The Indian automotive market has a large number of vehicles on offer. Over time, there have been several quirky and outlandish vehicles on sale too which were hard to forget for those who saw them even once. Today, we take a look at 10 such vehicles, a few of which are quite popular and are part and parcel of our daily lives.
The Hanseat is still a pretty common sight in Tier III towns and villages. It is basically a goods-and-people carrier that was built by Force Motors. The three-wheeler is powered by a 452-cc, twin-cylinder, two-stroke petrol engine that was mounted just above the front wheel. The motor produced a maximum power of 20 bhp. This weird-looking three-wheeler went on sale in the 60s and continues to run in some parts of the country.
The now-defunct Hindustan Motors is well-known as the manufacturer of the Contessa and the Ambassador. However, the company even made the Trekker, a unique product that used the spare parts of the Ambassador. The Trekker looks totally utilitarian and had a ladder-on-frame chassis. The headlights, front indicators, engine, and suspension came from the Ambassador. The Trekker didn’t fare well in the commercial market and not many of these are seen anymore.
The Veer is another commercial vehicle from Hindustan Motors that shares plenty with the Ambassador. The Veer was basically a pick-up version of the Ambassador sedan. When viewed front on, it looked largely the same. However, this Amby was a completely different vehicle B-pillar onward. The Veer was initially launched in West Bengal and was later introduced in many other parts of the country. The HM Veer marked the revival of the Porter pick-up truck that was sold in the 1980s. It was powered by BS3 (diesel) and BS4 (CNG) variants and had a base price of Rs 3.30 lakh. Yes, it looked a bit too weird for anybody’s liking.
The Sipani Badal has to be one of the weirdest cars to be on sale in the country. Based on the Reliant Robin, the famous three-wheeler car that was sold in the United Kingdom, the Badal came to us in the 1970s. It had a fiber-glass body and used to easily roll-over. Powering this outlandish machine was a 198-cc, two-stroke petrol engine that sent power to the rear wheels. The front wheel wasn’t given any sort of brakes as it was used solely for steering.
Well, the Tata Spacio was actually a Sumo that lost a lot of its sheet metal. This people carrier offered fabric roof and doors and was aimed at the Tier II and Tier III commercial vehicles market. Instead of the 2.0-litre diesel engine that powered the Sumo, the Spacio came with the same 3.0-litre diesel engine that powered the Tata 407 truck.
The Mahindra Gio is a commercial vehicle that has a funny design. It’s available in pick-up and 6-seater layouts. The Gio gets four-wheels, which makes it better than its three-wheeled rivals. Powering the Gio is a 442-cc, single-cylinder, direct-injection diesel engine that produced 9 bhp and 21.5 Nm. The motor comes mated to a four-speed manual transmission.
The recently discontinued Polaris Multix is the love-child of the Polaris and Eicher Motors JV. The Multix was touted as a commercial vehicle that can be used as a people mover, goods carrier and even a generator. Powering the Multix is a Greaves-sourced 510-cc, water-cooled single-cylinder motor that produced 9.8 bhp and 27 Nm. The motor came mated to a four-speed manual transmission.
Jugaad is a Hindi word that means finding a low-cost and even a somewhat clever solution to any problem. In this case, the Jugaad is a low-cost vehicle that is made using components from various vehicles. Moreover, there are several iterations of the Jugaad available across the country. The Jugaad is also known as the “Chhakda” in many parts of India. Powering these contraptions is mostly an old motorcycle engine.
These e-rickshaws have replaced many cycle rickshaws in cities like New Delhi. These vehicles have a high-seating capacity and are powered by electric motors. In New Delhi, these are mostly used as last mile transport tools that ferry people between metro stations and nearby locations.
These 6-seater three-wheelers are a fairly popular transport option in many cities of our country. They also make for a cheap last mile connectivity solution. These vehicles are used as goods carrier as well. However, these three-wheelers are not only unsafe but are often driven pretty rashly. These are built by companies such as Vikram, Piaggio and Force Motors.