Today we share with you the Chinese made Austin Maestro. Not the Maestro van or the Frankenstein Montego/Maestro van, but the original hatchback on which they were all based. I found this car in Luoyang, Henan Province in April of this year.
I’ll give a quick refresh on the history of this car but for more info please go here, here and here for some great articles about the history of the Maestro in China. For ones we wrote earlier please go here to see a Maestro van and here for an ultra rare Montego van. Now, back to the car in question.
CA6400UA was the designation given to the Maestro hatchbacks produced by FAW (First Auto Works) after taking over production from Etsong, a tobacco giant who had their hands in all sorts of business sectors back in the day. Etsong made cars from 2000/2001 until around 2003 when FAW took over and continued to make them for a few more years. The whole production line was eventually sold on to Yema but that story will be left for another time.
The CA6400UA was very similar to the original Austin Maestro with only very minor cosmetic changes done to introduce to it the Chinese market. Whilst production of the car may have shifted to China, production of some components clearly didn’t. Allow me to explain.
This was the first CA6400UA I ever saw and as it’s quite near my home in Shanghai I visit it often. During one particular visit I discovered the following:
Both the headlights…
AND the taillights were UK made items! On this car at least, it seems that Etsong and consequently FAW obtained a surplus of these parts because this is the only one I have ever seen with UK made lights, all the other ones I have seen have had Chinese made ones. Things get even weirder though as the blue car has a vin number showing that it was made in 2002 and the white one in 2003. FAW did not take over production until 2003 and the blue one has the exact same FAW badging as the white one. A mystery we shall investigate further! Or if you know anything more please let us know! For now, back to the white car as it was in half decent shape, minus a few bits of rust.
The Chinese characters Jie Fang 解放 written in Chairman Mao’s handwriting. A feature of all Jiefang branded cars, trucks and vans. Jeifang means “Liberation” in English, a reference to the liberation of China by the CCP.
FAW logo on the front grille.
Chinese characters for China First Automobile Works (FAW). FAW is huge company making everything from cheap vans and mini trucks to the Hongqi limousines all the top officials ride around in.
Interior was 100% Maestro, except for the CD player of course. Powering the CA6400UA was a 1.3 liter 4 cylinder Toyota engine.
Not sure whether I’d fit behind the driver there.
Cosmetically this car was not great but mechanically it must be doing well! The driver seems to really care about his rare Sino-British motorcar and had some spare parts resting on the parcel shelf. Whatsmore:
The all important green inspection stickers were all present and accounted for! If there were yellow ones then that would make this car a dead man driving, restricting it from all sorts of big cities. China’s emissions test is rather silly as they don’t test the car to determine whether it get a green or yellow, rather they simply look at the age and decide that way. It’s extremely unfair!
The CA6400UA came with these rather nice wheels.
The CA6400UA is a rare beast and indeed this is the first one I’ve ever seen in running condition with license plates AND up to date inspection stickers. Though it may have had some rust and could do with a tidy up, it’s great to know that someone out there wants to keep this unique and interesting car going for as long as possible!