Ford Endeavour Motor Company

Endeavour Motor Company : click on the image to open a large version in a new window
From the private collection of Christopher Wrapson
Staff at the Endeavour Motor Company 1964 : click on the image to open a large version in a new window
From the private collection of Christopher Wrapson

Owned by Tommy Sopwith

(EMC) is best remembered as a high profile Ford Main Dealership, owned by Tommy Sopwith son of the famous aviator ‘Sir Thomas Sopwith’. The company`s headquarters were based in a brand new purpose built building 90/96 Preston Road and became established in the early 1960s. The site was previously occupied by Hartley & Midgley whose roots can be traced back to the early decades of the 20th century.

Popular Ford models

It is widely acknowledged that EMC heydays were in the swinging sixties and seventies, when the Dealership enjoyed huge success selling and maintaining Ford products of the day Anglia, Cortina, Corsair, Zephyr / Zodiac, Escort, Capri and Granada.

Demolished in 2002

Time passed and the business at Preston Road slowly declined, subsequently EMC disposed of the Ford dealership. However, they retained many of the properties. The Business was renamed ‘Brighton Ford’ until eventual closure at the beginning of the new millennium. The Endeavour building existed for barely four decades; sadly it was demolished in 2002 to make way for a vast complex of flats to be known as Wellend Villas.

To read a more compressive story on the history of Endeavour Motor Company up to 1973. Please e-mail

Comments about this page

  • My grandfather Lawrie Sargeant was with Tommy Sopwith (senior) building aeroplanes during WW1. He moved to Brighton after the War and had the first petrol pumps in the town at Clarence Garage, opposite St Mark’s Church, Eastern Road. Do you remember Desmond Rippon (my father’s ex business partner at Bristol Garage, Church Place) who was with Endeavour in the 60s?

    By Tim Sargeant (11/04/2013)
  • I had my first job at Hartley and Midgley (later to be changed to Endeavour Motor Company) straight from school in 1959. I made life long friends with people from the office and also from the garage, and marrying one of the mechanics. It was a happy time and full of expectation of the new building that was going to be built, but unfortunately, I had left by the time it was finished. I worked in the ‘Sales Promotion’ office and remember the thousands of leaflets we posted for the new Ford Anglia and others that followed.

    By Pat Salmon (11/04/2013)
  • In reply to Tim Sargeant`s post. Sorry Tim I don`t remember Desmond Rippon! I started working for (EMC) in 1961 at the age of 17 I was employed in the old Hartley & Midgley workshop. By that time the business had been renamed Endeavour Motor Company Ltd and we were all looking forward to moving into the planned new building. The early 1960s was a great time to be a young person working in the motor trade. Ford Motor Company in common with other car manufacturers would launch new models every few months or so. Bright new colours were introduced that seemed to give a statement that Great Britain had finely emerged from the austerity of the post WW2 years – so much so that Harold Macmillan, Conservative Prime Minister of the day, had recently informed the nation that we had never had it so good. I will never forget working in the brand new Endeavour building or the swinging sixties. Those are the years I will always remember with happiness and as Pat Salmon says full of expectation. Regards Chris.

    By Christopher Wrapson (17/04/2013)
  • I own a Ford Fiesta Mk1 that was originally sold by Endeavour. It came up north to Cleveland in the 1990s when the original owner passed away, and the car was given to his brother. I bought it when I was 17 in 2002. It was in decent condition but needed a tidy up. I took it off the road for a full restoration in 2006 after I bought a more modern car. As yet, it still isn’t back on the road. It had the original rear window sticker and Endeavour logo’d number plates. It’s a shame the dealership has been demolished, as the return was a distant plan of mine once restoration is completed. Unfortunately, the rear window became broken during a snow fall incident from my parents’ house roof. Hope it’s back on the road again soon. Does anyone else have any Endeavour cars on the road?

    By Stuart (21/06/2013)
  • I own a Ford Escort RS turbo in red bought new from Endeavor motor company. I have the original bill of sale and order form and also the salesman’s business card! I’m currently restoring it (I’m in the final 3weeks of completion), and am trying to get images of the dealer logo’s for the number plate, rear window and possibly tax disc holder, if anyone can provide any info on this please email me at

    By Lee (06/08/2013)
  • Had a fantastic time at EMC in the 80s. Sold loads of cars and made some really good friends. Anybody there at that time please get in touch, I would love to see some photos of that time. Alan Furze, Ray Goody, Alan Pockney – great people. Thanks

    By Nigel Collard (08/09/2013)
  • A lot of my family worked at Endeavour. My cousin Doug Peters from school to retirement in the workshop, his and my uncle Les Hyde was works manager for both Endeavour and Hartley & Midgley. I  went on to look after Tommy Sopwith’s speedboats. My sister Vera Lammie was in the office and on reception and my mum Ivy Hyde was tea lady.

