with the following:
Most of your material concerns the central business district and industry is hardly ever mentioned. I realise that this is a reflection of the material sent in to you so I am submitting something about motor car manufacture i.e. at Motor Assemblies. I was there for six and half years, mostly at Jacobs but for a couple of years at Prospecton. Our Managing Director was John Sully who was well known for his sailing exploits in the Flying Dutchman class.
I was particularly involved in the local manufacture of parts for the Toyota 7R engine at Mobeni. Initially this plant had been acquired for truck assembly but then we added the engine assembly and test operation which had its own small quality control group. The site manager was a great guy called Dave Martin who had been production manager in the car plant at Jacobs.
Our first engine with local parts had to be subjected to durability testing in November 1968 for spells of ten hours at a time at full throttle for twenty spells. To avoid back pressure in the exhaust we installed a large “drain pipe” of about 250 mm diameter up the outside wall and we had massive complaints from local companies during the day, plus the local residents at night, because of noise. Within a day or two that had to be modified but we completed the tests on time.
In those days all the local parts were made by outside suppliers elsewhere in the country and the initial negotiations with them were done by my boss Mike Compton. Toyota sent three engineers for a visit of two to three weeks to check on our activities and on those of our local suppliers. We were somewhat relieved to pass, mostly with flying colours, and operations went ahead at full speed and further suppliers were added subsequently. Some years later we built our own engine machining plant at Prospecton and sold the Mobeni site. By the time I left in early 1973 the payroll exceeded 3000 people, a pretty significant employer.
We have compiled a document on the company and it can be found here on Blogspot. I hope it will arouse the interest of other people who worked there and that they will add their memories.
As with other correspondents I enjoy the site. Thank you.