Classic Cars in Taiping

Badge of Star Engineering Co Ltd., Wolverhampton

British cars used to be commonplace on Malaya’s roads and at the time of Independence in 1957 more cars were imported from Britain than all other countries put together.

By the 1970’s however British car sales to Malaysia were in free fall due to the general decline of the British motor industry and the rising popularity of Japanese models. The launch of Malaysia’s first home-grown car, the Proton, in 1985 and the increased tariff on imported cars was a further blow.

These days British cars are something of a rarity in Malaysia. No British cars featured in the top 50 selling models in Malaysia (2011 statistics) though, to be fair, luxury brands such as Range Rover and Jaguar have made a strong comeback in recent years.

So while in Taiping recently it was a rare treat to see seven old British cars in one day (admittedly four of them were in a museum). Here they are, mostly in excellent condition:

Triumph 1300 from the late 1960's.
Triumph 1300 from the late 1960’s?
Spitfire MKIV from around 1963?
Spitfire MKIV from around 1963? The mustang bonnet decoration was presumably not part of the original specs.
Austin 1100/1300 range.
This Austin 1100 or 1300 appears to have found a new life as temporary recycling storage.
Rolls Royce Phantom VI (1972).
This Rolls Royce Phantom VI (1972) is on display at Perak Museum.
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III (1964)
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III (1964). This model was nicknamed ‘Chinese Eyes’ – probably not a term which Rolls Royce would use these days.
Alvis TD21 Tourer (1960)
My favourite of the bunch, the Alvis TD21 Tourer (1960).
Star Motor 1920's
This vintage model was manufactured by The Star Engineering Co. Ltd., Wolverhampton, probably in the 1920’s. The company went into receivership in 1932.

Antong Coffee Factory, Taiping

Antong Coffee Factory, Taiping

While walking near Taiping railway station recently I smelt the powerfully delicious aroma of roasting coffee beans. Allowing my nose to lead the way, I headed over a bridge above the railway lines and spotted a sign for Kilang Kopi Antong (Antong Coffee Factory).

Location of Antong Coffee Factory

Given its off-the-beaten-track location I thought this place would seldom get any visitors. How wrong I was! It seems it is quite a tourist trap and there were three coach loads of school children being given a tour of the factory and demonstration of the manufacturing process.

Antong Coffee Factory

Antong describes itself as Malaysia’s oldest coffee mill having been established in 1933 by a Mr. Tiah Ee Mooi. Mr. Tiah’s old house stands alongside the factory and a bronze statue of him flanks the front door. Seemingly Dr. Sun Yat Sen, founder of modern China, stayed in this house when he visited Taiping. The factory building itself used to be the stables for this house.

Antong Coffee Factory

Antong Coffee Factory sources its coffee beans from both Malaysia and abroad. They are roasted in ovens fuelled by recycled wood, mangrove logs and so on. Molten sugar is mixed into the pot together with the coffee beans (too bad if you don’t like sugar) and apparently other secret ingredients are aded to give the coffee mix its distinctive flavour.

Antong Coffee Factory

Originally their main product would have been Kopi O powder (pre-sweetened black coffee) but to keep up with the times they have broadened their product range to include 3 in 1 white coffee with added creamer (very popular in Malaysia but not my cup of tea) and other instant type coffee mixes. They even sell durian flavoured white coffee. How Malaysian is that!

Antong Coffee Factory


Antong Coffee Factory

The factory shop was heaving with children enjoying a school outing.
The factory shop was heaving with children enjoying a school outing.

Good to see a traditional business like this still thriving after all these years.

In case you are interested in visiting:

Address: Antong Coffee Factory, Assam Kumbang, 34000 Taiping, Perak. Telephone: 05-8075189

Opening Hours:

Shop/Office: 8.30am – 5.30pm daily

Factory Hours: 8.30am – 12.30pm – closed on Sundays


Land Department, Taiping

If you like old stuff you’ll probably like Taiping. This town was once the capital of Perak state and at one time would have had a sizeable British community with military, government, rubber planters and tin miners in the area. They left their mark on Taiping.

Perak Museum

The Perak Museum was built in 1883 and is said to be the oldest museum in Malaysia.


The jail across the street is even older, dating from 1879. It is still in use.


All Saints Anglican Church must be about 120 years old and looks quaint.

Kapitan Antiques House

Talking of old stuff , the Kapitan Antiques House has some nice old things. The owner Mr.Tan prefers to collect than to sell and he is looking to add a Penny Farthing to his collection of antique bicycles and tricycles.

A pressing purchase

I purchased this old, locally-made charcoal iron as a gift for my wife. I’m sure she will be very impressed!

I'm Loco about Taiping.