This is a First Auto Works (FAW) LuBao CA6440UA, also known as the Chinese made Austin Maestro van. A successor to the far rarer Etsong series of Maestro based cars, really just the same cars with different badging made between 2000 and 2003.
FAW took over operations in 2003 and this car appears to have been one of the first off the line under their ownership as the vin number reveals it is a 2003 built car! This particular car is in Wuxi.
Here we can see the name of the car as well as the characters 解放 JieFang meaning “Liberation” in Chairman Mao’s handwriting. Of course the JieFang name has a long and illustrious history in China with millions of trucks and vans having had this name stamped onto their sheetmetal, most famous of all are the military trucks produced in the latter half of the twentieth century.
A side view of this interesting car. Only one engine was available, a 1.3 liter Toyota unit producing 63kW of power and 110Nm of torque going through a 5 speed manual transmission to the front wheels.
Of course a regular hatchback version of this car was also made, stay tuned to an article in the near future with a near perfect example of one! FAW made these cars with both the Maestro and Montego front end, with the Montego being the far rarer style. I have seen 3 of these Maestro vans and only 1 of the Montego vans. Rear lights are from a Land Rover Discovery.
The interior was a rather plane affair with plastic everywhere. It appears to be the same as its Maestro cousin with some important updates made to ensure it could compete in the 2003 marketplace! Like a CD player! Even the steering wheel is the same!
Here we can see that the similarities run even further, the gear knob is the same! Of course this Vanden Plas has more upmarket trimmings on the seats and door panels, but no CD player!
The Chinese love their long badges, this one says “China First Auto Works” aka FAW.
A simple wheel for a car with a simple job, to carry stuff. They also made an “MPV” with a 2nd row and windows behind the front doors.
FAW logo on the grille.
But wait, there’s more!
Here is the very same car in November 2015! All the photos before this one were taken in October of this year. Quite a change isn’t it? As you can see in the 2015 photo it was in a slightly different position and I think it was still in regular service! Sad to see it go to waste.
Aaaand another one! Also in Wuxi.
This concludes my little collection of FAW Maestro vans. This one is also in Wuxi. Wuxi is the only place I have seen any and somehow I have seen 3!
Yema production after FAW: https://www.aronline.co.uk/cars/austin/maestromontego/yemasqj6450/
Vanden Plas interior: