While India isn’t a country with a very rich car culture or heritage, it still has a few car manufacturers who dared to try something new. Since most of these vehicles didn’t succeed in terms of volumes, they are quite rare. Here are 10 such unusual cars.
The company, which started off as Sunrise Auto Industries in 1973 later became Sipani Limited in the 1980s. The USP of the company was that they made cars out of fibreglass. The Badal is India’s answer to the Reliant Robin (sold in the UK). So what is special about it? It had only 3 wheels, two at the back and one upfront, just like an auto. The other unique thing is that it had only 3 doors. Powering it was a 198cc 2 stroke petrol engine mated to a 4 speed manual transmission powering only the rear wheels. Only the rear wheels had the brakes & the front wheel was only used for steering. The car wasn’t very successful.
The Trekker is a unique people mover which was designed by Hindustan Motors. What makes it unique is the fact that they designed this product with leftover parts that they had from the Ambassador.
The Trekker has a ladder frame chassis. The engine, lights, steering & suspension were borrowed from the Amby. The engine is also the same 1.5 litre on the Amby but this had a 4 speed manual transmission which was floor mounted.
Trishul is one car manufacturer about which there is not much information. What we do know however is that the company was based out of Patna, Bihar and the company put together a Jeep like 4 wheeled vehicle that didn’t have any doors. Powering it was a 500cc single cylinder Lombardini diesel motor. Given its origin, the car was popular only in the Eastern part of the country.
India’s Caterham, the Chinkara was powered by an 1800cc Isuzu engine making 90 Bhp. The engine came mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The car had a space frame chassis & a custom made fibre glass body designed by Guido Bothe from Germany. The car also had many customization options on offer. Because the car was very light, it was capable of doing 0-100 in under 8 seconds and had a top speed of 190 kmph.
The Toofan is a large people carrier from Force. It has been on sale for a long time. The main USP of the car is that it has multiple rows of seating. It can accommodate up to 12 people and is massive. While most people will overlook this vehicle even when they do see it on the road, it is the lifeline for most people in rural areas, being the only mode of shared transport for many.
HM tried to stretch the Ambassador platform as much as they could. They planned a compact sedan (sub 4-meter) and even a pickup. While the compact sedan never saw the light of day, the pick up did, and it was called Veer. It was initially launched in West Bengal, the state where the Ambassador was famous and was produced in. Later it spread across the country. The Veer came in both BS3 (diesel) & BS4 (CNG) variants and prices began at Rs 3.30 lakhs for the diesel version.
HM Ambassador Estate
Did you guys know that the Estate version of the Ambassador did exist at some point in time? Well at that time, the Amby did come with an Estate option and so did the Padmini.
Reva first came into the Indian market in 2000. They brought electric cars to India and introduced us to the green car phenomena. The car was produced by Maini, a company that has now been bought over by Mahindra. The initial car was powered by a 6.4 Bhp DC motor, however in 2007, that got changed to an AC motor producing 17 Bhp.
The Jonga is a truck that was built by Nissan. The same was offered to the army and most people who had parents in the army back in the day would remember this particular vehicle. The Jonga was on offer to a few civilians as well. This particular one has been modified and looks really nice. There are a few that are on sale in the used market even now.
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