Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa has transformed a Ranger Wildtrak into a one-off model celebrating both Heritage Month and the Blue Oval brand’s 96 years of local manufacture.

A team from Ford SA’s paint shop at the Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria created the one-of-a-kind double-cab model, using paintbrushes, spray guns and 35 litres of automotive paint. It took the team of five artists, three sprayers and one assembler a total of 650 hours (mainly outside of their regular shift work, says Ford) to complete the project.

The vehicle – powered by Ford’s 3,2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel – features the national flag stretching below the grille, across the bonnet and over the roof, while the tailgate is decorated with Ndebele art and a map of South Africa showing the location of Ford’s plants in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

The artworks on either side of the vehicle, meanwhile, depict what Ford calls an “eclectic array of cultural artefacts and aspects of environmental significance to South Africa and its people”, including proteas and San rock art.

“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 Queeneth Buthelezi, who led the project.

Ockert Berry, vice-president for operations at Ford Middle East and Africa, said “this very special Heritage Ranger is built for South Africans, by South Africans”.

“It is both a tribute to Ford’s proud 96-year manufacturing history locally, as well as a fitting representation of our nation’s rich heritage and diversity.”