The Great Automotive Explorer Erik van Ingen Schenou, founder of ChineseCars.net, has compiled a new Chinese automotive history masterpiece: “Made in China. Lost Small Cars of the 1990’s.” The brilliant book is about the wildest period there ever was in China as an auto land; the late 1990’s until the very early 2000’s when hundreds of small and very small car factories suddenly started building cars like crazy, mostly of their own design.
The period is almost forgotten today, in China and in the rest of the world. Erik van Ingen Schenou brings those good times back with a selection of a hundred brands from all over China. We have published many posts using original photos from the book, including articles about the Beifang QJC 7050 , the Yemingzhu YMZ 5010 X, and the Hualian Huali. Soon we will post an article about the beautiful Beifang QCJ7085, pictured above with Erik himself near the factory in Beijing in 1995.
Going through the old archives can be a bitch, seeing stuff you rather don’t want to remember. There are some exceptions, such as this brilliant Jinma QJM5022TYN6 two-door Wedding Car. I met this beauty, looking very abandoned at that time already, all the way back in the autumn of 2004 in the Longtan Hu Park in Beijing.
Going through the old archives can be a bitch, seeing stuff you rather don’t want to remember. There are some exceptions, such as this brilliant Jiefang CA10 water truck. I met this monster all the way back in the summer of 2003 when I just arrived in Beijing (still here!). The truck was in active service, used for spraying water on the overheated asphalt around the famous Beijing Workers Stadium, which was very close to my then home.
A very long Citroen Elysee VIP, Spotted in China in the Dongba area in far east Beijing. The Elysee VIP is a stretched variant of the Citroen Elysee sedan, extended by 15 centimeter in the middle for more space in the back. The VIP is a rather rare car to see on the road today, and this particular car was in perfect condition.
A beautiful black Hongqi CA7180 A2EL1 stretched limousine, Spotted in China in the Sanlitun embassy area in Beijing. The vehicle was in very good shape with smooth looking paint, shiny chrome, and all parts accounted for. The tires however looked a bit old and in need of a replacement, especially in those rainy cold conditions.
A vaguely red Tianjin Huali TJ1010A mini pickup truck, Spotted in China in the Fangzhuang Residential Area in Beijing. Sadly, the good vehicle wasn’t in running order anymore, functioning instead as a platform for a fruit shop selling oranges that looked a tad or two too green. The poor car is being propped up by two piles of stones. What a way to treat a Huali…
A beautiful black Chrysler Sebring sedan, Spotted in China in the Fangzhuang Residential Area in Beijing. The fine vehicle looked very lean and very clean, the nearby towers mirroring in the long sculpted bonnet.
The Sebring was manufactured in China from 2007 until 2009 by the Beijing-Benz DaimlerChrysler Automotive Corporation (BBDC), a joint venture between the Beijing Auto Industry Corporation (BAIC) and DaimlerChrysler. The joint venture also made the Chrysler 300 and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Note the Jeep Cherokee 2500 at the other side of the street. It was manufactured by Beijing-Jeep, which was at the time partly part of the Daimler-Chrysler empire too, but technically a different joint venture.
Today in China Car History the magnificent Nanjing NJ230 truck, seen at the Dalian Classic Car Museum in the great city of Dalian in Liaoning Province. This particular example is a military variant with a single cab cabin and large flatbed load bay. She was parked in an outside area of the museum, standing very close to a Jiefang CA10 fire truck.
A very badass Beijing-Jeep Cherokee Super Space, Spotted in China in a faraway suburb of east Beijing, looking very dusty but otherwise in good shape. The Super Space was a China-only variant of the Jeep Cherokee with a heightened roof, going up at the B-pillar till the C, making for more headroom for the passengers in the back and for more cargo space.
A very rare Hongqi CA771 limousine, seen in the Beijing Classic Car Museum in Huairou District to the far north of the capital. The CA771 was developed as a smaller variant of the gigantic Hongqi CA770. It arrived in 1967 and production continued until 1976.