The Story Of Sanxing Part 2: The Passenger Cars [updated 2]

Earlier on I wrote about Sanxing Auto, a Guangdong-based company that built and assembled a bewildering number of different vehicles under all sorts of different deals, at the same time. Today we have a look at the passenger cars.

This article is a work in progress, because every time I think I know all the Sanxing cars; a new one pops up! I show the cars one by one, later on I will write more in detail about each car in separate posts.

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Jeeps made before the production of the BJ212.

Chairman Mao inspecting the Red Guards in a Beijing BJ212 cross country vehicle.

The most important Chinese cross-country vehicle is the Beijing BJ212. Developed in the early 1960s, in production since 1965. Yes, still in production!! The introduction was during the mass-movement Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, chairman Mao using it to inspect the Red guards.

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Chinese Car Brands That Time Forgot: Xingtai Auto Works

Xingtai Auto Works XT634 – photo by Oliver Barnham in 1980

Xingtai Auto Works was founded in 1969 in Shahe Village to the southeast of Xingtai city. In my article on Xingtai 114 Auto Works I said that Xingtai 114 was one of the main manufacturers in Xingtai. However this is not exactly true and recent research has shown that Xingtai 114 was in fact an offshoot of Xingtai Auto Works, mainly focusing on the production of speciality vehicles such as ambulances, though they did make some regular vehicles such as buses. This explains why Xingtai 114 sold vehicles with Xingtai badging like Xingtai Auto Works. However, both companies were given unique company identifiers with Xingtai Auto Works getting XT and Xingtai 114 getting XTQ.

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Minicars from Shanghai.

Haiyan CK730 taxi in Shanghai Traffic.

Not only Beijing made minicars in the late 1950s (see our entry “Minicars made by the Qinghua University in Beijing.“), also Shanghai did an effort to replace the pedicab and the rickshaw by small motorized vehicles. There was one big difference: in Beijing it was the Qinghua University which was behind all these efforts, in Shanghai it were several small workshops. It is possible that some factories were differently named in press releases, and that these products were in fact from the same manufacturer. But that is difficult to find out after 60 years. Here we give you the factory names as found in books and newspapers.

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The Shanghai Station Wagons

Shenlian SQL5020 on display in the Taishan Classic Car Museum

Station wagons and China have a funny relationship. The old adage of Chinese people preferring cars to have a proper boot could not be more correct, but tastes are changing. Nowadays station wagons are slowly becoming more and more popular and Chinese manufacturers are starting to cash in, though they won’t fully commit and most of the time will sell a lifted version and call it a “Cross” or something like that (looking at you Skoda). But back in the day there were numerous station wagons on sale in China, not counting those weird SUV station wagon hybrids of the 1980’s. Cars like the Buick Sail and Fiat Palio wagon sold reasonably well in China, and let’s not forget the likes of the Haima and Yunbao wagons. Sadly these larger wagons never did as well as their smaller brethren and indeed the same must be said about the Shanghai wagons, which did even worse. So join me as we learn about the Shanghai wagons and the many companies that made them.

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China Concept Cars: The Geely Fengyin Was A Daring Design-Technological Expiriment

Geely Fengyin
Geely Fengyin

Welcome at a special New Year’s Eve edition of China Concept Cars. And we have a very special car. This black beauty is the Geely Fengyin, a concept car that debuted at the 2006 Beijing Auto Show.

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