The founder of Canterbury seat covers, Mr. Walter Ryan manufactured & distributed a range of Auto Accessories for vehicles from as early as 1956.
With expertise in mechanical engineering Mr. Ryan worked early in his career making water alcohol injectors which were in high demand after the second world war and then went on to sell the English hydraulic brake lock.
Once the business started Mr. Ryan traded under the name W.J. & M.E. RYAN, Later in his career switching to the name Quality Auto Accessories and lastly in the mid to late 60’s the D’or brand was registered.
In the late 50’s the first products made and distributed were Plastic seat covers, Sill protectors, Sun visors, Lace on steering wheel covers, Rear Venetian blinds, Kenard roof racks, made or dispatched from his home in Hurstville, New South Wales.
Mr. Ryan was one of the first people to sell a car seat cover in Australia made from clear plastic.
Initially Products were made in Australia either by Mr. Ryan or his suppliers then there were some well known brands making their way to Australia.
If you are old enough you will remember brands such as Krooklocks from England.
Fiamm air horns, Narva crash helmets, Corello driving lights all from Italy.
Cal custom from America and Kanebo chamois from Japan.
All these imported products were of the highest quality and from the best of European technology.
Below is a photo of Mr. Ryan’s Sign written car, which is a 1960 FB Holden Station Wagon with hand painted sign-writing.
Quality Auto Accessories was one of the first true Auto Accessories manufacturer and wholesaler in Australia.
1970’s – 1980’s
The 70’s and 80’s saw Mr. Ryan open his own manufacturing business in Sydney making a wide range of metal fabricated products, which included Roof Racks, Number plate frames, Car Ramps, Tramp rods, Lowering blocks, Holden gear sticks, Gear knobs, Sports air cleaners, Wheel nuts, Tarbabies, Twangers, Car Stands Oil Drip Trays and Garage Creepers.
This business had 2 large factories in Bankstown.
The 80’s then lead to a large production facility for the manufacturing of car seat covers.
The goal from the outset was to create a leading edge in manufacturing and design trends, polyester was added to the backing of car seat covers, Wool blends from the finest wool manufactures in Victoria were sourced. Additionally, a fabric called Berber and woven polypropylene were introduced.
1980’s – 1990’s
Merchandising and displays in Retail outlets were a major focus and way of communicating the quality and features of the products sold under the D’or brand in the 1980’s.
Displays similar to the below picture were built in every Grace Bros store in Sydney, followed in later years by David Jones, Myers as well as most department stores in Australia
Sales increased amazingly with stores recording record sales in a very short period of time.
All the displays were built in Mr. Ryan’s engineering factory in Bankstown, NSW and then installed by a team of trained shop fitters.
The 80’s saw the business also supplying major retail and car manufacturers.
In this period the company was the major supplier to Big W for all their automotive accessory needs likewise Grace Bros, David Jones, BBC, Harris Scarfe, Myers and many others.
Additional to supplying retail outlets Mr. Ryan also supplied Toyota, Holden, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Daihatsu with seat covers, Floor mats and Number plate frames.
The operation center during this time has moved to Erskineville close to the center of Sydney where a manufacturing and distribution center was established covering 20,000 Square feet. The business having being sold in 1989 Mr Ryan then chose to concentrate on his retail establishment through to the 2000’s