Johannesburg - Ford Southern African has been in a celebratory mood this Heritage Month, and to mark the occasion, as well as 96 years of local vehicle production, the company commissioned some of its employees to create an artwork on wheels.

Given that it's produced here, the 2019 Ranger Wildtrak was the obvious candidate for transformation, and it certainly was a colourful makeover, compliments of a team that Ford commissioned from its own paint shop at its Silverton plant in Gauteng.

The project was completed by five artists, three sprayers and one assembler, who spent a total of 650 hours infusing the Ranger with more Mzansi magic than perhaps any other bakkie in the country has ever seen. The artists used paint brushes and spray guns to spread 35 litres of automotive paint across the one-of-a-kind Ranger.

While the front of the vehicle is dominated by South Africa’s flag, the tailgate is decorated with Ndebele tribal art and a map of the country, while the sides portray a variety cultural artefacts, including a potjie pot!

“It is a great privilege to be part of the team that worked on this incredible project, and delivering a product that every Ford employee from every cultural background can be proud of,” said project leader Queeneth Buthelezi.

His colleague Wiseman Mngadi added: “What stands out for me about this project is how it merges South Africa’s various cultural and heritage symbols and artefacts into one cohesive unit, just like how Ford brings together people from different backgrounds who work towards one common goal”.

Tebogo Mohlala and Thabiso Magane were responsible for the life-like Zebras and Tsonga village depictions, while David Serithi and Given Manzini did the spray work on the flag, while Daniel Malinga did the finishing coats and Ben Manala was tasked with reassembling the bakkie.

“The project was a great learning experience for me, and an opportunity to demonstrate my skills,” added Alana Jansen. “It validates my ability and competence as a woman in the automotive industry.”

Eat your heart out, Henry

“I don’t think Henry Ford – who once famously said: ‘Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black’ – could ever, in his wildest dreams, have pictured how incredible all these colours on just one vehicle would be!” said Ford’s oprations vice president Ockert Berry.

“But we have no doubt that he would be immensely pleased with what we have achieved.”

At present there are no plans to produce more than one of these arty Rangers, which we’ll say is a pity.

IOL Motoring