    By Terry Hyde (21/10/2013)
  • Endeavour Motor Company was my second home from 1963 until I left in 1992, and felt like a family as my Father Mother and future husband all woked there it was a great place to grow up and have some very happy memories, I worked in the filing office when I left school in 1965 and then went on to work on the main switchboard with Vera Lammie & fondly remember Ivy and her tea trolly.

    Happy days

    Vida Grinyer nee Johnstone

    By Vida Grinyer (30/11/2013)
  • During the excavation of the Endeavour site in 1962 and in preparation for the new buildings, human bones and artifacts were discovered that proved to be Roman.  Previous excavations of the site in 1876/77 had discovered evidence that a Roman villa or a place of worship had existed there. The villa is commemorated on the stone pillar at the southern entrance of Preston Park. The artifacts discovered in 1962 included human bones, pottery, tools and coins.  All construction work was halted on that part of the site, while a four week archaeology dig took place; led by company director Jack Whitehead who was an amateur archaeologist. Many more items were discovered and eventually all the artifacts found were displayed in a glass cabinet in the new showroom.  Subsequently this valuable and interesting collection was donated to the Brighton Museum. Who remembers the huge mural located in the waiting area in the showroom depicting Brighton Pavilion? More detail here:

    By Chris Wrapson (05/12/2013)
  • I worked there in the late 80s. I have some very fond memories of the place. I remember some of the characters too from Peggy the tea lady to Fingers. They were all great to work with. I as still in contact with some of the guys even 25 years on.

    By Neil Evans (18/01/2014)
  • I was the Foreman glazier on site with the new build at EMC to the finish. I was also a good friend of Tommy Lance, salesman.The good old days. Tony Freeman.

    By Tony Freeman (12/04/2014)
  • The new Endeavour building used up 6,296 tons of concrete, 148 tons of steel rod, 250 gallons plus of paint, the building also used 2,593,000 bricks – it was once calculated that if all the bricks used were laid end to end they would stretch from Brighton to Dagenham  (I wonder if that were to be true). Tony Freeman and his Glass Men installed 10,883 square feet of glass (approx 1/4 of an acre).  The main workshops, mezzanine floor and stores covered an area of 30,500 sq. ft. and the showroom and office accommodation a further 9,500 sq. ft. The main building facing Preston Road was illuminated. Its lighting was designed to shine upwards and after nightfall it created a ‘floating’ effect to the whole structure. It was generally agreed that the new Endeavour building with its modern, but restrained and contemporary design enhanced the area, it all seemed to sit comfortably within its surroundings, and was soon to be recognized as one of Brighton’s landmark buildings. 

    By Chris Wrapson (16/04/2014)
  • Not sure if anyone can help me, I own a MK1 Escort RS2000 which was purchased new from EMC I have been told its original owner was Managing Director of EMC which would have been in March 1975. The name I have is David Gardner, could anyone tell me if this is the same man as it would be more interesting history on my car which is still going strong.  Any information will be most appreciated. 

    By Mark Perriton (26/05/2016)
  • I worked for Endeavour Motor Company from 1961. Sorry to say I personally don’t remember David Gardner as MD. I left EMC in 1973. As I recall, Bob Borradaile was MD around that time. He took over from Peter Rigden. I also remember Roy Grant. Not sure what his job title was at that time. The very best of luck with your ongoing research. Its great to know that your Mk1 Escort purchased all those years ago from EMC is still going strong especially as its a RS2000.   Check out ‘Endeavour Old Boys and Girls’

    By Chris Wrapson (28/05/2016)
  • Thanks Chris, I thought I had found David Gardner pencilled a letter to last known address but not had any reply, so the hunt continues. Will let you know if I get anywhere.

    By Mark Perriton (30/08/2016)
  • Hi Mark, re your RS2000 and David Gardener. I recently received this e-mail from Endeavour Old Boy Brian McAlister who is happy to share it with others on the MyB&H website and FB. Brian wrote:

    Hi Chris, re David Gardner. The only person I can remember around that period with that name was not employed by Endeavour Motor Company but was the Senior Regional Manager for the Southern Area employed by Ford Motor Company. He is seemingly still breathing and lives somewhere in Worcester. I will continue with trying to trace him and keep you posted on the way. Kindest regards, Brian McAlister. 

    By Chris Wrapson (02/09/2016)
  • Gordon E Stewart here. Anyone remember me?

    By Gordon E Stewart (13/02/2017)
  • I joined EMC March 1964 and left Sept 1966 Roy Grant was workshop manager a great talented man. Chris Wrapson has done a superb on the history of the firm. Some of my friends Dave and Sally Waters, John Champion, Hedley Revett, Laurie Evans. The guys came up to Aberdeen at the New Year 1967 in John’s Beetle. We had a great time. My time at EMC was memorable and superb.

