In an earlier post, I have written about the Shanghai Horse Bazaar & Motor Co. Ltd.(龙飞汽车马车行, SHB).
The SHB was one of the most important of the Shanghai body builders in the 1920s and 1930s, but there were many others. Thanks to the Oriental Motor magazines of 1920-1921 I could make an inventarisation.
I counted nine companies importing cars or having a car dealership, involved in body building. In this article I will introduce them in alphabetical order. Besides of these body builders I found 20 other garages, workshops, dealers, agents, importers. It is possible that some of these 20 made bodies, but I am not aware of that.
1. The AUTO PALACE Co. (利威汽车行 = Liwei Automobile Co.)
362 Avenue Joffre (Huaihai Middle Road), represented Briscoe and Renault, they were dealers of Austin, GMC, Bedford, Chevrolet and a lot other makes.
Established in 1904. Another source gives number 484 in the Avenue Joffre.
Another address is 100 Route Cardinal Mercier (Maoming Road)/ 400 Rue Bourgeat (Changle Road).
The building at Maoming Road was opened by Hermanos Levy in 1903. In 1915 Auto Palace was bought by mr. R. T. Ryton. In 1930 it acquired SHB. The company closed in 1949.
The building was special: on the roof was a test track.
2. The CENTRAL GARAGE Company
2a Jinkee Road (Tianjin Road)/ 9 Hong Kong Road (Xiangjiang Road)
Dealers of Austin, Angus Anderson, Chalmers, Mercer, Morris, Overland, Sunbeam, Templar, Willys Knight.
3. CHINA MOTORS, Ltd. (中华汽车公司)
125 Bubbling Well Road (Nanjing West Road), also 702 Bubbling Well Road (either moved or the numbers have changed).
Founded in 1914 by mr. Leon Friedman, company ended in 1941.
Chandler, Cleveland, Dodge, Hupmobile, Imperial, Oldsmobile, Premier, Kenneth Staley.
China Motors advertisement, 1922. Before 1920 China Motors was named Shanghai Garage Co. Ltd., Shanghai Garage was founded in 1918. The China Motors office and main plant were in the Star Garage, 125 Bubbling Well Road. China Motors had another branch: the Eastern Garage. Strangely the name Shanghai Garage was in use again in 1921.
China Motors, Eastern Garage, Shanghai Garage and Star Garage belonged to the same group.
China Motors was not only active in Shanghai, but also in North China, Manchuria and Siberia. The managing director in 1920 was captain J. E. Inch.
3a. EASTERN GARAGE (东方汽车公司), belonged to China Motors.
Chandler chassis, Eastern Garage body.
3b. STAR GARAGE Company (飞星汽车公司), belonged to China Motors.
Nanjing West Road, the exotic Star Garage building is still there. Now you can eat here.. The building was designed by the Spanish architect Abelardo Lafuente García-Rojo.
“Every one a Star”.
3c. The SHANGHAI GARAGE Company, Ltd., belonged to China Motors.
4. The FEI LUNG Company
together with the Shanghai Automobile Co.
153-4 Hupeh Road
Commenwealth, Dixie Flyer, Elgin Six, Jordan and Mitchell.
The body building took place at the Bubbling Well Shop.
4a. SHANGHAI Automobile Co., belonging to the Fei Lung Garage.
1787 Bubbling Well Road (Nanjing West Road).
5. Grand Garage FRANÇAIS (宝昌公司 = Baochang Company)
310 Avenue Joffre (Huaihai Middle Road), corner Avenue Joffre/ Avenue Duboul; earlier address is 228 Avenue Paul Brunat (name change into Joffre in 1918), maybe the same address. Also 356 Avenue Joffre.
Company erected in 1914.
André Citroën, Delage, De Dion Bouton, Haynes, Mathis, Renault, Talbot-Darracq.
6. H.S. HONIGSBERG & Co., Inc.
40 Bubbling Well Road (Nanjing West Road)
25 Medhurst Road (Taixing Road)
Buick, Cadillac, Packard, Stewart.
Honigsberg had a staff of 121 people in the Midhurst Road plant. It started in 1910 and designed its own models. Beside Shanghai Honigsberg was also active in Nanjing, Beijing, Tianjin, Qingdao, Dairen and Harbin.
Honigsberg started in 1910. In 1913 it moved to the Bubbling Well Road. In 1914 expansion demanded more space, the Medhurst Road building was obtained.
The Medhurst Road facility can be called a motor car plant: battery, paint and varnish, body building, machine, storage, assembling and other departments are here present.
Honigsberg staff was composed of four Western managers and 117 Chinese and Filipino workers.
7. The HUDFORD Garage
89-91 Rue Montauban (Sichuan Road)
Corner Avenue Edward VII (Yan’an East Road) and Thibet Road
Essex, Ford, Hudson.
including Dodge & Seymour (China) Ltd., sales agents on the same address.
The name Hudford seems to be a combination of Hudson and Ford.
Showroom Rue Montauban.
7a. DODGE & SEYMOUR (China) , Ltd.
belonging to Hudford Motors. The address in the Rue Montauban is the same.
8. SHANGHAI HORSE BAZAAR & Motor Co. Ltd. (龙飞汽车马车行)
I wrote about the story of this company before.
9. UNIVERSAL Motor Car & Body Works
8 Kung Hsing Road (?), Chapei District (Zhabei District)
21 Dalny Road (Dalian Road)
Different from the other companies who used their own imported cars, Universal Motor made bodies for the others: for Hudford, Franco-Asiatic Trading Co. (importer of Auburn, Fageol, Rolls Royce), China Motors and more.
Universal Motor: ‘We build up to a Standard- Not down to a Price’.
As I told in the beginning, there are probably more body builders under the 20 garages which were named or advertised in the Universal Motor magazines in 1920-21. I was surprised by their number; nine companies found. Yes, these are English, American and French companies, but nearly all employees are Chinese.
Shanghai Horse Bazaar: I counted (I suppose I made some mistakes, sorry) 135 Chinese looking people and 4 Western looking men. (that makes 3% foreign employees.)
Those who are interested in these magazines can find them on the web, thanks to the Smithonian Libraries:
As always, give your reactions!