The first products of the Tianjin Auto Repair Works.

We know the Tianjin Auto Repair Works from the Heping saloons made in 1958. People name this factory as developing the first Chinese car. For two reasons, the 1946 Feiying closed three wheel vehicle and the 1951 station wagon.

Tianjin ‘woody’ 1951, beautiful drawing (and copyright) by Ivan Kolev.

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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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