Greens Motors celebrate 170 years!
When a young entrepreneur named Stephen Green spotted a golden opportunity to establish a business in Haverfordwest, he laid the foundations for a family company that is still flourishing after 170 years.
Greens Motors Ltd, the world’s oldest Land Rover dealership, achieves its remarkable 17 decades in business this year.
The family-owned company was founded by Stephen Green in 1846 with his acquisition of an ironmonger’s shop in Haverfordwest’s High Street.
That business expanded to include public transport, electrical retailing, fuel oil distribution and the sector it has become synonymous with - the motor trade.
The 170-year anniversary marks an important milestone for this multi-faceted company as it looks back on its many accomplishments; the year is poignant too because the anniversary coincides with the end of an era for the Land Rover Defender.
The association Greens has had with this iconic vehicle runs deeper than that of any other dealership. Greens stocked some of the first Land Rovers that rolled off the production line some 68 years ago. The company was then based in Haverfordwest town centre, where the multi storey car park now stands.
In those intervening years, more than two million Land Rovers have rolled off the production line and Greens has sold and dealt with many thousands of those. The distinctive “Greens” spare wheel covers have been spotted all over the country – and further afield too, as one found a home on the Falkland Islands.
Getting the vehicles from the factory in Solihull to Haverfordwest wasn’t as straightforward as in became in recent years, recalls Greens’ director, Martin Green.
“I remember my father telling me the story of Billy Williams, who worked for the company, taking a train from Haverfordwest to Solihull to pick up the first vehicle. He drove it back to Pembrokeshire because in those days all vehicles were collected by dealers. Large transporters hadn’t been invented.’’
Land Rover, which stopped building its Defender 4x4 model at Solihull earlier this year, has strong links with Wales because its designer, Maurice Wilks, sketched his vision for what would be the original design in the sand on an Anglesey beach.
“We are very proud that we are still servicing and restoring a vehicle conceived in Wales over 68 years ago,’’ says Martin.
Greens Motors Ltd, now based at the Withybush Business Park, continues to offer Land Rover service and refurbishments and rebuilds and restores older models; 4x4 vehicles remain at the heart of the business.
One Greens customer is the proud owner of a 1951 Series 1 Land Rover, which Greens had supplied to its original owner.
Roger Hainsworth, of the Grandiflora garden centre in St Florence, tracked down the vehicle eight years ago on Ebay where he snapped it up for £4,000. Now a much sought after collector’s item, the vehicle is in pristine condition and still bears the original Pembrokeshire registration plate. “I think it has survived so well because it spent so many years away from the salty Pembrokeshire sea air,’’ says Roger.
“I’m an absolute Land Rover enthusiast, these vehicles do everything that a 4x4 should. We have always used Land Rovers in the business which we have bought from Greens and had them serviced there.’’
Greens recently supplied Roger with one of the last new Defenders ever made. He also has a 1998 Land Rover Discovery. “It looks brand new,’’ he says.