    By John Park (17/03/2019)
  • Hi there, a bit of a long shot but I was talking with my father recently about Jim Clark (race driver) and in the early to mid-sixties, he was doing a promotional tour around the UK and went to the Endeavour garage mentioned above on Preston Road and had lots of photos taken. Furthermore, my mum worked there at this time and apparently had photos taken with him and they were put up on the wall, her name was Pauline Barr, does anyone remember this and or have any of these photos? Thanks in advance!

    By James Barr (19/03/2019)
  • Hi there, I recently posted here about Jim Clark visiting this garage in the mid sixties and meeting my mother, I wrote her married name in my previous post, she wasnt married at the time, so her name was Pauline Warren (circa 1964-1966) hope it helps with any pics! Thanks.

    By James Barr (22/03/2019)
  • I have a Malibu gold Zodiac Mk3 1965, supplied new by
    EMC Brighton, CUF registration letters,
    still has the original EMC key ring and tax disc holder.

    By Alan Pearson (31/01/2020)
  • Just wondering if my 1985 Escort XR3i B599LUF was supplied new by Endeavour Motor Company as it originally came from Brighton? Still going strong, plus I have a replica Endeavour dealer sticker in the rear window.

    By Joe Ledger (24/06/2020)
  • A very good history of the company ,I worked at
    Preston rd from 65 / 68 as at trainee salesman I went through used cars with MAC, what an education! then new cars. Stan Evans sales admin with Dereck Malkin RSM, movement control with
    Major David Byng, Cecil Cull,then went to Shoreham with Tony Stone. Roger marsdon
    Back at Preston Rd- Billy Owen, Alan Furse,Ronny Sharpe.

    By Tim silverthorne (12/07/2020)
  • Fascinating !!
    Does anyone have any memories of selling the Capri RS3100 in late 73 and through 1974 ?

    By Ric (30/10/2021)
  • To Tim Silverthorne;
    You mention Major David Byng in your posting above.
    Would that have been Mjr David George Bulkley-Byng who lived at 13 Chichester Terrace?
    If so he worked for us at Bristol Garage in Church Place for a while in the 1950s. I thought he was retired from the Army then and just doing a few odd jobs to augment his pension. He later moved to Worthing I think. If you know any more about him please get in touch. Tim (at) Permanden. Co. Uk
    Ric: Be helpful if you gave the registration number of the Ford Capri.

    By Tim Sargeant (31/10/2021)
  • Hiya all,
    Does anyone have a picture of the Endeavour of Brighton dealer sticker ?
    Yours hopefully, Rob.

    By Rob maeer (30/07/2022)
  • RUF33H 1300 Super Escort Green is still going strong.
    Originally supplied by EMC In Jan 1970.
    If anybody has any literature or key rings they want rid of I’d be very grateful.

    By Paul caplin (22/10/2022)
  • Hi, I’m trying to trace the original dealer of my 1985 white escort rs turbo reg B169KUF I know it came from around the Brighton and Kent Herne Common area. Could it be EMC any info would be much appreciated. Tia.

    By Alexander Stewart (07/11/2022)
  • Alexander. A rather long response to your enquiry:
    Dealers and main agents were usually issued with a batch of registration numbers which they then allocated to vehicles they sold over a period of time. If your car was supplied by one of these in the Brighton area they probably had, for example, B161KUF to B170KUF, ie a batch of ten numbers, in the case of a main agent probably 20 or more depending on how many vehicles they were expecting to sell before that particular series of registrations came to an end, or were time expired.
    The letter ‘B’ with KUF after was issued in Brighton during January and February 1985. Although a fairly low number your car was registered in February 1985 which means that it probably stood in a showroom before being registered, (taxed) with a number which had been allocated to the dealer earlier. If you want to go into it more deeply you will have to write to DVLA at Swansea. There might be a fee for information, but not if you are the registered owner, ‘Keeper’.
    It is unlikely that the Archives at The Keep would have any information as this is a ‘Swansea’ number. ie; Issued after the Brighton Local Taxation Office had closed. They do have the allocation books for most Brighton numbers up to the closure of the Brighton LTO. If a batch of numbers was allocated to a dealer or main agent, ie; Endeavour Motor Company, this was noted in the register which also contained the first owner’s name, although not always when a block of numbers was issued. When I last looked at these old registers or allocation books, (ie: for Pre 1974 registrations) EMC had quite large batches of numbers allocated to them. In the case of some of the more unusual cars these were often initially registered for the use of Tommy Sopwith personally and some of these were identifiable by the initials, ‘for TS’.

    By Tim Sargeant (08/11/2022)

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