When we look at the history of automobiles in India, we would find several brands that came up with very unique looking models. Many of them were accepted by the public while some where discontinued after few years. When we think of a car, the first thing that comes to our mind are those four wheels. Without them, a car won’t actually be a car. In 1975, An Indian manufacturer came forward with a very innovative product. A car that had three wheels. It was known as Badal and was manufactured by Sipani. Here we have a video that talks about the history behind India’s first three wheeled car.
The video has been uploaded by Talking Cars on their YouTube channel. In this video, the presenters talk about how Sipani ended up producing Badal for Indian customers. Sipani was earlier known as Sunrise Automotive Industries Ltd. It was a time when manufacturers like Hindustan Motors, Premier, Standard and Fiat where present in the Indian market and Sipani thought of coming up with a product that is different and also cheaper from these models.
Sipani managed to get a license for manufacturing a small car and then, they partnered with UK based car manufacturer Reliant. The manufacturer is popular internationally for manufacturing a three wheeled car Robin. After looking at Reliant Robin, Sipani got inspired and came back to India and started working on a similar type of vehicle. That is how Sipani Badal was born. Although, Sipani had partnered with Reliant Motors, none of the parts were taken from Robin.
Sipani build Badal in India and it was powered by a 200 cc, petrol engine which was used in some of the scooters of that time. The engine was placed at the rear. In comparison to a Reliant Robin, Sipani Badal looked entirely different and that is probably one of the reason why it was not appreciated in our market. In late 70’s when they launched it, Sipani only sold around 150 units and the year after that they managed to sell 300+ units.
Reliant Robin was a well engineered car and Sipani Badal on the other hand, had ts limitations. One of the main problems that the Sipani Badal faced was that, whenever the car was reversed on an inclined, the whole weight was falling on to the front wheels and there were cases where it broke as well. car was not proportionate and well balanced as it only has one wheel at the front. For all these reasons, Sipani Badal was a flop product in our market.
Sipani even tried promoting the car using celebrities but, all those efforts were in vain. Sipani Badal was designed as a four seater car with absolutely no features on the inside. It had two doors at the front and one door at the rear for passengers to access the second row seats. India as a market was not ready for a three wheeled car and we think that, even today, things remains more or less the same.