FROM the wheels on horse drawn coaches to the early days of “motor cars ” — Gordons Ford has had a major part to play in Bolton’s transport history.
This year the car dealership is celebrating 150 years in the business and so we’re taking a look back to where it all started, with a family of Samuel Gordons.
In 1823 the first Samuel Gordon, an ambitious coachbuilder, walked from Edinburgh to Bolton to make his fortune.
At that time Bolton was a town booming in textiles, engineering and coal and Samuel soon settled, married and had a son, also called Samuel, in 1846.
In 1863, young Samuel, helped by his father, set up a business manufacturing coaches and carriages. By 1868, the business had moved to the site of the current Gordons Ford and was named Gordons Coach Works.
In 1876 Samuel Gordon the third was born and, during the late 1890s, he travelled the world to investigate the possibilities of the “horseless carriage”.
It was his influence that extended Gordon’s Coach Works to motor vehicle body building, sales and repairs at the turn of the century. By 1911, the business had signed a formal agreement with Ford.
Gordons also contributed to the war effort and donated two Emergency Food Vans, which they also maintained, offering roadside meals to those worst affected by the bombings in the First World War.
With the business still growing, in 1930 Gordons opened its first showroom on the High Level in Bolton — a place to display the latest models, such as the Ford Pops and Prefects.
As the motoring industry started to boom and more people owned their own cars, Gordons recognised the need for on-the-spot repairs for customers and opened their first “Rapid Fit” in 1957.
By 1973 the offices had a complete revamp and the company purchased Thompson and Oakes in Derby Street, Bolton.
They also set up the Truck Division in Weston Street and bought a new site in Lee Lane, Horwich , which was later re-located to its current site in Chorley New Road in the early 1980s.
In 2001, Gordons branched out into the completely different venture of wine. But it did not and does not stock any old vino — Gordons boasts a cellar stocked with rare wines, some worth thousands of pounds per bottle. It even used to supply the Queen Mother with the only wine she liked.
Gordon’s marketing manager Cheryl Ashton said: “Looking back, it is fair to say Gordons Ford has not stopped moving and continues to be one of Bolton’s biggest business success stories.”
● Gordons will be holding a party in its car park on September 16 to celebrate its anniversary and completion of a £1.2 million redevelopment.