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Vale Shirley Blanchard

Shirley Blanchard, who with the late John Blanchard Senior founded what is today Australia’s largest family-owned importer and wholesaler of automotive parts, has passed away.

Shirley (left) and JB Senior
Shirley (left) and JB Senior

In a statement, CoolDrive Auto Parts said: “With Senior’s attention to detail and entrepreneurial spirit, combined with Shirley’s business sense and organisational skills, the CoolDrive business grew exponentially, setting the scene for future generations of Blanchards”.

On behalf of the VASA board and all members, condolences to Shirley’s children John Junior and Jennie, as well as Shirley’s six grandchildren Tim, Adelyn, Jack, Harry, Simon and Sam.

The Blanchard family and CoolDrive have been members and supporters of VASA since its inception and have played a huge and pioneering role in the development of automotive air-conditioning technology and the related industry in Australasia.

JB Senior (left) and Shirley in the early days of their business

“A true trailblazer, Shirley was an incredibly well-respected figure within the automotive aftermarket industry and her love for and support of Senior and their family helped shape the CoolDrive business to where it is today,” continued the CoolDrive statement.

Shirley and JB Senior started Melbourne Auto Air in 1977 – later renamed CoolDrive – and were among the first people to import automotive air conditioning systems into Australia.

Among their descendants carrying on the family business are CEO JB Junior, COO Tim Blanchard and product manager Harry Blanchard.

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