The true stars of China's first devoted automobile museum

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China’s automobile business is just round 70 years previous, however its first auto museum shouldn’t be wanting icons
China has solely been making vehicles because the 1950s, however its brief homegrown historical past is wealthy and diverse, because the Shanghai Auto Museum reveals

Opened in 2007, the Shanghai Auto Museum proudly trumpets that it’s the primary devoted automobile museum in China. 

Contained in the beautiful constructing, greater than 70 vehicles hint the historical past of the auto, starting from early machines such because the Benz Patent-Motorwagen and Ford Mannequin T, pioneers just like the Mini Cooper and Volkswagen Beetle, and traditional sports activities vehicles together with the Porsche 911 and Ferrari Testarossa. 

However interspersed with these are reveals that showcase the outstanding progress of the automobile business in China. It’s an business that didn’t exist till the 1950s, when the primary automobile companies had been established as a part of Mao Zedong’s first five-year plan. Even then, manufacturing was primarily restricted to automobiles (based mostly largely on Soviet Union equipment) for presidency officers. As lately as 1985, China’s annual automobile output was simply 5200 items. When the federal government started to encourage personal automobile possession, that modified quick: final yr, China produced greater than 28 million vehicles. 

So neglect the Alfa Romeo Giulia, BMW Isetta 300 and Jaguar E-Kind: listed here are the actual star vehicles of the Shanghai Auto Museum.

1983 Shanghai Volkswagen Santana

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The automobile that modified China. In 1982, the Shanghai Tractor and Vehicle Business Firm (now SAIC) signed a three way partnership with VW to construct the latter’s fashions within the nation. Made in Anting, the Chinese language-built Santana launched in 1983, beginning a pattern of joint ventures that continues to at the present time.

1903 Oldsmobile Curved Sprint

The world’s first mass-produced vehicle, this was one of many first vehicles to be imported into China, with Shanghai-based sellers promoting them from 1903 onwards.

1965 Beijing BJ212

When adjustments within the Sini-Soviet relationship meant China stopped importing the GAZ 69 truck within the 1960s, Beijing Vehicle Works was tasked with producing its personal model. The BJ212 went into manufacturing in 1965 and, now often called the BJ2020, remains to be being constructed immediately in navy and civilian type.

1974 Hongqi CA770

The successor to the CA72 was, in keeping with the museum, “the satisfaction of a Chinese language technology”. With a platform based mostly on a Chrysler Imperial, it spawned variants, together with a three-row stretched model and a pick-up. Round 1600 had been made in complete, from 1963 till 1981. Early on, many elements had been taken from a Lincoln City Automotive, however by the tip, most had been from the Peugeot 504 and Audi 100/200.

1988 Polski-Fiat 126P

Produced by Fiat’s Polish companion, this was one of many first household saloons to be imported into China when the nation’s financial reform started. A well-liked selection of taxi drivers, the 126P was dubbed ‘the small one’ in Poland, however in China acquired the moniker ‘small potato’. 

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1962 Volga M21H

Produced by the Soviet Union’s GAZ agency, the M21H was standard amongst Chinese language officers, significantly as a result of the beefed-up chassis and suspension (to outlive Russian winters) made it extremely dependable

1996 GM EV-1

Keep in mind when GM was forward of the electrification sport? Effectively, this EV1 is proof that it was, with 32 leadacid batteries giving a 90-mile vary and a high velocity of 90mph. It appears becoming that, as many US companies battle to compensate for EV tech, one in every of these is now in a museum in China – the world’s largest EV market.

1964 Shanghai SH760

A authorities official, however not necessary sufficient for a Hongqi? That is what you bought as an alternative. Shanghai Vehicle started producing prototype vehicles of a car referred to as the Fenghuang (Phoenix) in 1958. It was finally reworked based mostly on a Mercedes-Benz 220S W180 and named the SH760 when manufacturing started in 1964. Initially powered by a 2.2-litre 90bhp straight six, it stayed in manufacturing till 1991 and practically 80,000 had been constructed.

1974 Shanghai SH760A

The SH760 acquired a serious makeover in 1974, with new entrance and rear ends. However the principle chassis was nonetheless straight from a 1950s Merc and the two.2-litre engine remained unchanged.

2012 Chevrolet E-NV 2.zero

The second Electrical Networked-Car idea produced by GM China. A fleet of 16 was used for a mobility pilot programme on the campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong College from 2015 to 2017.

1959 Hongqi CA72

Work started on the First Vehicle Works (now FAW) manufacturing unit in Changchun in 1953, and three years later, it started producing Soviet-derived heavy-duty vehicles. Two years after that, work began on the Hongqi CA72, a luxurious automobile for the Communist Get together elite. The CA72’s design was based mostly on a 1955 Chrysler, nevertheless it did function numerous Chinese language touches, together with a entrance grille designed to resemble a folding fan. The museum shows a number of CA72s, together with one of many unique 10 prototypes displayed in Tiananmen Sq. in 1959.

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1970 Shanghai Convertible

It’s doable Chinese language officers preferred to really feel the wind of their hair as they drove – though this convertible was really designed to parade visiting overseas dignitaries.

1934 Packard Tremendous Eight

The Detroit agency’s luxurious saloon, supplied with eightand 12-cylinder engines, was a preferred selection of Chinese language service provider princes and officers within the 1930s. 

Learn extra

Groundbreakers: the vehicles that did it first​

Historical past of the Chinese language copycat automobile: image gallery​

Shanghai motor present 2019: better of the Chinese language vehicles​


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