One of the oldest motor retailing companies in Britain, Flear & Thomson was founded as a producer of steam engines and agricultural machinery when the Industrial Revolution was still in full swing. Established by William Flear and David Thomson in 1870, the business achieved notable success in its early years based at Upper Station Road, Dunfermline. Flear took full control of the company in 1891, after Thomson sold his share to emigrate to the USA and work for Andrew Carnegie, Dunfermline’s most famous son.
The reputation of the company for engineering excellence spread steadily, with Flear & Thomson becoming internationally renowned as one of the finest suppliers of steam-powered engines and machinery in Britain. Indeed, orders for the company’s equipment came from as far away as New South Wales, where the Hawkesbury Agricultural College paid for the company’s patented turnip-thinning machine.
The gradual decline of steam power and the rise of the internal combustion engine saw a shift in the nature of the Flear & Thomson business.
From 1927, the company, now under control of Thomson’s son, moved into automotive retail and repairs, selling and servicing Hillman and Humber cars, as well as Commer commercial vehicles. This side of the enterprise became dominant in the succeeding decades, as the postwar boom made vehicle ownership more and more common.
During the 1950s, Flear & Thomson became a Limited Company and control passed to Andrew Buchanan, an employee for many years. The business underwent steady expansion under Buchanan and his son George, who took charge of the business in 1972, adding Vauxhall and Fiat franchises to the business.
In 1992, the company became the sole appointed dealer for Nissan cars in Fife, starting a 20-year partnership that makes Flear & Thomson the Japanese manufacturer’s second-oldest representative in the UK. The acquisition of the local Kia franchise in 2003 extended the company’s remit still further. Today, Flear & Thomson, in the care of a third generation of Buchanans, looks forward to remaining a trusted and established business serving customers across Fife and the surrounding counties.