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Protea

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Johannesburg-based marque founded by Roland Fincher, Alexander (Alec) Roy, John Myers, and financial backers Miriam and Robert Hudson, and incorporated in 1956 as G. R. P. Engineering Co. Protea built c. 26 sports’ cars using a Ford side-valve engine and some mechanical parts. Not quite the first South African car—John Streeter and Ivor Smith made three in 1913—but Protea made more of an impression, with a win in the 1957 Pietermaritzburg Six Hours’ Endurance Race. Locally designed and built, with bodies in GRP. However, automotive manufacture could not be sustained. With the Hudsons relocating to the UK, and a lack of profit thanks in part to bureaucratic red tape, production ended.


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