Sev­enty years old and im­prov­ing with age

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - REN MACHINERY -

R.E.N Ma­chin­ery is a busi­ness name syn­ony­mous with agri­cul­ture in the War­ragul district. But who came up with R.E.N, and why?

Ray. Earl. Norm: three for­mer air-force col­leagues were the men be­hind the busi­ness that started out as R.E.N Mo­tors.

It was 1948, three years af­ter World War 2 ended, when Ray Wil­son, Earl French and Norm Fran­come joined forces to es­tab­lish a ve­hi­cle deal­er­ship and ser­vice sta­tion. Hav­ing faced many chal­lenges dur­ing ac­tive ser­vice, their de­ci­sion to unite in busi­ness would be the be­gin­ning of a suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship.

Set­ting up in mod­est premises on Brandy Creek Road, War­ragul R.E.N Mo­tors boasted a lubri­to­rium, en­vi­able work­shop and spa­cious show­room.

R.E.N was the ma­jor fran­chisee for sev­eral big-name ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers, and cus­tomers were spoilt for choice.

Lo­cals now had the lux­ury of choos­ing ve­hi­cles with an in­ter­na­tional badge, in­clud­ing Ital­ian Fiat, Bri­tish Singer and Bri­tish Re­nault.

R.E.N also catered to the farm­ers by stock­ing David Brown Trac­tors, de­signed and built in the UK. On-site fuel sales en­sured new-ve­hi­cle own­ers could re­turn to fill the tanks of their shiny, new ac­qui­si­tions.

Dur­ing the Brandy Creek Road years, Ray Wil­son sold his share in R.E.N Mo­tors to Earl and Norm due to fam­ily health is­sues.

A few years later, Norm ap­proached Earl with the news that he too had to leave the busi­ness for per­sonal rea­sons.

Ray moved to Mil­dura, Norm moved to Mel­bourne and Earl be­came the sole owner of R.E.N Mo­tors.

Earl and his wife Hazel wel­comed their first­born son, Gary, to their fam­ily line-up on 11 Septem­ber 1955.

Soon af­ter, Earl and R.E.N wel­comed New Hol­land to their farm ma­chin­ery line-up — both proved to be re­ward­ing and suc­cess­ful ad­di­tions for Earl and Hazel, al­beit for very dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

Earl (third from left) at the 1959 New Hol­land Dealer Con­fer­ence.

Earl French re­lax­ing in a 1948 Fiat sta­tion wagon.

Two-thirds of the orig­i­nal R.E.N Mo­tors team: Norm Fran­come and Ray Wil­son in the be­gin­ning.

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