Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
I am still trying to find out exact production dates for the various plants but here is what I do know. Amarther, the info you got from your Google search is, unfortunately mostly incorrect. The only plant in Uitenhage is the Volkswagen factory which has been producing VW's since the early 50's from a factory that started off before the war with the assembly of Studebakers. As a matter of interest, most of SA's car plants are geared up for complete manufacture of vehicles, not just assembly of CKD's The VW factory in Uitenhage has produced all the RHD Golf 4 and 5's for the world market as far as I know. General Motors and Ford have factories in Port Elizabeth. Ford has just an engine plant currently, building engines for export.
South Africa did have the only Alfa production factory outside of Italy. Production started at CDA in East London with the 101,106 and early 105 series cars (no spiders), but this plant also produced and assembled various other vehicles such as Renault and the Fiat Topolino. The CDA plant was taken over by Mercedes Benz around 1970 and production then moved to Rosslyn Motor Assemblers near Pretoria who were also responsible for the assembly of various other makes including Nissan. This plant was not owned by Alfa Romeo. Most of our 105 series production comes from this plant but again no spiders. In the late 70's Alfa had their own fatory at Brits which produced the last of the 105 series cars and Alfetta's, Guilietta's, Suds, Sprint's and the GTV and GTV6. As has been stated already, we had strict local content rules which roughly amounted to 80% local content by weight during most of this time so not much could be imported. As far as I know Alfa SA did not build cars for export and RHD spiders were built in Italy and exported to the various markets directly from there. With Italy and Africa there are always exceptions however! Alfas were imported into Rhodesia via Tanzania to get around trade sanctions.
As has already been mentioned, South Africa has seen some fantastic "Homologation Specials"; cars built specially for standard production racing and for sale to the general public. The Alfa GTV6 2.5 was raced against the BMW 535 with much success, relying on superior handling to offset the bigger Beemers power advantage. BMW upped the stakes with a modified version of the 535 and Alfa counteracted with the GTV6 3.0 which quickly became a legend in local racing. The 535 was completely outclassed and BMW's answer was to produce a 7 series fitted with the engine from the M1! Ford joined the fray with a 5 litre Mustang engined Sierra. These were the ingredients which produced some spectacular racing with the Alfa usually victorius despite the smallest engine. All these cars were production vehicles available to the public.
I hope to be able to add to this discussion with the actual production dates etc once I have them, but what I have written here so far is factually correct and checked with various "old hands" in the various local Alfa clubs.