The Indian auto market is filled with dozens of cars from every segment. Some of them are quite popular while others don’t get the same recognition. However, there are some cars that are hardly seen by anyone on the roads. Here is a list of 10 such unusual cars that you may have never seen on Indian roads
Sipani Limited initially started off as Sunrise Auto Industries in 1973 and it was only in the 1980s that the brand’s name was changed. It made quite a quirky car in the form of the Badal, a car which had a fibreglass body. This three-wheeled vehicle was the desi answer to UK’s Reliant Robin (remember the car Mr Bean hated). The 3 doors Sipani Badal was powered by 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 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.
You might get confused between the Spacio and the Tata Sumo Spacio but they both are different vehicles. The Spacio is a soft-top version of the regular Sumo. It was meant to be a people carrier, so it didn’t have any doors, allowing for better accessibility. It borrowed its engine from the Tata 407 DI pickup truck as compared to the Sumo’s 2.0-litre engine. The 407 DI engine produced 70 Bhp, which was more than enough for the vehicle.
Chinkara Roadster 1.8S
Chinkara Motors is an Alibag, Maharashtra-based auto, marine, ATV and aviation manufacturer. Run by an Indo-German couple, the company launched the Roadster 1.8S several years back in the country. It was inspired by the Lotus 7 and was powered by a 1800cc Isuzu engine making 90 Bhp. This engine is the same unit that was used in the HM Contessa and Ambassador but had been tweaked here to produce more power. It was mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The car had a space frame chassis & custom made fibreglass body designed by Guido Bothe. Because the car was very light, it was capable of doing 0-100 in under 8 seconds and had a top speed of 190 km/h. High price and lack of a proper marketing strategy meant that it never caught the fantasy of buyers.
The Toofan is another uncommon vehicle in our country which is, in fact, a large people carrier made by Force. People who have lived in/been to mountains or some rural areas might be familiar with the vehicle as it is quite common there. The main USP of this vehicle is that it has multiple rows of seating and can accommodate up to 12 people at a time.
Hindustan Motors tried to utilize the Ambassador platform as much as they could. Apart from the regular Ambassador, there were several designs and concepts which were proposed for production. While most of them didn’t see the light of the day, a few like the Veer pickup here made it to the assembly line. It was initially launched in West Bengal and 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. To let you know, HM even had plans for a sub-4 meter Ambassador sedan but that didn’t materialize.
HM Ambassador Estate
This is not some cartoon but a print ad of a car that was produced for a short time period. Called the Ambassador Estate, it is one of the rarest cars to find on our roads and we bet if you would have seen it, ever. This Estate version of the Ambassador saw limited production and also had a rival of sorts in the form of the estate version of the Padmini.
The Reva i was first launched here in 2000 and was India’s first fully electric car on sale. It was originally made and sold by Maini but later on, it was bought by Mahindra. It was also offered in the UK under the moniker of G-Wiz. Initially, the car was powered by a 6.4 Bhp DC motor. However, in 2007, it was changed to an AC motor that produced 17 Bhp of power.
We bet that you won’t have seen the Jonga on the road often, except if you had parents who were in the army. The Jonga was a truck that was built by Nissan and used by the army. It was on offer to a few civilians as well. The one features here has been tastefully modified and looks quite cool. Several used Jongas are still available in the used car market.